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One Day in Copenhagen | An Unmissable Itinerary & Perfect Day

One day in Copenhagen

Looking for tips on how to spend one day in Copenhagen? You’re in luck!

I’ve lived in this wonderful city for over ten years, and I’m excited to share some practical advice on how to make the most of your time here. Copenhagen isn’t just a city with pretty buildings and canals; it’s full of life, history, and cool spots that locals love.

I’ll take you through a day that includes both the must-see attractions and some lesser-known gems.

Whether you’re here for the sights, the food, or to soak in the city vibes, I’ve got your back.

Let’s make your day in Copenhagen unforgettable!

Is One Day Enough to Experience Copenhagen?

Is one day enough to truly experience Copenhagen? Honestly, it’s a bit of a stretch. But hey, it’s better than not seeing it at all!

The great thing about Copenhagen is its compact size, making it more manageable than many other capitals. With some smart planning and a few insider tips from someone who’s been a local for over a decade (that’s me!), you can squeeze in a ton of amazing experiences.

Copenhagen offers many activities and is like a well-curated playlist; each spot has its rhythm and vibe. From the historic charm of the old city to the hip and happening areas, you can get a real taste of what the Danish city is all about.

So, while a day might not let you see everything, it’s enough to leave you enchanted and perhaps longing to come back for more.

Let’s dive into how you can capture the essence of Copenhagen, even if your time here is as short as a Copenhagen winter day!

Planning Your Day in Copenhagen: A Practical Guide

When you’ve got just one day in Copenhagen, planning is key. To make the most out of your time and to truly enjoy what the city has to offer, it’s essential to know the best times to visit popular spots and how to dress for the city’s weather.

Beating the Crowds at Popular Attractions

Copenhagen’s charm isn’t a well-kept secret, so expect some company at its famous landmarks.

However, timing is everything. Early mornings are your friend – especially for places like The Little Mermaid Statue or The Round Tower.

Not only do you beat the crowds, but you also get to see these spots in a quieter, more magical light.

Dressing Right for the Copenhagen Weather

The weather in Copenhagen can be a bit unpredictable, so dressing in layers is your best bet. This way, you’re prepared for a sunny afternoon or a breezy evening.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must – after all, you’ll be exploring a lot on foot.

And remember, Copenhagen is a bike-friendly city; it’s the local way to get around. Renting a bike or doing a bike tour can give you a more authentic experience of the city.

Eating Like a Local

When it comes to food, steer clear of the main square and Nyhavn, as tempting as they may seem.

These areas are tourist traps with overpriced menus. Instead, venture into the side streets where you’ll find cozy cafés and restaurants that locals love.

The city is filled with hidden culinary gems, from quaint bakeries to trendy bistros, that will give you a real taste of Copenhagen.

How To Spend One Day in Copenhagen?

Morning in Copenhagen (8 AM – 12 PM)

Breakfast at a Local Favorite: Café or Danish Bakery

The first stop on your one-day Copenhagen itinerary in this delightful city should undoubtedly be a breakfast experience at a local favorite.

blog post about fun facts about denmark

Visit La Glace for a sweet beginning, indulge in a cozy café’s relaxed ambiance, or savor freshly baked delights at famous bakeries like Hart, Anderson & Maillard, or Meyers.

Each offers an authentic taste of the city’s rich culinary heritage, perfect for energizing you for the day ahead.

Visit Rosenborg Castle & Kongens Have

When visiting Copenhagen, a stop at Rosenborg Castle is a must to delve into the history of the Danish royal family.

This stunning 17th-century castle houses some of the most impressive treasures, including the crown jewels.

Stroll through the beautiful Kongens Have (The King’s Garden), the oldest royal garden in the city, offering a serene escape with its lush greenery and vibrant flower beds.

This combination of royal elegance and natural beauty makes it a top spot for anyone exploring Copenhagen.

Take a Canal Cruise

A canal cruise should be on your Copenhagen itinerary a short walk away from Rosenborg Castle.

As you glide through the city’s waterways, you’ll pass iconic sights like the Little Mermaid statue, of the Hans Christian Andersen Fairytale, and gain a unique perspective of the city center.

These cruises offer a relaxing way to see the city and understand why Copenhagen is famed for its blend of urban charm and maritime heritage.

Don’t miss this chance to see Copenhagen from its beautiful canals – it’s a quintessential part of any visit to the city.

Explore the Historic Strøget for Shopping and Culture

On your Copenhagen itinerary, make time to explore Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe.

Situated in the heart of the Danish capital, Strøget is bustling with unique shops and lively streets, offering a vibrant slice of Copenhagen culture.

If you wish, take a detour to the City Hall Square and climb the Round Tower, famous from the time of King Christian IV, for stunning views of the city.

This blend of shopping, entertainment, and historical landmarks makes Strøget a must-visit spot to explore Copenhagen truly.

Afternoon Delights (12 PM – 4 PM)

Lunch at Torvehallerne or Smørrebrød Experience

For lunch, immerse yourself in traditional Danish food at Torvehallerne or by indulging in a Smørrebrød experience.

one day in copenhagen: eat great food
Photo credit: selma_copenhagen

Torvehallerne, a vibrant food market, offers a variety of Danish dishes, including the iconic Danish hot dog, perfect for a quick yet authentic bite.

Alternatively, savor a traditional Smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich that’s a staple of Danish cuisine, rich in flavor and artfully presented.

These dining options provide a delicious insight into Denmark’s culinary heritage, making them a must-try on your Copenhagen journey.

