A Weekend in Copenhagen Itinerary: City of Pedals and Pastries

Almost Ginger blog owner at Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark

For Christmas in 2016, I received The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking. Ever since then, I’ve been utterly desperate to visit Denmark and, more specifically, its picturesque capital city. I wanted to eat every kind of Danish pastry (or, as the Danes call them, “pastries”) and gain first-hand experience of their minimalist practical fashion and reliable public transport system. And on my 29th birthday trip to the Land of Vikings and Very Happy People, I finally spent the equivalent of a weekend in Copenhagen.

In total, I spent three days in Copenhagen around my One Day in Aarhus and One Day in Malmö, and you can read those itineraries here. I think that 2 days in Copenhagen is enough to get a taste of the city. Though there are always plenty of things to do in Copenhagen to fill an extra day. 

A black bike leaning against a brick wall in Copenhagen, Denmark

On a Copenhagen weekend break, you can expect to see lots of cyclists, canals, clean cobbled streets, royal palaces, bakeries, and brightly-coloured buildings. These buildings will make Copenhagen seem less dreary in spite of the wet and windy weather you are statistically likely to endure while you’re there. This is Denmark, after all. Your weekend trip to Copenhagen will also debunk the myth that Nordic people are not friendly. It is one of the most welcoming places I’ve ever visited as a solo female traveller. And as an English speaker, it was one of the easiest too.

Okay, I’ll stop gushing about how much I loved Copenhagen and how it definitely lived up to my high expectations. This is a two-day Copenhagen itinerary based on my own trip so you can enjoy 48 hours in Copenhagen yourself.

How to Spend a Weekend in Copenhagen

A Weekend in Copenhagen Itinerary: Day One

Breakfast: Buka Bakery 

A bakery so nice, I ate there twice! There are actually two Buka Bakery locations in Copenhagen: one on Store Kongensgade and another on Frederiksberggade and I visited the latter. My first morning in Copenhagen was a wet one and this bakery was simply closer to my hostel.

I chose two pastries for my black coffee to wash down. One was an orange cinnamon swirl ( or kanelsnegle) and the other was a spandauer with a custard filling. At 28DKK each (approximately £3.15) it’s a great budget option for breakfast in Denmark. They also served porridge and granola with a selection of toppings like rhubarb compote, chia seeds and skyr if you’re more restrained with your processed sugar intake. 

Top Tip: Don’t bring loads of Danish Krones with you in cash. Like all of the Nordic countries, Denmark is a largely cashless country. Use a travel-friendly debit or credit card like Revolut, Monzo or Currensea instead.
Pastries and coffee at Buka Bakery on a weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark
Buka Bakery

Jump on a Cycling Tour Around Copenhagen’s Highlights

One of the reasons why I think it’s possible to experience a taste of Copenhagen in a weekend is because bicycle tours exist. I usually love to join free walking tours when I first arrive in a city. They’re inexpensive and someone else researches the top landmarks and most notable historic events for you. But in Denmark, you should do as the Danish do and cycle instead.

Having not ridden a bike since 2014, I was a little nervous about taking a cycling tour. Especially as a solo traveller with no one to give me pointers! But if you don’t get out of your comfort zone when you travel, when will you?

I booked a 10:00 – 13:00 tour with City Bike Adventures and I definitely recommend them. They also run a 90-minute tour in the afternoon if you have less time. You can also pay extra to hire a helmet, though most people don’t. The meeting point was near Nyhavn (check out the harbour on the way to your tour when it’s less busy!) and you’re able to have a little ride around on your new wheels before setting off. Hint: you probably need to raise or lower the seat!

Even though I’m not particularly fit, riding in Copenhagen was very easy. There were absolutely no hills! And I never felt unsafe. The tour cost 299DKK (just under £35) and it was worth every penny. Sure, you don’t go inside any of the palaces and you don’t stop to climb the steps up to the Church of Our Saviour but I wasn’t too fussed about doing any of that anyway.

Here are some of the attractions that we visited on the tour:

  • Freetown Christiania
  • Church of Our Saviour
  • The Little Mermaid Statue
  • St Alban’s Church and the Gefion Fountain
  • Christiansborg Palace
  • Rosenborg Castle and The King’s Garden
  • Amalienborg (and the Changing of the Guard)
  • Nyhavn

I’m so pleased I saw Freetown Christiania with a guide. In 1971, some free thinkers decided to squat on an old military base. Fast-forward 50 years and it’s a fully-fledged commune that identifies as its own micro-country. Anyone can go in and visit but I’m glad I didn’t have to go in alone. There’s a street called “Pusher Street” where the residents sell cannabis and no one is allowed to take photos. I would never have known which street this was without a guide!

