Copenhagen looks like it was plucked from out of a storybook. So, makes sense why Hans Christian Anderson made it his home.
It even feels like it too. Beautifully preserved sights are everywhere. There are multiple castles to check out. And it’s a port city, so you’ve got amazing views of the water.
So read on and let’s go exploring! Here’s your 3 day Copenhagen itinerary!
How to Spend 3 Days in Copenhagen
Introduction to Copenhagen
Official Language(s): Danish
Currency: Danish Krone
Emergency phone number: 112
When to Go to Copenhagen
May – June
I went in October, and it was cold. And windy. But mostly cold.
Few tourists, but do be advised.
Denmark doesn’t see much sunlight, but if you need decent temperatures I’d go in May or early June. The crowds are still manageable and the weather won’t kill you.
Where to Stay in Copenhagen
My Airbnb was phenomenal, so naturally I recommend it to all. It was in a great location (walking distance to Tivoli and the central station) but not so close that I felt like I was being smothered with noise and crowds. It’s a cute neighborhood with great cheap eats. Adorable room decor, too. It could be a hotel.
The hosts are delightful as well. I could tell that my comfort was their top priority. I’d stay again.
How to Get Around in Copenhagen
DK City Pass
Like most European tourist destinations, the transportation in Copenhagen is fantastic. Easy to understand, timely and safe for tourists.
But… I hardly used it.
Like I said, Copenhagen is gorgeous. It’s tempting to just walk everywhere. Leaving Paper Island, I had about a 45 minute walk or basic transportation. I walked. The city is a treat for the eyes.
Where to Eat in Copenhagen
Det Lille Apotek
My first taste of the city was Det Lille Apotek (“The Little Chemist”), one of the oldest restaurants in the city. They’ve preserved the charm quite well, and the traditional Danish fare is delicious. It’s located in Strøget, the shopping street in Copenhagen.
I hate calling La Galette a pancake place, because that feels like an oversimplification. If you can dream up a pancake, odds are they serve it. They’re not trying to be hip or Instagram-y either; the pancakes are really good. They’re not unique for the sake of being unique.
Conditori La Glace
Conditori La Glace is Denmark’s oldest patisserie. Old eateries tend to stick here; they know what they’re doing. Their Sports Cake is really popular, but it’s hard to go wrong given that they treat each slice like a work of art. Bring friends, order different things and pass your plates around.
What was once Paper Island is now REFFEN. Here, you could easily spend a whole evening (I did). Arrive hungry. Really. REFFEN is a massive gathering of food vendors. It’s a melting pot of good foods; you’ll find everything from croquet monsieur to a creme brûlée donut. If you don’t leave full, you weren’t there long enough.
Day 1 of 3 Days in Copenhagen
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is one of my favorite museums in Europe. Partly because it’s Impressionist collection makes my heart sing.
But also because it’s a flat out beautiful museum. I’d recommend it based on aesthetics alone, it really is that pretty. It opens at 11, making brunch and arriving right as it opens decently feasible.
Cross the bridge (goodness, even the views off of the bridge are pretty) and you’ll find yourself standing outside Christiansborg Palace. Tours will take you through everything the royal palace has to offer; reception rooms, stables and centuries-old castle remnants.
Nyhavn Harbour is as “straight out of a storybook” as it gets. The vivid colors, stunning view of the Baltic Sea and shops all around make for a fun afternoon. Feel free to pretend you’re a children’s book character. I won’t judge.
Freetown Christiania (or just Christiania) takes a bit of history and know-how before going. It’s a community of about 1,000 self-proclaimed anarchists who have decided to live without a government. They pay their taxes, and that’s it. No trash pickup, no cars, nothing. This has made it quite a tourist destination since it goes against Denmark’s entire model.
You can visit, but be cool. No photos. No going there just because marijuana dispensaries are there. Go there because it’s a neat chance to see how another group chooses to live. Go there and be respectful. Please and thank you.
The Amalienborg is close by, but I didn’t have time to pass through. If you’re in need of another royal palace tour and you like what you see on Google Images, give it a go.
Day 2 of 3 Days in Copenhagen
Day Trip to Malmö
Fun fact: Malmö, Sweden is less than an hour away from Copenhagen. If you’re in need of a dose of a Swedish town for a day, say no more. I’ve got you covered.
Day 3 of 3 Days in Copenhagen
Sorry, one more royal castle plug. Rosenborg Castle is just about as royally oppulent as it gets. Props to the Danes for deciding one castle wasn’t enough. I love it. You can tour the castle, view the gardens and see the Royal Crown.
It has odd hours, so if you really want to see it, make it first on your list. In a weird way, it almost sets the tone for what I’m about to recommend.
I dedicated a whole day to Tivoli. No shame.
Depending on how much you love amusement park rides, you may just want to book an Entrance Pass. If roller coasters aren’t your thing, don’t sweat it. The park itself is a visual marvel. You’ll have fun on the ground.
But if you think there’s a chance you’ll want to ride more than four, I’d just get the Unlimited Pass. It’s expensive, but you’ll have fun.
Make sure you check Tivoli’s calendar to confirm that it’s open. They’ll close between holidays to prep and update their decor.
Know Before You Go
Much like Amsterdam, the Danes are avid cyclists. Avoid being that tourist who nearly bumps into folks on their bikes, and look both ways before crossing anywhere.
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