The capital of Denmark and the home of the Danish royal family, Copenhagen is many people's first glimpse of this fascinating country. And you could spend a long time in Copenhagen and still only scratch the surface of what it has to offer. With iconic locations like the Tivoli Gardens - the second oldest amusement park in the world - the stunning Copenhagen City Hall and its lively square, the beautiful Christiansborg Palace and Amalienborg Palace, and the world-famous Little Mermaid statue, visiting Copenhagen can be almost overwhelming.
If you only have 3 days in Copenhagen, you're going to need to prioritize. This Copenhagen itinerary will help you make the most of a Copenhagen city break and help you see a good selection of what the Danish capital has to offer. If nothing else, it will definitely give you some inspiration for your next trip.
But before you go racing off to experience a jampacked Copenhagen itinerary, take a moment to drop off your bags at a luggage locker in Copenhagen. Traveling light will make it much easier to get around and maximize your 3 days in Copenhagen, no matter how you choose to spend them.
Let's assume you've arrived from Copenhagen airport or Copenhagen Central Station and have found accommodation somewhere near the city center. Don't waste any time on your first day in the city. Grab a coffee and a croissant from any of the hundreds of coffee shops in the city and get ready to make the most of visiting Copenhagen.
First on your list of things to do in Copenhagen should be a visit to Christiansborg Palace. Even if you're not interested in politics, the building itself is worth admiring, and there are plenty of tours available that will give you a good overview of the Danish parliament and supreme court, as well as the royal stables located beneath the palace.
If you want to get even more of an insight into Danish royalty, then consider spending an hour or two at Rosenborg Castle. This 17th-century castle has been the home of many Danish royals and is now open to the public, who can explore its beautiful gardens and lavishly decorated rooms. Both of these historic buildings are located in the city centre, so you'll have no trouble getting to them and will also be conveniently close to some of the other attractions in the heart of the city, such as City Hall and City Hall Square.
After marveling at the opulence of the royal reception rooms, it's time to reward yourself with a lunch fit for a monarch. Pop into Restaurant Gronnegade, an upscale place offering a Danish twist on French cuisine located in a building that dates back to 1689 to keep the historic theme going.
Once you've had your fill of castles and palaces, it's time to explore some of the other attractions that Copenhagen has to offer. If you're looking for things to do in Copenhagen with kids, then a visit to the Tivoli Gardens is an absolute must. Even if you don't have children yourself, it's worth spending an afternoon here. The gardens are beautifully landscaped, and there are plenty of rides and attractions, including a roller coaster and a carousel. Plus, unlike more modern theme parks, this historic location drips with old-world charm. The Tivoli Gardens are an icon of Copenhagen, and are definitely worth including on any Copenhagen itinerary, especially if you're traveling with kids.
If amusement parks aren't your thing, then perhaps a leisurely stroll through Frederiksberg Gardens is more up your alley. This large park is home to a number of ponds and symmetry-obsessed flowerbeds, as well as the odd peacock roaming around. It's the perfect place to relax after all that walking around Copenhagen city center, and you'll find the gardens just a short walk from the Tivoli Gardens.
As night falls on your first day in Copenhagen, it's time to get your bearings and get the lay of the land. The best way to do this is by taking a canal tour. This will give you an overview of the city center and some of its most important landmarks, including the famous Black Diamond library extension and Christiansborg Palace, as well as many of Copenhagen's beautiful bridges.
Once you've gotten your bearings, it's time to enjoy some traditional Danish cuisine. Denmark is famous for its open sandwiches, or smorrebrod, and there's no better place to enjoy one than at Smorrebrod restaurant. This quaint eatery is located in an old, converted warehouse and offers a wide variety of traditional Danish open sandwiches, as well as other dishes such as herring and meatballs.
After dinner, it's time to enjoy some traditional Danish entertainment. Head to the Royal Danish Theater, where you can catch a ballet, opera, or play. Or, if you're looking for something a little more modern, check out the Jazzhouse, one of Copenhagen's most popular live music venues.
End your first day in Copenhagen with a nightcap at one of the city's many bars or nightclubs. Den Glade Viking is a great option if you're looking for a lively atmosphere, while Bodegaen is perfect if you want to enjoy a more relaxed evening.
Start your second day in Copenhagen with a stroll through Nyhavn, the city's iconic 17th-century harbor. This picturesque area is lined with colorful houses and bars, and is a great place to get some photos of Copenhagen. After working up an appetite with all that walking, refuel with a traditional Danish breakfast at Restaurant Spisebordet.
