How to spend a perfect weekend in Copenhagen
I often get asked by email, on Facebook, or via Twitter about tips for spending a weekend in Copenhagen. I realize that I often share specific tips for a single place to eat, or my favorite burger or brunch places, but I’ve actually never done a full round-up post on how to spend the perfect weekend in Copenhagen.
Obviously, a perfect weekend can mean a boatload of different things to different people – some like their weekends heavy on culture and history, others love to eat their way through a city (that would be me), and some love to just wander around and take in the local scenery. This little guide is an attempt to mix most of these together and to cross some must-sees and must-dos off the list for first-time visitors. I might attempt some more specific plans focused around culture, food, or authentic experiences later on.
Arrive in the afternoon and make your way to the city. Start with a little pre-dinner drink at Curfew of 1656, before heading to dinner in the trendy Meatpacking District (“kødbyen”). Here, you have an abundance of options – loads of great restaurants tightly packed in former slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants. For amazing barbecue and the famous Danish Mikkeller beer, head to Warpigs. If you’re in the mood for a laid-back burger, Tommi’s Burger Joint and Juicy Burger are great options. If you’re feeling fancy, try out Gorilla‘s 10- or 15-course menu. Mother serves the best pizza in Copenhagen, and at BioMio, you’ll find some great veggie options. Head for dessert at Kødbyens Fiskebar. If you’re not tired yet, head to NoHo bar or Bakken (a little more rustic).
On Fridays in the summer half, you’ll also be able to catch a concert at the famous Tivoli Gardens. Their “Friday Rock” (fredagsrock) sessions attract Danish and international talent, and you usually only pay the normal entrance to the park (DKK 100).
Get up early and head to The Union Kitchen for breakfast – they serve classics like eggs benedict or chicken & waffles with a healthy twist, and their coffee is excellent. From there, stroll down Nyhavn, one of Copenhagen’s most famous streets, and marvel at the colorful houses, before hopping on a canal tour.
If you only have a weekend, I highly recommend spending an hour cruising along the harbor and through the beautiful canals. The tour will take you to some of the most famous buildings and sights (such as the opera house, the parliament building Christiansborg, the old stock exchange, and the Little Mermaid). It will also give you a chance to see the beautiful canals of Christianshavn.
After the tour, take the short walk to Amalienborg Castle, the residence of the Danish royal family. At noon every day, you get the chance to see the changing of the royal guards. When the ceremony is over, walk back towards Kongens Nytorv with the beautiful old Hotel d’Angleterre. If you’re in the mood, take a quick shopping break at Magasin du Nord, but I recommend you walk down Gothersgade, past the King’s Garden and Rosenborg Castle, towards busy Nørreport station.
Right by Nørreport, you’ll find Torvehallerne, the huge in- and outdoor food market, where you can stop for lunch at one of the many food stalls. Among my favorites are the tacos from Noma’s former pastry chef at Hija de Sanchez, the “pizza sandwiches” at Gorm’s, the Vietnamese street food at Bánh Mì Daily, and the duck confit sandwich at Ma Poule. If you want to go Danish, you’ll find the classic smørrebrød here, too. Don’t forget a coffee at the Coffee Collective!
From Torvehallerne, it’s only a short walk into Nørrebro (maybe with a quick stop at Maduro!). I love the antique and vintage stores on Ravnsborggade, where you can easily spend an afternoon browsing and hunting for treasures. When you’re done shopping, rest your feet in one of the many wine bars in the area, for example Vinhanen, Ravnsborg Vinbar, or P2 by Malbeck. Sit outside and engage in some people-watching!
Look at that, it’s already time for dinner! Seeing as you’re already in the area, why not check out Nørrebro Bryghus? They even offer a multi-course menu with a beer pairing! If you’re in the mood for Nordic food, Höst is a favorite of mine that I happily recommend for their excellent food and affordable prices. You’ll find delicious pizza, homemade mozzarella, and amazing meats at Bæst.
If you’re in the mood for an after-dinner cocktail, Ruby and Lidkoeb are all-time favorites that won’t leave anything to be desired.
For breakfast, you’ll want to head to one of the current Instagram favorites in the inner city. Atelier September on Gothersgade arguably makes the prettiest avocado toast in town, and new Hafnia Bar serves popular acai bowls and other healthy breakfast that’ll give you energy for your last day in Copenhagen.
From there, take the short walk to Nyhavn and take the boat bus (line 993) across to Papirøen to explore the beautiful Christianshavn. You may even want to take a short trip to Christiania, the self-proclaimed free state smack-dab in the city center, a certainly unique community. Just be aware not to take pictures on the central “pusher street”.
The old cobblestone streets with their colorful little houses along the picturesque canals are perfect for a Sunday stroll. You may even dare to climb up the Church of Our Savior’s spiral staircase for a view of Copenhagen’s harbor.
Once you get hungry again, make your way back to Papirøen, to Copenhagen Street Food. This unique street food market houses stalls and trucks in a large, semi-open old factory building. Grab your favorite lunch (for some inspiration, check out my guide here) and sit in one of the deck chairs outside by the water.
If you have time in the afternoon for some culture, I highly recommend Glyptoteket, a large sculpture collection in the most beautiful surroundings. I especially love the huge winter garden under the glass dome! The museum is very close to the central station, so it will be easy to hop on a train to the airport once you’re ready to depart.
There you go – my first attempt at putting together a rather ambitious itinerary for the perfect weekend in Copenhagen! What’s on your must-see list? Share in the comments below!