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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

72 hours in Copenaghen: places you cannot miss in this fairytale city

A little late but Vale and I were finally able to get a few days off at the same time and we chose Copenhagen for our mini last minute holiday. Before leaving for Copenhagen, doing my research, I read that it is often referred to as a "fairytale city" and I thought it was due to the famous writer Hans Christian Andersen who lived and died in the Danish capital. Once there I realized that the Copenhagen really looks like a fairy tales, with its narrow streets full of colorful houses, the canals, which are a little reminiscent of Amsterdam and its Hygge philosophy of lightheartedness that will welcome you once there. We fell in love with Copenhagen, and I must say that in three full days we managed to visit the whole central part, so let's see what you absolutely must not miss on your weekend in the Danish capital.

Nyahvn, Copenaghen Danimarca


》Planning

This is our planning in brief:

Saturday 11.20.21

Arrived in Copenhagen in the late afternoon, checked in at the hotel and headed to the Meatpacking District, near our hotel, for a beer before going to bed.

Sunday 11.21.21: Copenaghen Card

We started our day with a walk on the bank passing in front of the Royal Library then by the Library Garden, Frederiksholms Kanal and arriving at Christiansborg Palace. From here we walked through the Borsen to reach Nyhavn and then we stopped by Morsmore for a late morning breakfast. Then the Marmorkirken and Amalienborg Slot up to Amaliehaven with a view of the Opera House. From here, passing behind Marmorkirken we reached the Kogens Have, the royal gardens that we crossed to get to Rosenborg Slot. For lunch we stopped at Torvehallerne and then continued towards the Rundetaarn, then the HC Andersen Julemarked and the Stroget and Magstræde streets going back to the hotel. We spent the evening at Tivoli Gardens.

Monday 11.22.21: Copenaghen Card

We started with a visit to the Royal Library and then crossed the Knippels Bridge to reach the Vor Frelsers Kirke and Christiania. From here, we passed through the Broens skating rink, in front of the Nordatlantens Brygge and crossing the Inderhavnsbroen bridge we went back to Nyhavn. We continued on to the Højbro Plads Christmas market where we had lunch before the boat tour departing from Ved Stranden. At this point we walked towards Churchill Park and St Alban Church to arrive at the Little Mermaid just in time for sunset. At this point we returned to Nhyavn along the canal, and visited the Christmas markets in the port and those in Kongens Nytorv, ending the day at Magasin du Nord.

⧽Tuesday 11.23.21: on a bike

Day cycling renting a bike, starting from the Meatpacking District to see the Wehrmacht Graffiti before a nice breakfast in Sankt Peders Bageri, followed by a visit to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. With a nice ride of about 30 minutes we arrived at the imposing Grundtvigs Kirke, quite outside the center, and then wnt to the Superkilke park through the Nørrebro. From here we went to Olufsvej and Østerbro, where we had lunch with some sweets purchased in the morning and then at sunset we went back to Kastellet, which we had not been able to see the day before, and finally, before going back to the hotel, the Vestebro district. and Carlsberg Byen, passing the Elephant and Gate Tower.


I planned our weekend in Copenhagen mainly considering the validity of 48h of the Copenhagen Card and the bicycle rental on the third day. We concentrated the activities included in the Copenhagen Card on the first two days, while we kept the most distant places for the last one, having a bike. We never used the metro except for getting to and from the airport, we always walked the first two days, with an average of 22km a day. To find out more about the Copenhagen Card and bike rental, I refer you to the post with the practical guide of the city.


My Favorite Places in Copenhagen


» Royal Library (Det Kongelige Bibliotek) and Library Gardens (Det Kongelige Bibliotek Have)

Biblioteca Reale Il Diamante Nero Copenaghen Danimarca

The Royal Library of Copenhagen is also called the Black Diamond (Den sorte diamant), due to the slabs of black marble and glass that form the outer shell. It's immense and divided into various areas: there is a consultation area and a study in the oldest part, while in the modern part, the one overlooking the canal, there are several panoramic rooms. Admission is free, so I recommend you go up to the top floor and look out from the balcony: the view is breathtaking. During the visit you can leave your bags and coats in the free lockers with automatic combination but from experience I do not recommend it: Valentina tried and she was no longer able to open hers, so we had to look for the guard, who kindly broke the locker for us with great laughs. The library garden is hidden behind the old part, it's not easy to find, but it is definitely worth it. In addition to the colorful flowers and towering trees, there is also a shallow pool in the center, next to a copper column that serves as a fountain.


