Just a few weeks back, I had the pleasure of spending 72 peaceful hours wandering about Copenhagen all by lonesome. Copenhagen has all of the ease of Scandinavian traveling (which you know I adore), along with a vibrant foodie and art scene, nestled amongst colorful rooftops along stunning canals. Here’s what to do with three days all to yourself (or with a friend or two) in Denmark’s bustling hub.
With 3 days in Copenhagen here’s the basics you need to cover: Eat and drink…
Bike like a local…
Wander the streets…
Cruise the canals…
and spend a day in the North.
Get my full itinerary for three days in Copenhagen after the jump…
Three Days in Copenhagen
I started my journey with a direct flight from SFO to Copenhagen in SAS Economy Plus class, which was ideal for the 8 hour flight. It’s a little roomier than coach with a few more amenities (leg rests, meal choices, toiletry kit), but nowhere near the price tag of business class. I arrived in Copenhagen well rested and ready to experience some of the city’s famous foods. I checked into my newly-renovated spa room at Hotel Kong Arthur, threw on my walking boots, and headed down to the meatpacking district for dinner at Restaurant Kul. I did the five course set menu with wine pairings and my mouth was delighted.
After dinner I wandered around the ultra-hip meatpacking district checking out the scene before walking up to Lidkoeb for a drink. I had originally planned this trip for earlier in the summer with a girlfriend, but a family emergency made me have to reschedule. She had done the trip without me, so she had many tips to share. She insisted I make my way to this bar, and I’m so glad she did. I had a French 75, which is the official drink of Pretty Prudent, and met some friendly locals nestled in a secret courtyard lit with sparkling lights.
My first full day in Copenhagen began with a coffee at Bang and Jensen (recommended by my friend, and totally wonderful in both decor and coffee quality – and Københavnere (Copenhagens) take their coffee very seriously).
Then I set off on a wonderful bike tour, as should you. If you visit Copenhagen, you must bicycle to really get a feel for the city.
Copenhagen is entirely flat, making it the easiest place in the world for everyone to bike everywhere. With a great guide, like ours from Cycling Copenhagen (cannot recommend this company enough) we were very comfortable on the busy city streets and got a three-hour highlight tour of both the popular tourist sights and more off-the-beaten path sites. From city streets
to Assistens Cemetery in Nørrebro (burial place of Hans Christian Andersen)
over the new Olafur Eliasson-designed bridge with a view of the Royal Library, also known as the “Black Diamond” for the way it sparkles when the sun hits it just right.
We checked out the public “pool” known as Harbour Bath at Islands Bryyge. Yes, people were swimming in its frigid waters, but the city supplies a sauna right outside, so if polar-plunge is your type of thing, definitely make a stop here.
We stopped for a break at Torvehallerne Food Market
to admire the local farm offerings
and grab a coffee from famed local coffeehouse, Coffee Collective.
We passed countless beautiful flower shops.
and of course Grød, the celebrated Copenhagen restaurant that only serves porridge.
After our three hours of pleasant cruising around the city, I walked to Tårnet, the restaurant within the tower of Christiansborg Castle, where the Danish parliament resides. The view from the top of the tower was stunning.
At the restaurant I sampled a variety of Copenhagen’s favorite food, smørrebrød, which means open-faced sandwiches. I could eat open-faced sandwiches three meals a day.
After lunch I used my Copenhagen Card (all visitors to Copenhagen should snag one of these, it lets you use public transportation without ever buying a ticket, into most museums for no charge, and onto the canal cruises, amongst other things) to hop onto a canal tour departing from Gamle Strand right across the road from Tårnet. From here I saw Copenhagen from the water and it was lovely.
The Copenhagen Opera House as seen from the water is a marvel of modern design.
And of course, we saw the Little Mermaid, one of Copenhagen’s most popular tourist attractions.
The most beautiful stop on your canal tour is of course Nyhavn.
I was told the red house used to be home to Hans Christian Andersen.
After my canal tour I was chilly, so I warmed up with more coffee from Coffee Collective
before heading to Tivoli Gardens. Never have I been more sad not to have my little love with me, as her seven-year-old self would have lost her mind in this charming theme park. I did win her a few treats though! The park was all done up for Halloween.
Tivoli Gardens is magical.
And of course, I rode a roller coaster all by myself. How can you not ride a roller coaster in Denmark when it’s right there??
After a good night’s rest, I awoke early and easily hopped on a train to the North of Copenhagen for a day of exploring. I always visit the modern art museum in every city I travel to, so I chose the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. I’m so glad I did. It was such a peaceful, amazing morning.
Saw the Calder above and some Damien Hirst,
and really enjoyed the Lucian Freud and Yayoi Kusama exhibits.
From there I took the train a few more stops, then wandered through Helsingør
to Kronborg Castle, made famous as the setting for Hamlet.
From there I made my way back to the hotel, slept the sleep of champions, then awoke early to head home with beautiful memories of the streets of Copenhagen.
I can’t wait to go back to Copenhagen with my family to spend more time getting to know the city. If you are traveling to Denmark, check out the Visit Copenhagen site for all the tips and advice you could ever want. Farvel!