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48 Hours in Copenhagen: What to Not Miss + Complete Guide

48 hours in Copenhagen

So, you have 48 hours in Copenhagen to explore all its splendor. This is not an impossible feat, and as we expand our guides to exciting short itineraries in Europe and beyond, the Copenhagen in 2 Days guide is here to help you explore, have fun, and make the most of your visit.

Exploring Copenhagen in just 48 hours may seem like a whirlwind adventure, but with a city as compact and efficiently designed as Denmark’s capital, it’s entirely possible to create lasting memories over a weekend. This guide is crafted to help you navigate through the charming streets, historic sites, and cultural gems in a way that makes the most of your short stay.

Start your experience in the heart of the city, where cobbled streets and colorful buildings set the scene for a perfect Danish adventure. Whether you’re meandering down the storybook canal of Nyhavn or savoring the tastes of local cuisine at a street market, you’ll feel the vibrant energy that makes Copenhagen a beloved destination.

A well-planned itinerary is key to capturing the essence of this pocket-sized city. From the timeless amusement of Tivoli Gardens to the royal halls of Rosenborg Castle, your guide includes must-visit landmarks that are as much a part of the city’s fabric as the bicycles that buzz along its lanes. With limited time, a Copenhagen City Pass can be a wise investment, granting you unlimited travel across the city’s efficient public transport network, including buses and the metro, ensuring your adventure is as smooth as it is unforgettable.

Read these Guides to complement this trip:

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Planning Your Trip – 48 Hours in Copenhagen

Embarking on a two-day adventure in Copenhagen requires some pre-trip organization to ensure you maximize every moment in this dynamic city.

When to Visit

Copenhagen’s charm shines brightest during the summer months (June to August), when you’ll experience long days and mild weather, perfect for exploring. However, for fewer crowds and a cozy atmosphere, consider visiting in spring (March to May) or fall shoulder seasons (September to November). Winter in Copenhagen can be magical with its Christmas markets and festive lights; this season runs from December to February, although it’s colder and the days are shorter.

Getting Around

Upon arrival at Copenhagen Airport, take the efficient Metro to reach the city center. Public transportation in Copenhagen is reliable and easy to navigate, with a network of buses, metro, and s-trains. For convenience, rent a bike to experience the city like a local; Copenhagen is renowned for its cycling culture.

👇🏽 Copenhagen Transportation Guide
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Accommodation Options for your 48 Hours in Copenhagen

You’ll find diverse accommodation options, from luxury hotels to quaint Airbnb stays. Where to stay depends on your preference; Indre By, the city center, is ideal for first-time visitors, while Vesterbro offers a trendy vibe, and Christianshavn presents a quieter neighborhood feel.

mid-budget accommodation options in the three mentioned areas of Copenhagen: Indre By, Vesterbro, and Christianshavn.

Indre By (City Center)

  1. Hotel SP34: This boutique hotel offers Scandinavian styled rooms and is situated in the heart of Copenhagen. It’s a great choice for those who appreciate a stylish, comfortable environment at a moderate price. The hotel also features a rooftop terrace and a cozy lounge.
  2. WakeUp Copenhagen – Borgergade: A modern and budget-friendly option, this hotel offers compact yet well-designed rooms. It’s centrally located, making it easy to explore major tourist attractions on foot.
  3. Ibsens Hotel: A cozy, artsy hotel located near the Norreport Station. It offers a homely vibe with a focus on sustainability. The hotel is surrounded by small cafes, restaurants, and is a short walk from the Botanical Gardens.


  1. Bertrams Guldsmeden: This eco-friendly hotel in the trendy Vesterbro district features unique, Bohemian-style decor and organic food. It’s ideal for travelers looking for a blend of comfort and style.
  2. Hotel Ansgar: Conveniently located near the Copenhagen Central Station, this hotel offers comfortable accommodations at a reasonable price. The peaceful courtyard provides a nice spot to relax.
  3. Absalon Hotel: A family-run establishment, the Absalon Hotel combines modern amenities with personal service. The colorful rooms and central location make it a popular choice among younger travelers.


  1. 71 Nyhavn Hotel: Set in two converted warehouses on the picturesque Nyhavn Canal, this hotel offers charm and history, coupled with modern comforts. It’s a bit on the higher side of mid-budget but offers a unique experience.
  2. CPH Living Hotel Boat: A floating hotel providing an unusual staying experience with panoramic views of the city and harbor. The rooms are simple and stylish, suitable for those looking for something different.
  3. Hotel Copenhagen: A budget-friendly option in Christianshavn, offering basic but clean and comfortable accommodations. It’s a good base for exploring the city without breaking the bank.

These options cover a range of mid-budget accommodations across the three districts, each with its own unique charm and amenities.

Copenhagen Card

The Copenhagen Card can be a smart purchase. It offers free access to many attractions and unlimited public transport in Copenhagen. Cards are available online or at the airport and have different validity periods; a 48-hour card is suitable for a quick visit and will facilitate your exploration within the city.