» Frederiksholms Kanal, located a few meters from the Library, it is an unmissable glimpse of Copenhagen, a romantic place, with small boats moored and 3 characteristic bridges: the Prince's Bridge, the Marble Bridge and the Tempest Bridge.

» Christiansborg Palace * and Borsen

We reached Christiansborg Slot by crossing the Royal Library Garden, on a small island called Slotsholmen (Castle Island). Inside there's the Danish Parliament, the Court of Justice and the offices of the Minister of State and admission is included in the Copenhagen Card except for the Parliament, which you must book in advance. The Borse is the Stock Exchange and it's also located on the small island of Slotsholmen, in front of Christiansborg Slot, and it's characterized by the Dragon Spire, whose shape resembles four joined dragon tails, which reaches 56 meters in height. For us it was the unicorn's horn, but everyone has his own interpretation (:


Nyhavn

The most famous place in Copenhagen, the first image that comes to mind when thinking of this city, with its colorful buildings on the canal. It is located in the old port area of ​​Copenhagen, although the name is literally translated as "New Port". Hans Christian Andersen lived here for many years, at number 20 in Nyhavn, where he also wrote The Princess and the Pea, and for a few years also at number 67 and 18. The canal is a real open-air museum, flanked by historic ships owned by the Danish National Museum. Nyhavn is one of those places where it is pleasant to just walk and admire the diversity of colors and intact architecture from the seventeenth century. During the Christmas period, along the canal, you will also find a market with many food and handicraft stalls, while if you are hungry, the street that runs along the canal is full of bars and restaurants. To find out more about the Copenhagen Christmas Markets, here is the dedicated post.


» Kogens Nytrov Kogens Nytrov is the largest square in Copenhagen, flanked by some of the most important buildings in the city: the Royal Theater, the wonderful Hotel d'Angleterre and the Charlottenborg Palace. This square is a perfect starting point for visiting Copenhagen: all the metro lines converge here and it is located exactly in the middle of the city center. During the Christmas period it is the site of a beautiful Christmas market, an extension of that of Nyhavn, to find out more click here.


» Magasin du Nord

Magasin Du Nord Copenaghen Danimarca

Located on Kogens Nytrov, this is the largest and most famous shopping center in Copenhagen, very similar to Harrods. Located on several floors, it is wonderful, and here you can find everything: home stuff, clothing, accessories and food, as well as bars and restaurants where you can rest and shelter from the cold as we did. The prices are not very cheap, if you are looking for some souvenirs it is definitely not the right place, but it is still worth a visit and a look at the various shops.

Marmorkirken, la Chiesa di Marmo, Copenaghen Danimarca

Marmorkirken

Literally the "marble church", it was built in the years of the regency of Frederick V, who laid the first stone. It can be visited for free, while access to the dome is subject to a fee and is not included in the Copenhagen Card, at a cost of 5 euros. The guided tour lasts about 45 minutes but be careful because in winter access is limited on Saturdays and Sundays. We didn't go in, but I loved it even from the outside, especially admiring it from the Amalienborg square. It is impressive and delicate at the same time, a true marvel of white marble, all to be admired and photographed.

Amalienborg Slot* and Amaliehaven

Statua di Federico V, Amalienborg Slot, Copenaghen Danimarca

In front of Marmorkirken you will find the royal palace of Copenhagen, Amalienborg: for over 200 years the residence of the rulers of Denmark. Only part of the castle can be visited and access is included in the Copenhagen Card. In our initial program we had planned a visit inside, but the palace was temporarily closed. In the large palace square, where in the center stands the equestrian statue in honor of Frederick V, king of Denmark and Norway, the changing of the guard is held every day at noon, very similar to that of Buckingham Palace, in London. Amaliehaven is a beautiful garden, famous for its fountains and the striking view of the Copenhagen sea, the Opera House and the port area, and is located right at the end of the Amalienborg Slot square, so pay a visit.


