Copenhagen: A 2-Day Itinerary

Copenhagen 2-day itinerary

I recently got to visit Copenhagen, Denmark, for the first time. It’s a city that’s been on my bucket list for quite a while, and yet when I arrived I literally had no idea what to expect or what to do.

Not only that, but Copenhagen is pretty expensive, with a 25% sales tax already included in everything you buy. So, I arrived wanting to make the most of my weekend there, but also not spend ALL of my money (which is something I tend to do…).

If only I had had a super awesome blogger map out the perfect weekend in Copenhagen for people on a budget, like me, suggesting things to do, places to eat, and must-see spots! Ah, well now I plan to do just that for if when any of you finally make it to this amazing city!

Although Copenhagen, and all of Denmark and Scandinavia for that matter, are known to be expensive, you can have an amazing time there by benefitting from free/cheap attractions!

So here it is, my 2-day itinerary for anyone visiting Copenhagen for the first time on a budget OR who doesn’t have much time there and wants to make the most of it!

Disclaimer: by no means does this mean that you should only go to Copenhagen for 2 days. There is SO much to do there that you can definitely stay a week or more! But I’ve tried to condense the “must-do” activities over 2 (very busy) days. Enjoy!

DAY 1

  • If you’re an early riser, head to Kalaset for breakfast and try one of Copenhagen’s best-rated brunches. The restaurant is tiny so there may be a wait, but it’s worth it!

Kalaset   Kalaset

  • Next, walk off your meal by walking along the Strøget shopping mile toward Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square). It’s one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets with tons of stores and coffee shops.

Strøget shopping mile

  • Arrive at City Hall Square, the starting point for a free walking tour of Copenhagen, which starts at 11am. Yes, this 2.5 hour walking tour is FREE, you’re just encouraged to tip your tour guide (and they’re awesome, so you should). The tour takes you around the city while explaining the history or significance of certain spots. You’ll see things like Amalienborg Palace, the official residence of the Danish royal family; the famous Nyhavn harbor; Hans Christian Anderson’s house; significant landmarks of Nazi occupation of Denmark, and much more! It also really helps you get a general map of the city, which can be really helpful if you’ve only just arrived. You can also take note of certain stops on the tour revisit anything you saw that really interested you. Copenhagen has a lot of cool history and beautiful architecture so exploring will take up most of your first day!

Nyhavn Harbor, CopenhagenCopenhagen walking tour   Copenhagen walking tourCopenhagen walking tourCopenhagen walking tour

  • When you start to get hungry for a late lunch, head towards Torvehallerne Market, an amazing food market in the heart of the city. Browse the market pick to your heart’s desire from over 60 booths selling everything from fresh fish and meat to gourmet chocolate and exotic spices, as well as small places where you can have a quick bite to eat.

Torvehallerne Food Market Torvehallerne Food MarketTorvehallerne Food Market   Torvehallerne Food Market

  • After eating and roaming around the market, head to Tivoli Gardens to spend the last hours of daylight in this picturesque, antique amusement park and one of Copenhagen’s most popular attractions! Ride a few rides and make sure to buy some ice cream while strolling around (it’s delicious in Copenhagen!). If you’re lucky, you may even catch a concert or show!

Tivoli GardensTivoli Gardens Tivoli Gardens

  • If you don’t want to end the night just yet, head to Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district, a hip and multicultural area with bars, restaurants, vintage shops, and, of course, bikes EVERYWHERE. If you want a sketchy dive bar followed by a late night cheap kebab, this is your place. If you’re looking for a nice, delicious meal (Grillen Burgers is SO GOOD) followed by a trendy wine bar with outside seating, this is also your place. Nørrebro has it all, which is why it’s a great place to go for an evening. Stay here until late in the night and you’ll have a great time!

Check out the map below to see the locations of everything mentioned above!


 

DAY 2

  • Start day 2 off the right way with a delicious Danish brunch! You’ll be starting Day 2 off in the Vesterbro district of the city, so may I suggest a delicious coffee and brunch at Tante T’s restaurant. Not only did this place have a delicious brunch, but their selection of teas is unbeatable and the decor is so cute!

Tante T's

  • No trip to Copenhagen is complete without renting a bike. Biking is a huge part of the city. HUGE. There are so many bike rental places throughout the city so just pick one! And rent it for a day, because you can cover some ground. Copenhagen is a very bike-friendly city. However, with that come locals who are basically biking experts. So be sure to follow the rules, use the hand signals, and stay to the right so that super fast bikers can pass you on the left.Now that you’ve got a bike, it’s a great way to wander aimlessly throughout Copenhagen and just get more familiar with the city. Make sure to bike along the river to see some beautiful scenery. Literally no where in Copenhagen is ugly, so biking around exploring hidden side streets and getting lost is the way to go! It’s also a great way to revisit anything you saw on the tour that really interested you.

biking in CopenhagenCopenhagen, Denmarkbiking in Copenhagen

  • Now, to start exploring the up-and-coming hipster Vesterbro district, one of the hippest areas of the city. It was formerly the working-class district but has recently turned in to a really trendy area for shopping, eating, drinking, and having a great night out. Bike through the streets and see amazing street art and murals. Also be sure to check out Copenhagen’s old Red Light District, now a very sought-out area to live. So make sure to roam around by bike!

Vesterbro street art Copenhagen's old Red Light District

  • Next, head to the nearest metro station (Norreport is the most central) to begin the short journey to Christianshavn, located on an island separated from the city centre and only accessible by bus or metro. And don’t worry, bikes are allowed!

Christianshavn

  • Once in Christianshavn, feel free to roam around. However, make sure you leave time to explore the Freetown of Christiania, one of the most unique parts of Copenhagen. It was established in 1971 by a group of hippies who occupied some abandoned military barracks on the site and developed their own set of society rules, completely independent of the Danish government. So, basically they squatted 40 years ago and got away with it. It’s a city within a city, a society within a society. A mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and beautiful nature make it a great place to roam around and get a cheap meal and drinks.

Free State of Christiania
Free State of Christiania   Free State of Christiania
Free State of Christiania

  • After roaming around to your heart’s content, head off the island and back to the city centre and back to the Vesterbro area. From Christianshavn you can take the metro to Norreport, then another connection straight to the central train station, leaving you right in the heart of Vesterbro once again!
  • Head to Copenhagen’s meatpacking district (Kødbyen) for dinner and drinks. What was formerly, well, the actual meatpacking district is now a newly rejuvenated area full of trendy bars and clubs, and well-known restaurants. It’s rated one of Copenhagen’s most popular places to go out, and for good reason. It’s a guaranteed good night!

Check out the map below to see the locations of everything mentioned above!

 

Hope this guide was helpful for anyone visiting Copenhagen for the first time! It’s a busy 2 days but it’ll be worth it, I promise!

 

To anyone who’s been to Copenhagen…any suggestions of things I may have overlooked? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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