Here’s my ultimate Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary. This long weekend in Copenhagen has turned the city into one of my all-time favorite European destinations and I can not wait to return to Denmark one day.

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An Ultimate Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary

Visiting Copenhagen & Denmark

Top Facts about Denmark

  • Denmark is a small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe and Copenhagen is its capital city.
  • Denmark is a part of the European Union, but the local currency is the Danish Krone (and not the Euro).
  • Denmark has 1419 islands, with Zealand being the largest one.
  • The country is also known for the oldest state flag in the world, the present-day Dannenbrog was acknowledged in 1219.
  • Denmark is one of the most progressive and liberal places in Europe: back in 1924, the world´s first female minister was Danish; while, in 1989, Denmark was the first country in the world to establish the right for same-sex marriages.

What is Denmark known for

Hygge

Denmark often tops the list of the happiest countries in the whole world. The most popular local lifestyle concept is hygge, which many Danes define as the “coziness of the soul”, you can read more about it in this post.

Sophisticated Design

Danish design & architecture are known for their sleek lines, sophistication, and innovation. Even a simple chair has a special place in Danish homes. As locals say: “Show me your chair and I will tell you who you are”. According to the furniture designer Hans J. Wegner: “A chair is the closest thing to a human being, so you can easily give it a personal touch.” 

You can read more in my post about Danish Museums, where I share my impressions after visiting The Museum of Art and Design.

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The Danish Chair at The Museum of Art and Design in Copenhagen

Andersen Fairytales

Denmark was the birthplace and home of Hans Cristian Andersen, known for his iconic fairytales, like The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and The Snow Queen (many of these books are must-haves in my kids’ library).

While the author was born in the small Danish town of Odense, you can explore a few Andersen-related landmarks in Copenhagen too.

LEGO

LEGO, the world´s most famous brick was invented in Denmark. In the small town of Billund, you can visit the iconic Danish Legoland.

The Vikings

Similar to other Scandinavian countries, Danish history was highly impacted by the Vikings. You can learn more at The National Museum. Also, the most unique Viking landmarks in Denmark are The Jelling Stones, The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Fyrkat Viking Museum, and Lindholm Hoje (the biggest ancient burial ground in Scandinavia).

Carlsberg Beer

Carlsberg Is one of the most popular beer brands in the world. The company was created by J.C Jacobsen in 1847 in Copenhagen. These days you can still tour the iconic Danish brewery and learn more about the Jacobsen family.

Danish Pastries

Tasting Danish pastries & bread was one of my highlights during these 3 days in Copenhagen. I simply did not expect Denmark to be an epic foodie destination (especially since the cuisine of Northen countries is mostly known for its simplicity).

Not many know that the mouth-watering Danish pastries have their origins in Austria. Back in the 1840s some Austrian bakers settled down in Denmark and pasties have been some of the best attributes of the local culture ever since.

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Danish Croissaints at Mirabelle

How to get to Copenhagen

We were flying to Copenhagen Airport and used public transporto to move around the city.

A great option is to purchase a Copenhagen Card-Discover 80+ Attractions & Public Transport.

There is a train network connecting Copenhagen with Malmo, Lund, Stockholm in Sweden, and Hamburg in Germany. You can check out Omnio for train tickets.

Also, bicycles are extremely popular in Copenhagen: more than 50% of locals cycle to and from work every day and only 4 out of 10 Danes own a car.

Where to stay in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is known for expensive hotels and holiday rentals. Nevertheless, on the map below, you can find something for any taste.

What I loved about Copenhagen

Even since my first trip to Oslo and the weekend in Helsinki, I was dreaming of visiting more places in Scandinavia. A few years later, I got a chance to visit Sweden. So, Denmark was the last place on my Nordic bucket list. Nevertheless, it ended up as my top pick.

After these 3 days in Copenhagen, the city has unexpectedly made it to the list of my favorite places in Europe. I was mostly impressed by the whole hygge concept, the Danish passion for architecture & design, and local pastries (the food in Copenhagen was so delicious that I made a separate post about it).

Beyond that, one of the biggest surprises of this Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary was The David Collection, a museum with free entrance and a mind-blowing collection of vibrant Islamic art.

It would be fair to state that the only drawback in Copenhagen was the hotel costs – so, it is obviously not the most budget-friendly destination.

On the other hand, my only regret after this Copenhagen 3-day itinerary was not having enough time to explore the whole country beyond its capital. The good news is that you can expect me to return to Denmark anytime soon.

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The Museum of Art and Design: Every girl should have a mirror like this one

What to read & watch before visiting

For some extra inspiration on Denmark, I recommend reading The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness, and The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country.

Another great alternative to get the first glimpse of Danish culture is watching local TV Shows – Borgen (a political drama about a prime minister’s rise to power), Broen (a Danish-Swedish Crime Series), and Forbrydelsen ( a Danish police procedural drama).