Rosenborg Slot, Copenaghen Danimarca

✿ Returning towards the Marmorkirken, we crossed Nyboder, characterized by magnificent orange houses up to Kogens Have, and the royal garden to get to Rosenborg Palace.

Rosenborg Slot *

The Rosenborg Slot is located in the royal gardens, and this fortress was once the residence of the Danish royals, while today it houses a museum where you can admire, among other things, the Crown jewels. Admission is included in the Copenhagen Card and will also grant you access to the Crown Treasury. The palace is splendid, very rich and beautifully decorated, it's definitely worth a visit, also the wonderful Crown Jewels, which will leave you speechless. The visit took us about an hour and a half.

» Rundetaarn *

Rundetaarn, La Torre Rotonda, Copenaghen Danimarca

The round tower was built in the mid-1600s in the heart of the historic center and was originally an astronomical observatory. The structure is also famous for the very particular spiral staircase that climbs up to the top of the tower. The climb is very special, it reminded us a little of a palace in Mantua where Vale and I went a few years ago, and we had a lot of fun in the recesses of the staircase, you can also see the hollow part of the internal structure. Once at the top, you will access the outside of the tower, for a breathtaking view of the city. Admission is included in the Copenhagen Card and visiting hours goes from 10 am to 6 pm, with two openings in the evening until 9 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


» Stroget and Magstræde

Stroget is the shopping street and the longest pedestrian street in Europe: a kilometer and a half of shops, many of which specialize in furnishings, where you can find everything, absolutely everything! My favourites are the 5 Faraos Cigarer shops, where you will find lots of collectibles and gadgets from famous films, comics, TV series, but also collectible cards and board or role-playing games. Not far away the beautiful and colorful Magstræde, characterized by colorful buildings.


» Tivoli Gardens *

Giardini di Tivoli, Copenaghen, Danimarca

The Tivoli Gardens, or simply Tivoli, is a famous amusement park in Copenhagen, inaugurated in 1843: it is the second oldest amusement park intact to this day. It's in the heart of the city, in front of Copenhagen Central Station and is truly a historical treasure and a wonderland, for both adults and children. Each season it is decorated with a theme, we finally breathed a wonderful Christmas air that took us back in time to when we were little! Definitely an unmissable stop in Copenhagen! The park is open from 11 to 22/23 (times vary from season to season, so I recommend that you always check, even considering some seasonal closures) and the entrance is included in the Copenhagen Card, but if you want to get on board the roller coasters or one of the park's spectacular rides you will have to pay a supplement.


Church of Our Saviour - Vor Frelsers Kirke *

Vor Frelsers Kirke is a large Baroque church located in the Christianshavn area, but visible from many points in Copenhagen thanks to its splendid golden spire. The church is in fact particularly famous for the spire, characterized on the outside by staircase that leads to the top of the bell tower, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the center of Copenhagen on one side, but also of Christiania and the outskirts of the city. Entry is included in the Copenhagen Card and I absolutely recommend that you stop for a visit: the climb is long but not too demanding, apart from the last few steps, which are particularly narrow and steep, but the effort is really worth it.


Christiania

Christiania Free Town, Copenaghen, Danimarca

Christiania, also known as the Free Town, is the famous independent community born in the early 70's in Copenhagen, in the Christnshavn district. Christiania is a unique social experiment in the world, a living utopia based on the principles of respect and free will. The free town also has its own flag: three yellow circles on a red field, placed next to each other on a horizontal plane. The yellow discs of the flag would refer to the dots on the three "i's" of the word Christiania. In Pusher Street, soft drugs are sold freely in small kiosks but there are rules that prohibit hard ones; here you can't take photos, but the areas where it is prohibited are well marked. In Christiania, where (almost) everything is allowed, it's better going when there's still light: to see what happens and try to understand how things work in Christiania, the splendid murals and talk to some inhabitants of the community, all very kind and available. The area is really quiet, despite what one might expect! Inside you will find various stalls and a few places to drink and eat, I bought a splendid T-shirt in the only shop: The Essence, not exactly cheap, but they have splendid and unique pieces, drop by. For the rest, what to say? Immerse yourself in the colors and uniqueness of Christiania, a unique and unmissable experience.


