Copenhagen is an amazing city. It's packed full of life, colour and stunning sights, plus delicious coffee and pastries can be found literally around every corner. While Copenhagen is known for having a slightly higher price tag than other cities, it's actually really easy to plan an itinerary where spending your krona isn't the basis of everything. With only two days to explore Copenhagen and more than just a few things on our list of must-sees (plus a budget to stick to), making a plan really was necessary.
We stayed at the super central Copenhagen Downtown hostel where we were able to rent bikes on both days and get cheap food and drinks when we weren’t out and about. This itinerary is exactly how I went about ticking off all that Copenhagen has to offer and sticking to a budget all whilst having plenty of time for coffee stops (and wrong turns)...
Check into Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, put your bags in a locker and hire a bike from reception. Make sure to ask the staff about the local rules on cycling or check out our , otherwise you may get a few stern looks!
GROD IN NORREBRO
First stop, breakfast. And if you like porridge, you’ll LOVE Grod. There are a few of these cafes around Copenhagen, but you might as well combine it with a trip to the laid-back district of Norrebro, a quick cycle outside the city centre and its main sights. The cobbled streets are lined with cute, quirky shops and colourful doorways. It’s a really chilled out place to go and somewhere a little different to the rest of Copenhagen.
It may sound odd, but this old, peaceful cemetery isn’t just home to famous Danes like Hans Christian Andersen, but it’s actually very pretty to cycle through, too. Head through Assistens Kirkyard on your way from Norrebro towards the centre of town. It’s a great photo opportunity.
TORVEHALLERNE INDOOR MARKET
Over the bridge from the cemetery you’ll find two glass covered buildings that make up Torvehallerne market. With fresh fruit and vegetables plus beer, cafes, chocolate and bites to eat, this market is a must to stop at and is the perfect place to sample some delicious Danish smorrebrod (or open sandwiches).
ORANGE HOUSES OF NYBODER
A great Insta-worthy place to stop at on your bike are the Nyboder orange houses on the way to the Little Mermaid statue. The houses on and around Delfingade Street are all painted a bright orange with green window frames and pink shutters. We came across them by chance and had the entire street to ourselves. Just look how pretty they are!
KASTELLET AND THE LITTLE MERMAID
Head into the centre of one of Northern Europe’s best preserved fortresses, Kastellet. The historic site houses a church, a windmill and, these days, various military activities making it well worth a wander around. Right beside it on the coastline you’ll find the famous Little Mermaid statue.
She probably won’t blow you away, as it’s one of those things that has a little more hype than it’s worth, however did you even go to Copenhagen if you didn’t get a photo of her? Don’t think so.
Pass through the enormous square of Amalienborg Palace with its grand gates and marching guards wearing very tall hats. Inside reside the Danish Royal family and at midday everyday you can witness the changing of the guards.
If Copenhagen has one thing, it’s colourful buildings. And Nyhavn tops the list of the best places to get that perfect shot. Park up your bike, wander up and down the canal and marvel at Nyhavn’s multi-coloured beauty. You can stop for a drink along one of the restaurants and sit outside (blankets provided if it’s chilly) however bare in mind that there’s quite the premium price tag in this part of town.
Somewhere you don’t have to watch what you’re spending is this sleek coffee bar just a couple of minutes from the hostel. Democratic Coffee serves up a fantastic brew, but their Danish pastries are also to die for.
You’ll have covered a fair bit of ground on day one, so head back to the hostel and relax in your room or in the hostel bar for a bit before heading out again once the sun sets.
TIVOLI GARDENS AT NIGHT
By day, Tivoli Gardens may just look a bit like a run down old theme park, but at night it’s a whole other story. Head here at night (it takes only a minute or so to cycle to) and see the park twinkle with lights and buzzing with people. If you’re feeling brave, get on the oldest roller coaster in the park (appropriately named, The Roller Coaster) which was built in 1914 and is still operated by a brakeman! Just be warned that rides definitely don’t come cheap...
Head to the pork bun stand by the lake for a tasty dinner that’s easy on the wallet - no words can describe how good it is!
Head back to Copenhagen Downtown for discounts on drinks at the bar. It’s always a buzzing atmosphere and you’re guaranteed to meet other travellers while you drink.
CUB COFFEE BAR
‘Hygge’ is a popular term in Denmark that basically means the “Danish art of cosiness”, and if you’re looking to get your fix, CUB Underground Coffee Bar is the place to go. Dim lighting, sheepskin rugs, cool but calm music and a decent coffee, there’s nothing else you’d need to really relax...
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CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR
You might have spotted the stunning, spiralling tower of this church from Nyhavn on day one, but could you see the people walking up and around the outside? Cycle over to the Church of Our Saviour, pay the small fee on your way up to the top and (once you’ve scrambled up the tiny steps) enjoy some serious Danish views. Steps get pretty narrow once you get right to the top so it’s not for the faint hearted!
Don’t miss out on peeking inside the main church as well. It really is beautiful and the ceiling is spotted with golden stars.
From the Church of Our Saviour it won’t take you long to pedal over to Christiania, a freetown in the middle of a law-abiding city. It’s a bizarre place, and I’m not sure how much I personally really enjoyed it… Park you bike with everyone else’s and wander through the markets, buy a spliff if you want, just don’t take any photos or you could get into a spot of trouble. It’s plastered in amazing street art but you can’t even take photos of it!
GET A HOT DOG
Denmark loves a hot dog. In almost every open square of Copenhagen you’ll see a small hot dog trailer serving them up covered in 3 types of sauce, crispy onions and gherkins. Make sure you buy one at least once as they’re a super cheap way of filling up and plus they’re deeeelicious.
We got ours from the trailer in the square where the Pomnik Absalon statue can be seen.
SHOPPING ON STROGET
Stroget is one of the longest pedestrianised shopping streets in the whole of Europe, making it a great place for a serious splurge (or just some window shopping). You’ll pretty much have covered most of the main sites by now, so if you’re feeling a bit too weary to mooch around one of Copenhagen’s many museums, mooch around Stroget instead!
Less than 5 minutes walk from the hostel, you’ll find an adorable colourful street with sweet little restaurants and cool bars lining the cobbles. Cafe Zirup is a local favourite and has a super cosy outdoor area with blankets and heaters to keep the chill away. Head here for a tasty burger and a Danish pint on your last night in Copenhagen.
Stroll back down the road to Voraz for a local craft beer from their huge selection. The bartender will happily give you a hand at choosing a good one and will let you have a taste of a few, too. They also rustle up a great G&T and they’re enormous! Get there for 10pm and a big balloon glass of gin and tonic will only set you back 75DKK, that’s pretty good going in Copenhagen!
Wander a couple of minutes back down to the hostel to sleep off all that gin before catching your flight home in the morning!
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