Copenhagen is becoming of the most trendiest cities in Europe. From colourful ports and Nordic architecture to delicious food and the permeation of hygge (the danish quality of cosiness) throughout the city, it soon became one of my favourite European cities. I definitely understand why the Danes are called the happiest people in the world. 4 days is the perfect amount of time for first timers to get a feel of the city, visit its main attractions at a leisurely stroll.
Day 1: Arrival, Walking Tour and Jazz Night!
My husband and i arrived at Copenhagen International Airport which is one of the oldest airport in the whole of Europe. Admittedly, it was far too bland and minimal for my liking – it lacked personality. Going from Copenhagen airport to the city centre is very easy and we decided to take the metro to the city centre which takes about 15 minutes. Our hotel was conveniently located next to Central Station, so we dropped off our bag, freshened up and started exploring!
Brunch: Mad & Kaffe
Before starting a walking tour, we needed to get a big breakfast as we were starting to get hangryyy. My husbands friend recommended us to Mad & Kaffe and it was the best brunch we had in such a long time!
Afternoon: Sandeman’s Free Walking Tour!
In order to get introduced to the city, we decided to take a Sandeman’s free walking tour. The tour guide talked about Copenhagen’s rich history and how it grew from a little fishing town to the capital of Denmark. We had no idea how many fires that basically destroyed the whole city, the plagues and the invasions.
Evening: Stroll through Stroget
Stroget is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. There is a great mix of shops ranging from luxury brands like Louis Vuiton, Prada and Gucci to more budget friendly chains. Its every shoppers dream! My husband i were in the middle of decorating our flat so we LOVED looking at the interior designing shops – particularly Magasin. Unfortunately, our budget didn’t allow us to actually buy much apart from a candle holder but we still enjoyed window shopping.
Night: Fall in love with Jazz in La Fontaine
Copenhagen and Jazz have a long history dating back to the 1920s when it made is first appearance in Europe. Some now call it the jazz capital of Europe! We went on a Saturday night and it was the best experience. It was a small club which adds to its cozy atmosphere – the friendly folks from around the world and the talent on stage made for a super night. I would definitely recommend this but be sure to get in early as it can get crowded!
Day 2: Architecture Tour and CopenHot!
Danish Architecture Centre:
As my husband is an architect, he wanted to visit the Danish Architecture Centre. There was an exhibition on for the world-renowned Danish architects BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group. We explored their designs and explored their “10 Gifts”.
We then walked across to the black diamond (Den Sorte Diamant). The building itself is an extension of the Royal Danish Library and is nicknamed the black diamond because of its black granite and its shape. The building was designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen and was completed in 1999.
After finally making our way to the Christianshavn, we were pleasantly surprised. It had beautiful narrow, colourful waterfront houses, cobbled street and boats along the canal. It reminded me of Amsterdam! I later found our this was founded in the 17th century by Christian VI in order to fortify Copenhagen. Its a really interesting neighbourhood as it somehow mixes high end and hippy style. There is a Michelin-starred Noma restaurant and then within a few metres away, there is also the self-governed community of Christiana. We stopped off the BEST coffee and danish pastry you can imagine at the local cafes called Lagkagehuset. Im sorry, but i cannot get over how creamy and perfect the latte was.
CopenHill – Ski slope power plant:
On our way to CopenHot, we walked past CopenHill. Also known as Amager Bakke and designed by BIG, this is Copenhagen-based heat and waste-to-power plant. It is literally the coolest attraction as they built it in such a way to allow people to use it as an artificial ski and snowboard slope on its roof! Blown away.
I knew i couldn’t visit Copenhagen without visit the artistic and independent free state within the city that lives by its own rules – Christiania. As we walked beneath the wooden sign, the scent of weed awaited us along with the creative and colourful street art.
Christiania was established in 1971 and was born in an abandoned military barracks by artists, squatters and people who wanted to live an alternative, “organic” lifestyle. They set their own rules, raise their own taxes, have their own flag and live independently from the government. The government only accepted this as they deemed the project a “social experiment”.
When we visited, the men at the entrance gate, who were shouting at people not to take photos all scattered quickly. A tank and police vans came storming in the attempt of trying to find weed. From the sounds of it and after talking to a local over there, it seems like the police are trying to crack down on this and stop this social experiment. It was truly quite an experience.
We finally made our way to the outdoor spa retreat. Guys – this was a truly Danish experience as it allows us to enjoy being outside while staying warm – WIN/WIN. Both my husband and i jumped into the Refshaleo harbour where the water was freezing! All i knew was this its a Danish tradition so i gotta suck it up and just jump in. We then headed straight to the sauna so that the intense heat could warm us up from the inside out. Their saunas had the most beautiful skyline view of the city. We then enjoyed staying in the stationary hot tub filled with sea water and heated with firewood. We chatted with the lovely people in our hot tub, which made the experience really lovely and sociable.