Also, you might like these internationally-awarded Danish movies with Mads MikkelsenThe Hunt and Another Round.

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The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

Best Tours in Copenhagen

Booking one of the top-rated tours in Copenhagen can help you make the most of your visit to Denmark. Keep in mind that the most budget-friendly option for sightseeing is Copenhagen Card-Discover 80+ Attractions & Public Transport.

How much time to spend in Copenhagen

Most international travelers spend a weekend or 3 days in Copenhagen. While I managed to cover most of the places I wanted to see, I wish I´d had at least a week for this trip to explore more of Denmark.

A significant drawback of sightseeing in Copenhagen is the fact that almost all the landmarks close at 5 p.m.

Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary

Copenhagen Itinerary – Day 1

Wolf & Konstali

Delicious local brunch at Wulff & Konstali felt like a great way to kick off this Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary. While it was not close to the rest of the landmarks, we took a metro to start this day on a tasty note.

At Wulff & Konstali they let you handpick each brunch component from their wide menu to create your perfectly personalized meal. So, it was a great experience.

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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – Breakfast at Wulff & Konstali

Freetown Christiania

Freetown Christiania is a popular landmark in Copenhagen, known for its hippie vibes.

This place has existed under special rules for 40 years since being founded in 1971 by local hippies on the site of the former military barracks. Freetown Christiania has a strict no-photos rule and everyone across the internet talked about its unique feel. Therefore, I could honestly not miss a visit.

Although, to sum up – I wist I did.

I knew that Freetown Christiania was known for hash and pot, but for some reason I expected it to look like Amsterdam Red Light District. In reality, I felt uncomfortable walking around. I tried to talk myself into noticing the good things about the place- like street art and market stands with boho jewelry. But the truth is that we walked around for 20 minutes and my only wish was to get out without losing my wallet.

This does not mean that you should not visit Freetown Christiania: there are guided tours of Freetown Christiania with locals, so you might have a different experience.

Nyhavn

Nyhavn is the most iconic 17th-century waterfront in Copenhagen, popular for its colorful houses and boat tours. We had no time for the boat tour. So, I wish we would had done it instead of Freetown Christiania.

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Nyhavn – a must-stop on any Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary

City Center & Hot Dogs

After Nyhavn we walked towards Copenhagen city center, to explore the main shopping street Stroget, and taste organic local hot dogs at DOP ( also called Den Okologiske Polsemand).

Danes have taken this pick-up meal to a whole new level with their sourdough bread, vegan options, and organic ingredients. It was probably the healthiest hotdog I’ve had in my entire life.

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DOP Hotdog in Copenhagen

Amalienborg Palace

Amalienborg Palace is a must-stop to learn more about the life of the Danish Royal Family. It is popular for change of the royal guard (taking place daily at noon). Since we got to Amalienborg later, we only visited the museum.

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Copenhagen in 3 days

The Danish Museum of Art and Design

The Danish Museum of Art and Design features some of the most innovative works from famous Danish and international designers.

However, I should warn you that this museum might not be a fit for everyone. The place keeps its focus on innovation, contemporary crafts, and Scandinavian design. I loved it, but both of my parents said it was a waste of time (it would be fair to say they usually have the same reaction with the modern art galleries in Europe).

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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – The Danish Museum of Art and Design
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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – The Danish Museum of Art and Design

Kastellet

After the museum, we headed to Kastellet, the local citadel founded by the Danish King Christian IV in 1626. Today the buildings inside are used as military barracks and offices. Since this place was on the road toward The Little Mermaid monument, it was a great chance to explore this area on the go.

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Copenhagen in 3 days – Kastellet
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Copenhagen in 3 days – Kastellet

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is one of Copenhagen’s most famous attractions, commemorating Andersen’s iconic fairytale.

The well-known brewer, Carl Jacobsen, fell in love with the character after watching the ballet performance at the Danish Royal Opera. So, he decided to commission the sculptor, Edvard Eriksen, to create this monument.

Originally, the sculpture was inspired by the ballerina Ellen Price, who had the lead role in The Little Mermaid ballet performance. However, she refused to model nude, so Eriksen´s wife ended up posing for it.

There are usually lots of people taking pictures around the monument, so you should be quick to take a snap of The Little Mermaid (or go earlier in the morning).

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The Little Mermaid: Reality vs. Expectations

Copenhagen Itinerary – Day 2

Tovernhalle

On the second day of this long weekend in Copenhagen, we headed to Tovernhalle for breakfast. This place is the city´s most popular food market.

If your time in Copenhagen is limited and you can swing by one single place that has it all – Torvehallerne is your best bet. Here, you can find anything from fresh vegetable stands & potted plants to trendy ready-to-eat meals.

Torvehallerne is a perfect spot to check out the famous Danish open-face sandwich – Smorrebroad. Another local must-try is Snegl, a dough base rolled and twisted bun with different toppings.

