How does one spend only 24 hours in Copenhagen, the beautiful gateway to Scandinavia famed for its progressive ideals, cutting-edge design, and sumptuous gastronomy?
A way to truly take advantage of your time is through a guided tour. Insight have three trips that take you on an adventure through Scandinavia, and all stop by the Danish capital to show you the best sights (Spectacular Scandinavia & Its Fjords), (Grand Scandinavia), (Country Roads of Scandinavia).
With our careful planning and keen eye for detail, we’ve compiled the perfect itinerary below – this is what to do and what to see with 24 hours in Copenhagen.
A BEAUTIFUL MORNING IN NYHAVN
Begin your adventure with a morning stroll through Nyhavn, the gorgeous old port district bespeckled with iconic colorful houses. Start the day the Danish way: a cinnamon bun and a cup of coffee, enjoyed at one of the trendy cafés dotted along the waterfront. Get there before 9AM to seize the morning, but also to avoid the masses of crowds that flock to this popular tourist destination. The port also hosts a cozy and quaint Christmas market that epitomizes hygge – definitely worth seeing if you’re there during the festive period. As you walk down the Nyhavn promenade enjoying the tranquil morning, look for houses no. 20, 67, and 18 – these are where esteemed fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen (Little Mermaid, Ugly Duckling) once lived.
UNCOVER THE CITY’S MOST ICONIC SITES
Following on from the fairytale writer’s Nyhavn home, many opt to visit the Little Mermaid statue staring wistfully from the harbor. ‘Den lille havfrue’ is made of bronze, showing the mermaid mid-transformation into a human. Since its introduction in 1913, the statue has become a proud symbol of the city and attracts huge crowds.
Then it’s time to discover the many iconic palaces and castles found throughout the city. To see all of these with time to spare, we’d recommend a city tour. Following a guide teaches you more about each site and saves you time and effort – crucial resources on your 24-hour budget.
Our three Scandinavian trips all include a Copenhagen city tour, where you’ll spend some of your 24 hours in Copenhagen with a Local Specialist visiting the following major sites:
Visit Christiansborg Palace, seat of the Danish government; Rosenborg Castle, host of 400 years of royal treasures including the crown jewels; the Børsen, a Renaissance age Stock Exchange; Amalienborg Palace, home to the Danish royal family; and the Rundetaarn, the famous astronomical observatory.
An optional, additional experience offered on all of our tours is a scenic drive along the Danish Riviera to the goliath Frederiksborg Castle, the largest Renaissance residence in Scandinavia with its own lake and Baroque garden. You’ll enjoy a guided tour through this 17th Century masterpiece, walking through the purlieus of Danish bourgeois and royalty.
VISIT COPENHAGEN CATHEDRAL
Make sure not to miss the Copenhagen Cathedral. Designed by celebrated architect Christian Frederik Hansen, nicknamed ‘Denmark’s Palladio’, this 18th-century neoclassical cathedral inspires a hushed, angelic serenity. It is well known in modernity as the venue where the Crown Prince of Denmark and Princess Mary held their wedding.
You’ll enjoy a guided visit to the cathedral on our Grand Scandinavia tour – and it’s the perfect way to spend some of your 24 hours in Copenhagen.
APPRECIATE SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN
Scandinavian design is famed for its emphasis on simplicity. Go to the Designmusuem Danmark to see enigmatic works by famous designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen, and Jacob Jensen. Admire the Egg Chair, PH Lamp, and other iconic examples of Danish innovation. We then recommend taking a stroll down southwards until you reach Strøget, which is Copenhagen’s central shopping street. Buy classic Danish design for yourself at major brands like Georg Jensen, Royal Copenhagen, or llums Bolighus. Keep the shopping going on Strøget with plenty of major brands and cute boutiques to choose from. You’ll also see an array of cafés and restaurants on charming little side streets, where you could opt to take lunch.
VISIT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
After the busy sightseeing and shopping spree, you may be eager for some peace and quiet. Go to the Botanical Garden for a green city oasis, just next to Nørreport Station. Take a leisurely stroll, visit the beautiful tropical and butterfly greenhouses, peruse the garden museum, or sit peacefully by the lake.
A tip – if you haven’t eaten lunch already back at Strøget, there are some wonderful glass markets next to the Botanical Garden; Torvehallerne has an excellent food selection, or it can serve as a restful coffee break as, admittedly, there’s only so much you can eat during 24 hours in Copenhagen.
SEE THE FAMOUS TIVOLI GARDENS
One of Denmark’s most popular attractions, Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park right in the heart of the city. This national treasure stands as one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, founded in 1843. Its evening luminescence, lush gardens, and cherubic atmosphere create a magical wonder that has inspired fairytale writers from Hans Christian Andersen, to even Walt Disney.
Expect glittering lights, exhilarating rides, a buzzing atmosphere, and gorgeous natural beauty – it’s no surprise that the park enjoys over 4 million visitors per year. What makes Tivoli Gardens so timeless is that the entertainment is for all ages, with buzzing restaurants and live music acts performing every day.
A visit to this fantasy wonderland is included as a visit on all of our tours.
FINISH YOUR 24 HOURS IN COPENHAGEN WITH DINNER AT A SUSTAINABLE RESTAURANT
Copenhagen leads the world in sustainability. Vegan fast food, zero-waste restaurants, compost-powered buses – almost everything in the city is sustainable. The city is well on track to meet its goal of carbon-neutral status by 2025. Organic is not only loved, but is now expected. The standards are high – simply using natural fertilizer doesn’t cut the mustard.
See and taste Copenhagen’s progressive ideals for yourself at one of the many sustainable restaurants found around the city. One of these is Cofoco restaurant, who stand on the frontier of Danish sustainability. Enjoy a wonderfully progressive meal included as a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on our Country Roads of Scandinavia trip – the final celebratory dinner together to finish your journey. Or, visit for yourself on any other tour.
There it is! You’ve spent an action-packed 24 hours in Copenhagen and utilized your time to soak in the culture. You’ll find there is still so much more to do and see, but of course, that’s always the case no matter how long you stay in Copenhagen.