By planning ahead and considering these aspects, you’ll be poised to enjoy a seamless and exciting tour through Copenhagen’s streets and alleys.

Cultural and Historic Highlights

Copenhagen captivates with its blend of history, art, and architecture. Here, you can walk through the corridors of time, marvel at royal residences, and immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry that defines this vibrant city.

Museums and Galleries

Your cultural tour should absolutely include a trip to the National Museum of Denmark. It’s a treasure trove where centuries of history unfold, from Viking artifacts to modern Danish influences. Be sure not to overlook the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum that is particularly rich in sculptures and features an impressive collection of antiquities.

  • Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek:
    • Antiquities Collection: Explore ancient cultures, including Egyptian, Roman, and Greek.
    • Danish and French Art: Admire the works from the Danish Golden Age and French impressionists.
  • National Museum:
    • Viking Exhibits: Discover the fierce and fascinating world of the Vikings.
    • Danish Culture: Trace the evolution of Denmark’s cultural heritage.

Architecture and Landmarks

Your journey will be incomplete without visiting Christianshavn, an area that showcases a seamless blend of old-world charm and contemporary Danish design. The vibrant neighborhood is known for its picturesque canals and unique architecture. Another must-see is Copenhagen’s cherished The Little Mermaid statue, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.

  • Christianshavn: Canals lined with colorful houses and lively cafes.
  • The Little Mermaid: Iconic bronze statue sitting by the waterside.

Royal Palaces

Witness the grandeur of Danish royalty by visiting the stunning Christiansborg Palace, where you can explore the Royal Reception Rooms adorned with opulent furnishings and tapestries. Meanwhile, Amalienborg is the epitome of regal elegance, offering a glimpse into the life of Denmark’s royal family.

  • Christiansborg Palace:
    • Royal Reception Rooms: Experience the lavish settings where official state events occur.
    • History and Power: The site encapsulates over 800 years of Danish history.
  • Amalienborg:
    • Royal Lifestyle: Peer into the world of Danish monarchs.
    • Changing of the Guard: Observe the daily ceremony that symbolizes royal tradition.

By touring these highlights, you’ll engage with the pivotal landmarks of Copenhagen’s past and present, gaining an appreciation for the city’s cultural significance and historic splendor.

Food and Dining

Copenhagen’s culinary scene offers an array of dining experiences, from traditional Danish dishes to innovative cuisine at some of the best restaurants in the world. Embark on a gastronomic journey, savoring everything from comfort food to fine dining, in this foodie’s paradise.

Traditional Danish Cuisine

You’ll find Danish rye bread at the heart of a classic Copenhagen dining experience. Indulge in smørrebrød, open-faced sandwiches layered with a variety of toppings, at traditional spots like Schønnemann or Aamanns. These sandwiches are not only delicious but also an integral part of Danish culture.

👇🏽 Copenhagen Food Guides
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Copenhagen’s Best Restaurants

Copenhagen is home to renowned restaurants like Noma, acclaimed for its innovative approach to Nordic cuisine. However, the culinary excellence doesn’t stop there. Explore other top-tier dining destinations such as Kadeau and Geranium, both offering your palate memorable flavors while emphasizing seasonal and local ingredients.

Coffee Culture and Bakeries

Your Copenhagen experience won’t be complete without visiting one of its cozy cafés. For a perfect morning, pair a warm cardamom bun from Juno the Bakery or a crispy pastry from Hart Bageri with a robust cup of coffee. Later, you might wander through Torvehallerne market to discover a variety of baked goods and café delights. If you’re in the mood for a leisurely afternoon, a wine bar known for its natural wine selection, such as Ved Stranden 10, offers the perfect setting to unwind.

Enjoy your culinary exploration as you dive into the vibrant flavors that make Copenhagen a treasured destination for food lovers around the world.

Leisure and Entertainment

Discovering Copenhagen’s leisure and entertainment options is a delightful dive into the city’s vibrant culture. Your 48 hours in Copenhagen will be well-spent exploring amusement parks, browsing fashionable shopping districts, and soaking up the lively nightlife.

Amusement Parks and Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is a must-see, ideally nestled in the heart of Copenhagen. Opened in 1843, it’s one of the world’s oldest operational amusement parks, blending nostalgia with modern thrill rides. Stroll through the lush gardens, enjoy the historic roller coasters, or relax by the lakeside. If visiting with family, Frederiksberg Gardens, with its baroque landscaping and lovely canals, provides a serene escape.

  • Tivoli Gardens: Opened 1843, mix of classic and modern rides
  • Frederiksberg: Baroque-style gardens

Shopping Districts

Copenhagen is a fashionista’s paradise, and Strøget is at the forefront—a long pedestrian street home to many shops ranging from budget-friendly chains to high-end boutiques. For a comprehensive shopping experience, explore Illum, Copenhagen’s premium department store. It offers a variety of brands and designer goods. Nearby, Magasin is another shopping haven with numerous floors of Scandinavian design and international labels. The Copenhagen street food scene at places like Reffen offers a casual shopping experience where you can grab bites in between your shopping sprees.