Our experience with CopenHot was truly fantastic and one of my highlights of Copenhagen. I cannot recommend this enough guys!
On our way back, we walked past the Opera House which is one of the most modern and expensive opera houses ever built. The construction costs over 500 million US dollars but it was definitely an impressive building and every architects dream!
Day 3: Nyhaven, Castles and Street Markets!
Nyhaven is synonymous with Copenhagen as its what you would see in most guide books and travel website. Its an old harbour that used to be full of brothels and pubs but has been turned into a respectable area full of lively bars and cafes. We took a few pictures and then made our way to the Union Kitchen, which was tucked into a small side street for our morning coffee. We had their signature cappuccino which put them on the map.
After getting the caffeine kick, we walked to Rosenborg Castle. It was built in 1606 – 1634 and was a summer residence for Christian IV. At the time was in the countryside but as the city expanded, it is now right in the city. The castle was opened to the public in 1838. We didn’t go inside but we did wonder through the lovely rose garden next to the castle after getting attacked by their huge black birds!
We ended up walking past this Botanical Gardens. Its meant to have a superb living collection of cacti and succulents, orchids and other epiphytes, and alpine plants. Admittedly, we went in November but we were not very impressed with this botanical garden so we did a u turn and headed to Torvhallerne.
This market was my absolute fave place as it was just so quirky and had a big variety. There are over 60 stalls and it all specialised in different things, such as fresh meat, seafood, cheese, chocolates and spices. We ended up going to French-influenced Ma Poule and had a superb duck confit baguette. It had a spicy mustard and fresh watercress and only cost 55kr. Its not called “best sandwich in Copenhagen” for nothing!
The Little Mermaid:
Okay, so this was little further out so we decided to take the electric scooters which was an epic experience in itself (even though it took as way longer than it should to figure out how to switch on). When we finally arrived at the little mermaid, my husband and i looked at each other and asked where the original was. We realised that this was it – its much smaller than what you would expect and is less than 5ft tall. She sits on a rock near the shore. It was based on a fairytale written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837 about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome Prince on land. Every morning and evening she swims to the surface from the bottom of the sea and perches on her rock in the water staring lovingly towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her beloved prince.
The Round Tower:
The Round Tower is an old Copenhagen church at the centre of the city. You can walk up the spiral ramp to the top to get a 360 view of the city, but we were too lazy to walk to the top. The tower features a special ramp which allowed a horse and carriage to go up and down moving equipment and books from the library – quite cool.
We started to get hungry, but before we made our way to what is going to be the best pizza I’ve had in my life, we decided to stop off at Tivoli Gardens to see what the fuss is about. It is a world famous amusement park in central Copenhagen and offer huge variety of rides for all ages. We saw a pretty impressive light and water display. The walking tour guide informed us that it is the second oldest amusement park in the world after opening its doors in 1843. It was also an inspiration for Walt Disney to build Disneyland! Even though its extremely over-priced for what it is, its worth going once to see for yourself.
Dinner time – Neighbourhood Pizza / Mama Rosa pizza
My director recommended we go to Neighbourhood pizza and boy are we glad we went! We tried a Christmas Duck pizza which was ” Confit of French Barbary duck leg, glazed red cabbage, fried kale, roasted hazelnuts, crudité of apple, watercress & fresh orange”. i know what you’re thinking and it sounds super weird – but my goodness. MA GOODNESS. It was INSANE. Like literally…
best… pizza… ever. Thanks Matt for recommending!
As we wanted to try another pizza place also, we went to Mama Rosa Pizza and it was good, but after eating what was like heaven on the plate – Mama Rosa pizza disappointed us. The tiramisu was good though! My husband surprised me with a birthday cake here as we came here on the day of my birthday, so that was nice.
Day 4: Palace, Smorrebrod and Flight Home!
Our last day in Copenhagen was only a half day so we wanted to do wonder the streets a little more and choose one attraction to explore in depth. I love visiting palaces so we decided to go to Christiansborg Palace and go to the rooftop. This is where the Danish parliament sits and is also used by the Royal family for many events. You can get a ticket and see inside the rooms but we decided to just go up the tower to get a great view of the city. The Christiansborg tower is the highest tower in Copenhagen. What was super interesting about this building is that its the only government building in the world that houses all of its government branches within one building.
Restaurants 1733 – Trying the Danish Smorrebrod!
We actually wanted to go to another Smorrebrod restaurant but it was shut and they recommended we go to this. The restaurant was really nice and faced out on to Frederiksholms Kanal near Throvaldsens Statue Museum across the canal. The customer service was great and everything we ordered came well presented, tasty and cooked as ordered. I definitely recommend it!
We then went back to collect our suitcases and made it to the airport in plenty of time. I had such a great weekend getaway to Copenhagen and would recommend it.
Do you have any questions about travelling to Copenhagen that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible