Picture this. You're waiting in line to board your flight when the attractive stranger standing next to you starts flirting with you. Your banter is great, but you're a realist so there is certainly no way you will see them again once you board. But then, to your surprise, you sit down in your seat only to find said attractive stranger is sitting next to you. Over the next seven hours, the two of you connect and decide not to part ways upon arriving at your destination. Thus begins the ultimate Euro fling.
This movie moment happened to me the first time I went to Copenhagen. They were going to Copenhagen for a wedding, I was going just for fun. One thing led to another and I ended up going to said wedding as their guest, and thus commenced a whirlwind adventure in what was soon to become one of my favorite cities in the world. So maybe I'm a little biased when I say Copenhagen is one of the best cities in Europe, but even if you're just visiting for 48 hours, I think this city will win you over. Today, I'm sharing what to see and do if you only have two days in this stunning city. Let's dive in!
Is Copenhagen Walkable?
Copenhagen's compact layout and well-planned infrastructure make it an easily walkable city. Lace up your comfortable shoes and set forth on a journey through charming alleyways, historic sites, and vibrant neighborhoods. Just be careful to keep an eye out for bikers who will whiz past you as you walk.
Make Sure To Eat These Treats In Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the land of cozy coffee shops and mouth watering pastries. Make sure to add grabbing some of these tasty treats to your itinerary. You can thank me later!
🍪 Kanelsnegl - This is similar to a cinnamon roll with icing. Perfect for pairing with your morning coffee.
🍪Hindbærsnitte - This is my absolute favorite treat. It's a flaky pastry with raspberry jam in the filling. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now!
🍪Tebirkes - These poppy seed rolls with marzipan filling are the perfect savor and sweet combo.
🍪Spandauer - When you think of Danishes, this is likely what comes to mind. These flaky pastries are usually filled with jam, or my favorite, vanilla cream!
How To Spend 48 Hours In Copenhagen
In previous visits to Copenhagen, I have typically had two or three days to explore the city before traveling on to my next destination. However, I could easily spend weeks exploring all the delicious pastry shops in Copenhagen and strolling through the charming alleyways and curated shops and still not feel like I’ve seen it all. Still, if you only have 48 hours in Copenhagen, this is the perfect itinerary for you.
Day one focuses on getting out and seeing the city. I included my favorite top tourist spots on this day that are well worth the visit. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, you’ll cover a lot of ground this day.
8:00 am - 9:00 am: Breakfast at a Local Café
Start your day with a classic Danish breakfast at a local café. Choose between Danish pastries or go for the simple yet satisfying rugbrød (rye bread) with various toppings. The goal is to fuel up for a day of exploration.
9:00 am - 10:30 am: Visit The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid statue, perched along the Langelinie promenade, is an iconic symbol of Copenhagen's maritime heritage. A leisurely stroll by this beloved statue offers a serene start to your sightseeing journey. Go to experience the charm of this maritime landmark and take in the scenic beauty along the waterfront.
10:30 am - 11:30 pm: Explore Kastellet and Gefion Fountain
Kastellet, a star-shaped fortress, and the nearby Gefion Fountain provide a historical and artistic interlude. Wander through Kastellet for a glimpse into Copenhagen's military past and enjoy panoramic views. The Gefion Fountain, depicting Norse mythology, adds a touch of artistic allure to this stop, making it a well-rounded experience of history and culture.
11:30 pm - 12:00: Watch The Changing of the Guard at Amalienborg Castle
Amalienborg Castle is the main home of the Danish Royal family and also has a museum onsite. I did not enter the castle, but opted to stroll around the exterior. At 12:00 daily the changing of the guards occurs in the main courtyard. Arriving at or close to11:30 will ensure you will get a good view of the ceremony.
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Lunch at Nyhavn
Nothing is more classic Copenhagen than Nyhavn. This vibrant harbor district is the perfect spot for lunch. Choose from one of the waterfront restaurants and savor traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, smørrebrød. This lively area, with its colorful buildings and buzzing canal, offers not just a meal but an immersion into Copenhagen's lively atmosphere.
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Canal Tour
Embark on a canal tour departing from Nyhavn to explore Copenhagen's waterways and landmarks from a unique perspective. A canal tour provides a tranquil and informative journey, giving you a different view of the city's beauty. It's a must for those wanting a relaxing yet informative way to see Copenhagen's highlights. This tour is my favorite and is free if you have a Copenhagen City Card. This card allows access to over forty different sites in Copenhagen, many of which are on this itinerary!
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm: Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle is a royal gem and a great place to learn more about Danish history. Explore opulent interiors, stroll through manicured gardens, and marvel at the extensive collection of crown jewels and royal artifacts. This visit offers a rich cultural experience, showcasing the grandeur of Denmark's regal past.