The I-can’t-believe-it’s-actually-little Little Mermaid Statue is quite a trek north from the heart of Copenhagen. But on the bikes, it took no time at all to visit. It’s one of Copenhagen’s most famous attractions because, if you didn’t know, Danish author Hans Christian Anderson wrote the original fairytale.

Copenhagen has three main historic palaces: Christiansborg PalaceRosenborg Castle and Amalienborg. The former is the Danish Parliament building and the latter is the winter residence of the Danish Monarch. We visited all three and were lucky enough to arrive at Amalienborg for the changing of the guard ceremony. 

And of course, we ended the tour in Nyhavn. It’s a colourful, 17th-century canal with beautifully bright townhouses and restaurants. You’ve no doubt seen many photos of it while planning your Copenhagen weekend trip!

Almost Ginger blog owner riding a blue bicycle on a bike tour in Copenhagen, Denmark
Don’t I look like a natural?!
Freetown Christiania's Sign in Copenhagen, Denmark
Entrance to Christiania
Colourful house in Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark
The sign says Photo OK *thumbs up emoji*
The Little Mermaid Statue on a weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Accurately Little Mermaid
Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark
Christiansborg Palace
Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark
Rosenborg Castle
The King's Garden next to Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark
The King’s Garden
Guards outside Amalienborg Palace on a weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark
Changing of the Guard at Amalienborg Palace
Nyhavn on a weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark

Lunch: Den Økologiske Pølsemand

planned on eating at Broens Gadekøkken for the first proper meal on my Copenhagen weekend. It’s just over the bridge from where the bike tour begins and ends. But, unfortunately, it’s a street food market and it was a complete washout when I visited. I ended up eating at a restaurant in nearby Nyhavn in an attempt to dry off (more on that later!).

So I’m going to recommend another street food alternative that I did try. But instead of a market, it’s just one stall. Den Økologiske Pølsemand (or DØP) is the best place to get hotdogs in the city. Hotdogs are a staple of Nordic street food so you have to eat at least one on your weekend in Copenhagen. I’d already earmarked this one as a great place to sample them but our bike tour guide also recommended this food stand.

They’re organic and they serve vegan hotdogs too! You could even hit up the street food stall first, eat a small plate, and head to the hot dog stand afterwards.

Read next: Things to Do in Malmö, Sweden: Copenhagen Day Trip

Hotdog from Den Økologiske Pølsemand Stand in Copenhagen, Denmark
Vegan hotdog with everything on it
Den Økologiske Pølsemand green hotdog stand in Copenhagen, Denmark
Den Økologiske Pølsemand
Broens Gadekøkken Street Food Market in Copenhagen, Denmark
Broens Gadekøkken sadly does not operate in torrential rain

Check Out Panoramic Views From the Round Tower

You can’t say I didn’t think about geographical logistics when I wrote this itinerary for Copenhagen. DØP is mere metres away from the next attraction in Denmark, the Round Tower. Dating back to 1642, it’s one of Denmark’s most iconic buildings and offers one of the best views over the city. Adult tickets are 40DKK (around £5). Instead of super steep steps to the top, you ascend the much more manageable slope to the 360° viewing platform.

The Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark
That’s the Round Tower poking out at the back!
Slope up The Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark
Slope up to the Round Tower’s Viewing Platform
View from The Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark
View from the Round Tower

Shop on Strøget and at TorvehallerneKBH

Shopping isn’t something that normally features on my travel itineraries. But for Copenhagen, I’ll make an exception. Strøget is a 1.1km pedestrianised street and it’s one of the longest of its kind in Europe. I bought postcards and stamps from one of the little tourist shops here. There are also tons of Scandi clothes shops which I would have ransacked if I had space in my backpack to bring it all back.

Christmas tree ornaments are one type of souvenir I do like to collect on my travels. Upon telling my Danish friend who lives in Aarhus this, she told me about a homeware store called Rosendahl. She said everyone in Denmark loves their festive ornaments and they sell them year-round in larger stores.

I also bought an English-language book at a bookshop called Arnold Busck. They sold lots of books about Denmark and Scandinavia if that’s something that interests you!

