Scandinavia has always been a favourite of mine. I’ve got family in Sweden and we used to go there once a year, and it’s my favourite places to go in search of adventure. It’s also the place I retreat to when I need a weekend of relaxing and getting back to basics. This year I headed to Sweden for a week, where I spent time hiking, skiing and exploring the national parks, and then last summer I also flew over to Copenhagen for 3 days to explore this wonderful city further. I did all my researched, booked my flights and then planned my Copenhagen itinerary, including day trips from Copenhagen, where to eat and drink and where to stay in Copenhagen. I wanted to share with you my experience of this incredibly city with my guide to 3 days in Copenhagen and I hope it will help you plan your trip here too!
Here is my ultimate guide to 3 days in Copenhagen….
- Tivoli Gardens
- The Little Mermaid
- Nyhavn Harbour and surrounding areas
- Copenhagen Zoo
- Rosenborg Castle
- The Round Tower
- National Museum of Denmark
- Copenhagen Zoo
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HOW TO GET TO COPENHAGEN
You could drive…. it’d take you 15 h 12 min (837.9 mi) via France, Germany, Brussels and The Netherlands. Or you could jump on a plane from London Luton, spend 90 minutes in the air and land in Copenhagen feeling rather refreshed. Most London airports fly direct to Copenhagen and you can fly there for as little as £19.99 with Ryan Air! Denmark’s main airport is Kastrup in Copenhagen, serviced by all major international airlines, but you can also fly to Billund, Aarhus, or Aalborg airports. And you do not need a visa as a UK citizen to visit Denmark.
HOW TO GET AROUND COPENHAGEN
The best way to get around Copenhagen is on foot and by bike as Copenhagen is built for cycling and the city is also fairly small so walking is also possible. Public transportation systems are also easy to use if you are heading outside the city and there is also an extensive bus route and an easy-to-navigate train network to its easy to take day trips from Copenhagen too.
WHERE TO STAY IN COPENHAGEN
For me a hotel is incredibly important for any stay, as it acts as my home from home when I travel. I’ve been searching for where to stay in Copenhagen and this list is what I came up with. All of these hotels are traditionally Scandi, with their own unique personal style: from the trendy Absalon Hotel to the fairytale Nimb Hotel, these hotels all offer cosiness, authentic charm and style.
I actually stayed here the last time I was in Copenhagen and this hotel certainly pulls out all of the stops when it comes to stylish Scandinavian design, set against a luxurious backdrop. Founded in 1938, this hotel has a huge historical relevance with Copenhagen’s strong Danish story. The hotel is located five minutes from Tivoli Gardens and sits perfectly within the meat-packing district! The hotel really stuns with its decor, with a stunning white exterior, and trendy lobby with hints towards it’s industrial past. The interiors are down to London designer Trisha Guild, who has meticulously matched the wallpaper to the armchairs, and the light fittings to the coffe tables. The rooms follow suit, with marble bathrooms and organic Karmameju products. Colour themes range from purple to teal, and stripes are everywhere from carpets to curtains.
From it’s fairytale facade, to it’s incredible location (actually inside Tivoli Gardens) the Nimb Hotel is one you won’t forget in a flash. The incredible exterior looks like it’s out of Brother’s Grimm fairy tales, and although it’s expensive, it’s worth spending one night here during your weekend in Copenhagen. All rooms (but one) look out over the gardens, and no two rooms are the same, all with their own decadent style and charm. From patterned bedding, to glittery light fittings and high ceilings, to wooden dressing tables and glass walls, this hotel has really put out all the stops. It’s also got a great location, as mentioned, but it’s also close to the city’s other famous landmarks, cafes and only ten minutes from Nyhavn. Inside the unique rooms, the luxury continues, where there are Bang & Olufsen televisions, Nespresso machines, and custom-made cocktail cabinets with decanters of spirits.
Hotel SKT. PETRI
One of only a handful of 5* hotels in Copenhagen, SKT. PETRI sets the standard for luxury meets design. The hotel is centrally located, offering great access for guests to go and explore the wonderful city of Copenhagen, and the building (which is listed) used to be a department store, but now sleeps trendy visitors to the city. The decor is bold, but dark colours and luxurious fabrics, set against glass walls and monochrome flooring throughout the lobby. The bedrooms follow suit with black wood, dark blue tones and gold, which add a decadent feel to the bedrooms. The grand lobby is separated in to sections, with seating areas for business men and women, as well as a bar and place to grab a coffee. This hotel oozes retro glamour!
PLACES TO VISIT IN COPENHAGEN
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the third-oldest operating amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, also in Denmark. One of my favourite winter destination is Copenhagen, Denmark and you can’t visit without stopping by Tivoli Gardens for an afternoon. With 4.6 million visitors in 2017, Tivoli is the second-most popular seasonal amusement park in the world after Europa-Park. Tivoli is the most-visited theme park in Scandinavia, and the fifth most-visited theme park in Europe, only behind Disneyland Park, Europa-Park, Walt Disney Studios Park and Efteling.
The Little Mermaid – The iconic bronze mermaid sculpture, by Edvard Eriksen, of a character from H.C. Andersen’s fairytale and although one of the most famous hotspots for tourists in Copenhagen, I thought it was rather dull. I did it once and never returned. The statue is depicting a mermaid becoming human and displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. Based on the fairy tale of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and has been a major tourist attraction since its unveiling in 1913.
