3 Days in Copenhagen: The Perfect Long Weekend Itinerary

Before summer is over, why not pop over to Denmark? Copenhagen is a city that will capture your heart. With its cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and endless waterways, the Danish capital exudes hygge (in short, feelings of wellness and contentment) and happiness.

Spending 3 days in Copenhagen is the perfect amount of time to get a feel for this charming Scandinavian city. You’ll see all the top sights, explore some under-the-radar neighborhoods, eat lots of pastries, and truly immerse yourself in the local way of life.

Copenhagen may be an expensive city, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. This jam-packed 3 day Copenhagen guide will help you experience the magic of Denmark’s capital city.

Get ready to fill up your camera roll, fill up your belly with smørrebrød (literally, butter bread), fill up your days biking around town, and fill up your heart with hygge. Here is everything you need for 3 days in wonderful Copenhagen.

Gawk at the colorful buildings in Indre By. Photo by the Solitary Wanderer

3 Days in Copenhagen

Day 1: See the Sights in Indre By

Copenhagen is very walkable so your first day will be spent primarily on foot exploring the top attractions and must-see things to do in Copenhagen in the city’s historic center, known as Indre By. Since this is where most tourists spend their time, get an early start to avoid the biggest crowds.

Start your first day by grabbing a cinnamon roll and coffee to go from Lagkagehuset Bakery and meandering over to Kongens Have (the King’s Garden).

Walking through these baroque-style gardens first thing in the morning is absolutely delightful. You’ll see locals doing yoga on the grass, jogging on the paths, and just generally enjoying this urban oasis. The well-manicured flower beds are truly a sight to behold in the summer.

After getting some nature time, make your way over to the iconic Little Mermaid statue on the harbor. This is the most famous landmark in Copenhagen and inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name.

Don’t expect anything grand; the small mermaid statue is underwhelming to some but still worth seeing if you’re in the area. The cool thing is watching the steady stream of tourists coming to get their photo taken with her!

Kastellet Copenhagen
This is Kastellet in Copenhagen. Photo by Billy Reed

From the Little Mermaid, head over to Kastellet to wander around this historic star-shaped fortress. The grounds are open and free to explore.

Kastellet is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Europe and a lovely place to explore. Wander along the grassy ramparts, check out the windmills, and you’ll understand why this national landmark is so iconic.

After getting your fill of Kastellet, walk over to the Design Museum of Denmark for an introduction to the country’s world-famous design culture. Even if you don’t visit the museum, admiring the waterfront building itself is worthwhile. You’ll find the museum inside two buildings: a historic 18th-century former hospital and a modern adjacent building.

End your first day back in Indre By admiring the royalty and grandeur of Amalienborg Palace, the Queen’s winter home. You can tour the palace when it is open and watch the changing of the guards at noon daily.

The palace exterior alone warrants a visit with its sprawling plaza facing the harbor. The four identical buildings emulating opulence speak for themselves!

Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark
Really a must to visit Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen. Photo by the Solitary Wanderer

Day 2: Alternative Neighborhoods & Iconic Sights in Copenhagen

Day 2 takes you outside Indre By to explore some of Copenhagen’s coolest and most alternative neighborhoods: Christianshavn, Vesterbro, and Frederiksberg.

Get lost wandering the streets here and you’ll discover hip cafes, street art, courtyards, indie boutiques, and more locals than tourists. This is where you’ll really tap into the trendy side of Copenhagen!

Start your morning in Christianshavn, the small island neighborhood reached by crossing the Bishop’s Bridge. Christianshavn feels almost like you’ve left Copenhagen entirely thanks to its quieter canals and cobblestone streets.

Make sure to check out the iconic Church of Our Savior and its winding spire you can climb for views over the city. The residential streets of Christianshavn are also idyllic for a morning wander.

From there, head onto Freetown Christiania, a self-governing “city within a city.” It’s green and traffic-free and has a really interesting history. They have colorful houses and buildings, designed and built by the residents themselves. Tourists can go in (you can book a tour here), but note that there are some areas closed to visitors. (Read Aleah’s blog on Christiania when she was the guest of a resident there.)

Food in Vesterbro, Copenhagen
A delicious snack in Vesterbro. Photo by Billy Reed

You can then head to the hip Vesterbro neighborhood for the Copenhagen Street Food market. This converted warehouse has some of the best cheap eats in the city with countless stalls selling everything from vegan empanadas to smørrebrød, pizza, and more.

Walk off your food baby by strolling the edgy side streets, admiring the street art, and boutique shopping in Vesterbro.

In the late afternoon, head back towards Indre By but make a stop in Frederiksberg on the way. This independent municipality is home to some gems like Frederiksberg Garden and Copenhagen Zoo.

The garden makes for idyllic wandering, while the zoo is a must if you’re traveling with kids. Frederiksberg itself has a small-town vibe despite bordering the capital.

Day 3: Nyhavn, Nørrebro, & Tivoli Gardens

Start your last day in Copenhagen down by the iconic waterfront of Nyhavn. This scenic canal and entertainment district dates back to the 17th century. The colorful facades lining the canal make it possibly the most photogenic street in the country. Grab a bench and enjoy people-watching over a pastry and coffee.

Walk off your breakfast wandering north along the harbor. Check out The Little Mermaid statue if you missed it on your first day. Continuing north you’ll pass by Kastellet fortress, historic ships, and eventually make your way to Gefion Fountain. This large fountain depicts the legendary goddess Gefion and ties into Denmark’s creation myth.

