Awesome One Day In Copenhagen Travel Guide

Picture of Nyhavn Canal painted houses one of the things to see spending one day in Copenhagen.

There is only one word that can truly define Copenhagen and it’s not a in the English vocabulary or any other language that I know.  Hygge (pronounced ‘hyoo-guh”),  is a Danish phrase they incorporate into their daily lives. Simply put ‘hygge’ means creating a mood of coziness. It can’t be explained, just have to go and get this experience for yourself during your one day in Copenhagen visit.  

You may be wondering if one day in Copenhagen is going to be enough, it’s not. But, you can see a lot during your short tip. I am going to tell you all the best bits of Copenhagen not to miss while there.

Text reads how to spend on awesome day in Copenhagen

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INFORMATION FOR YOUR ONE DAY IN COPENHAGEN

LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN COPENHAGEN

Danish is the official language spoken in Denmark, most locals do speak English so no need to stress not speaking the language. However, speaking few common words is appreciated by the locals.

HOW TO EXPLORE COPENHAGEN

WALKING

Exploring by foot is one of the best ways to get around Copenhagen. Even though Copenhagen is a large city, a lot of the main sites are centrally located in the historic center.

Walking makes it relatively easy from hopping to one spot to another. Just make sure you have on a good pair of walking shoes. 

BIKING

You can get around like the locals by renting a bicycle and they are available around the city. Copenhagen is a very bike friendly and you will see them everywhere.

Renting a bike can cost around 170DKK per day ($19 UDS), which entails a bicycle, helmet, and lights for the full 24-hours. If you plan on cruising Copenhagen by bike your can check out rentals here.

You can also download the Donkey Republic application, which is a nifty application and has all thee pick-up locations. You can rent a bicycle through the app too!

BUS

Taking a bus is another way to get around Copenhagen and bus passes are purchased from the bus driver with small change. 

Although, the bus is very inexpensive,  Copenhagen is a very walkable city and you will be surprised how many unexpected sites you can see during your walk.

METRO

For slightly further distances I suggest using the S-tog, Copenhagen’s metro. The metro system is very tourist friendly and easy to understand. To get around during your one day in Copenhagen you will only need to use the intercity metro lines.

A 24-hour city pass costs 80DKK (~12-USD), since you will be hopping on and off the metro quite frequently I highly suggest purchasing one.

With the city pass you have unlimited access all their transportation (bus, train, metro) in all the cities major zones. To purchase in advance you can review the website right here. 

WHAT CURRENCY IS USED IN COPENHAGEN

Picture of what the currency looks like when spending one day in Copenhagen

Denmark uses the Danish Krone (DKK) and it’s the only currency accepted. If you didn’t exchange your currency prior, there are kiosks inside the Copenhagen airport to transfer your money to Krones.

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THINGS TO DO IN COPENHAGEN IN ONE DAY

1| START YOUR DAY WITH BREAKFAST AT MADO

We’re going to start the day by eating the most important meal at one yummy restaurant, Mado.

If you are like me and can never decide between  sweet or savory for breakfast, order the Country Breakfast. This feast is the perfect breakfast to satisfy your belly for your Copenhagen itinerary. It’s enough food for two!

Picture of the cappuccino at Mado.

The Country Breakfast has various meats, cheeses, hummus, fresh fruits, nuts, and olives. It also comes with some of the creamiest yogurt mixed with a swirl of homemade jam that is simply delicious. 

The bread basket is paired with velvety butter, gooey honey, and homemade jam. The Country Breakfast also has eggs made to order topped with paprika sausage.

  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 9AM-10PM, Friday-Saturday 9AM-12AM
  • Location: Vesterbrogade 6E, 1620 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take the M3 or M4 exit Københaven H

2| STROLL AROUND THE PAINTED HOUSES BY NYHAVN RIVER

Picture of the painted houses along the Nyhavn canal the must place to see for your one day in Copenhagen.

They painted houses by the Nyhavn River is a must-see during your one day in Copenhagen. These multicolored waterfront buildings of Nyhavn canal is one of Copenhagen’s most iconic spots!

The me posing by the colorful houses on the Nyhavn river.

