Europe Denmark Copenhagen 3 Days in Copenhagen: The Perfect Copenhagen Itinerary

3 Days in Copenhagen: The Perfect Copenhagen Itinerary


For a well-rounded getaway, few cities in Europe deliver quite like Copenhagen. Equal parts historic and cosmopolitan, the capital of Denmark delights most travelers it encounters. Whatever your interests, the best things to do in Copenhagen are sure to include them. Still, it never hurts to prepare, which is where our guide comes in handy. Use this Copenhagen itinerary to plan your trip and find out what to do in Copenhagen in three days.

Best Time to Visit Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a city with many sides to it, so the best time to visit Copenhagen depends on how you want to see it. If you’re seeking the best weather, it’s hard to argue with the summer months of June through August. Of course, this is also the busiest time to visit, as tourists flock to make the most of the good weather and an array of festivals and other events.

Another great time to visit Copenhagen is in spring, especially April and May. These months are firmly within shoulder season, so prices often drop with the lower tourist numbers. You also get to experience Copenhagen’s best-kept secret – its dazzling spring blossoms, which bring new life to the city as it emerges from the chill of winter.

Another great time to come is in the lead-up to Christmas. Copenhagen is home to several excellent Christmas markets, and the city’s festive cheer is infectious throughout December. Winter won’t have fully hit yet, but you can still expect the city to be plenty cold.

How to Get Around Copenhagen

While visiting Copenhagen, you’ll find yourself moving around the city quite a lot. Though the city center isn’t huge, you could still wind up with a heap of walking throughout your long weekend in Copenhagen. That may be fine sometimes, as quite a few attractions are close together, but moving back and forth can quickly get tiring.

One alternative to all the walking is to hop on a bicycle. Cycling is second nature to the locals, so why not follow suit? See if your hotel or other accommodation provides bicycles to guests; if not, you’ll still find plenty of bicycle rentals around the city.

The most useful public transport options are the bus, S-train, and harbor bus. Buses are the most versatile method, able to take you throughout Copenhagen. The S-train connects the central train station and Østerport. Most inviting of all is the harbor bus, which gets you across and along the city canals. All public transport uses the same ticketing system, with a single-trip ticket costing 24 Danish krones (about $3.53).

Recommendation: Save time and money with the Copenhagen City Card. With this card, you not only get to use all public transportation for free, but can also enjoy free or discounted entrance to more than 80 museums and attractions.

If you’re flying into Copenhagen Airport, the best way to get into the city center is by train or metro. The train will take you to Copenhagen Central Station, while the metro takes you to other parts of the city center, such as Kongens Nytorv (which may be more useful, depending on your final destination).

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

Since a hotel or hostel can make or break a trip, deciding where to stay in Copenhagen is an important part of the planning process. It’s not just the type of accommodation that matters, but also its location in the city. Look for somewhere right in the city center or over in Vesterbro, as both of these areas are easy to reach and offer abundant options for sightseeing and dining.

Exuding pure luxury, the five-star Guldsmeden Manon Les Suites is the perfect place to treat yourself. With its massive suites, indoor pool, and stunning rooftop cafe, this hotel has everything you need for a memorable stay.

If you want to stay somewhere with a few comforts while keeping prices reasonable, Comfort Hotel Vesterbro is a smart pick. This three-star hotel offers complimentary breakfast and rooms with a creatively modern design that suits the equally creative Vesterbro neighborhood.

Urban House Copenhagen is a great choice for affordable accommodation. Conveniently located near the main train station, this hostel has everything from a billiards lounge to a bicycle shop. But it’s the staff and boutique design that make this one of the best places to stay in Copenhagen. For other budget options, check out our guide to the best hostels in Copenhagen.

Airbnb is another great option, listing tons of beautiful vacation rentals in Copenhagen.

For more accommodation options in Copenhagen, check out This site consistently offers the best rates, and its customer service is on point.

The Perfect 3-Day Copenhagen Itinerary

Unlike with some other major European capitals, seeing the best of Copenhagen won’t require an entire week of your vacation. Though the city has a wealth of attractions that will easily win you over, you should feel confident that 72 hours in Copenhagen is enough. By planning your visit with this guide, you should have no problem seeing the city’s best sights and coming away from your trip thoroughly in love with Denmark’s capital.

