Often rated one of the happiest cities in the world, it’s easy to see why. The cobbled pavements, gorgeous architecture and calm atmosphere make Copenhagen one incredibly charming city to holiday in. I fell in love with the cosy cafés, colourful neighbourhoods and the amazing coffee culture (though that last one wasn’t so easy on the wallet!)
It’s a small city, so a weekend (or a long weekend, like I did) is the perfect amount of time to explore the best parts of the city. I spent three full days in Copenhagen (landing late Saturday and staying until Tuesday morning), and really loved getting a taste for the Danish culture. Keep an eye out on Ryanair and EasyJet, and you can find some seriously cheap flight deals too. We got our return flights for just over £50; nearly worth having to stuff our handbags into our suitcases at the gate (thanks again, EasyJet!)
Read on to find out:
- Things to do in Copenhagen
- My top tips for exploring Copenhagen in just three days
- The best of Copenhagen’s Christmas markets (including Nyhavn!)
- How to see Copenhagen on a budget
Saturday – Day 1 in Copenhagen
We might not have had the smoothest plane boarding, but the flight itself was a dream! Once we landed, we made it through security incredibly quickly. We easily packed for a three days in wintery Copenhagen in our hand luggage, so didn’t need to waste time at baggage collection either.
Copenhagen has an amazing public transport system, so we took the train from the airport to our AirBnB. As we booked quite late notice, we had little choice for apartments that didn’t break the bank. We ended up staying in an incredibly quaint two-bedroom in Norrebro. It was a great location (with loads of cute cafés and coffee shops nearby), but I’d still much rather have stayed closer to the city.
After checking in, we realised we were starving. Copenhagen is absolutely freezing in December, especially because it’s a humid cold (thanks to having water on all three sides!) We had to wrap up warm, because -3 degrees in Copenhagen felt a lot colder than -10 in Oslo! We then headed into the city centre and explored some of the restaurants before deciding where to eat. Food there is expensive (London prices, I’d say), but at least it’s good. We ate at Grillen Burgerbar and my beef burger was amazing!
Sunday – Day 2 in Copenhagen
Is there a better way to start a Sunday morning than at a bakery? I think not. I highly recommend exploring the bakeries in Copenhagen – they’re quaint and make for a delicious (and fairly cheap) breakfast. We walked to Meyers Bageri in Jægersborggade, a small (and I mean small), but delicious, bakery. They sold everything from freshly baked organic bread to cinnamon rolls, pastries and a few other delicious smelling items I couldn’t quite recognise.
We then headed into the city to catch a free 3-hour walking tour. Even if you only make it to Copenhagen for a day, I’d recommend doing this – it’s one of my favourite things to do in the city, and it’s completely free! Copenhagen’s December weather made standing outside for three hours pretty brutal, but it was definitely worth it. It’s a really great way to explore the city on a budget, and learn more about its history. Tour guides, typically, are some of the best people to go too for recommendations on things to do and where to go.
The walking tours take place every hour. Look for the neon umbrellas outside City Hall, and make sure you wear comfortable shoes (cobblestoned streets are a killer!) Highlights of the tour include Christiansborg palace, the old city center, Nyhavn, the Royal Opera and the Royal Palace of Amalienborg. If you’re into history, or incredibly photogenic streets, then this is definitely the tour for you. If you don’t have time for the entire tour, I highly recommend going to the palace and Nyhavn; they were my highlights. We loved it so much, we went back after the tour for more photos. It’s the stereotypical photo of Copenhagen – that houses-by-a-canal shot that just makes you think of the city.
Thanks to the humid cold of Copenhagen winters (they are brutal), I was starving by half-way through the tour. I took a tour guide suggestion of where to grab food because – let’s be honest – they’re always the best suggestions, and ended up at Jeppe’s Poelsevogn hot dog cart. With all the toppings, they’re a quintessential Danish food, and the best part is that they’re so cheap! They make for a great inexpensive meal while you’re out – plus you still feel like you’ve had a taste of Danish culture!
We spent the rest of the day roaming the Christmas markets (literally .. we went to every single one we found), and the shops. Our favourite markets were in Nyhavn, which possibly looks even more beautiful after the sun has set. It really had a magical atmosphere, and we took great joy in trying as many glasses of glu wine and chocolate dipped waffles as we could get our hands on. It was Christmas, after all!
Monday – Day 3 in Copenhagen
We’d originally planned to make it over to Christiana and explore, but unfortunately didn’t manage to make it over. Instead, we decided to spend more time at the gorgeous cafés and magical Christmas markets. I wanted to soak up all the vibes before I had to come back to work!
We started the day with brunch at Groed, in Kobenhavn. The food was slightly overpriced, but seriously good. If you’re into healthy and slightly hipster breakfasts (porridges, smoothie bowls, and anything with acai) then this is definitely the place for you. Just down the road was The Coffee Collective, which we’d been eyeing up every time we walked past. The coffee culture in Copenhagen is amazing, and this café just looked so warm and inviting.
After spending more time exploring the city centre (by now, I’m sure we’d walked around the whole city twice), we decided it was time to try some proper Danish food. We went to Torvehallerne, a giant food market in Kobenhavn. Here, you’ll find everything from fresh meats, chocolates and spices to small restaurants where you can find something to eat. We wanted to try as many dishes as possible, so bought a few small things each to share. There was a lot of choice, and the food was amazing. We loved the atmosphere of the buzzing market, and had so much fun exploring all the different cafés and restaurants.
I’d also recommend visiting Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park in central Copenhagen. Entry is quite dear, but it’s one of the most popular theme parks in Europe (and it’s easy to see why!) Particularly at Christmas time, it has a really magical vibe. Alongside all the fun rides, it’s filled with wooden cabins, Christmas markets, and beautifully decorated Christmas trees – it’s so wonderfully festive. It’s great fun during the day, and magical at night. You can also visit the Tivoli food markets for free and, by taking your food / drinks out onto the patio area, you can experience the atmosphere of the theme park (and get some cute photos!)
Tuesday – Day 4 in Copenhagen
After packing up and leaving our AirBnB, we made our way to The Union Kitchen for a relaxed brunch. I had the eggs royale with a caffe latte and it was delicious, although perhaps slightly overpriced (but you’ll learn to expect that in Copenhagen!) We had some time before our flight, so we spent some more time enjoying the Danish architecture and cute cafés. I wish we’d had enough time to visit the café in the photos below!
And .. that’s it! If you’re heading for a weekend in Copenhagen soon, I hope this guide proves helpful. Comment below if you have any more hygge suggestions to visit – I’d love to hear some more (as I’ll definitely be returning to Denmark one day).
P.S. If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to pin one of the images below for later!