Visit a Museum or the Tivoli Gardens

When in Copenhagen, a visit to a museum like the David Collection or the National Museum offers a deep dive into art and history.

The David Collection showcases Islamic art, while the National Museum is a treasure trove of Danish heritage.

Photo credit to Cisternerne

Alternatively, Tivoli Gardens right across from Copenhagen Central Station, a historic amusement park, is a delightful blend of rides, green spaces, and cultural experiences.

Whether you’re seeking artistic enlightenment or playful adventure, these destinations add a rich layer to your Copenhagen experience, making them essential stops on any itinerary.

Evening Exploration (4 PM – 8 PM)

Witness the Changing of the Guard at Amalienborg Palace

Experience a royal tradition at Amalienborg Palace in the city center, the royal residence of the Danish monarch. The changing of the guard occurs daily at noon and is a spectacle of precision and ceremony.

For the best views, position yourself near the center side of the palace square. This ceremony, set against the backdrop of the stunning Opera House, is one of the quintessential Copenhagen sights.

It’s a moment where you can witness a living part of Denmark’s royal heritage right in the heart of the city.

Dinner in the Meatpacking District: From Traditional to Trendy

Wrap up your day in Copenhagen with dinner in the Meatpacking District, one of the city’s highlights for food enthusiasts.

This area, once known for its bustling industrial activities, has transformed into a culinary hotspot and also hosts some of the best bars in town. Whether you’re craving traditional Danish fare or something more contemporary, this district in central Copenhagen has it all, including several Michelin-starred restaurants and cheaper dining options too.

The diverse range of cuisines available here reflects the city’s rich culinary scene. Dining in the Meatpacking District is a fitting end to a day spent exploring, allowing you to reflect on your time in this vibrant city while indulging in some of its best flavors.

Making the Most of Your One Day in Copenhagen

To truly make the most of your stay while you visit Copenhagen, consider the Copenhagen Card.

Starting from the moment you land at Copenhagen Airport, this card is a gateway to free transportation across the city, including buses, trains, and the metro. It also offers free or discounted access to many top attractions.

Efficiently navigate the city with this card in hand, allowing you to hop from one landmark to another with ease and convenience. It’s an essential tool for any traveler looking to explore Copenhagen’s riches in a day.

Additionally, consider renting a city bike if the weather allows it and you enjoy being outside! Copenhagen bicycles are easy to ride and in good condition. It’s the best way to explore Copenhagen like a true Dane.

Where to Stay for a Quick One-Day Visit

Since you only have one day in Copenhagen, I’d recommend you stay in the center of the city. This is for easy access to the main highlights and a central train station.

These are the best accommodation options depending on your budget:

Copenhagen Downtown Hostel: One of the best hostels in Copenhagen, it offers a comfortable and social setup in a great location in the city.

CitizenM Copenhagen Radhuspladsen: This modern design hotel is located near the City Square Hall. This gives you easy access to Copenhagen Central Station and thereby any place you want to visit.

Hotel Sanders: The best boutique hotel in Copenhagen. This offers a cozy, unique, and memorable stay in a central but quiet part of town.

Manon Les Suites: Another great boutique hotel with a Bali vibe and a fabulous pool. Manon Les Suites is also great for couples or someone seeking a tropical vibe.

Hotel d’Angleterre: This iconic luxury hotel in the center of Copenhagen is a unique palace-like experience. On top, you are within walking distance of most great activities and sites.

Beyond the Itinerary: If You Have Extra Time

If your schedule allows more than a day in Copenhagen, there’s plenty more to explore beyond the Little Mermaid statue and Amalienborg Palace.

Art enthusiasts will find a wealth of museums to enjoy like Amalienborg Museum, Cisternerne, or Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Don’t miss the enchanting Tivoli Gardens, an experience that combines historical charm with modern excitement.

The Marble Church, with its stunning architecture, is also worth a visit. For a glimpse into Danish history and politics, consider stopping by Christiansborg Palace, home to the Supreme Court and the Danish Parliament.

These attractions offer a deeper dive into Copenhagen.

Conclusion: Capturing the Essence of Copenhagen in a Day

In just one day, you can capture the essence of Copenhagen, a gem of Northern Europe, with its colorful buildings, rich history, and vibrant culture.

From the charming streets to the bustling food markets, this city offers a unique blend of traditional and modern on any European tour.

I hope this guide helps you make unforgettable memories in Copenhagen. And remember, every journey is personal; I’d love to hear about your experiences and discoveries in my beloved hometown.

If you liked this post, be sure to check out the best tours in Copenhagen for more great activities!


FAQs About Spending One Day in Copenhagen

Can you do Copenhagen in 1 day?

Yes, you can experience the highlights of Copenhagen in one day. It’s a compact city, perfect for a quick yet fulfilling exploration of its main attractions.

Is Copenhagen worth visiting for one day?

Absolutely, Copenhagen is worth visiting even for a day. Its rich culture, history, and unique charm offer a memorable experience in a short time.

What you cannot miss in Copenhagen?

Don’t miss the Little Mermaid statue, Nyhavn’s colorful waterfront, and Tivoli Gardens. Also, stroll through the historic city center for a true Copenhagen experience.

Is it easy to walk around in Copenhagen?

Yes, Copenhagen is very walkable. Its well-planned streets and pedestrian zones make it easy and enjoyable to explore on foot.

The article may include affiliate links, meaning that I may receive affiliate compensation at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. Read more in my Affiliate Disclosure.


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