This guide starts in the heart of the city center and continues over your first two days, covering not only the prettiest parts of the city and its beloved symbols, but also important historical and cultural landmarks. You’ll experience Danish food, leisure, shopping, and other aspects of the culture. Afterward, you’ll have time for a day trip to one of the many fascinating destinations nearby.

However, before we get to our Copenhagen itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.

SafetyWing offers travel insurance for only about $10 a week, making it a no-brainer to get. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:

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SafetyWing is, of course, not the only option available. Two other popular alternatives are World Nomads and Heymondo.

Now that you’re appropriately prepared for your trip, let’s dive into what you can expect from your three days in Copenhagen as you follow our expert Copenhagen travel itinerary.

Copenhagen Itinerary: Day 1

On your first day in the city, you might as well see the very best places to visit in Copenhagen, starting right in the heart of the city center.

Recommendation: If you want to learn a little more about Copenhagen’s history or see an alternative side to the city, consider joining this 2.5-hour city walking tour or this 2.5-hour alternative tour. Both are great choices, depending on your interests.

City Hall Square

Like any great European city, Copenhagen has a big main square that you must visit. With the grand architecture around its sides, City Hall Square doesn’t disappoint. 

Copenhagen City Hall takes pride of place, its gilded edges glimmering in the sunlight, but the neighboring buildings each add to the square’s character. So do the several statues in and around the square. Hard to miss is the Lur Blowers statue of two men sounding curved horns on top of a pillar, as is the Dragon Fountain, which depicts a dragon and a bull fighting in vivid detail.

Copenhagen City Hall is the headquarters of the municipal council as well as the Lord mayor of the Copenhagen, Denmark
S-F /


Stretching right across the center of Copenhagen, the pedestrian street of Strøgetstarts at City Hall Square and runs right into The King’s New Square (Kongens Nytorv). You’ll pass a ton of shops as you cross Copenhagen on this street. Besides being great for window shopping, Strøget is quite pretty in its own right and offers some nice views of other city landmarks nearby.

Stroget Street. Commercial street with sidewalk cafe in historical city centre of Copenhagen a sunny day of summer. Denmark
JJFarq /


Copenhagen is a waterfront city, and there’s no argument that the most photogenic waterfront spot in the city is Nyhavn. Once a busy, rough-and-tumble port, Nyhavn is still lively, but now in a brighter and more cheerful way. You’ll find plenty of boats packed into this small canal harbor, but it’s the classic waterfront houses that will make you stop for photos. With such a pretty scene, you won’t need persuading to stop at one of the many waterfront restaurants here and just soak up the atmosphere.

Nyhavn is also where you can catch one of the many canal cruise boats that go along the main harbor and adjoining canals. You can learn more or book a canal cruise here.

Nyhavn district in Copenhagen, Denmark
S-F /

Amalienborg Square

Palaces aren’t in short supply in Copenhagen, especially around Amalienborg Square. On each side of this grand ring of cobblestone, you’ll see the elegant buildings of Amalienborg Palace. Tourists often visit this square to see the statue of King Frederik V on horseback or watch the ceremonial changing of the guards. The view from the square includes the large dome of the 18th-century Frederik’s Church.

Royal Guard in Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen in Denmark
Evikka /

Churchill Park and Langelinie

Just up along the waterfront, you’ll find Churchill Park and Langelinie (which comprises a pier, promenade, and park), both packed with landmarks. Starting in Churchill Park, you’ll come across the elegant gray and white St. Alban’s Church with the striking Gefion Fountain beside it. Following the waterfront promenade, you’ll soon reach the angelic statue of the Maritime Monument in Langelinie’s park area, which really comes alive when spring blooms.

As you walk along the Langelinie, you’ll be surrounded by water, with the canals on one side and Kastellet’s moat on the other. There’s no better way to find The Little Mermaid! Despite its small stature, this bronze statue of the beloved fairy-tale character has become a major icon of Copenhagen.

View of the Little mermaid statue in Copenhagen Denmark
Pocholo Calapre /


Having walked past it, you can now turn and cross one of the bridges to Kastellet (The Citadel). With its moats and high grassy embankments, this large star-shaped fortress is quite the sight. Once part of Copenhagen’s defenses, Kastellet is now a public park with walking trails along its old fortifications. At the center of the fortress are several heritage buildings, which are the main reminders of its military past along with the large stone gates.

