With stunning Scandi architecture to gaze at and delicious Nordic cuisine to gorge upon, you could easily lose yourself in the paradise of Copenhagen for weeks. However, the expensive nature of the city means time isn’t a luxury many can afford in the Danish capital. Here is your solution – the ultimate itinerary to soak up as much as possible in a single day.
Nyhavn: 1-2 hours.
For starters, head down to Nyhavn to see the iconic multi-coloured houses on either side of the boat-laden canal. As it is hugely popular with tourists I’d recommend getting there early to avoid the rush. Take the time to wander over to the Bridge Street Kitchen and see the stunning Hotel d’Angleterre too. Warning: the restaurants there are not in the price range of the average traveller – £11 for a bottle of beer in one!
Amalienborg Palace: 45 minutes (more if you wish to visit the museum).
A mere 8 minute walk from Nyhavn is the Amalienborg Palace – the home of the Danish Royal Family. Whilst there is a museum here to visit (105KK = £12.50), the real spectacle is the changing of the guard. They leave the Rosenborg Castle barracks at 11:30, walk through the streets of Copenhagen, and arrive in Amalienborg at 12 noon.
Ferry 992: 30 minutes (depends on wait for the ferry)
It costs the same as a normal bus fare. It leaves from Nordre Toldbod, a 10 minute walk from the Palace, and they go every 30 minutes at hh:02 and hh:32. It arrives at Refshaleøon from where it is a 5 minute walk to reach the next destination.
Lunch at Reffen: 2 hours
Words cannot describe my love for this place. An amalgamation of cool bars, start-ups and a ton of amazing food stalls make this the coolest area in Copenhagen. There is a focus on sustainable production and an emphasis on re-using materials – hence why the food market is situated within a disused industrial area. With a plethora of options for vegans and meat eaters alike, you should grab lunch from one of the forty stalls (I’d personally recommend the falafel from the Turkish Shawarma seller) and eat it in the communal seating areas or on the waterfront. Once eaten have a gander around the whole area and, if the weather is suitable, you could even take a dip in the water.
Ferry 991: 30 minutes (depends on wait for the ferry)
The opposite ferry to the one to get you to Reffen. The 991 leaves every 30 mins at hh:15 and hh:45 and will depart from Refshaleøon.
Acquire a bike: 15 minutes
Cycling is a key part of the culture in Copenhagen, as such there are multiple ways to rent a bike. You can download the bike rental app – Donkey Republic – where you can pick up bikes from anywhere over Copenhagen and drop them off anywhere too*. You can also get them from the ‘Bycyklen’ which has a pickup station 8 minutes from the ferry harbour or the store ‘Copenhagen Bicycles’ which is a 15 minute walk away, in Nyhavn.
*Note: Donkey Republic was incredibly efficient for me, however they are currently in a legal dispute with the Copenhagen authorities.
The Little Mermaid, Kastellet and Assistens Cemetery: 2-4 hours
Once you have a bike, you can cycle up to the Little Mermaid in 10 minutes. The Mermaid does get very busy but has a key role in Copenhagen history, thus making it worth the visit. From there, cycle for 15 minutes down to the stunning, and surprisingly tourist-free, Kastellet fortress to see some truly immaculate grounds. I’d recommend getting off your bike and walking around the grounds as the cobbles mixed with a lack of suspension is an unforgiving combination. Depending on your energy stores you can make one final 20 minute cycle to Assistens Cemetery – the beautiful resting place of Hans Christian Andersen. It consists of a web of pathways to walk down, or open fields for those wishing to relax.
Evening in Christiania: 2 hours
Finally, cycle over to Christiania – the free-town district – for an array of beautiful street art and a chilled out atmosphere. It is a 25 minute cycle from Assistens cemetery. The area is full of cheap, funky restaurants and parks for relaxing in, making it the perfect place to end a jam-packed day. This area has a very visible weed market but this is absolutely not something that should put you off, if anything it adds another dimension to this unique area. In parts of this neighbourhood photos are forbidden so please respect the wishes of the inhabitants.