Welcome to our city guide to Copenhagen in 48 hours!

We arrived in a Wednesday in Copenhagen Central Station from Hamburg and we decided to stay only for two days. Yes, we know its little time, but that was what we had! So we looked for everything we could fit in 48 hours and bring you only the best!

And for our surprise, as we went trough the city, everyone had a bike! From little children being carried on a wheeling cart by their parents, to women in fashionable dresses and men on suits, everyone cycled everywhere.

So the next day we decided: why not do like the locals? And rented a bike for the time we were in Copenhagen. See here our guide to cycling around Copenhagen!

We divided the itinerary in the two days we were visiting Copenhagen – the first day was mostly by foot, and the second day mostly done by bike. Check out the two days itinerary below:

Day 1

To get to know some history of the city we went to the centre and started by a Free Tour. We decided to go with Free Walking Tours Copenhagen to their Grand Tour.

City Hall and Christiansborg Palace

We started in City Hall (Radhuspladsen) where we learned a little bit of the history of the beginning of the city. Then went to the old city, passing by Nytorv (the new square) and Magstraede (one of the oldest streets of Copenhagen, not destroyed by the fire) to the Christiansborg Palace. This is the headquarters of the administrative, legislative and judiciary powers in Denmark (the only place in the world where they are together in one place).

Here you can climb to the top (for free) and have great views from the city! We went there afterwards, by bike. You need to wait in line for a little bit, but its worth it! You can see the whole city and the channels from above.

Afterwards we followed to Nikolaj Plads which is a public square located at the foot of the former St Nicholas church (destroyed by a fire) and that now is a cultural and art centre with a nice cafe. Then we followed trough Kongens Nytorv (the Kings Square, that unfortunately is in construction) until Nyhavn (the New Harbour).

Nyhavn and Amalienborg Palace

Nyhavn is a bustling harbour and one of the most iconic places of Copenhagen. From there you can catch a canal boat and circle around the city, see the sights with the beautiful old buildings around the port and have lunch or dinner in the multiple restaurants around. Its a really nice place.

From Nyhavn we followed to the left and you go trough the harbour front and see the Royal Danish Playhouse and the Amaliehaven and Amalienborg Palace, the home of the Danish Royal Family and where you can see the changing of the Royal Guard at noon.

Little Mermaid Statue and Kastellet

The tour ended there, but we where close to the Statue of the Little Mermaid so decided to go on. In our way there we found Churchilparken that has an Angelican church and a beautiful fountain.

The little mermaid is another iconic image of the city, and is based on the Danish author story by Hans Christian Andersen – The Little Mermaid.

Then we circled trough Kastellet, a fortress in shape of a star with a beautiful garden around.

The surprise…

Then it started raining!! Yes, in Scandinavia you go from a beautiful sun to pouring rain in minutes… So as we were trying to get back to the City Hall we found the most amazing place to protect ourselves from the rain! So totally by chance we got to the Design Museum of Denmark. It has an amazing cafe inside, there are several design exhibitions – from bicycles, chairs and home design to clothes design, you can see it all. We totally recommend spending an hour or two there!

After the rain, we came back to the City Hall trough the huge shopping streets (its cool to walk around and see the design stores) and decided to relax for the rest of the day.

Day two 

The second day was all done by bike.

Rosenborg Castle and the Botanical Gardens

So for our second day we started in Rosenborg Castle – it is a renaissance castle, and houses the crown jewels. You have to pay to visit it, but the gardens around it are beautiful (and free!), so you can just watch the majesty of the castle from there.

Then we followed to the botanical gardens (right next to the castle) – they are beautiful! And a nice cosy and warm place to visit. You can even climb the stairs inside the dome and see the gardens from above! The surrounding gardens and the cafe outside are also a great place to relax.

Round Tower

The Round Tower, a tower built in the 17th century as an astronomical observatory. Today you can climb it (if you pay) and see the views of the city from the top. The streets around have a lot of little shops and restaurants that make for a nice stop. You can also visit the University by foot from here.

Christiania

We were really curious about Christiania. Its a self proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of Copenhagen (with its own legislative power, flag, set of laws and anthem), with a hippie vibe and the only place where it is permitted to sell “soft drugs” in the city. It is not without controversy among the citizens of Copenhagen, since although they claim to be autonomous, they depend monetarily from the city and most of the people that live there depend on welfare.

Inside of Christiania you are not allowed to take pictures except in designated areas. What you see is a lot of really old buildings that have been rehabilitated by the locals as homes or working studios. There is a lot of really cool street art, hippies and strange looking people just living their daily lives, a concert hall (where they do free concerts on the weekend), parks, lakes and narrowing streets that end in peoples houses.

You can also see the real reason most of the outsiders come to Christiania – the Green Street – where they sell weed and other soft drugs on the open. Even if you are not there for the drugs, with its gardens and the fact that its an open space its a cool place to relax and certainly a different place to visit in the city.

The Sant Anne Gade – the Church of Our Savior its a stop nearby from Christiania also has a top view of the city – what is special about it is that you climb by stairs that are outside of the building, so do not go there if tou are afraid of heights!

The new bridge

Then we came back trough the canals and went to check the old place of NOMA restaurant (they actually moved to Mexico) in Strangade, right next to the new bridge.  Whats special about this bridge is that it lifts for the boats to pass, so its a lot of bike traffic to go trough it after it has been up.

Opera House

So we crossed and decided to go first to see the Opera house. You can enter and see the amazing hall and its chandeliers (they actually have a guided tour, but you have to pay to visit inside), but for us the most amazing place its outside. There are few people, a beautiful garden, and you can see the river and on the other side the Royal Palace, to the left the Royal Playhouse and the Street food, and to the right the harbor with the boats passing by…

Street Food

After that we went to the street food – its an old pavilion that houses some of the best world street foods inside (and cheap!). So you have Corean food, Japanese food, Brazilian food, Danish food, cool bars, good music… Its a must in you want to try new food in Copenhagen. And outside, since it was a sunny day, everyone was relaxing in armchairs by the river… So go there and do like the Danish – follow the Hygge (see our post about the Hygge here).

And thats the end of our day!

We already heard great thing about Copenhagen, that set our expectations really high, but this city was able to overcome them! Its tourist friendly, with a lot of things to see, with an amazing culture and it certainly gave us a new perspective to what good city accessibility planing can do! We will surely come back!

Do not miss!

  • The experience of riding a bike in one of the friendliest biking cities in the world!
  • Nyhavn and the Harbour area – the views are incredible!
  • Visit Christiania, one of the most alternative places in the city!

Check our video Copenhagen in 1 minute

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Check out our other city guides – Hamburg in two days!