Kastellet, Copenhagen, Denmark, is one of the star fortresses in Northern Europe
Anton_Ivanov /

Tivoli Gardens

It’s time for some fun at Tivoli Gardens, the second-oldest amusement park in the world. Tivoli has everything from rides to musical performances among its beautiful gardens. The rides include a vintage wooden roller coaster, drop towers, bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, and a swing carousel. Amazingly, this park was the inspiration for Disneyland!

In November and December, the gardens become a winter wonderland with a Christmas market, an ice-skating rink, and dazzling lights. But no matter the season of your visit (or your age!), Tivoli Gardens is a great way to spend your first evening in the city. You can purchase your skip-the-line tickets in advance here.

Tivoli Garden Swing Carousel Ride in Copenhagen, Denmark
George Sandu /

Copenhagen Itinerary: Day 2

For your second day, you’ll return to the city center before gradually venturing beyond. You’ll also have a chance to experience other sides of the city beyond sightseeing.

Christiansborg Palace

One of the big landmarks in the city center that you didn’t visit on your first day is Christiansborg Palace, which is actually on its own little island within the city. Back in the 12th century, the city itself was founded right where the palace now stands. Today, this massive 20th-century palace hosts several royal functions and each branch of the government, including the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Prime Minister’s Office. 

You can tour the palace inside and out. While the view of the main courtyard is quite impressive, it pales in comparison to the grandiose design and beautiful tapestries of the Great Hall.

The royal stables at the Christiansborg palace in Copenhagen, Denmark
S-F /

Rosenborg Castle

Another palatial building you won’t want to miss is Rosenborg Castle, with its graceful architecture, inviting garden, and overwhelming treasury. This Renaissance castle is where you’ll find many of the shiniest items tied to the Danish royal family, including the crown jewels and coronation thrones. Besides the opulent collections of the treasury, you can appreciate the glamorous interior of this royal palace as you pass from room to room.

The Rosenborg castle seen from the King's garden in Copenhagen, Denmark
Gimas /

Statens Museum for Kunst

Copenhagen is a capital of culture, with countless museums and galleries worth your time. You could spend days visiting places like the National Museum of Denmark and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, but if you only have time for one museum, it should be the Statens Museum for Kunst (the National Gallery of Denmark). 

In this vast museum just across from Rosenborg Castle, you’ll find works of art spanning centuries, from the Renaissance to the contemporary and modern eras. These include the works of not only Danish artists, but also such names as Peter Paul Rubens, Henri Matisse, and Edvard Munch, as well as whatever artists each temporary exhibit brings.

National Gallery main building in Copenhagen, Denmark
ArtMediaFactory /


With its many Michelin-starred restaurants, Copenhagen has become a major foodie destination. But you don’t need to fork out lots of money to try Danish cuisine at Torvehallerne. This food market hosts over 60 stalls selling baked goods, fresh fish, alcoholic drinks, all sorts of gourmet produce, and anything else you might want to try.

For a truly local taste, try smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich heaped with cold meat, fish, and various garnishes. You can also grab a fresh coffee here to help you through the rest of your sightseeing.

Torvehallerne Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark
Milosz Maslanka /

Royal Danish Playhouse and Opera House

Up to this point, you’ve focused mostly on the historical side of Copenhagen, but the city can be quite fresh and modern too. Just look to the strikingly modern design of the Royal Danish Playhouse and Opera House for an example. Positioned on opposite sides of the canal, both waterfront venues help make this part of the city inviting. Either one is a fantastic place to catch an evening performance if you have time. Don’t forget to dress up!

Modern building of the Royal Theater in historic city center facing famous Copenhagen waterfront
Elijah Lovkoff /

Freetown Christiania

Copenhagen may seem like quite a straight-laced city, but that’s not the case with Freetown Christiania. Set on a former barracks at the southeast edge of the city center, this alternative community has strived to be self-sufficient and independent from the city for decades. A visit to the commune makes you feel like you’ve left Copenhagen behind. 

Freetown Christiania is known for its successful cannabis and hash trade, so it’s common to see people smoking here. Just keep in mind that cannabis is illegal in Denmark, and don’t take photos around the Green Light District. Still, with organic food, live music, and tours through the community, it’s become quite an attraction for visitors looking to see another side of the city.

If you want to learn more about Freetown Christiania and how hippies took over a military base in the 1970s, consider joining this alternative walking tour. It’s a fascinating tour and highly recommended.