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Stroll Through Strøget
Strøget is one of Europe's longest pedestrian streets filled with diverse shops, boutiques, and local brands. This stop is not just about shopping but also about soaking in the vibrant street life and unique offerings that define Copenhagen's urban charm.
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Dinner at Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park with a charming atmosphere that makes for the perfect setting for dinner. Choose from one of the park's restaurants and enjoy a delightful meal amidst the park's unique blend of rides and gardens. This dinner experience combines culinary delights with the enchantment of Tivoli's ambiance. If you do meet a handsome man on your flight over, this makes for a great date spot, wink wink!
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm: Evening at Tivoli Gardens
Finish up your evening with a relaxing stroll through the magical Tivoli Gardens. In the evening, the park lights up and often has live performances. Tivoli Gardens offers a perfect blend of entertainment and relaxation to end your first day. After, grab a nightcap at Nimb Bar which is located right outside the entrance to Tivoli Gardens.
Your second day in Copenhagen focuses on a full cultural immersion into the local history and traditions.
8:00 am - 9:30 am: Breakfast at Torvehallerne
One of my favorite ways to learn about a country’s culture and cuisine is by wandering through the local market. Start your second day off with a flavorful breakfast from Torvehallerne, a bustling food market known for its diverse offerings. My personal favorite breakfast spot at the market is Albatross & Friends.
9:30 am - 11:00 am: The National Museum of Denmark
Copenhagen has many amazing museums, and one of my favorites for starting out is the National Museum of Denmark. The museum has many diverse exhibits and artifacts that give a lot of insight into Denmark's past and present.
11:00 am - 12:30 pm: Visit Christiansborg Palace
Explore the grandeur of Christiansborg Palace, home to the Danish Parliament, Prime Minister's Office, and the Supreme Court. This impressive site allows you to wander through beautiful rooms and towers, providing a glimpse into Denmark's political history.
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch at Paper Island Street Food Market
Head to Paper Island's Copenhagen Street Food Market for a casual and diverse lunch experience. With a variety of international and Danish street food options, this market is a melting pot of flavors. Enjoy a laid-back meal in this vibrant setting, surrounded by the energy of both locals and visitors alike.
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm: Carlsberg Brewery Tour
No trip to Copenhagen is complete without a pint of Carlsberg. While I’m all for just enjoying a pint at the pub, I love it when I can do a brewery tour and learn more about what makes a brand unique. Take a journey to the Carlsberg Brewery for a guided tour that goes beyond beer tasting. Explore the history of Carlsberg, witness the brewing process, and savor tastings of their famous beers.
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm: Explore Freetown Christiania
Experience the unique atmosphere of Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood. Wander through Pusher Street, known for its alternative culture and vibrant street art. This visit provides a glimpse into a community that has forged its own identity, offering a contrast to more conventional parts of Copenhagen.
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Relax at the Botanical Garden
After buzzing about town, enjoy some peace and quiet at the University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden. With its diverse plant collections and serene surroundings, this garden is an ideal place to unwind. Take a leisurely stroll and appreciate the beauty of nature before heading to your next destination.
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Dinner in Nørrebro
Explore the dynamic Nørrebro district for dinner, known for its vibrant street art scene and trendy eateries. Choose from a variety of restaurants and cafes that capture the eclectic spirit of this neighborhood. This culinary experience is a perfect way to wrap up your day of cultural immersion. This is my personal favorite wine bar in the area.
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Evening Walk in King's Garden
Conclude your 48 hours in Copenhagen with a peaceful evening walk in King's Garden, located near Rosenborg Castle. Enjoy the lush greenery and serenity as you reflect on your cultural journey through the city. The garden closes at 10 pm, providing a serene finale to your memorable two days in Copenhagen.
Is Copenhagen Expensive?
Copenhagen is generally considered an expensive destination, with costs comparable to other major European cities. On average, a mid-range meal for one person at a restaurant can cost around 150 to 300 DKK, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant might amount to 500 to 800 DKK. Accommodation prices vary, but a night at a mid-range hotel typically falls in the range of 800 to 1,500 DKK. Public transportation, such as a single ticket for local transport, can cost approximately 24 DKK.
However, while Copenhagen might be on the pricier side, there are ways to manage expenses, including opting for budget-friendly eateries, utilizing public transportation efficiently, and exploring free or low-cost attractions to make the most of your visit without breaking the bank. While the Copenhagen Card requires some upfront cost, it will pay for itself by the end of your trip.
Are You Ready To Visit Copenhagen?
Copenhagen is truly a magical city, one I hope to visit many times again in the future. While it is not possible to see all the city has to offer in just two days, 48 hours is plenty of time to dip your toe into the beauty of Copenhagen. So book your plane ticket, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure. Bon voyage!
Is a visit to Copenhagen on your bucket list? Tell me in the comments!