After Strøget, head to TorvehallerneKBH. It’s a covered market selling fresh food and spices but it also sells coffee, pastries and other lighter bites. I may or may not have bought another spandauer from a bakery here. If you weren’t able to sit down while eating your street food lunch, this is a great opportunity to relax and have a coffee break before you continue exploring Copenhagen.

Book Recommendations: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People by Meik Wiking. The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell. The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen. And I’d love to read: How to Be Danish by Patrick Kingsley and The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle by Michael Booth.

Strøget Shopping Street in Copenhagen, Denmark

Arnold Busck Bookshop in Copenhagen, Denmark
Arnold Busck Bookshop
TorvehallerneKBH Covered Market in Copenhagen, Denmark
Spandauer and other pastries on sale in TorvehallerneKBH Market in Copenhagen, Denmark
My little loves

Spot Street Art and Famous Graves in Nørrebro

Nørrebro is the Shoreditch of Copenhagen, or so I’d read online somewhere. I’m not sure if the comparison is accurate but this culturally diverse neighbourhood has more of a residential feel. And it does have some street art dotted about. Have a wander around and see what you discover!

Cross the Queen Louise Bridge and walk up the street until you reach Assistens Kirkegård and enter through the nearest gate. Yes, I’m suggesting that you visit a graveyard. But, in my opinion, it should be on your list of what to see in Copenhagen. Because it’s completely walled-in, many parents take their children to this graveyard to ride their wee bikes or run around. And it’s the resting place of many famous Danes like Hans Christian Andersen, Niels Bohr and Søren Kierkegaard.

Typically, I only saw Søren Kierkegaard’s grave because there were so many signs pointing to it. I didn’t even know the other two were there! Now you know, you won’t make the mistake I did.

If you’re not quite ready for dinner after seeing dead people, pop into BRUS for a glass of craft beer or two like I did. They are a craft beer company with a huge taproom and their beer is genuinely delicious. I tried Withale & I (Strong Dark Ale 5.5%) and The Boss (New England IPA 6.8%).

Queen Louise Bridge in Copenhagen, Denmark
Queen Louise Bridge
All You Need Is Love... And Tuborg Street Art Sign in the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark

Main street in the neighbourhood of Nørrebro in Copenhagen, Denmark

Street art mural in the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark

Søren Kierkegaard's grave in Assistens Kirkegård in the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark
Søren Kierkegaard’s grave
List of beers at BRUS Taproom in the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark
BRUS Tap List

Beer from BRUS Taproom in the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark

Dinner: Selma

Full disclosure, I only found out about Selma after I returned from Denmark. I ate dinner at BRUS Instead. But if I had known about Selma I would definitely have made an effort to eat a meal here. It looks like one of those rare restaurants that serves beautiful, high-quality local meals but doesn’t have stuffy decor that makes you feel like you’re underdressed.

They serve that traditional Danish delicacy, smørrebrød, here. Smørrebrød is an open-faced sandwich usually on rye bread. Herring, radishes, cold cuts of meat and gherkins are traditional toppings. Selma serves a selection of smørrebrød with side dishes like grilled onions and new potatoes. It’s usually washed down with a glass of Danish snaps too.

I also didn’t manage to visit a Mikkeller bar when I was in Copenhagen but if you can, I really recommend that you do. They started as a small craft brewery in Copenhagen, like any other you see in Europe and the US, and now they have 50 bars around the world. 

Smørrebrød from Brooklyn Bar in Copenhagen, Denmark
Smørrebrød tends to look too pretty to eat!
Glass of snaps at Brooklyn Bar in Copenhagen., Denmark
Mandatory snaps snap

A Weekend in Copenhagen Itinerary: Day Two

Breakfast: Skt. Peders Bageri

Should you eat two pastries for breakfast two days in a row? Probably not. But did I, and did I regret it? Heck no. Let me be the devil on your shoulder and recommend that you follow my lead.

Skt. Peders Bageri is Copenhagen’s oldest bakery and dates back to 1652. Situated in the city’s Latin Quarter, the bakery has undergone two restorations since opening and is now a protected building. And the street the bakery is on is just the most beautiful street I witnessed in Copenhagen. 

And the pastries. Let’s just say it becomes apparent why they are still open after 370 years very quickly. I chose a disgustingly divine mess of a chocolate bun. And a flaky pastry with raspberries and raspberry jam because, you know, gotta eat my five-a-day somehow.

They don’t have much seating inside, just a long bench with a few small tables that can sit around seven to nine people. I arrived around 15 minutes after opening (I suggest you do the same to avoid disappointment!) so I managed to snag one. You’ll see locals popping in and out to grab their morning pastries and weekend loaves to take away so it’s not just a tourist magnet.

