The Copenhagen quickie: 1 night in Copenhagen itinerary

Going on a super quick city break to Copenhagen? While it is ideal to have to two days to explore Copenhagen, you can still experience a big part of the city in just one day. With the perfect itinerary for Copenhagen, one night in the city may just become the micro trip of the year. We can guarantee you to check off a great deal of Copenhagen highlights in a single day – but we can’t guarantee that you don’t want to come back for more.

Staying longer? Check out our itinerary for Copenhagen: 48 hours in Copenhagen

Central Copenhagen

Itinerary for Copenhagen – Day 1: Arrive. Explore. Eat. Indulge!

AM: Arrive and check in

With no time to waste we recommend you book a hotel with a central location with easy access to the M2 metro line or the train to CPH Airport. Ideally Central Copenhagen close to Kongens Nytorv or Nørreport or close to Central Station in Vesterbro.

Upon arrival take the train or metro to your chosen location, drop off your luggage at your hotel and head Langelinie.

11-12 am: The Little Mermaid and Amalienborg Castle

If you have the time go to check out The Little Mermaid at Langelinie around 11. Beware! You may be disappointed as she is quite little and doesn’t look too happy. Also you can expect to be met by a bunch of other tourists, who got the exact same idea. Nevertheless – the little bronze statue is among the Copenhagen highlights and the visit won’t take too much of your valuable time as it is basically along the way to Amalienborg, which is up next.

From The Mermaid continue to Amalienborg Castle – a walk that will take you about 10 minutes. The castle itself is quite modest compared to the Marble Church towering in the background, but if you wait for 12 o’clock you can see the guard change, which is a nice little traditional parade.

Guard change Amalienborg
Guard change at Amalieborg Castle. Photo: Ange Loron.

1 pm: Marble Church, Nyhavn and lunch

If the church is open to visitors, have a look inside – otherwise head directly to Nyhavn and take a stroll on the sunny side. If you’re looking for a traditional lunch this is the place to have a seat and a taste of the famous open sandwiches – also known as smørrebrød – with herring, shrimp, roast beef and other delicious toppings.

Looking for something a bit less traditional? Cross the bridge and enjoy a casual street food lunch at Broens Street Food.

2 pm: On board – a tour of the canals

From Nyhavn you can catch the guided canal tours with either Stromma or Netto Boats. A great alternative to the regular “Hop on – hop off” bus rides. From the water you can see many of Copenhagen’s most important sights and a canal tour will guarantee you a quick view of the main highlights.

Most of the tours will sail by The Little Mermaid, the Opera, Christianshavn, Christiansborg Castle and the outskirts of Christiania. You will enjoy the view of Copenhagen’s towers and spiers, old houses, narrow canals and low bridges as well as the maritime life, which can be quite busy in the summertime. All in just one hour!

Central Copenhagen
Explore the canals of Copenhagen on a boat ride. Photo: Thomas Rousing.

3.30 pm: Take a walk in Christiania

From Nyhavn cross the bridge to Christianshavn and continue to Christiania, a so-called “freetown” or an autonomous hippie village located in Christianshavn. Take a walk through Pusher Street while keeping your phones and cameras in your pocket, as it is not allowed to photograph in this part of the village.

While Pusher Street may seem a bit rough to some visitors, the village behind is quite idyllic and laid back with little boutiques, quirky houses and some great eateries.

Alternative afternoon itinerary for Copenhagen

If you’re not up for Christiania, take the yellow harbor bus to Refshaleøen and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at Reffen, Copenhagen’s biggest street food market with lots of stalls offering great snacks and drinks as well as a view over Copenhagen. Or settle down at La Banchina, a little gem located close to Reffen.

After enjoying a late afternoon under the sun, take the harbor bus back to Nyhavn and head back to your hotel to get changed for a night out.

Reffen Street Food
Wine, dine and indulge! Reffen Street Food in Copenhagen offers a laid back atmosphere and great food.

6 pm: Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is fun, romantic, traditional – and very Danish! Also, the old amusement park offers a wide range of dining options.

Take a stroll through the streets, go on a few rides if you dare and head to your chosen restaurant. Are you here on a Friday you can enjoy the open air concert at 10 pm, while you can enjoy the fireworks on Saturdays at 11.45 pm.

Carrousel in Tivoli Gardens
Spend a night in Tivoli – a fairytale like oasis in the middle of the city. Photo: Anders Bøgild.

Late: Coctails or party all night

With only one night in Copenhagen it would be a shame to go to bed early. Luckily the city offers plenty of cocktail bars and breweries, depending on your mood and personality.

If you’re looking for a wide variety of bars, head to Meatpacking District in Vesterbro, just a 5-10 minute walk from Tivoli. This place gets busy and there’s basically a bar for whatever mood you’re in and the party tends to just as fabulous outside on the square as inside the bars.

If you’re looking for something a bit more classy or romantic, the cocktail bars around Gammel Strand is a great choice.

Enjoy a night out in Copenhagen. Photo: Magnus Larsen Ravn.

Itinerary for Copenhagen – Day 2: Until next time…

9 am: Breakfast and off to Copenhagen Airport

Oh no! Time to go already… and you may only have slept a few hours.

Grab your breakfast at the hotel or at the local bakery, pack your bags and head to the airport. Luckily it’s only a 15 minute metro or train ride away.

Looking for another itinerary for Copenhagen? Check out all itineraries here!

cinnamon roll
Grab a cinnamon roll on the way to the airport. Photo: Giuseppe Liverino.

Looking for another itinerary for Copenhagen…

Summertime, “slowcation”, Christmas or Copenhagen quickies? Check all itineraries for Copenhagen and be inspired for your next trip to Scandinavia’s “Capital of cool”!

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