Strolling along the waterfront and watching the boats float by on the canal is very relaxing. Inside the colorful buildings are hotels, souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants.

This side of town is a tourist trap, cost of food and drinks are a tad bit inflated.  But, at least grab a table and order a drink just to enjoy the scenery and lively atmosphere. 

Outside of McJoy's Choice one of the perfect spots to visit when spending one day in Copenhagen.

McJoy’s Choice is great for a pitstop to grab a frothy Danish beer and people watch.

  • Hours: 24/7 to walk around, except shopping and dining
  • Location: Nyhavn 30, 44 1058, 1058 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take M1, M2, M3, M4 exit Kongens Nytrov

3| GO SHOPPING ON STRØGET

Not to far off from Nyhavn River is Strøget, a pedestrian only road filled with lots of shopping and one of the longest streets in Europe.

There is a copious amount of shopping from retail chains and local boutiques. If a break is needed from all that walking along the cobble stone streets there is plenty of al fresco cafes to grab a drink or a small bite to eat.

  • Hours: 24/7 to walk around, except shopping
  • Location: Frederiksberggade 1459 København K
  • Metro: Take lines M1 or M2 and exit Gammel Strand

4|EXPLORE COPENHAGEN’S BOTANICAL GARDENS

Outside of Copenhagen's Botanical Gardens a place that must been seen during your one day in Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Botanical Gardens was originally established in the 1600s, but moved a few times before giving its final settlement in the late 1800s. 

The glass building has over 20-glasshouses and 13,000 species and plants indigenous to Central and Southern Europe. 

Summer of 2018 the Botanical Gardens opened a Butterfly House and the butterflies can be spotted flying around and during their transformation. 

me posing on a pier at the Copenhagen Botanical Garden.

The botanical gardens were closed the day after Christmas during my visit so I was unable to visit. But, the building was absolutely stunning from the outside.

  • Admission: Admission is 60-DKK (less than 9-USD)
  • Hours: Operating hours are everyday everyday from 8:30AM-4PM
  • Location: Gothersgade 128, 1123 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take lines M1 or M3, exit Nørreport

5|SAMPLE COPENHAGEN’S DELICIOUS CUSINE

Copenhagen has such an eclectic food scene and each place I dined was delicious. Below are a few of my favorites during my visit for you to choose from.

TORVEHALLERNE

Grab a bite to eat at Copenhagen’s famous food hall, Torvehallerne which is steps away from the botanical garden.

Torvehallerne is filled with an overwhelming amount of food stalls serving up Danish delicacies, fresh produce, breads, cheeses, and meats. You can sample some of Denmark’s most popular dishes here. A must-eat at Torvehallerne or while in Copenhage smørrebrøad, an open-faced sandwich with rye bread as its base topped with fish, cheese, eggs, pickled herring, or cold cuts. 

Outside of Torvehallerne a top place to eat when spending one day in Copenhagen.

Since I arrived during the holidays there were quite a few closures in the city, so I was unable to dine at the popular food hall.

  • Hours: Sunday 11AM-5PM, Monday-Thursday 10AM-7PM, Friday 10AM-8PM, Saturday 10AM-6PM
  • Location: Frederiksborggade 21, 1362 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take lines M1 or M3, exit Nørreport

TIVOLI FOOD HALL

Picture of a Tivoli food hall sign.

Another food court I suggest browsing and I am sure equally delicious as Torvehallerne is Tivoli Food Hall.

Various booths were serving up anything from sushi, Mexican, and traditional Danish eats. It does crowded, be prepared to wait in a long line to order.

My favorite was the smørrebrøad from Hallernes Smørrebrød  and order the fried fish fillet. Stimulate your tastebuds with this sandwich- it’s a succulent butter fried filet of fish topped with dill, capers, and a homemade remoulade topped on a piece of rye bread.  Wash it down with a Danish beer.

  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-11PM, Friday-Saturday 11AM-12AM
  • Location: Bernstorffsgade 3, 1577 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take M1 or M4, exit Køvenhavn H

MADKLUBBEN

Madklubben is located in the hip district of Copenhagen’s Vesterbro neighborhood. It’s sleek, modern, and pretty delicious! Quality of the food at Madklubben unbelievable for the price. You can compose your own menu and select either a 1, 2, or 3 course meal. 