From Gefion Fountain, walk inland to explore the alternative neighborhood of Nørrebro. Here you’ll find hipster paradise Jægersborggade, full of plant shops, cafes, and street art.

Don’t miss the unique Superkilen urban park designed with objects sourced from around the world. It’s the perfect place to experience Copenhagen’s trendy and diverse side while escaping other tourists.

Stop into cafes until you find your new favorite, do a bit of shopping, and enjoy getting lost in this bohemian neighborhood.

End your final afternoon at Tivoli Gardens, the charming amusement park that inspired Walt Disney. The wooden roller coaster, fairground rides, strings of lights and live music give it an old-world charm. Time your visit to catch the illuminations at night for a magical end to your trip.

Denmark flag
Welcome to Denmark! Photo by the Solitary Wanderer

Arriving in Copenhagen

Copenhagen Airport is the main international airport serving the city located just 8 km southeast of the city center. It’s an easy train ride on the Metro into the heart of Copenhagen taking just 15 minutes. Tickets cost 36 kroner (note that Denmark doesn’t use euro!).

The train station in Copenhagen is the central hub for transportation by rail in Denmark. All trains arriving from destinations within Denmark, as well as international trains from Germany and Sweden, arrive here. From the station, it’s an easy walk or metro ride to downtown accommodations.

If arriving by bus, many companies offer service to Copenhagen from major cities in Europe. Check FlixBus for budget routes. The central bus terminal is adjacent to the train station making onward transportation easy.

By car, Copenhagen is connected to continental Europe via the Oresund Bridge linking Denmark and Sweden. Driving from places like Germany is also popular. Be aware that parking and traffic in Copenhagen are notoriously difficult, so public transportation is recommended over driving.

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

With 3 days in Copenhagen, focus your accommodation search on Indre By and the surrounding neighborhoods. Being able to walk around is key to experiencing the city.

Here are some top recommendations across budgets:

Bike in Christiania Copenhagen
This is the type of bike commonly used by Christiania residents. Photo by the Solitary Wanderer

Getting Around Copenhagen

When spending only 3 days in Copenhagen, use the bike to go around. The city is completely flat and has bike lanes galore, making it very cycling-friendly. Rent from your hostel.

If biking intimidates you, stick to an inner city public transit pass and your own two feet to get around.

How to Save Money in Copenhagen

While Copenhagen is notorious for being expensive, you can still stick to a reasonable budget over 3 days with good planning:

  • Walk or bike: Getting around free via foot or bicycle over public transit
  • Eat cheap: Doing picnic lunches from grocery stores, eating at street food markets, and having casual dinners
  • Drink alcohol carefully: Booze is highly taxed; have pre-drinks before going out
  • See free sights: Many top attractions like royal sites and gardens don’t cost money
  • Rent an Airbnb: Hotels are very costly; rent a room in a shared Airbnb instead

What to Pack for Copenhagen

When packing for Copenhagen, focus on layers like light sweaters, jackets, and scarves that can be mixed and matched. The weather is unpredictable. Don’t forget reliable rain protection, sunscreen, comfy walking shoes, and reusable bottles.

Most importantly—leave room for souvenirs!

Experience Hygge in Copenhagen

Hygge is the Danish concept of coziness, comfort, and contentment that exemplifies the national character. You’ll discover hygge throughout Copenhagen in its friendly people, charming cafes, peaceful parks and more.

Here are some top ways to experience hygge in 3 days:

  • Relax at a harbor side cafe tucked under a blanket
  • Go biking, taking in the architecture and scenery
  • Sip mulled wine at Tivoli Gardens amusement park
  • Sample comforting Danish open-faced sandwiches (smørrebrød)

There you have it—the ultimate 3 day Copenhagen itinerary covering the top sights, neighborhoods, day trips, where to stay, transportation, saving money, and immersing in hygge. This fun long weekend will introduce you to the beautiful Danish capital and leave you dreaming of your next visit. Hej København!

Christianshavn, Copenhagen
In Christianshavn. Photo by Billy Reed

Copenhagen FAQs

Where should I stay in Copenhagen for 3 days?

Focus your stay in the city center neighborhoods of Indre By and Christianshavn to be able to walk around easily. A central location is ideal for a short visit.

What is the best way to get around Copenhagen?

Bike whenever possible! Copenhagen is very flat and has designated bike lanes everywhere, making cycling the preferred transport.

How much does food cost in Copenhagen?

Dining and drinking is expensive; opt for grocery store picnics, street food stalls, and casual eateries to save money. Pre-drink before going out.

What is the weather like in Copenhagen?

Copenhagen weather is similar to other Nordic capitals: cool, damp, and gray most of the year with temperatures around 10 deg. Come from June to Aug for milder weather.

Is Copenhagen safe for solo female travelers?

Yes, Copenhagen is very safe! Violent crime is rare and the city is clean with a low crime rate. Take normal precautions as a solo traveler.

What is there to do in Copenhagen at night?

Nightlife centers around cocktail bars and microbreweries. Tivoli Gardens amusement park is also lovely at night when illuminated. Live music venues thrive too.

How many days do you need in Copenhagen?

3 days is perfect for seeing the top sights in the city. With 5–7 days you could add more day trips out of town and relax at a slower pace.

Billy Reed
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