You find yourself with a weekend to spare and after scouring Skyscanner, you stumble upon cheap flights to Copenhagen. Seventy-two hours of fun and you can still make it back for your Monday morning 9am lecture. What is not to love? If you want to maximise your time in this incredible city, this guide is for you. From delightful food to stunning interiors and architecture, Copenhagen really does have it all. Not to mention the people look like they have been handcrafted by God himself.
So you have touched down at Copenhagen Airport on Friday morning. First things first: transport into the city. The easiest and best way to do this is on the metro. Lots of people recommend getting the Copenhagen Card, which is a tourist card that gives you unlimited travel on all public transport and free entry to lots of attractions. I cannot vouch for this personally, but it seems like a good deal! If not, it is super easy to buy a ticket for the metro at the airport and hop on.
Next on the agenda: brunch. By this point you are probably hungry after your early flight, so head to Ø12, an amazing (and photogenic) brunch spot near the centre of town. The food is really great, and if you are trying to fit in with the locals, the Morning Plate gives you a taste of a typical Danish breakfast. It is worth noting that Copenhagen, while delightful, is not a cheap city, so do not be shocked if your bill is a bit larger than it would be in Manchester.
By now you are sufficiently fed and watered, and ready to do some sightseeing. Conveniently, Ø12 is situated in close range to some of the city’s best tourist sights. Take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens and the King’s Garden to catch a glimpse of the majestic Rosenborg Palace. Or, if museums are more your thing, the Statens Museum for Kunst and the Natural History museum are right across the road.
If you would prefer to skip the tourist stuff and pretend to be a hot Danish local instead, head to Strøget, Europe’s largest shopping street which is laden with high-street favourites we know and love, but also some hidden Scandinavian gems too. If you want to dream about ways to redecorate your student house and bring a taste of Scandi design to Fallowfield, check out Hay House, Gina Tricot, a very cool Scandinavian high street staple, and Studio Arhoj. Found on a side street not far from Strøget, this ceramics store is like a jar of sunshine, filled with playful and colourful ceramics that, while not cheap, would make the perfect souvenir.
Having done some damage to your wallet, you will want to take a walk and see more of the city. You cannot come to Copenhagen without seeing the colourful houses of Nyhavn. Yes, it is very touristy, but it is an iconic photo spot and it really is that pretty in real life. So grab your travel partner (or your tripod if you are travelling solo) and get that Instagram content! If you choose one ultra-touristy thing to do while you are in Copenhagen, make it Nyhavn instead of The Little Mermaid Statue, which is hideously underwhelming and definitely not worth the walk.
After a long day of city living, you are probably ready for dinner at this point. There is no better place to go than Fabro, a tiny, neighbourhood pasta bar bursting with stylish locals. The waiters are a bit abrupt, you seem to have to grab your own drinks out of the fridge, and you will probably have to queue to get in, but just know that it is extremely worth it. The food is cheap by Danish standards and their pomodoro pasta with burrata on top is the stuff of dreams.
Day two kicks off with the best of the Danish culinary tradition: pastries. Whilst there are so many to choose from (and trust me, I have tried a lot), the best ones to try if you have limited time in the city would be Skt. Peders Bageri, Copenhagen’s oldest bakery, or Buka, as they are so centrally located. You will have noticed by now that everyone gets around on bikes and it is much easier than it seems, so grab yourself a Donkey Bike and get cycling. The next stop is Glyptoteket, which is the most stunning gallery, or if you are a big kid at heart, head to Tivoli Gardens instead and admire the third-oldest theme park in the world.
By this point, you are probably getting hungry again, so saddle up and cycle across the bridge to Reffen, an incredible outdoor food market. It is a trek to get to, but definitely worth it, and you can build up an appetite on the cycle. There is so much choice, from African kebabs to fish and chips, you really cannot go wrong. Sip on some sangria and take in the atmosphere, it is like a slice of Spain in Scandinavia. Do not forget to pop into Christiania on your way back into the city centre to check out this hippy commune known for its casual attitude towards drugs and quirky design.
In the evening head out to Vesterbro for the most aesthetic Greek food you will ever encounter at Delphine. Then it is onward to bar-hop your way around the eclectic and exciting Meatpacking District, the coolest area of the city and the best place to spot Danish hipsters.
The final day begins with a coffee and pastry (of course!) at Democratic Coffee in the Central Library. This may seem like a random choice, but the almond croissants here really are something special, and it is the perfect place to people-watch.
For the last couple of hours in this incredible city, there is so much you could do. For the fashion-focussed traveller, an afternoon of thrifting and browsing the independent shops in Nørrebro, particularly along Jægersborggarde, is the perfect way to spend the morning. Or, for the more adventurous among us, rent a self-drive boat (friendships are the easiest and best value for money) and spend away the hours exploring the city by water.
As a final meal in Copenhagen, Gasoline Grill ticks all the boxes. It may seem like just fast food, but the burgers here are unmatched and will fill you up before the flight. They even have an outlet in the airport itself if you are short on time.
It would be impossible to see all that Copenhagen has to offer in just a weekend, but this gives you a taste of the Scandi lifestyle and a way to maximise your time. What are you waiting for? Book that flight and go!