» Broens Skojtebane (Iceskating rink) - Nordatlantens Brygge - Inderhavnsbroen

Indervhavnbroen, Copenaghen Danimarca
Inderhavnbroen

Nordatlantes is a cultural center located on Copenhagen's harbor, dedicated to preserving, promoting and communicating the culture and art of the North Atlantic area. The center is located in an old maritime warehouse from 1767 near the harbor in the Christianshavn district of central Copenhagen and is located next to Greenlandic Trading Square (In Danish: Grønlandske Handelsplads), which for 200 years was a center for trade from and for the Faroe Islands, Finnmark, Iceland and in particular Greenland. Here in front you will find the Broens ice skating rink, and crossing the Inderhavnbroen you will find yourself on Nyahvn.



» Boat tour along the canals *

Experience already tried together in Amsterdam, Valentina and I absolutely had to replicate in Copenhagen too. It's a tour along the canals passing in front of all the most famous places in the city in a short time, a great way to rest for an hour and warm up a little. Let's be honest: it's a very touristic and a bit trivial activity, but being included in the Copenhagen card, if you have an hour to dedicate to it, why not? Departures are from the port of Nyhavn and from Ved Stranden, where we boarded, and there is no need to book. The tour is still interesting and the guide will tell you some particular stories about the various buildings in Copenhagen, it lasts about 1 hour and allows you to admire different locations in Copenhagen from a unique perspective, for example along the modern Opera House.


St Alban Church, Churchill Park, Copenaghen Danimarca
Chiesa di St Alban, Churchill Park

Churchill Park, St Alban Church, e Kastellet Churchill Park is located outside the Kastellet fortress, and in the park you'll find the charming Anglican church of St Alban and the fountain of Gefion, which symbolizes the legend of the island on which the capital of Denmark was built. Kastellet is the fortified citadel within Churchill Park: it's an ancient star-shaped military area, very close to the Little Mermaid statue. In the early morning, but not only, the green hills of Kastellet are very popular with runners, who take advantage of this beautiful green corner to get some exercise. Admission is free, you walk among red-roofed houses and from the ramparts you have a beautiful view of the city. In the park there is also a wonderful windmill, one of the few still existing in Copenhagen.


La Sirenetta, Copenaghen, Danimarca

» The Little Mermaid The famous bronze statue of the Little Mermaid, more than a meter high, is located at the entrance to the city port. It is the absolute symbol of Copenhagen and was built in the early 1900s and created by the sculptor Edvard Eriksen inspired by the famous fairy tale of the local writer Hans Christian Andersen, using his wife as a model. Honestly, it disappointed our expectations a bit, it's really small and looks out over the industrial area: in a lot of photos it seemed like smoke was coming out of her ears, actually it was the smoke from the Copenhill incinerator on the other side of the port. Fortunately we went there at sunset, which made everything more evocative and magical thanks to the pink sky that stood out in the background, thus recovering many points!

» Meatpacking District - Wehrmacht Graffiti

Meatpacking District - Wehrmacht Graffiti, Copenaghen, Danimarca

The Meatpacking District is the former slaughterhouse of the Danish capital, and it's now considered one of the coolest places in the city, including restaurants, bars, clubs and art galleries. The ideal place for an after dinner drink and enjoy some night life. During the day it's worth a short visit for the particular Wehrmacht Graffiti, written on the wall of a former Nazi potato warehouse on which the army soldiers, bored with having to guard the potato stocks 24 hours a day during the Nazi occupation, spent time by carving written on the walls of the buildings. Observing those writings was really special, a very strange, almost surreal feeling, thinking of German soldiers who wrote sentences about home, how they spent their time or about their loved ones in Germany.


