Booked to go to the Danish capital for the weekend? Check out our ultimate 48-hour weekend guide to Copenhagen, with our recommendations for the best brunches, must-see sights and everything in between!
Do as the Danish do and hire a bike to explore the city, or walk as I did (the city centre and all the main sights are close enough together). A good place to start is one of Copenhagen’s most popular spots – Nyhavn, the main port, where you’ll find the colourful, historic building and traditional boats bobbing in the canal.
Next up, walk the short distance to the main shopping streets around Kongens Nytorv, where you’ll find the main department stores and Scandi labels. For a proper Danish brunch, check out the art deco Café Norden, near the main shopping street Strøget, where you can order the full brunch of freshly-baked breads, butter, jam, cheese, smoked salmon, ham salad, fruits and cake of the day and served with tea or coffee (or add a glass of bubbly).
A few minutes’ walk away, you’ll find the 17th century Round Tower – the oldest functioning conservatory in Europe. You can walk up the winding walkway that spirals around the hollow core of the tower (no steps!) to see the views over the centre of the city. Rosenborg Castle – built by one of the most famous Scandinavian kings, Christian IV in the early 17th century – is also well worth a visit; even if just to stroll around the gardens. If you’re lucky you’ll tie in your visit with the famous Changing of the Royal Guard, which happens every day when they march from their barracks in Gothersgade 100 by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen, ending up at Amalienborg.
For a restaurant that’s central, but not overpriced, Kojbenhavn is a great bet. A cosy eatery with a supperclub vibe, the set menu is great value and the dishes are beautifully presented. Plus, if you want a proper margarita afterwards, just hop across the road to Fidel’s.
Start the day at a great brunch spot that’s popular with locals – Toldboden. You can dig into a huge weekend brunch buffet, consisting of various hot and cold meats, seafood, cheeses and a whole range of yogurts, smoothies, cheeses and sweet treats like waffles; all while admiring the waterfront views. There is no way you’ll leave here hungry! It’s also just down the waterfront from the famous Little Mermaid statue, so you can tick that off your to-do list too. The statue, however small in real life, is arguably Copenhagen’s icon, and reportedly receives more than a million visitors a year.
One of the prettiest parts of Copenhagen is also a short stroll away – Amalienborg Palace and the Marble Church (a lot like St Paul’s Cathedral). Time your visit with one of the tours of the dome (only on weekends), as this is arguably the best – and least known – views of the city. You can climb right up to the very top of the dome and it’s definitely vertigo-inducing!
Hop across the river to explore the Dutch-style Christianshavn, one of the city’s most charming neighbourhood with canals, houseboats and cobbled streets galore. You’ll spot the twisted steeple of Church of Our Saviour from afar, one of Denmark’s oldest churches. There are 400 steps to the top of the spire, where you’ll find one of the city’s best views. The 1968 organ inside is also worth marvelling at – it’s not only huge, but intricately built and designed.
Nearby you’ll find Freetown Christiania – a vibrant hippie commune with a gritty edge. Worth a walk around for curiosity’s sake, you’ll find weird and wonderful street art and various stalls selling everything from juices to weed. Despite being run by its own laws, unsurprisingly you are stopped from taking photos as you enter the interior of Christiania (as I quickly found out via a balaclava-clad man). It was an incredibly strange place – almost post-apocalyptic in places – but well worth an explore to discover their different way of life.
Our last evening was spent at the very special Tarnet restaurant, in the tower of the Houses of Parliament – the perfect spot for a special occasion. The food and venue was spectacular and you can even head up in the lift to watch the sunset from the viewing platform.
If you fancy a cocktail in Copenhagen, you can’t miss Ruby cocktail bar, a few minutes’ walk from the Houses of Parliament. A discreet, speakeasy-style bar, cocktails are quirky and expertly concoted, like the sloeberry gin margarita. To die for! The perfect end to the weekend.