Copenhagen is arguably one of the most photogenic and welcoming capital cities in Europe, from the colorful facades of Nyhavn to the city’s inviting outdoor patios. The only regret travelers seem to have when visiting Copenhagen is not allocating enough time here. Nonetheless, seeing the best of Denmark’s capital in one day is entirely possible. And thanks to the Copenhagen metro, it’s relatively easy to bounce between neighborhoods. This 24-hour tour of Copenhagen starts in Frederiksberg and ends in center Copenhagen—with stops at three essential Copenhagen eateries. Here’s how you can plan an ideal Copenhagen day:
8 a.m. Start your day poking around Frederiksberg with a stop at Hart Bageri. Frederiksberg is a posh Copenhagen neighborhood with a classically European aesthetic. And Hart Bageri is a project started by Tartine’s former head baker, Richard Hart, and former Noma chef René Redzepi. Knowing the fervor San Franciscans have for Tartine and the impossibility of a Noma reservation, it’s no surprise that Hart Bageri opened to a crowd of clamoring foodies in 2018. Try a cardamom bun and a double-baked croissant for breakfast—and consider taking their signature City Loaf sourdough (or maybe Hart’s take on a basque cheesecake) for later.
9:30 a.m. Visit Frederiksberg Palace, which sits atop Frederiksberg Hill overlooking the expansive palace gardens. Seeing Frederiksberg Palace is a nice alternative to visiting Amalienborg Palace, which is where the Danish royal family currently lives. Dating back to 1700, Frederiksberg Palace’s design beautifully reflects 18th-century Italian style.
10:30 a.m. Take a Scandi shopping trip in Frederiksberg. Because Frederiksberg is the chic St. Germain-des-Pres or SoHo-esque neighborhood, it’s the perfect place to roam the charming streets and absorb Scandinavian culture through their cutting-edge fashion. Start on Frederiksberg’s known shopping street, Gammel Kongevej. Try nué, a boutique that offers a personal shopping experience, then continue on Gammel Kongevej to Ganni—because if you didn’t go to a Ganni, did you even shop in Denmark? Finally, wander into Sofie Schnoor; the haute Danish brand’s flagship store is in Frederiksberg.
12:30 p.m. Metro from Frederiksberg to Kongens Nytorv, the very center of Copenhagen, to see some of the city’s classic tourist attractions. From the station, walk down Strøget, a popular pedestrian shopping street that’s been car-free since 1962, toward the Tivoli Gardens.
1 p.m. Upon entrance to Tivoli Gardens, stop at Gemyse for lunch, a restaurant known for its exquisite plant-based menu. Even the most hardcore meat-lovers have to respect the meticulously prepared vegan and vegetarian meals here. The beetroot falafel is especially delicious, and its location within Tivoli Gardens makes it extra convenient for your one-day Copenhagen itinerary.
2:30 p.m. Explore Tivoli Gardens, the second-oldest amusement park in the world, and a spectacle in any season. Tivoli isn’t just an amusement park—it’s also a blooming garden and a venue for concerts and year-round entertainment. After lunch, traverse the gardens, peeking in on the local vendors and sampling a hot chocolate, iced coffee, or Mikkeller beer at one of the food and beverage stalls. Entrance to Tivoli is 130 dkk (about $13).
4 p.m. After Tivoli, it’s time to see two of the most famous Copenhagen attractions. One of the most remarkable things about sight-seeing in Copenhagen is that locals don’t avoid the touristy spots. On the contrary, Copenhagen residents frequent the main square, Kongens Nytorv, and the city’s most iconic street, Nyhavn. First, stop in at Coffee Collective Bernikow to grab a to-go latte for your walk. Then wander Kongens Nytorv, which translates to the “King’s New Square.” From Kongens Nytorv, you’ll cross to the canal and Nyhavn (which means “new harbor”). Nyhavn is the quintessential canal-facing Copenhagen street lined with colorful row houses and lively bars and restaurants.
5:30 p.m. Finish your walk at Copenhagen’s famous luxury hotel, d’Angleterre. The hotel dates back to 1755 and has become a defining landmark of central Copenhagen. It sits in full view of Kongens Nytorv. If your 24 hours in Copenhagen falls on a Sunday, d’Angleterre serves Krug Afternoon Tea for those interested in taking a classic sit-down English tea prior to strolling Nyhavn. Tea includes delectable bites by Marchal, d’Angleterre’s Michelin-starred restaurant, and Krug champagne. For those wandering Kongens Nytorv on a day other than Sunday, stop into d’Angleterre anyway for a bite of their aebleskiver and a goblet of their signature glogg (their take on the traditional Scandinavian mulled wine, made with white wine instead of red—plus some hard alcohol).
8 p.m. Reserve well in advance for dinner at Alchemist. Foodies flocking to Copenhagen have, of course, heard of Noma, which has twice been named the best restaurant in the world. But an ambitious new Copenhagen spot, Alchemist, is looking to give Noma a run for its money. Their fixed-price menu consists of 50 courses (or “impressions” as chef Rasmus Munk calls them) that promise to “challenge the preconceptions of what a meal can be.” And sure enough, they’re reminiscent of miniature art installations. The sprawling space itself, which was constructed in an old workshop of the Royal Danish Theatre, features a planetarium dome. At about $600 per person (with a wine pairing), it promises to be unlike any other meal you’ve ever had.
Where to Stay
Book d’Angleterre’s Royal Suite, which boasts a perfect view of Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn from the chic balcony. The extravagantly decorated Royal Suite has hosted famous actors, musicians, and politicians. It can be expanded to take up the entire first floor, thus making it the biggest suite in Copenhagen.