» Sankt Peders Stræde + Bageri

Sankt Peders Straede e Sankt Peders Bageri, Copenaghen Danimarca

It's a small street just outside the heart of Copenhagen, which we reached for a . breakfast at Sankt Peders Bageri (a well-known, family-run bakery), otherwise we would never have passed by, thus missing a wonderful explosion of colors during our bike tour. This street is in fact characterized by a long line of colorful buildings that create a joyful and carefree atmosphere, it really deserves a walk, combining business with pleasure with a stop at the famous Bageri. I put it on my list of the most colorful streets in Copenhagen, which you will find later in the post.



Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek *

Ny Carlsber Glyptotek, Copenaghen Danimarca

The Ny Carlsber Glypotek is a museum located near the Tivoli Gardens, and contains beautiful exhibits but honestly the architecture of the gallery alone is worth a visit, truly splendid and characteristic, from very modern and minimal areas, to the splendid Winter Garden that there will welcome as soon as you enter. You can also access the roof terrace, enjoying a splendid view over the city. The name of the gallery may sound familiar to you because it resembles that of a well-known beer brand. It's not accidental: the gallery was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen, the master brewer to whom the Carlsberg empire is owed. Admirably carved marble statues that testify to the grandeur of ancient civilizations, masterpieces of Danish art, Egyptian mummies and collections of Gauguin's paintings and sculptures by Degas that are the envy of the most prestigious French museums. It is a place to admire art at its peak, but also a peaceful corner from the noise of the city. Admission is included in the Copenhagen Card, which will also grant you access to special exhibitions. Without the Card, admission is still free on Tuesdays, but without access to some rooms.


Grundtvigs Kirke

Grundtvigs Kirke, Copenaghen, Danimarca

The Grundtvigs Kirke, or as we called it: the Star Wars Church, is located in the Bispebjerg neighborhood, quite outside of central Copenhagen, and was worth the bike rental for the day alone. From Glyptotek it took us about 30 minutes by bike to reach it, the road is a bit uphill but nothing too demanding, and in any case it is really worth it. Thanks to its unusual appearance it is one of the best known religious buildings in the city and one of the few examples of a church in the characteristic Nordic style of Brick Expressionism. The building is huge, imposing, and stands out against the sky like lightning, almost awe-inspiring from the outside, and upon entering the sensation only amplifies. The nave is very long and very high, all in brick, truly marvelous. Admission is free. I don't know why but we think it had something that referred to Star Wars, let us know if you have this impression too!


Nørrebro and Superkilen park

Nørrebro is the hipster district of Copenhagen where a shabby and multi-ethnic residential area has been converted into a multifunctional space that is now beloved and very popular, absolutely to be included among the things to see in Copenhagen. Superkilen is the name that took the beautiful and eccentric urban park of about 30,000 square meters which, at the behest of the city council, was created as an example of integration and peaceful coexistence between different nationalities. The very special and fun park, which lends itself to imaginative photos, ends in the beautiful Red Square.


» Olufsvej - Østerbro

If you ask a local which is the most colorful street in Østerbrogade, Olufsvej will surely be the answer. This delightful little street is located between the city's largest park, Fælledparken, and the neighborhood's main shopping street, Østerbro.

Olufsvej la strada più colorata di Copenaghen, Ostebro, Danimarca

𓃰 Carlsberg Byen - Elephant and Gate Tower

Eòephant and Gate Tower, Carlberg Byen Copenaghen, Danimarca

In the Carlberg Byen area, the elephants of the Carlberg Tower stand out: these statues of elephants are very special, as on the sides they are characterized by pre-Nazi swastikas. When the door was built, in fact, the swastika had a very different meaning from that for which they are now sadly known. Completed in 1901, the Elephant Gate was part of a building constructed for the Ny (New) Carlsberg Brewhouse, begun by Carl Jacobson to compete with his father, the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery. When he started the project in 1882 Carl wanted to adopt a symbol that would bring luck and prosperity and chose the swastika, which in ancient times was associated with luck. The word swastika in fact derives from the Sanskrit and means luck or good omen. It was then used as a trademark for Ny Carlsberg, until 1940, when due to its association with Nazism it was abandoned by the company.