Copenhagen Botanical Gardens – I love visiting Botanical Gardens when I travel to cities. Its my small section of the trip where I sit down, breath and relax. The Copenhagen Botanical Gardens houses more than 13,000 species of flora and fauna from all over the world and has recently opened its new butterfly house, where visitors can explore the fascinating life of butterflies.
Nyhavn – Nyhavn is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark, stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse. It’s most famous for it’s brightly coloured buildings that line the harbour front. The 17th and early 18th century townhouses are now iconic around the world. Here you can also find bars, cafes and restaurants. On a hot summer day, this entire waterside street is full of life, people and music!
Amalienborg – Amalienborg is actually the home of the Danish royal family, and is located in Copenhagen city centre. Its an 18th-century complex of palaces, with a museum and displays by royal guards. The building itself consists of four identical classical palace façades with rococo interiors around an octagonal courtyard; in the centre of the square is a monumental equestrian statue of Amalienborg’s founder, King Frederick V. Over the years various kings and their families have resided in the four different palaces.
Copenhagen Zoo – Founded in 1859, Copenhagen Zoo is is one of the oldest zoos in Europe and is a member of EAZA. It comprises 11 hectares and is located in the municipality of Frederiksberg, sandwiched between the parks of Frederiksberg Gardens and Søndermarken. With 1,161,388 visitors in 2008 it is the most visited zoo and 4th most visited attraction in Denmark. The zoo is noted for its new Elephant House designed by the world-famous British architect Sir Norman Foster and also promotes a number of European breeding programmes.
Rosenborg Castle – This stunning renaissance castle located in Copenhagen, was originally built as a country summerhouse in 1606, built in the Flemish Renaissance style, typical of Danish buildings during this period. The palace has a number of gardens, and includes a museum housing crown jewels with guided tours.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
- Christiansborg Palace – Tours of the royal palace’s lavish reception rooms & stables, plus 12th-century castle remains.
- The Round Tower – 17th-century tower with an observatory, planetarium, event hall & spiral ramp instead of stairs.
- Strøget – Famed pedestrian street lined with shops, known for its abundant shops at all price levels, cafes & a Guinness museum.
- Frederik’s Church – 18th-century Lutheran church with the largest dome in Scandinavia & a Kierkegaard statue in grounds.
- Large open space outside city hall used for concerts, cultural performances & celebrations.
- National Museum of Denmark – 18th-century mansion with collections and exhibitions on Denmark’s history, people and culture.
- Christianshavn – Christianshavn, an area of small islands, is known for its hip cafe culture and canals lined with colorful houseboats. Hotspots include Copenhagen Street Food, for international dining, and Freetown
- Copenhagen Opera House – International opera company in a landmark harbor front building with a 1400-seat main auditorium.
- Copenhagen Zoo – Established zoo with airy Norman Foster-designed elephant house & Arctic habitat for polar bears.
- King’s New Square – Landmark cobble-stoned square dating to 1907, containing a royal equestrian statue of Christian V.
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WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN COPENHAGEN
Gasoline Grill – If you love burgers, you will love the Gasoline Grill. They serve four different types of burgers and the queue outside is often long but don’t let that scare you away – it’s very much worth it. They keep on delivering the meaty goods until they sell out. Try the Butterburger!
Mikkeller – When teacher Mikkel Borg Bjergso taught two of his students to brew, they took his lesson to heart and opened up their own brewery. The bar is really cool and they now serve an amazing 40 micro-brewed beers on tap, and over 200 bottled beers.
Granola – This is a real local haunt and it’s clear why the locals love it so much – the food is amazing. Make sure you stop off at café Granola on Værnedamsvej on a weekend morning and grab yourself a marble-topped table to eat your brunch, or slouch into a wooden bench to watch Copenhagen’s families start the day.
La Banchina – This place is the coolest hangout in the city in the summer, and serves an array of Italian food, paired with wine. Its a real gem, and is worth hitting up over a weekend with friends. But beware it gets busy, so book in advance!
Meyers Bageri – Denmark is famous for it’s pastries, so a stop off at Meyers is vital. You should not leave Copenhagen without tasting a snegl – a cinnamon-spiked, buttery, snail-shaped pastry coated with a thick swirl of chocolate.
Höst – Another dish Danish are great at, is using fresh natural vegetables in their meals and the restaurant Höst does this perfectly. The word actually means ‘harvest’, so it’s no surprise that this stylish Nordic eatery offers good quality dishes made using seasonal regional produce.
Grød – Make sure you head here for breakfast or brunch on the weekend and choose one of their amazing porridges! Grød is Danish for porridge, You can choose between oat porridge with caramel sauce, fresh apples and roast almonds or gluten-free acai-chia porridge made with almond milk and topped with strawberries, roast nuts, banana slices, peanut butter and organic skyr yoghurt.
Paté Paté – Another iconic restaurant in Copenhagen is PatéPaté , located in an old paté factory in the Meatpacking district. The food is a mix of Mediterranean, Moroccan, French and Spanish cuisine and is a great place to relax with friends on an evening.
Lidkoeb – And if you’re after cocktails and a great atmosphere, make sure you head to the uber cool ‘cocktail house’ Lidkoeb in Vesterbrogade. The three-story building is a den of alcoholic spirits, with exposed beams and mixologist’s working their magic at a bar that spans the entire place.
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