Also, check out Coffee Collective for a flavorful espresso and Tante Te for a relaxing cup of tea.

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Smorrebroad selection at Tovernhalle

Rosenborg

Copenhagen is famous for its castles – Amalienborg, Frederiksberg, and Rosenborg.

The last one looks like the smallest one of all. However, its Treasury was one of the highlights of sightseeing in Copenhagen…

Originally, this 400-year-old Renaissance castle was built by King Christian IV. Then, Rosenborg was used as a royal residence until 1710, when King Frederik IV switched it for another summer residence. But turned the palace into the home of the royal collections: it is the reason why there are so many well-preserved art pieces inside Rosenborg.

The unique crown jewels of Rosenborg reflect the centuries of style in the Danish Royal Family. All the jewelry can be used by the Queen within the country’s borders. Usually, it’s only a few times per year: for the New Year´s Reception and during state visits or events.

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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – Rosenborg (the castle looks way more impressive inside)
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Copenhagen in 3 days – Treasury of Rosenborg
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Ceramic Collection at Rosenborg

The David Collection

The David Collection is one of the lesser-known private museums in Copenhagen.

Its unique holdings were gathered by a prominent Danish lawyer C.L. David and are currently open to the public. The entrance is completely free and the staff provides you with a special tablet (so that you can scan the barcodes of each item to learn more).

The David Collection houses 3 permanent exhibitions: Islamic Art, European 18th-century Art, and Danish Early Modern Art. However, I should say that the Islamic Art section is especially mind-blowing. It houses some of the most exclusive decorative art pieces from the 7th century to the mid-19th century (covering an area that extends from Spain in the west to China in the east, Uzbekistan in the north, and Yemen in the south).

After exploring the Ceramic Regions of Spain and the Savona Ceramic Museum in Italy, I have never expected to find so many artsy tiles and pottery anywhere in Europe. However, The David Collection has managed to surprise me…

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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – The David Collection
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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – The David Collection
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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – The David Collection

Kronborg Restaurant

Kronborg is one of the most authentic Copenhagen foodie spots: it´s all about traditional Danish recipes in a cozy traditional setting.

Don´t miss their smorrebrod and the marinated herring (a specialty of the house). Keep in mind that this place is not the best match for vegans or vegetarians, as they mainly focus on meat, fish, and herring dishes.

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Danish Food in Copenhagen – Kronborg Restaurant

The Cristiansborg

After lunch, we headed to the local palace – Christiansburg. This place was once the Royal home. However, these days it houses the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State. We only walked around the area, but you can also get in to visit the staterooms.

Conditori La Glace

There´s no Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary without Danish sweet treats.

Conditori La Glace is one of the oldest places to eat in Copenhagen. They have beautiful interiors and a huge variety of delicious cakes for all tastes. I didn’t like that much their coffee though (if you´re into strong European espresso this one will feel tasteless).

It is a popular spot in Copenhagen, so there´s often a queue to get a table, and everything is a bit overpriced. But overall, it was a worthy experience.

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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – Conditori La Glace

Copenhagen Itinerary – Day 3

Frederiksborg Castle

On the last day of this Copenhagen 3-day itinerary, I planned a day trip to Frederiksborg Castle, one of the most iconic places in Denmark.

It was built in the 17th century by King Christan IV and is known as the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia. One of the castle’s most unique features is the symmetrical baroque garden, created by architect J.C. Krieger in 1725.

Since 1878, Frederiksborg Castle has housed the Museum of National History of Denmark – so, the visit was really educative as well.

The easiest way to visit Frederiksborg is by taking the S-train (line A) from Copenhagen downtown to Hillerod station (the one-way journey is around 40 mins). From Hillerod we simply walked towards the castle, while making a quick stop for coffee at Kaffebar.

A great way to see more Danish landmarks near Frederiksborg is to book one of the organized day trips.

Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary
Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – Frederiksborg Castle
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Copenhagen 3-day Itinerary – Frederiksborg Castle
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Kaffebar (on the way to Frederiksborg Castle)

Tivoli Gardens

After visiting Frederiksborg Castle, we returned to Copenhagen to enjoy Tivoli Gardens, the city´s most iconic theme park.

This place is full of old charm, historic architecture, and lush gardens. Hans Christian Andersen used to visit it on numerous occasions to find inspiration for his fairytales. Also, Tivoli Gardens was one of the European gems that influenced Walt Disney.

Tivoli Gardens can’t compete with Europe´s top amusement parks in terms of adrenaline-rushing rides, but its nostalgic and magical vibe is worth experiencing. While Tivoli Gardens was founded in 1843, its oldest wooden rollercoaster was created in 1914. Therefore, exploring one of the oldest theme parks in the world feels unique.

By the way, the oldest theme park of all time, Bakken, is also located in Denmark (13 km away from Copenhagen).

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Cool Copenhagen Day Trips

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For more Copenhagen travel tips check out my Pinterest board Denmark.

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