How to Spend One Day in Copenhagen
If you only have one day in Copenhagen, you probably feel like you’ll miss so many great experiences in a beautiful city like it. Fret not, because with careful planning you can still get more out of a single day than you initially thought possible. Here’s an easy to follow itinerary that will have you sampling the best of what the city has to offer, even if you only have about 24 hours to get it done. By the way, if you’re in Denmark, make sure to check out Greenland (here’s a 7-day itinerary I did in Greenland) and the Faroe Islands too (here’s an EPIC 5 day itinerary for the Faroe Islands), 2 untouched amazing destinations!
Before we get to the actual itinerary, it’s important to fix some things a day or two ahead so you don’t waste any time on the day itself. These include:
- Getting your money in order. You don’t have to worry too much about going to a money changer, you can use your debit/credit card almost everywhere in Copenhagen!
- Plan your outfit and pack your bag. Denmark is in Northern Europe, so even in the summer, bring something warm! Especially if you’ll still be out and about in the evening, it can be chilly.
- Iron out your maps, tickets, and other city travel paperwork. Go over your day’s route, ensure your tickets (if any) are prepared and your public transport game plan is on point. The minutes you spend figuring out which particular train, bus, or route to take from one destination to another, when wasted several times a day, can really add up.
YOUR WALKING/CYCLING GOOGLE MAP FOR YOUR ONE DAY IN COPENHAGEN:
The One Day Itinerary
Now, on to the meat of the matter- what your one amazing day in Copenhagen is going to be like, from start to finish, just be sure to check the google map above, that will keep you right!
- 7:00-8:00 am: Have a traditional Danish breakfast. This means rye bread with jam, assorted cheeses or a Danish pastry, partnered with coffee and perhaps some eggs. Some good places for breakfast in Copenhagen include Kalaset, Mad & Kaffe, and Care Norden. I’ve added Mad & Kaffe into your map for you.
- 8:30-9:00 am: Pick up your bike for the day. Bike rentals are a dime a dozen in Copenhagen, one of the bicycle-friendliest cities in the world. Biking is a Danish norm, and it’s also a cheap way to get around town and sneak in exercise.
- 9:00 am: Visit the Little Mermaid Statue. It’s best to take snaps at this popular site in the morning before the large crowds arrive. If you take the route that passes by the waterfront, you also get to see Amalienborg Palace – home of the royals – on your way to the Little Mermaid.
- 10:00 am: Time for some museums and palaces. Two hours is enough time to make a quick tour of the Rosenborg Castle and then the Designmuseum Danmark. It’s a great way to get in some history and art before lunch!
- 12:00 noon: Lunchtime! The best place to dine is definitely at a Danish food hall, and Torvehallerne is your best bet. Rows of produce, fish, and bread are yours for the picking, and one food item you shouldn’t miss is an open-face sandwich called Smorrebrod. Order one from Hallernes Smorrebrod (we suggest the pickled herring for a truly Danish experience) along with your other dishes!
- 1:00 pm: Have a good view of the city at the Round Tower in Stroget. Cycle back to the city center and walk the spiral ramp up the best view of Copenhagen.
- 1:30-3:00 pm: Explore and shop along Stroget on foot. Park your bike someplace because using it along this shopping district is a no-no. You’ll weave in and out of crowds, so being on foot is definitely better. You can do your shopping here as well.
- 3:00-4:00 pm: Take a break at Nyhavn. This medieval commercial port is the location to have photos of, what with the iconic colorful facades you’ve surely seen on a traveler’s IG post on Copenhagen. It’s a must in your list of things to do in Denmark! There are cafes and restaurants to rest your feet and grab a snack, too. It’s the perfect spot to take a ‘hygge break’ – or simply put, some cozy alone time with a good cup of coffee or tea and enjoy some nice sights all around.
- 4:00 pm: Go on a canal cruise. Nyhavn is also the starting point of a boat tour, so if you’re feeling a bit tired from cycling all morning but are still up for some sights then a boat tour is perfect. You’ll see attractions like the Old Stock Exchange building, Christiansborg palace, and more.
- 5:30 pm: Have some fun in one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. Tivoli Garden is your next stop, which is an amazing, 200-year-old amusement park. The thrilling rides and energetic feel is a great perk me up after a relaxing canal cruise.
- 7:00 pm: End the day with a sumptuous gourmet dinner. Did you know that Copenhagen has the most number of Michelin-starred dining places in the entire European continent? Having said that, it’s a must to include it in your itinerary and budget to truly end the day on a high note. Top choices for Michelin-starred picks are Geranium and Noma. If you aren’t up for a luxe feast, a good option is Ravelinen – a no-fail place to grab heartwarming traditional Danish food without the hefty price tag.
As you can see, a fun and action-packed tour of Copenhagen is indeed doable in just one day. The trick is in planning your itinerary with a lot of care while accounting for what it is that really interests you. The amount of time you spend in each location can be adjusted based on your personal preferences, as some might like to spend more time at the amusement park than one full hour in a museum, for instance. Some places here might only warrant less than half an hour of planned time block, which gives you leeway to readjust the rest of your day’s schedule. The important thing is to relish each location and take lots of photos that you can fondly look at after your whirlwind visit to this amazing European location.