Skt Peders Bageri sign in Copenhagen, Denmark
Skt Peders Bageri

Two pastries at Skt Peders Bageri in Copenhagen, Denmark

Colourful and pretty street in Copenhagen's Latin Quarter, Denmark
Isn’t this street so pretty?!

Unleash Your Inner Child at Tivoli Gardens

Spending a weekend in Copenhagen between April to October or at Christmas? Then you’ve got to visit Tivoli Gardens

It’s an amusement park right in the centre of the city. First opened in 1843, the park is the third-oldest of its kind in the world. If you’re curious, the only theme parks that are older are Dyrehavsbakken (also in Denmark) and Wurstelprater in Vienna, Austria. It was apparently one of the main inspirations behind the Disney theme parks. It has themed sections with rollercoasters, funfair games, a huge stage and lots of beautiful gardens.

Sure, it’s ideal for families, but couples would also love Tivoli and I even enjoyed just walking around the park by myself. I visited on the first weekend it opened in April so it was pretty busy though even without buying tickets in advance, I didn’t have to queue for very long.

If you’re not sure whether you want to go on any rides (like me) then you can just buy an entrance ticket and pay for individual rides later. It cost 145DKK (around £17).

Entrance at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Gardens

Funfair ride at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark

Ride at Tivoli Gardens on a weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark

Rollercoaster at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark

Lunch: Tivoli Gardens 

Yes, I’m really recommending you eat lunch at an amusement park! It’s not all fries and churros here (though I have to admit, that’s what I ate for lunch. I did mention this was a birthday trip, right?). There are honest-to-goodness really nice restaurants here serving a variety of cuisines. Even my bike tour guide said so.

I can’t recommend any in particular, though Fru Nimb looks like a great option for traditional smørrebrød. And Feed Bistro looks like a cool yet laid-back restaurant with some quirky dishes. Check out Tivoli’s list of eateries to see if any grab your attention.

Restaurant at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark
One of Tivoli’s Restaurants

Churros and chocolate at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark

Uplift Your Mood at The Happiness Museum

You gotta visit at least one museum on a weekend in Copenhagen, right? I didn’t, but that was just bad planning on my part. I found out too late that The Happiness Museum exists and unfortunately they were closed on my only day left in the city!

When I return to Copenhagen (because I will, at some point), I will definitely check out this museum. If you didn’t know, Denmark regularly tops the World Happiness Index’s list of the world’s happiest countries. Its Nordic siblings are usually not too far behind. This isn’t because everyone in Northern Europe is so deliriously slap-happy 24/7. In short, it’s because they value community, socialised support and the important things in life like tasty pastries and snuggly knit jumpers.

This is the main reason I became so obsessed with Nordic culture and read all those random books. But if you’re not as obsessed as me, there are lots of other museums worth visiting in Copenhagen. Here are some options:

I’d be keen to visit the Design museum too because the Danes are also famous for appreciating quality interior design. You should note that the Carlsberg Museum is a little outside the heart of Copenhagen and you probably won’t be able/want to walk there on foot.

The Happiness Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Happiness Museum
The Royal Library of Black Diamond Building in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Royal Library or “Black Diamond”

Dinner: Aamans 1921

One of the most popular restaurants for smørrebrød in Copenhagen is Aamans 1921. It featured on the episode of Channel 4’s Travel Man series with Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding so, while I didn’t eat at the restaurant, I had to include it. Like Selma, it serves traditional smørrebrød and snaps. 

It’s quite pricey (even by Danish standards) so you could visit Aamans Deli & Takeaway instead.

Dannebrog flying outside of a restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark

Other Fun Things To Do on a Weekend in Copenhagen

Are you finding yourself with more time to kill on your weekend in Copenhagen? Here are some other activities I either did or had on my list of things to do.

