How to Spend a Weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a name synonymous with the modern Scandinavian lifestyle. Known as the home of hygge and happiness, the Danish capital is full of historic landmarks, intriguing architecture, family attractions and exceptional restaurants.

Whether you’re curious about Denmark’s status as one of the happiest places in the world, looking to discover more details about Viking Age history, or just looking for a pleasant city break, Copenhagen offers something to suit most tastes.

A week is enough to experience all that Copenhagen has to offer, but most people visit the Scandinavian city for a weekend. Whether you’re on a city break or just starting a Scandinavian adventure, here’s how to make the most of 48 hours in the city in style.

First day: orientation and basics

On the first day, take the time to discover the city. By far the best way to do it is on two wheels.

A bike ride

In Copenhagen, do as the locals do and get around by bike. Impossible to miss the predominance of cycling in the Danish capital. Upon exiting Copenhagen Central Station, visitors are greeted by an endless ocean of parked bicycles used by commuters.

A bike tour is especially useful on the first morning to get your bearings and pick out highlights you might want to explore later. Although many locals own their own bikes, many rental companies exist primarily for tourists. Bike Copenhagen offers 2-hour guided tours or full-day rentals for those who wish to explore on their own.

The National Museum

from Denmark national museum is a good place to spend the afternoon diving into a comprehensive review of Danish history. There is of course a strong emphasis on the Viking Age. Highlights include the legendary Viking ship Roskilde 6the collection of treasures Faestedskatten and a cinematic history of life in the Viking Age.

Elsewhere in the museum, the extensive collection of medieval and Renaissance artwork as well as an honest examination of the history of Danish colonialism are among other highlights.

Design Museum

While the National Museum delves deep into Danish and Scandinavian history, the Design Museum looks at the latest development in contemporary Danish design. It is a must for fans of Scandinavian furniture.

Second day: castles and gardens

On day two, take time to explore some of the beautiful castles and gardens that Copenhagen is famous for. You won’t have time to get to all of this, so choose wisely.

Rosenborg Castle

Art, the crown jewels and other treasures of the royal family are housed in this impressive building originally built as a summer residence in the early 17th century for King Christian IV.

Despite its location in the center of Copenhagen, the castle is surrounded by a park. The formal gardens in front of the castle and the nearby botanical gardens are worth a visit if the weather is on your side.

Tivoli Gardens

A perennial family favorite for generations of Danes, Tivoli Gardens is a traditional amusement park and pleasure garden in the very heart of Copenhagen. A visit here is a must if you are traveling with children.

Even if you’re not a fan of theme park rides, the gardens themselves are a fun way to spend some time. Separating entrance tickets from ride tickets ensures that this value remains reasonable.

Frederiksberg Palace

This baroque residence and its formal gardens served as a summer residence for the royal family until the middle of the 19th century. Recently restored, the palace now houses the Royal Danish Military Academy.

Guided tours of the palace’s impressive halls are infrequent, but the beautifully manicured lakes, canals and shrubbery of the English gardens are always open during the day. Don’t miss the Chinese Pavilion and the Temple of Apis.

Where to stay and eat in Copenhagen

With 15 Michelin-starred restaurants, Copenhagen is the undisputed culinary capital of the Nordic region. Advance booking is essential to get into any of these, with waiting lists months long for the three-star restaurants Geranium and Noma.

For a more down-to-earth experience, head to the meat district in Vesterbro. Enjoy a Texas BBQ with one of WarPigs Brewery’s 22 craft beers, sample food at trendy Fleisch Butcher Restaurant or inexpensive homemade burgers at Tommi’s Burger Joint.

For a room with a view, it’s hard to beat 71 Nyhavn, a historic and elegant hotel around the corner from Copenhagen’s most famous waterway.

Budget seekers should consider the various modern hotels under the Wakeup Copenhagen umbrella. Rooms are tight, but so is the price, at $100 a night with advance reservations.

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