The Danish people are some of the happiest on the planet—and after a visit to Copenhagen, you’ll see why. A world-class city combining a rich history dating back to the Vikings, Copenhagen is the perfect blend of historic heritage and modern contemporary flair that makes it a cultural haven for art and architecture; a delightful foodie’s paradise; and a beacon for sustainable living. World-renowned for its amazing aesthetics, one could spend a lifetime exploring not only the city’s main attractions, but its nooks and crannies that exude creativity, innovation, and forward-thinking design.

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So how does one make the most of a short stay in Copenhagen? With so much to see and do, it may seem impossible to see the best of the city on a short stay. However, by choosing an itinerary that incorporates all the best elements of the city, any traveler visiting Copenhagen can have an amazing experience—even in 48 hours. Below is the ultimate two-day Copenhagen itinerary to experience the best of this Danish darling.

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Getting Around Copenhagen

The public transportation in Copenhagen is top-notch and can get travelers anywhere they want to go within the capital. Known for its efficiency and availability, visitors will find the Metro both easy to use and convenient, and the trains comfortable, punctual, and available. Copenhagen is also an extremely bike-friendly city that makes it easy to explore on two wheels—known as the best bike city in the world, there are plenty of bike rentals and established bike routes that make it fun to pedal your way between attractions. And of course, the city is great to explore on foot, too!

Day 1: Welcome To Copenhagen

Kastrup is Copenhagen’s airport and is less than a 15-minute trip away from the city center, depending on how you travel. Trains depart the airport every ten minutes, making it easy to get to the Copenhagen Central Station in a snap. the Metro is also easily accessible from the airport, however, there are several possible stops—so be sure you know where you’re headed. However, if you do miss a stop, have no fear—from the metro line M3, there are 17 steps that form a loop around the city—making it easy to find your way even if you pass your stop.

The best strategy for exploring Copenhagen in a short period of time is to stay in a centralized location, i.e. with access to public transportation nearby, or within walking distance. There are some great places to stay near Copenhagen Central Station which makes traveling throughout the city a snap.

  • Absalon Hotel Rooms $125 and up/night
  • Hotel Mayfair Rooms $95 and up/night
  • Imperial Hotel Rooms $114 and up/night

After checking in, it’s time to start exploring. Want to stretch your legs after a long flight? Then begin your journey on foot to the Tivoli Gardens, just a short walk away. Tivoli Gardens is one of the top tourist attractions in Copenhagen—sort of like a Danish Disneyland, it's more than just a theme park, it’s a historic haven replete with stunning architecture; lush gardens; and amazing scenery. Magical, charming, and beautiful, Tivoli is a great way to spend your first couple of hours in the city.

Helpful Tip: Tivoli is also a great place to grab a bite to eat as its offerings are diverse and delicious, with everything from traditional Danish fare to casual dining like the hamburger chain Gasoline Grill. The Tivoli Food Hall is also nearby for those who want to sample different items at a variety of food stands.

A great way to get the true Copenhagen experience is to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the city. After the excitement of Tivoli, head to Strøget, an iconic pedestrian area filled with both locals and tourists shopping, strolling, and soaking up the amazing atmosphere. In the heart of the city, Strøget is the perfect way to get a taste of modern, contemporary Copenhagen’s eclectic mix of past and present.

Helpful Tip: Strøget isn’t just for shopping and scoping architecture. Explore the adjoining side streets to see some of Copenhagen’s most famous and beautiful attractions.

  • Helligåndskirken, or Church of Our Lady, is a lovely church that has witnessed many important Danish historical events like royal weddings. Fans of architecture will appreciate the beautiful sculptures and statuary within. Located behind Gammeltorv Square
  • Historic Kongens Nytorv, or “The King’s New Square,” is located at the end of Strøget, and there a number of important buildings facing it, such as The Royal Danish Theatre, Charlottenborg Palace, and the Copenhagen Opera House
  • Amagertov Square is also known as the most central square in the city, and one of the oldest. Check out attractions like the Stork Fountain, the Church of the Holy Ghost, and the Mathias Hansen House. Amagertov is also a great place to see some incredible views across the canal including Christianborg Palace, home to Parliament, Denmark’s Supreme Court, and the Prime Minister’s Office. (Take a short tour if there’s time, or return on day two)
  • After a day of exploring, grab dinner at Skindbuksen, conveniently located a short walk away. Known for their casual, pub-like atmosphere and authentic Scandinavian dishes like open-faced sandwiches (smøorrebrød)

Day 2: History, Royalty, And Culture

Home to one of the oldest monarchies in the world, Copenhagen is home to a plethora of attractions that speak to classic cobblestones and historic castles that exist as an enchanting backdrop to the ever-evolving, modern city of today.

Copenhagen has its share of castles and palaces, but with only 48 hours to explore, visitors will have to be selective on what to see and do. Rosenborg Castle is a great place to start as it’s just a short ten-minute train ride away from Copenhagen Central Station. Take a tour and marvel at the luxe palace that was the home to Christian IV, one of the most famous Scandinavian kings. Amalienborg Palace is perfect for fans of royal history—and those who want a glimpse into the residence of Denmark’s current royal family. Try to be there for the changing of the guard, which happens every day at noon.

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Helpful Tip: Many of these attractions are free if you purchase the Copenhagen Card, a great way to save money if you plan on visiting multiple places. The card also gives access to unlimited travel on public transportation, too.

After a break for lunch at Restaurant Amalie, it’s time to explore The National Museum, one of the best ways to explore Denmark's long and storied history. The National Gallery is also a popular spot and the largest art museum in the country. However, for visitors who don’t want to spend the day in a museum, there are other places to explore on your final day.

  • Want an unforgettable view of Copenhagen’s breathtaking city vista? Then head to one of the most impressive churches in the area—The Marble Church
  • Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket showcases ancient and modern art—right in the heart of the city
  • No visit to Copenhagen is complete without a visit to Nyhavn, the city’s historic waterfront lined with brightly colored houses and fun places to grab an afternoon coffee—or a pre-dinner pint
  • Noma is one of the best restaurants in the city—the menu is seasonal and appropriately themed to include highlights celebrating the diversity of Scandinavian cuisine. The perfect place to cap off an adventurous and exciting 48 hours in Copenhagen

With so much to see and do in the Danish capital city of Copenhagen, it may seem impossible to get a taste of this world-class city in only 48 hours. However, with careful planning, adventurers can get their fill of some of the best culture, architecture, art, cuisine, and scenic sights that make this Scandinavian spot one of the best places to spend two fun-filled days.

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