Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, first hit my radar when I was in seventh grade, watching a film in my geography class. I distinctly remember telling myself, that’s one place I definitely want to make it to at some point in my life. Nearly a decade and a half later, it finally happened! Here’s how we spent 2 days in Copenhagen!
Day 1 // 10-11 a.m.
We landed in Copenhagen around 10 a.m. and despite how crowded it was, found ourselves out the door and in a cab to our hotel in no time. Unfortunately, our room wasn’t ready for us to drop our bags and freshen up, so we checked our bags and were out the door to start exploring the city.
Day 1 // 11 a.m. -1:15 p.m.
First up on our list was Nyhavn, the famous landmark on the water, with lots of colorful buildings! It was about a 25 minute walk from our hotel, but along the way we discovered quite a bit to explore and the cutest shops to duck into. Who knew we’d end up in the middle of the biggest shopping area?! If you’ve watched any movie with a scene in Copenhagen, there’s a good chance you saw this background in it! We also LOVED this fantastic polar bear party Christmas display happening on the side of one of the nearby hotels!
We decided to stop into a restaurant here for lunch, since Nyhavn is such a cute little area (and a fantastic lunch backdrop)! Our meal was ok, but I’d recommend grabbing a snack in the area versus a meal, if anything. Since it’s obviously a bigger tourist area, prices are a bit higher and the quality wasn’t nearly as good as some of the other food stops we had in the city!
Did you also know that famous author, Hans Christian Andersen, spent most of his life living and writing in Copenhagen? In fact, Nyhavn is where he called home for many years! You can find signs of his influence all over the city!
Day 1 // 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Post-lunch we were off to find Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue. I was incredibly excited for this since I had seen the statue in a documentary way back in seventh grade and had wanted to visit Copenhagen to see it myself. Over a decade later, it finally happened! We had to duck into a couple places along the way though because winter + walking by the water? FREEZING! Well worth the trek though! We planned to do a walking tour this afternoon of the city’s more “alternative” neighborhood, but ended up nixing it since our hike to the Little Mermaid took longer than expected and we were ready to get warmed up!
Day 1 // 3:45 – 6:30 p.m.
We Ubered back to the hotel to check in at this point in the day because the freezing wind was no joke and walking 30 more minutes just didn’t sound appealing. It was a great time to do so though! People were starting to leave work and school so we saw a glimpse of Danish life, plus got to see an entirely different area of the city from the warmth of the car!
Due to some issues with our initial room at the hotel, we ended up hanging around there longer than we hoped, but once we settled into our new room and warmed up with a couple cappuccinos, we were ready to brave the winter air for a night outdoors under the city lights!
Day 1 // 6:45 – 11 p.m.
To end our first day, we hit Copenhagen’s famous Tivoli Gardens, which is one of the oldest theme parks and located in the middle of the city! There is an entry fee for admission, but it’s totally worth it! There’s so much to say about Tivoli, so I think I’ll have to write a separate post dedicated entirely to it, but it’s a MUST do for anyone visiting Copenhagen! And of course, visiting during the Christmas season, it’s even more magical, all lit up and with Christmas market stalls lining the walkways! We were thinking we’d only stay 3 hours or so but ended up staying until closing. SO MUCH FUN.
Day 2 // 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The next morning we woke up feeling well-rested and ready to explore more of Copenhagen! We popped down for a quick breakfast in our hotel and then were out the door for one of our favorite activities, a city walking tour! We learned SO much about Copenhagen’s history, plus life as a Dane and quite a few governmental policies that we would LOVE to see implemented here in the US. The tour ended up running a little over too because the group was small enough to gather ’round for a pretty lengthy Q&A sesh with our tour guide.
Our guide even ended the tour at Copenhagen’s Food Hall (one of the best lunch hotspots), which we couldn’t resist popping into for a bite to eat. This is also where I found the absolute BEST Danish pastry! I’m kind of kicking myself for not buying the whole inventory before we left. SO GOOD.
Day 2 // 1:45 – 3:45 p.m.
After lunch we hightailed over to Christiansborg Palace to catch a tour of the grounds where the Queen of Denmark carries out her official duties, and where the country’s Prime Minister lives! With an 800+ year history, this was such a cool place to explore! Plus, we were able to go up to the Observatory (the highest point in Copenhagen), where we got a phenomenal 360-degree view of the city!
Day 2 // 4 – 8 p.m.
At this point, we knew we had just a few hours left to explore, so after a quick stop to drop our shopping bags off, we made our way to Andersen Bakery (one of the top-ranked bakeries in the city) for a light dinner and lots of pastries! I’m sure the staff thought we were crazy with all of the desserts we were ordering, but when else are you going to have pastries from THE city of pastries?!
We needed to do some serious walking (walking off of the desserts that is), so we went back to the cobblestone streets lined with shops one last time, ending our adventure at the original LEGO store (yep, LEGOs originated in Denmark)!
And with that, we headed back to the hotel to pack up and prepare for an early morning train to the next stop on our tour of Scandinavia… Stockholm!