I opted for 3-courses which included an appetizer, main entree, and dessert for only 225DKK (34-USD). Madklubben’s menu is seasonal, so you may not find everything I ordered when you go. But, I will give you a sample of what’s on their menu. 

The Rhubarb Bomb or the Grape Spritz from Madklubben,

Madklubben’s has unique signature cocktails the Rhubarb Bomb and Grape Spritz were both light and very refreshing. 

Picture of appetizers from   Madklubben.

For starters I had the beef tartare with pickled red onions, fried capers, and truffle mayo. Such an explosion of flavors inside my mouth. 

The pork chop sandwich for my entree was perfectly fried topped with creamy slaw and served with a side of fries! 

Picture of Madklubben's panna cotta.

Ending my meal with one of the creamiest panna cottas topped with passionfruit was the best life decision I ever made. 

  • Hours: Sunday-Saturday 5PM-12AM
  • Location: Vesterbrogade 62, 1620 København, Denmark
  • Metro: M1 or M2, exit Frederiksberg Allé

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6| CATCH A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF COPENHAGEN AT THE ROUND TOWER

Me looking out the window at the Round Tower in Copenhagen

The Round Tower has one spectacular panoramic view of Copenhagen and is one of the oldest observatories all over Europe still working. The interior is minimalistic, just white walls and wooden floors but it’s stunning.

Panoramic view of the city from The Round Tower

You can reach the tower by following the ramp, it winds around a total of 7 1/2 times. Once you reach the end there is still a journey to make it to the tower going up the narrow winding staircase. Ascending and descending down the stairwell it gets cramped and you will be getting cozy with other tourists. 

  • Admission: Admission to enter the tower is around  20DKK (3-USD)
  • Hours: Hours are 10AM-6PM except Tuesdays and Wednesdays where it stays open until 9PM. 
  • Location: Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take lines M1 or M2 and exit  Nørreport

7| SEE ANOTHER SIDE OF COPENHAGEN AT FREETOWN CHRISTIANIA

Picture of one of the graffiti houses in Freetown Christiania.

See a different side of Copenhagen at Freetown Christiania also referred to as “The Green Light District.” Locals first settled in this spot in 1971 and conform to beliefs of collectivism, anarchy, squatter beliefs, and the hippy movement. Residents don’t consider themselves part of the country let alone the continent. As far as rules – well, they have only a few. Violence, stealing, and hard drugs are not permitted. Marijuana is banned in Copenhagen, but a lifestyle for most living in the neighborhood.

Take photos with caution, a lot of the buildings indicate photos are not allowed and taking pictures on Pusher Street is strictly banned. 

Although, Christiania is not particularly my kind of scene it’s  something different that cannot be seen anywhere else. Walking through the gates of Christiania reminded me something similar to a horror movie at a circus. I know sounds crazy and don’t let that stop you from visiting. There were lots of people walking around and everyone is extremely friendly. Not once did I feel unsafe walking the commune during daylight hours. But, I would be hesitant as a female exploring at night. 

  • Admission: No admission to enter the gates
  • Hours: 24/7
  • Location: Prinsessegade 1422 København
  • Metro: Take lines M1 or M2, exit Christianshavn

8|BEHAVE LIKE A CHILD AT SUPERLIKEN PARK

A place to see during your one day in Copenhagen is Superkilen Park.

Superkilen Park is on the urban side of Copenhagen and officially opened in June 2012. The half a mile long park has a driven purpose to unite refugees and locals in one of Copenhagen’s ethnically and socially challenged neighborhoods.  

Picture of Superkilen Park in Copenhagen.

Superkilen  quickly became a major tourist attraction in Copenhagen due to its quirky and funky design. Some of the features of the park include monkey bars, slides, skateboard ramps, swings, and bike lanes to encourage physical activity and support community gatherings. It’s where adults can behave like children. 

  • Admission: Free to enter
  • Hours: 24/7
  • Location: Nørrebrogade 210, 2200 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take line M3 and exit Nørrebro

9| RIDE A ROLLERCOASTER AT TIVOLI GARDENS

Picture of the outside of Tivoli top place to see one day in Copenhagen.

