Copenhagen is home to some of the happiest people in the world and it’s not hard to see why.
It’s a pretty small place, which means you can do a lot of your sightseeing on foot. Wandering from the pretty harbour, through historic streets to new neighbourhoods with thriving food and drink scenes.
You’ve got palaces and castles, photo-friendly buildings and architecture, stylish shopping and cool nightlife, so here’s how to make the most of your weekend there.
Eating and drinking
1. Try a Danish takeaway
You’ve probably heard that Copenhagen is expensive – and it can be, with things like beer costing around £8.
So whilst you’re there, try and save on lunches with some great take away food to eat on the move.
Visit one of the hot dog stalls (pølsevognen in Danish) – these are everywhere and the sausages are amazing.
2. Do some fine dining
As of 2016, the city has a total of 20 Michelin stars (the most of any Scandinavian city).
3. Eat something truly Danish
Strekers in Skipperkroen does a really good monthly menu – three courses with a glass of bubbly for 350KR. We recommend you save room for the creme brulee if it’s on the menu.
If you’re thirsty, try an “all you can drink” set menu (about 5 courses for 450KR / c£40) at Restaurant Vespa. As you can imagine it is pretty popular so book ahead.
You’ll also find loads of places to get a quality caffiene hit – Original Coffee is just one of the chains that serve up a great cup of coffee.
To try a little big of everything, visit the Copenhagen Street Food market on Papirøen (Paper Island). It’s all undercover which makes it ideal if the weather is bad or cold.
4. See THE statue
It does get really busy, especially because lots of boat trips get dropped off there, so take a stroll down in the early morning if you can.
It’s there because the Little Mermaid was written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. His other stories include The Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina and The Ugly ducking.
5. Visit Rosenborg Castle
King Christian IV built this Royal Renaissance residence more than 400 years ago and it became his favourite home from home.
Even if you don’t go inside its a lovely place to wander around the gardens and the outside of the castle, which is also home to the Crown Jewels.
6. Head up high
Christiansborg Palace’s tower has sweeping views of the city – for free.
It’s also got a restaurant at the top, and while you’re there, the Round Tower is also worth a visit – there aren’t steps but a sloped walkway.
7. Check out the churches
The striking green dome of Frederik’s Kirk, popularly known as The Marble Church, is a popular place for weddings.
Pop up to the dome for views of the city.
The Church of Our Saviour or Vor Frelsers Kirke has an unusual helix spire with an external winding – and you can climb up the tower in nicer weather.
8. Visit picture perfect Nyhaven
If you’ve seen any pictures at all of Copenhagen, you’ll probably recognise Nyhaven.
This lovely colourful road is full of bars and restaurants, and well worth a stroll.
9. Go to one of the most alternative communities in the world
The freetown of Christiania is one of the most controversial and popular locations in the city since its foundation in 1971.
This is a people watching place: some of the residents like to smoke cannabis in the streets, and has intriguing military-style architecture as it is founded in a barracks.
There can be the odd dodgy character around so if you’re worried, take a guided tour.
10. Eat drink and shop in Vesterbro and Istedgade
These areas are a bit student-y in places and Vesterbro was once the red light district – however it’s become super fashionable lately.
Either way you’ll want to see Copenhagen’s homage to Paris- Værnedamsvej street – where there are plenty of bars, restaurant and coffee shops.
The Meatpacking District is also worth a look too.
11. Find out more about the Vikings
The National Museum of Denmark takes you back to when the Norsemen ruled the waves.
As well as rare artefacts like the Sun Chariot, the museum will also bring you up to date with recent history as well.
12. See some art
The National Art Gallery is free to visit and is housed in a huge building.
They also look after the Royal Art collection here.
13. Catch a play, opera or ballet
The Royal Danish Theatre was established back in 1748.
You can get guided tours of the building, as well as The Opera House, if you just want to look around.
14. See the local plants and trees at the Botanical Gardens
Copenhagen’s gardens are the biggest collection of flowers and plants in the country, stretching throughout large glasshouses.
15. Visit the famous city centre amusement park
Tivoli Gardens is open late – all the better to see the illuminations on the lake.
Its open from April to September, and then also for Halloween and Christmas.
16. See the oldest amusement park in the world
Just a short drive from the cit you’ll find Dyrehavsbakken.
Surrounded by woodland, the pleasure gardens have been around since 1583 – although thankfully there are some modern amusements alongside the traditional entertainments.
17. Travel the canals on a boat tour
With its rich maritime history its a good idea to get another view of Copenhagen by boat.
Pick a tour up at Gammel Strand – it’s a great way to get your bearings – here are some of boat tours available.
18. Take a free walking tour
These go every day of the week – and you can pick and choose which one you want to go on – they cover a decent range of interests.
If you really enjoy the walking tour – make sure you have a little cash for tips.
19. If it’s nice, go for a dip
You can go for a swim at the beaches along the coast or in one of the recently cleaned up harbour pools which are dead in the centre – here are some of the best spots for swimming.
20. Do some serious shopping
If you want to visit the biggest department store in Scandinavia, head to the historic Magasin du Nord – there are seven floors.
21. To day trip or not to day trip? That is the question
Just north of Copenhagen, you’ll find the 16th Century Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, which is now a UNESCO’s World Heritage site, and was rumoured to have inspired Hamlet.
It’s definitely worth the one hour trip by train – its cheap and reliable (you can pay by car), but make sure you get a day ticket not return as it is much better value.
22. Go across the border to Sweden
If you get the train to Malmo in Sweden, you can say you did two countries in one trip.
And if you’re a fan of hit Scandi drama The Bridge, you’ll already know you can cross the Oresund Bridge both ways by car or by train (in fact 25 million people travel across it every year).
Malmo is the third biggest city in Sweden and this pretty harbour town will give you a little slide of Swedish life.
Essential information for Copenhagen
Getting around the city
You can buy a Copenhagen Card if you’re planning on travelling round on public transport. Buy it at the airport and use it to get into the city – they work on buses and give you free admission into 73 museums and attractions as well as further discounts.
There’s a big cycle culture in Copenhagen (they even have a bike bridge) and you can hire your own two wheels to get about.
The city is also easy to navigate on foot and you could be able to get where you want in around half an hour at a normal walking speed.
You’ll need Danish kroner for currency – although you might be able to use Euros in certain places.
When’s the best time to visit Copenhagen?
The peak tourist season is during the summer, with the temperatures between May and August easily hitting an average of 20 – 22C.
You’ve got nice long days and it’s festival time in the city – here are the latest summer events from live music to where to eat outside.
Spring and autumn have their attractions, while when it gets to Christmas you’ve got the Christmas markets and mulled wine (gløgg).
You can be in Copenhagen in just under two hours from London airports. Find flights to Copenhagen here.
We’ve got plenty of hotels in Copenhagen to choose from.
It can sometimes be cheaper to book a city break package where you get your flight and hotel together.
What would you do on a weekend in Copenhagen?
We’d love to know what your favourite things to do in Copenhagen are. Tell us your top travel tips by leaving a comment below.