  • Reffen – This is another street food market a little further north than Broens Gadekøkken so you would absolutely need to hire bikes or hop on a bus to get there. It’s a much bigger market and often has live entertainment on the weekends. They have a Mikkeller here, too!
  • Brooklyn Bar – I ate lunch here on my first day in Copenhagen after I got soaked on the bike tour. They serve, yep, you guessed it, smørrebrød and snaps. I enjoyed the food and the staff was lovely. There wasn’t anything major that I didn’t like about it. But I didn’t include it on my Copenhagen itinerary because it was quite dark inside and the tables were way too close together. And because of its location near Nyhavn, only tourists seemed to be eating there. But if you’re caught in a downpour and the street food markets are closed, it’s a great Plan B!
  • Christianshavns – This is the neighbourhood where Freetown Christiania is and where I briefly visited on the bike tour. I took a wander around this area on my last morning before catching the metro to the airport and I wish I’d spent more time here! It’s absolutely beautiful.
  • Stromma Canal Tour – It would have been hard to justify spending time on a bike tour and a canal tour, though I suppose an evening cruise would have been nice. If a bike tour doesn’t appeal to you or you have health/accessibility reasons to avoid it, I’m sure a canal tour would be the next best thing.
  • Nordisk Film Biografer Palads – This is a cinema in Copenhagen, and I think watching a movie is a great local activity when you’re a solo traveller. Thanks to the huge percentage of English speakers in Denmark, they generally don’t dub English films (sometimes they do for kid’s films) and they use Danish subtitles instead. Plus, the cinema’s facade is so cute!
Christianshavn Canal on a weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark
Ticket Booth for Stromma Canal Tours on Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark
Ticket Booth for Stromma Canal Tours on Nyhavn
Nordisk Film Biografer Palads Cinema in Copenhagen, Denmark
Nordisk Film Biografer Palads

How to Travel to Copenhagen for a Weekend Break: Flights, Trains & Buses

With Copenhagen being the capital city of a moderate-sized country, it’s a pretty busy flight hub! I was able to fly direct to Copenhagen from Edinburgh and out of Copenhagen to Manchester. Like always, I used Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight dates and times. Then, I booked with Ryanair once I found out they were the best option. 

If you’re travelling to Copenhagen from somewhere else in Europe, consider taking a more eco-friendly option. I love using FlixBus for overland Europe travel because it’s easy to navigate for foreigners and very inexpensive. DSB is Denmark’s national rail service so check their timetables if you prefer travelling by train.

View of the Øresund and the Øresund Bridge from a plane in Denmark
View of the Øresund from my plane

How to Get Around Copenhagen on a Weekend Break: Public Transport

If you don’t have any special accessibility needs, Copenhagen is relatively easy to get around on foot. There are lots of cobbled streets, though, so you may struggle in a wheelchair. Alternatively, Copenhagen Metro is very easy to use. They have a few metro stations in the very centre of the city and you can also use the metro to get from Copenhagen Airport to the city. Prices for tickets depend on what “zone” of stations you are travelling in which is very much like the London Underground.

Copenhagen also has buses and don’t rule out hiring bikes to get around too!

Copenhagen Airport has an actual train station as well as a metro station. You can also buy a train ticket to get from the airport to the centre of Copenhagen. Just be aware of which ticket machines you are using before purchasing.

Parked bikes next to a wall of posters in Copenhagen, Denmark
Are some of these bikes even locked?!

Bikes lining a street in Copenhagen, Denmark

Accommodation in Copenhagen for a Weekend Break: Hostels & Hotels

As I’ve mentioned, I travelled to Copenhagen by myself so I opted to stay in a hostel that I booked via Hostelworld as I always do. Gotta love those cancellation policies and low deposits! I stayed in Steel House near the train station and I loved it. It was one of the biggest hostels I’ve ever stayed in and it does have a bit of a party vibe thanks to all the amenities and facilities it has (bar, food, games, etc). But I’d say it’s a great all-rounder hostel and it’s very modern. I loved the desk area in the lobby which would be a great place to work remotely. And it had a swimming pool in the basement for crying out loud!

If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel, I always use Booking.com to find deals. I wouldn’t personally stay in an Airbnb as a solo traveller or travelling as a couple in Copenhagen. Though if you want to save money on eating out, then renting an apartment with a kitchen would be handy.

Steel House Hostel in Copenhagen, Denmark

And that’s how to spend a weekend in Copenhagen based on my recent trip there! Are you planning a visit to Copenhagen soon? Let me know in the comments below!

Read next: Things to Do in Aarhus, Denmark: One Day in the World’s 2nd Happiest City

A Weekend in Copenhagen Itinerary: City of Pedals and Pastries | almostginger.com

4 thoughts on “A Weekend in Copenhagen Itinerary: City of Pedals and Pastries

  1. LG says:

    PERFECT! found your blog through the atomic blonde Berlin sights article – and will be going to copenhagen soon – your itinerary sounds like a great basis – thank you for sharing 🙂

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