  • Strøget: Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping area
  • Illum and Magasin: Designer brands, diverse offerings
  • Reffen: Local market with Copenhagen street food

Nightlife and Going Out

As the sun sets, Copenhagen’s nightlife sparkles to life, especially in areas like the Meatpacking District, where you’ll find a mix of hip bars and clubs. Prepare for a night of fun with a good meal at a local street food market before heading out for cocktails in a stylized bar. The choices are vast, from high-end clubs to cozy pubs. For a unique evening, add a performance at Tivoli Gardens to your Copenhagen itinerary.

  • Meatpacking District: Hotspot for bars and clubs
  • Cocktails: Diverse mix of lounge bars and casual pubs
  • Performance: Cultural entertainment at Tivoli Gardens

Enjoying Copenhagen’s leisure and entertainment offerings will make your 48 hour in Copenhagen visit truly memorable. Don’t forget to capture the moments!

Exploring The Districts

Each district in Copenhagen offers a unique glimpse into the city’s culture and history. While you discover these areas, make sure to appreciate their individual character and charm that sets them apart.

Vibrant Vesterbro

48 Hours in Copenhagen - A drone shot of the hip and urban neighborhood,  Vesterbro Copenhagen
A drone shot of the hip and urban neighborhood, Vesterbro Copenhagen | 48 Hours in Copenhagen

Vesterbro is a lively neighborhood known for its bohemian spirit and energetic nightlife. Once the meatpacking district, Kødbyen has transformed into a trendy hotspot where fancy restaurants stand next to edgy galleries. Here’s where you can indulge in some of the city’s finest culinary experiences or enjoy a night out at its vibrant bars and clubs.

  • Main attractions: Meatpacking District, Tivoli Gardens
  • Where to stay: Boutique hotels, cozy Airbnb options

Historic Indre By

The beautiful harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark shot by Massimiliano Morosinotto via Unsplash | 48 hours in Copenhagen
The beautiful harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark, shot by Massimiliano Morosinotto via Unsplash | 48 hours in Copenhagen

The heart of Copenhagen, Indre By, or the city centre, is where the historical and the contemporary seamlessly blend. Wander along the cobbled streets and come across the Round Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city. Don’t miss Nyhavn, the famous colorful harbour, perfect for a picturesque stroll and lined with cafés where you can savor a Danish pastry.

  • Can’t-miss spots: Nyhavn, The Round Tower, Strøget shopping street
  • Cultural insights: Visit art museums, the Danish royal palaces

Alternative Freetown Christiania

Experience a different side of Copenhagen in the freethinking corner of Freetown Christiania. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood. It’s nestled in Christianshavn, an area renowned for its canals and maritime heritage. While there, explore the vibrant murals, visit organic eateries and discover the community’s unique way of life.

  • Unique experiences: Christiania’s art scene, Christiania Bikes
  • Nearby: Islands Brygge, a local favorite for waterfront recreation

In each neighborhood, you’ll feel the pulse of Copenhagen, from the historic roots of Indre By to the avant-garde energy in Christiania. Let your curiosity guide you through the streets, and you’ll find countless treasures in these distinct districts.

Frequently Asked Questions on 48 Hour in Copenhagen Guide

Planning a weekend in Copenhagen can be exciting and rewarding with so much to discover. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your 48 hours.

What are the must-see attractions to visit in Copenhagen over a weekend?

To add to everything we mentioned here in this guide, you also shouldn’t miss You should visit the historic Christiansborg Palace, admire the iconic Little Mermaid statue, and explore the beautiful Tivoli Gardens. Walking along the picturesque Nyhavn harbor is essential for any itinerary. Pick ones that match your taste and style of travel.

How can one experience Copenhagen’s culture with only two days available?

Dive into Copenhagen’s culture by visiting the National Museum of Denmark to learn about the country’s history. Don’t miss a live jazz performance or explore the bohemian district of Christiania.

What is the best itinerary for a short 48-hour winter trip to Copenhagen?

Traverse the winter charm by visiting Christmas markets if you’re around in December. Enjoy the holiday lights in Tivoli and try ice skating at Frederiksberg Runddel for a magical winter experience.

Can you suggest budget-friendly accommodation options for a 2-day stay in Copenhagen?

Look for hostels in the Indre By or consider booking an Airbnb in the Vesterbro district for affordable stays. Many hotels also offer competitive rates during the off-season.

What local Copenhagen dish should I not miss during my visit?

Don’t leave without trying Smørrebrød, the traditional open-faced sandwich, or get cozy with a bowl of Danish meatballs (Frikadeller) in a local eatery.

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