Graffiti at Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen


A great way to unwind after another day of sightseeing is with a soak at one of Copenhagen’s many spas. Relaxing in hot tubs and saunas is another slice of Danish life you need to experience. 

While there are many day spas across the city, you won’t find any quite like CopenHot. Not only does it have big outdoor barrel spas right along the waterfront, but its panoramic saunas each have a huge window that lets you gaze out across the harbor. Don’t miss its sailing hot tubs, which let you drink and play music while floating around Copenhagen’s waterways in heated comfort.

Copenhagen Itinerary: Day 3

You’re likely infatuated with Copenhagen by now, but it’s time to explore other parts of Denmark or even hop over to Sweden. Any of these day trips from Copenhagen will give you a better sense of just how awesome Denmark or Scandinavia in general is.

Recommendation: To get the most out of your third day in Copenhagen, consider joining this highly rated day tour to Roskilde, Frederiksborg Castle, and Kronborg. The tour is ideal if you are short on time and want to see as much of historic Denmark as possible.


Denmark and castles go hand in hand, so why not spend your day visiting Kronborg Castle in the city of Helsingør (also known as Elsinore)? This incredible Renaissance castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and best known as the setting of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Inside the castle, you’ll learn about Helsingør’s history and delve into the crypts and catacombs. Because of its literary link, the castle also hosts the annual Shakespeare Festival, letting you see Hamlet in its actual setting if you visit in August.

While Kronborg is the city’s most famous landmark, there’s much more to Helsingør (not to be confused with its Swedish neighbor across the water, Helsingborg)! At its center lies the quaint Old Town, complete with cobblestone alleys and picturesque houses. But this port city can also be strikingly modern, as the Kulturhavn Kronborg (Culture Harbor) proves with the contemporary design of the M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark. You can learn plenty about Vikings from the museum’s exhibits on Denmark’s seafaring history.

Kronborg Castle of Hamlet by William Shakespeare Elsinore Helsingor Denmark
Ron Zmiri /


Another great Danish city that’s easy to visit from Copenhagen is Roskilde. Although there’s a great deal to see in this ancient city, Roskilde is best known for two wildly different things – a music festival and a seafaring museum.

The Roskilde Festival spans four days and attracts over 100,000 guests each summer, making it one of the biggest music festivals in Europe. When it started in 1971, the festival focused on Scandinavian and other European music, but it now attracts major international artists like Metallica, Bruno Mars, and Eminem. Roskilde’s love of music has also led to the creation of Ragnarock, a museum that explores the history of rock.

Roskilde is also famous for its incredible Viking history, best covered in the Viking Ship Museum. Here you can learn about the history and culture of the Vikings – and even see the remains of five Viking ships that were uncovered in the nearby fjord. You can also watch new Viking ships being made in the shipyard workshops.

A Viking ship inside the Viking Ship Museum of Roskilde, Denmark
RPBaiao /


Since you can actually see Sweden from Copenhagen, the temptation to visit a new country is hard to ignore. This is easy to do with a day trip over the Øresund Bridge to Malmö. This Swedish city is full of history and character, and you can see quite a bit of it in just a day.

It’s best to start with the delightful half-timbered houses that line the central square, Lilla Torg, before heading over to Malmö Castle. Inside this low-lying fortress, you can visit the City Museum and then wander the castle gardens and King’s Park (Kungsparken) in search of the castle’s windmill. Just over from King’s Park, you’ll find a wonderful mix of modern and historic design at the Malmö City Library.

If the weather’s right for it, don’t miss a trip down to Malmö’s waterfront. You can not only spend some time at Ribersborg Beach and see the Turning Torso (the tallest building in Sweden), but also look back at the Øresund Bridge stretching off to the horizon.

People enjoy a sunny day at Stortorget square in Malmo, Sweden
Matyas Rehak /

It may be hard to believe, but that’s it! You can certainly understand how it’s possible to see Copenhagen in three days and have a little time left over for sightseeing beyond the city.



  • Janet Ebenger

    Hi David,
    Your information is perfectly presented, and full of great ideas. Thank you. We are taking a 10 day cruise out of Copenhagen and then planning to stay 2 or 3 extra nights in Copenhagen. Your suggestions helped us decide to spend more time in Copenhagen. Question: Our cruise will have lots of history, so we were thinking of taking a day trip to explore, hike, and visit a town with restaurants. Just in case you have any suggestions. Thanks again for making our trip planning easier.

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