Last month my sister and I took a whirlwind two day trip to Copenhagen, it was my gift to her for her 21st birthday (good god how am I old enough to have a 21 year old sister GAH). It was a full speed ahead sorta trip, neither of us having visited the city before we wanted to cram in as much as possible in a short amount of time! With a mere 36 hours in Copenhagen, we knew we needed to travel smart, with a bit of a plan of attack + also a lightweight luggage situation! This is a long one, so grab a cup of tea and settle in!
Since time was of the essence we wanted to make sure we could tick off the most important bits during our trip. My parents have travelled to Copenhagen a couple of times so we took some advice from them, as well as my girl Katy, and I did a bit of research on Pinterest beforehand too. I also picked up the Lonely Planet Pocketbook Guide to Copenhagen, which was really helpful when it came to getting our bearings + figuring out what was where. Since we only had a little bit of time, we decided to stay in the centre of town, so we wouldn’t waste time travelling! This meant we decided not to do things like see the Little Mermaid statue, or wonder around Nørrebrogade, saving those for our next, longer visit! This trip was all about getting a taster for the city, and deciding if it was worth going back for a longer trip – SPOILER, IT IS!
We flew with Ryanair from London Stansted straight to Copenhagen, and it cost about £75 for the two of us. I had wanted to fly with Norwegian Air, but the flight times didn’t work so well with our schedule. I booked the earliest flight out of London on the Tuesday morning, and the latest flight back in on the Wednesday night, in an effort to give us the most time in the city. It’s worth noting that the later flight out would have saved us £20 on flights, but it was the difference between arriving in Copenhagen at 12pm instead of 3pm so I figured it was worth it! Our flight was actually delayed for two hours due to fog in the end, so we could have saved our money and only lost an hour!
Because we had to be at the airport at 6am, we stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express Stansted Airport. The room was a steal at £65 for the night, and there’s a shuttle to the airport every half an hour for £3 each.
Once you arrive in Copenhagem, getting into town couldn’t be easier. There’s a Metro station in the airport, with ticket machines in English PRAISE BE. We took the train to Nørreport for about £4 each and it took about 20 minutes. It’s a world away from the likes of the London Underground, clean, efficient and not crammed with tourists, despite coming from the airport.
It’s worth downloading the Copenhagen City Mapper App before you go, total lifesaver when it comes to figuring out the transport system + getting your bearings!
WHERE TO STAY
Copenhagen hotels are EXPENSIVE, and usually you can combat this by staying a little way out of town and using the great tube system to get in and out of the city. Since we had limited time in the city, I chose to spend a bit more to stay in a hotel near the centre, again to save on travel time. We stayed at the Ascot Apartments, a stones throw from the Tivoli Gardens, one of the cheaper inner city options. It was about £130 for the night, for a whole apartment, with our own kitchen, living space, bedroom + bathroom. It was super spacious, clean and tidy, and most importantly, had plug sockets next to the bed. It was nice to have room to spread out, and not feel like we were on top of each other!
The cheapest way to stay in the city is to book an AirBNB, but to be honest for the sake of one night, I couldn’t be bothered with all the faff of meeting to collect keys, deposits, cleaning charges etc, etc, but if you’re looking to travel on a budget, definitely look at AirBNB!
After getting the Metro to Nørreport, we walked to the hotel to ditch our bags. It was about a 15 minute walk and was a great way to get a feel for the city when we arrived. We checked in, dropped our bags and headed out in search of food. We ended up darting into the first little cafe we saw and stuffing our faces immediately. Typically I forgot to make a note of the name of it + I can’t find it listed on Google Maps, but it was on Krystalgade, just around the corner from the Rundetaarn. I had a butter chicken wrap and it was blooming delicious!
Bellies full we headed to the Rundetaarn, and I would definitely recommend fitting this into your trip! Not only is the tower beautiful, the views from the top are well worth the hike up, and at about £3 for an adult ticket, it’s one of the cheapest attractions in Copenhagen too. See my full blog post on the Rundetarn here!
Views of the city admired we wondered through the streets making our way towards Nyhaven. Copenhagen’s streets are so beautiful that even just walking through the city without agenda is an enjoyable experience! There are little flower shops and market stalls everywhere, making it easy to snap pretty blooms wherever you go too!
Nyhaven was high on our list of things to see, the iconic canals of Copenhagen framed by the beautiful colourful buildings were a sight to behold. As expected, the streets + cafes and bars were rammed with tourists, but even so it was a gorgeous sight. We strolled up and down snapping colourful facades and pretty boats – we even spotted a library boat, before diving into the ice cream and waffle parlour my parents recommended on the corner!
Vaffelbageren is well worth a visit if you’re in the Nyhaven area! We skipped waffles and opted for delicious Daim ice cream in crispy waffle cones. We sat outside in the sun, slurping on ice cream and watching the world go by!
Since we were simply a stones throw away, we took this opportunity to stick our heads into Paper Island Street Food Market, and awe at all the food. By this point we were full up on ice cream so we skipped food and sat with our feet over the dock to watch the sunset! It was so warm in the sun, and such a social atmosphere, everyone sat out drinking + eating with friends, I could have sat there all day!
Once the sun had set we wandered down the canal in Christianshavn Metro, where we hopped on a Metro back to the apartment. We had an early night after an early start + long day walking around Copenhagen and slept very soundly!
After a little lie in we woke up, showered, packed up and headed out in search of breakfast. Waking up on Wednesday was like being in a completely different city, the sun had disappeared and instead we had wind, rain and shivering cold. After picking me up a scarf in Zara en route, we ended up in Lagkagehuset for breakfast, a scandinavian chain reminiscent of Le Pain Quotidien. I ordered a ham + emmental panini, a chai latte that tasted like melted biscuits and of course, a cinnamon roll! We had a lazy breakfast in the window watching the world go by and left feeling full!
Since it was drizzling rain and really cold, we decided to spend the morning wondering round the shops on Strøget, the pedestrianised shopping street in the centre of town. It’s a shopper’s dream, a giant Zara, & Other Stories, H&M, Hay House, COS, Pieces, + Weekday amongst others. We also darted amongst the side streets, where I found Notre Dame, the homeware store of my dreams!
After getting our fill of shopping we darted into Espresso House for a quick Salted Caramel Latte (and another pastry!) to rest our feet for five minutes, before heading to the Botanical Gardens!
I did a full post on the Palm House at the Botanical Gardens, which I recommend checking out if you like dreamy pictures of leafy greens. We maybe spent an hour here, but it was plenty of time, and we saw the Rosenborg Castle at the same time – two birds one stone and all that!
After that we decided it was time for lunch, and we took a rather long stroll to Mad + Kaffe. Again I did a full post on this which you can read here but MAN was it good. We spent a lazy couple of hours here having a late lunch!
After that we didn’t have much time before we had to be at the airport, so we took a leisurely stroll back to Nørreport Metro station, stopping along the way in a few shops we missed! It was at this point that we finally found Sephora, which has the wrong address listed on Google maps! It’s inside the department store Magasin and is small but perfectly formed!
We made it to the airport with just enough time for a coffee + peruse of duty free before our flight back!
Basically, Copenhagen was awesome, and Leah and I are excited to plan another, longer trip in the Summer months, we want to visit Freetown Christiana, the Ordrupgaard Modern Art Museum + Tivoli Gardens next time!
Is Copenhagen on your travel bucket list?