With just 2 days in Copenhagen, Denmark's capital of cool, you can make some amazing travel memories without breaking the bank.
Do you dream of visiting the Little Mermaid - or something a little bit more obscure? Does sleek Danish design call your name - or perhaps unpolished green spaces are more your thing? Are you eager to pound the pavement in search of Copenhagen's most beloved tourist attractions or are you looking for something that just screams "local"? It's really hard to choose! For a small city, Copenhagen has a seemingly endless list of things to do. Even if you have just 2 days in Copenhagen like we did, you're going to want to try and take it all in.
My idea of 2 perfect days in Copenhagen might look very different than yours. So I've devised a bit of a system for travelers to enjoy everything the city has to offer while still maintaining some flexible time for what you best love. I've broken Copenhagen's best spaces, attractions, and activities into five categories (you know how much I love lists!) and I suggest that you try one thing from each category - and then add in two or three extra things from whatever area feels that most *you*. Assuming that most people would tackle about eight activities in two days (two in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening each day), this makes for 2 rather full days in Copenhagen but hopefully you leave feeling as energized as we did.
Here's the best of the best of this beautiful city.
Stop and smell the roses in the gorgeous green space.
One of our favourite things to do in Copenhagen is to stroll around the city's beautiful green spaces. At first we thought that if we had just 2 days in Copenhagen, we should focus our time on the city's best urban attractions - design stuff, museums, top tourist attractions, that kind of thing - but truly the most rewarding part of our visit was the chance to stop and smell the roses. Literally! Copenhagen's Botanical Garden is just incredible and it was so nice to spend some time among the gorgeous gardens and enjoy a nature walk in the heart of the city. (By the way, you're going to want to have a carry-on friendly bug repellent like this one on hand).
If you like your outdoor time to move at a quicker pace, this is a great list of Copenhagen's best running routes.
Local life and loving the road less traveled.
It might seem counter-intuitive to spend some of your 2 days in Copenhagen by looking at what the locals' love to do. Shouldn't you spend all your time at the city's top 10 attractions? But Copenhagen isn't like other European capitals. It really does feel like a large town. Even in the peak of summer, it still doesn't feel all that touristy, just a bit more crowded.
Copenhagen's residents are friendly and welcoming and you're going to love exploring some of the overlooked attractions which are their favourite things. Case in point - check out this helpful round up of things the locals love to do. My preferred item on the list? Seeing the city by kayak!!
Views and meals in the city centre.
Copenhagen's city center is all about great views and great food. Ideally, you can combine the two when you eat somewhere with some outside seating. Copenhagen's food, market, and people watching opportunities are so good that they really deserve to be their own category of activity. You're going to want to do this a lot!
We LOVED our meal at Tight - especially because it had a fun Canadian connection! But it definitely fell into the splurge category for us. Ringing at a more affordable price point are the restaurants on this list of cheap eats. For travelers who are really on a budget, I found this blog post of the best places to eat in Copenhagen for under 100DK. Many allow for great outside eating and people watching.
By the way, when it comes to the best eating and people watching, an honorable mention goes to The Laundromat Cafe, which - as the name suggests - combines a cafe and a self-serve laundry service (plus books and wine and more). We were able to use our hostel's laundry machines and thus we never had the need to visit during our brief stay. But I've heard lots of people rave about it and we're putting it on our list for next time.
Art and design inspiration on every corner.
Time for some harsh truths. People in Copenhagen are cool. They're cooler than me and they're cooler than you! :-) Thankfully, even blah folks like us can access some of this indescribably awesome Danish chic just by soaking up the city's great public art and architecture.
You can get direct hit of Copenhagen cool at the awe inspiring Designmuseum, the Danish Design Museum, and one of my favourite stores, Nordic Nesting. (Honestly, isn't that the best name ever? SO hygge!) If you're on the ultimate bare bones budget, here's a list of Copenhagen's public art - all of free to enjoy!
Whimsical and quirky fun.
For all its cool vibes and designer chic, Copenhagen isn't without a good dose of whimsy - as its most popular attraction, The Little Mermaid, proves. Maybe it's ultra touristy in nature but I don't care. I loved it! And I also loved watching the tour groups who were going crazy for her!
For the calmest experience, visit in the early morning or the late evening. But for the most entertainment value, I recommend that you head there mid day to check out the crowds and also to walk along the shore to see locals walking their dogs and playing along the waters' edge.
If it's whimsy you adore, you'll feel very at home reading this list of 21 quirky things to do in the city.
Where to stay in Copenhagen.
I would love to make personal recommendations about where to stay in Copenhagen but to be honest, we didn't have the best of luck. We stayed in a private ensuite room at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel. This hostel comes very highly rated but it just wasn't the best fit for us. It's a very social and pro-party kind of place and we are basically boring folks who love to sleep. However, it's very budget friendly, the location is spectacular, and I'm sure it would be perfect for more outgoing travelers.
If you're looking for something a bit more upscale and refined, my friend and fellow blogger Brianna stayed at the Hotel Kong Arthur and you can read her detailed review here.
In just two days, you can create a lifetime of memories...
Two days isn't a lot of time to really get to know any destination, let alone one that's as captivating as Copenhagen. But by mixing and matching all of the city's best features, you can really get a sense for why so many people love living and visiting here - and still have enough time to make the city your own.
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