Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Copenhagen, somewhere I have wanted to go for sooo long! If you follow me on social media you’ll know that I asked my Twitter followers to help me decide my next winter city break destination as I just couldn’t make my mind up, so I was so pleased when Copenhagen came out on top and won the poll! I travelled to the city with my sister for three nights and we had the most amazing time, walking for miles each day and enjoying everything there is to see and do. Copenhagen really is the perfect destination for a European winter city break, and here’s my ULTIMATE guide to visiting the charming Danish capital…
Get around like a local
The centre of Copenhagen is fairly compact, so you can get around pretty much everywhere on foot, or by bike, which is what most of the locals seemed to do! My sister and I walked everywhere and ended up doing a good 15km per day, but we were venturing over to Christianshavn and exploring a little further afield instead of sticking to the central area. We did use the metro to get to and from the airport and found it super straight forward and low cost too – just like the London underground but much cleaner! Copenhagen Central Station is right next to Tivoli Gardens, around a 10-15 min walk right to the centre, so this was really easy to navigate and made it a good base from which to get our bearings.
Choose your hotel carefully
We were staying at the Copenhagen Admiral Hotel, just around the corner from the beautiful Nyhavn Harbour and right on the waterfront facing Christianshavn and Paper Island. We took the metro from the airport to Kongens Nytorv and the hotel was a 10 minute walk away from there. We found the location to be absolutely perfect for where we needed to be, and what we wanted to see. The Little Mermaid and Kastallet Fortress were a 20 min walk away along the waterfront, whilst Rosenborg Castle and the botanical gardens were still 20 minutes away, but in the opposite direction. It took us less than 5 minutes to reach Amalienborg Palace and around 10 minutes to reach Christiansborg Palace respectively, whilst the Round Tower was a 15 minute walk away. On city breaks it’s pretty crucial to be central to the attractions you want to visit so as not to waste too much time travelling around, and this was certainly a big factor for us during our stay. Copenhagen Admiral was the perfect base for us, and I’d highly recommend this place to anyone looking to be in the centre of the action whilst in the city – you can read my full review and blog post here!
Gaze at The Little Mermaid
Ahhhh the little mermaid – I just LOVE her! I’ve wanted to see her since I was a little girl, and before my trip so many people had warned me that it wouldn’t be worth the wait, that she’s just a tiny statue in the middle of the water, and that she’s nothing special at all but, you know what, I found her to be totally magical and utterly mesmerising. I know she’s only small, but to me that was what made her so beautiful. She was dainty and sweet yet iconic and powerful, everything the little mermaid should be! People come from all of the world to catch a glimpse of her, and I’m so glad I finally got to see her for myself after all these years!
Stroll around the royal residences
Copenhagen is home to the Danish royal family, and they have a number of residences in the city, most notably the grand palaces of Amalienborg and Christiansborg. Both residences are open to the public for guided tours and you can catch the changing of the guard at Amalienborg every day at 12 noon – something that is a must see during your time in the city! We climbed the tower at Christiansborg for views across the city, and also visited the royal chapel too. On our last day we made our way to Rosenborg Castle, which has been preserved and is now a museum showcasing the history of the monarchy over the past 400 years. The castle is home to the legendary crown jewels and was truly beautiful, we loved spending our last morning in Copenhagen exploring this special place!
Depending on where you’re staying, Christianshavn should be able to be easily reached either on foot or by metro from anywhere in Copenhagen. This area of the city is a Freetown and is home to an abundance of café’s, bakeries, cars and restaurants. We were just opposite and could see the whole area from our hotel, so a short walk across the nearby bridge brought us there in just a few minutes. Prior to the trip, several of my blogger friends had recommended we check out Papioren, a huge indoor market home to every kind of street food you could think of, and many stalls and stands selling clothes, shoes, ornaments and souvenirs to take home. We spent a good couple of hours wandering around, trying to decide whether we should eat Chinese noodles, Italian pizza, American pulled pork or Indian curry before eventually choosing to share a huge Moroccan flatbread and a portion of sweet potato fries- we ate well that day! After deciding we should probably work off our lunch we strolled around Christainshavn before finding the Church of Our Saviour, complete with its amazing organ, beautiful architecture and impressive gothic spire. Sadly the tower was closed during our trip so we couldn’t climb the 400 odd steps to the top, but it was a beautiful building and well worth the visit.
Go Instagram crazy at Nyhavn harbour
I have lost count of the amount of times I took photos of the beautiful Nyhavn harbour, I just loved it!! I’ve never seen anything like it before and it was truly stunning from every angle, and in every light. Admittedly, it looked a whole lot better with a background of blue sky and bright sunshine, but it looked just as pretty in the dark at night with the lights catching the reflection of the water perfectly. Nyhavn is a tourists paradise, and the whole area was busy pretty much all of the time but we still managed to get some brilliant photos. Eating in the area was expensive, so I’d recommend heading towards the Stroget or around the Kongens Nytorv area for a cheaper meal, although if you want to splash out one night the Nyhavn is a real treat and a lovely dining experience. Don’t forget to grab a chocolate dipped waffle and stroll along the harbour devouring your new sugary snack – I definitely enjoyed this a bit too much while I was there 😉
Stroll down the Stroget
One of the largest pedestrianized shopping streets in Europe, the Stroget is home to every kind of shop, restaurant and bar you can think of. You’ll find a mixture of high street and small independent shops as well as high-end designer stores and boutique outlets too, If shopping is your thing you will easily spend a day strolling down this enormous street and browsing til your hearts content. I have to say, I’m not much of a shopper, especially when I’m on holiday – I don’t need to bring extra weight back in my luggage with me (!) – so we just used the street to get around and walk to and from some of the attractions in the area.
Climb the Round Tower
It took us until the very last day to see the Round Tower, or RundeTaarn as the locals call it. I’d read so much about it on other people’s blogs and was so excited to finally see it for myself just before we hopped on the plane back to London. Built in the 17th century to allow the King to ride his horse all the way to the top, the Round Tower is just one big ramp that winds up and up until you reach the top – and the views are pretty spectacular once you get there. It was super windy when we were there so it literally took our breath away and it was SO BLOODY COLD, but climbing the tower was an experience in itself and was the perfect way to end our time in Copenhagen.
So there we have it, my ultimate travel guide to Copenhagen. Explore this compact city on foot to fully take in everything there is to see and do, and don’t forget to pack your thermals if you’re visiting during winter! Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to Copenhagen and helps with that all important planning.
Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!
Love Jess x
Goodbye colourful #copenhagen – you've been amazing and we've had the best winter city break! Over the past four days we've walked 50+ kilometres, eaten lots of Danish pastries, climbed the tallest towers, seen famous landmarks, visited two new countries, explored two new cities and found one little mermaid! So pleased the sun shone for us on our last day and made it extra special… Until next time Denmark! 🇩🇰💖 #visitcopenhagen #citybreak #neverwannaleave