After breakfast, it's time to explore some of Copenhagen's museums. If you're interested in art, then a visit to the National Gallery of Denmark is a must. This museum is home to an impressive collection of Danish and international art, and it makes a fascinating way to spend a few hours learning more about art history and the cultural treasures of the world.
If art isn't your thing, then perhaps a visit to the National Museum of Denmark is more up your alley. This museum is home to an extensive collection of historical artifacts, and it provides a great overview of Danish history, making it easily one of the best museums in Copenhagen. Plus, it's located right in central Copenhagen, so it's easy to get to. Spending at least some part of your 3 days in Copenhagen learning about the history of the country will give you a deeper understanding of why Copenhagen and Denmark are the way they are today. Plus, it's always fascinating to come face-to-face with artifacts from the distant past. The Viking exhibits are particularly fascinating, and this complex of museums also contains a children's museum that makes a great activity for families.
Refuel yourself with a bite to eat as a reward for all that culture you just absorbed. Restaurant Schoennemann is a great option if you want to try some traditional Danish food, or alternatively, you could stop by one of Copenhagen's many cafes for a quick snack.
After exploring some of Copenhagen's museums, it's time to get out and enjoy some of the city's many green spaces. The perfect place to start is Fælledparken, a large park that is home to a number of sports facilities, ponds, and gardens. This is a great place to come if you want to relax or take part in some outdoor activities.
If you're looking for something a little more active, then head to Amager Beach Park. This beach park is located just outside of Copenhagen and offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. Plus, there are also a number of restaurants and cafes located in the park, so you can refuel after a day spent enjoying the great outdoors. It's the perfect way to recharge your batteries and get some time with nature on your Copenhagen itinerary, and you won't regret spending at least part of one of your 3 days in Copenhagen enjoying the scenery.
As the sun starts to set, make your way back into Copenhagen for dinner. If you're in the mood for some more traditional Danish cuisine, then Ostergro is a great option. This restaurant is located in an old converted stable and offers a menu of classic Danish dishes such as herring, frikadeller (meatballs) and stegt flæsk (pork belly).
After dinner, it's time to enjoy some live music. Denmark is well-known for its jazz scene, so make sure to check out one of Copenhagen's many jazz clubs. The Jazzhouse is one of the most popular options, and it features live music every night of the week. Or, if you're looking for something a little different, then head to the Experimental Sound Gallery, where you can enjoy live electronic music.
On the last of your 3 days in Copenhagen, take some time to explore some of the city's less well-known sights. Start your day by heading to the Copenhagen Zoo, where you can see animals from all over the world. This is a great activity for families, and it's also a great way to learn more about the animal kingdom.
Afterward, make your way to Frederiksberg Palace, which is located in the Frederiksberg district of Copenhagen. This palace was built in the 17th century and is now home to a number of museums and art galleries. If you're interested in learning more about Danish culture and history, then this is the perfect place to spend some time on the last of your days in Copenhagen.
Alternatively, you could visit the striking 17th-century Round Tower, which offers panoramic views over the city. This is a great option if you want to get some good photos of Copenhagen, and it's also a nice way to spend some time outdoors.
After all that, you're going to need some refreshments. Enjoy lunch at one of Copenhagen's many cafes, or alternatively, you could stop by a bakery for some traditional Danish pastries. Copenhagen City Hall Square is an excellent place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy some people watching while visiting Copenhagen.
In the afternoon, it's time to explore some of the best shopping in Copenhagen. Start by browsing the stores at Stroget, the city's main shopping street. This is a great place to find souvenirs, as well as to pick up some new clothes and accessories.
Alternatively, you could visit one of Copenhagen's many markets. The Torvehallerne market is a great option if you're looking for fresh produce, while the flea market at Gammel Strand is perfect for finding bargains on second-hand items.
After a day spent exploring Copenhagen, it's time to relax and enjoy some dinner. Restaurant Kronborg is a great option if you want to try some traditional Danish food. Alternatively, if you're looking for something a little different, then head to Noma, which is one of the most famous restaurants in Copenhagen. This eatery serves New Nordic cuisine, and it's definitely worth booking a table in advance.
End your last evening in Copenhagen by enjoying some live music at one of the city's many bars and clubs. Java is a great option if you want to listen to some jazz, or you could head to Rust for some live rock music. Alternatively, if you're looking for somewhere to dance the night away, then check out Culture Box, which is one of the best clubs in Copenhagen.
There are plenty of great things to do in Copenhagen, and this guide has hopefully given you some ideas to build your own perfect Copenhagen itinerary. Three days in Copenhagen isn't nearly enough to see everything the city offers, but it is enough to get an understanding of what makes the place so special. After spending a few packed days in Copenhagen, you may well find yourself planning to visit Copenhagen again very soon!