Two other places that we had included in the original travel planning, but which were closed during the time we were there are the Designmuseumn Danmark and the Copenhagen Contemporary, both included in the Copenhagen Card. We really wished we could visit them!

  • Designmuseumn Danrmark* : it's a design museum housed in a renovated 1700s building, with three exhibition sections dedicated to Design and Crafts, including a gallery dedicated to chairs and lamps. It is open every day except Mondays, from 10 to 18, Wednesdays until 21.

  • Copenaghen Contemporary* : it's not in the historic center, it's located north of Christiania, near the Reffen. Housed in a former foundry, Copenhagen Contemporary covers an impressive 7,000 square meters with temporary exhibitions curated by world-renowned artists and young emerging performers.

☞ All activities marked with an asterisk * are included in the Copenhagen Card.


The most colorful streets of Copenhagen:

  • Magstræde

  • Nyhavn

  • Sankt Peders Stræde

  • Olufsvej

  • Nyboder


What and where to eat when in Copenaghen

  • Morsmore

A delightful cafe located on the road between Nyhavn and Amalienborg, which I guarantee is definitely worth a stop. It's a historic place, characterized by a delightful, well-kept and very rich environment, with many references to the culture and history of the city. The baked goods are delicious and homemade, from cinnamon rolls to other delicious desserts, all huge and which will serve you properly for an excellent breakfast or a simple snack.

  • Torvehallerne

Hallernes Smørrebrød, Torvehallerne, Copenaghen, Danimarca

It is a very nice and modern food market, in the center, the ideal place to stop if you are hungry, from 10 to 19 (on weekends it closes at 20). Here you will find everything from sweet to savory: Copenhagen's covered market is really huge, but I recommend you the famous Hallernes Smørrebrød, well known for smørrebrød, the typical Danish sandwich. They consist of a slice of buttered rye bread with a topping consisting of slices of meat, fish, salami or cheese. This is the base which is always decorated with sliced ​​vegetables, boiled eggs, mayonnaise or other sauces, makes for a visually appealing open sandwich and makes for the traditional Danish lunch.Here you will find them for all tastes, truly exceptional, even if not very cheap . They are still worth the price (two pieces, a beer and a water cost us € 40).

  • Sankt Peders Bageri

This is a small bakery on Sankt Peders Stræde and it's a must see on your Copenhagen holiday. The place is small but really nice, and the food is great. From sweet to savory, all freshly baked, still hot, and will allow you to gorge yourself by spending little compared to the prices in the city. The cinnamon rolls were delicious, we enjoyed them around the city in the afternoon, but the salty is also exceptional and the staff is very kind and really nice!

  • Fermentoren Beer Bar: very easy place in the heart of the Meatpacking District, recommended for an after dinner drink, with the possibility of sitting both inside and outside, very popular with young people. The prices are high, in full city style: € 20 two beers and chips.

  • Christmas Markets: we often ate at the various Christmas markets distributed in the city for lunch or dinner, saving something and tasting various typical Danish dishes, such as Aebleskiver, delicious traditional spherical pancakes, served with powdered sugar and blueberry jam.

  • Reffen: Copenhagen Street Food - Reffen is located in the industrial area of ​​Copenhagen, Refshaleøen, but unfortunately it is only open in summer. It is the new street food market as well as an urban area dedicated to start-ups, innovation and creativity in full Nordic style, in Refshaleøen, Copenhagen. If you are planning your trip to Copenhagen in the summer, include this stage in your program, and let me know how it is, we really wanted to go there!


I think I told you everything about our three days in Copenhagen. Let me know what you think, and if you need some more information, I'm at your disposal!

If you need some good advices and useful tips to plan your trop to Copenhagen traveling low-budget and saving money, click here.

If you are traveling on Christmas time, come and check also my post about Christmas in Copenhagen.

Have a good trip!



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