A perfect way to end your one day in Copenhagen is at Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. So many ‘hygge’ vibes here for that authentic Danish experience, so I suggest not skipping out  on the gardens during your visit. The park has many restaurants, gardens, adventure rides, and an outdoor beer garden (available only during summer). During winter Tivoli is decorated with festive Christmas lights that are simply picturesque.  

This is a large park so you will spend quite a bit of time exploring here and feel like a big kid. Get a thrill on the rollercoasters and eat a ristet hotdog (Copenhagen’s version of a hotdog).

  • Admission: Without rides admission is 140 DKK (20-USD) . Or unlimited rides is 240 DKK (30-USD) *Does change seasonally
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-11PM, Friday-Saturday 11AM-12AM
  • Location: Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V, Denmark
  • Metro: Take lines M4 or M4, exit København H

10|CELEBRATE WITH A COCKTAIL AND DESSERT

Strawberry pie at Cafe Vivaldi  in Copenhagen.

If you’re still feeling festive after Tivoli Gardens, head across the street for a cocktail and a slice of pie at Cafe Vivaldi. The cafe is the perfect spot to unwind before heading back to the hotel!

  • Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 10AM-10PM, Thursday 10AM-11PM, Friday-Saturday 10AM-3AM
  • Location: Axeltorv 1, 1609 København, Denmark
  • Metro: Take lines M4 or M4, exit København H

ONE DAY IN COPENHAGEN: CONCLUSION

Copenhagen quickly became one of my favorite cities all over Europe. Any season would be perfect to visit, but winter in Copenhagen is magical. From “hygge”, genuine locals,  a thriving food scene, and stimulating scenery it makes for one unforgettable adventure.

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22 Comments

  1. Beautiful photos! So glad I now know how to pronounce hyge!

    1. Thank you so much! Now you can use it when you are there!

  2. Copenhagen looks like such a lovely city! Especially with the gardens decorated for Christmas! Thanks for the great guide, I hope I’ll get the chance to visit Copenhagen soon!
    Hannah | https://getlost.blog/

    1. I hope you get to visit soon also! It is beautiful during Christmas season!

  3. I have flown in and out of Copenhagen several times. But only ever as work trips connecting to Malmo. I’ve never really managed to go and actually explore Copenhagen. But I would absolutely love to. It looks like such a great city. So thanks for sharing this very condensed itinerary. Fingers crossed during the next work trip I can actually steal a few hours to explore.

    1. I hope you get to explore also. It is definitely worth visiting. It quickly became one of my favorite cities in Europe!

  4. If I ever get to go to Copenhagen, it would most likely be for a long layover as per the price. I’m really relieved and excited to see that even with one day in the city, that there is so much to do!

    1. It is one beautiful city! If you get the change I highly recommend visiting!

  5. Coppenhagen looks like a beautiful place to visit, the painted houses look awesome. I would also love to visit Freetown Christiania and see the street art.

    1. Copenhagen is really beautiful. I didn’t want to leave. Hope you get to go soon and see Christiana.

  6. Copenhagen is a special place and especially Christiana wow that really surprised me thanks for sharing the nice information about the costs and love your pictures. We planned to go there for 3 days and stayed 30 haha so yeah it’s special.

    1. It really is a special place. Freetown Christiana was truly unique. I can see why you stayed for 30! Maybe next time I can 🙂

  7. Copenhagen is so pretty and colourful! Would love to visit someday! Thanks for sharing this great guide!

    1. It really is colorful. Hopefully you will get to visit soon!

  8. Nice guideline. Having the time and schedule. Perfect to maximize one’s time. I love it!

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! There is really so much to do there that cannot be done in a day!

  9. Thank you for such a complete guide! I’d love to visit Copenhagen soon and I’d love to stay at least one night to have some extra time to visit!

    1. I wish I stayed longer. The city really is AMAZING! Hope you get to go soon!

  10. Copenhagen is so dreamy. We spent a few days there and loved it! Your guide is awesome!

    1. Thanks so much! You’re right, it is a dreamy place!

  11. Copenhagen is such a great city! Loved your guide 🙂

    1. It really is. Glad you enjoyed the guide:)

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