Three days is ample time to get acquainted with Copenhagen’s charms. Couple sightseeing tours by bus, boat, and bike with visits to the city’s world-class museums and palaces. And don’t forget to take advantage of Copenhagen’s proximity to southern Sweden and the scenic Danish countryside. Here’s how to plan the perfect 3-day stay—day trip included.
Day 1: Sightseeing Musts
Dedicate your first day in Copenhagen to the city’s top sights. Whether you choose to explore by hop-on hop-off bus tour, wend your way along the Danish capital’s scenic canals on a cruise, or take to the streets like the locals do and travel by bike, start your explorations with a tour that provides an introductory overview to the city. Spot the harborside Little Mermaid statue, take in the much-photographed views of the Nyhavn waterfront, and discover the city’s alternative side with a glimpse of Freetown Christiania. Later, stroll to the expansive Torvehallerne food hall to relax with a bite before continuing your explorations. Wrap up the day with a visit to Tivoli Gardens, the city’s colorful (and historical) amusement park, open well after dark.
Day 2: Top Museums, Palaces, and Eats
Once you’ve oriented yourself, use the second day of your Copenhagen visit to delve further into the city’s wealth of culture. The Danish capital is home to several world-class museums, including the National Museum of Denmark (where you’ll find artifacts dating back to Viking times) and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum that contains masterpieces by artists such as Rodin, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. The city’s elegant palaces are also a worthy draw: take in the Renaissance splendor of the Rosenborg Castle, see the Changing of the Guard at Amalienborg Palace (home to the Danish royal family), or go for a tour of the 12th-century Christiansborg Palace and its lavish interiors. A Copenhagen Card includes entry to many of the city’s top landmarks and institutions. End the day on a decadent note with a meal at one of the city’s top-rated restaurants.
Day 3: Day Trips from Copenhagen
Neighboring Sweden is so easy to access from Copenhagen that you don’t even need to hop on a plane. The magnificent Øresund Bridge links the Danish capital with southern Sweden, making it simple to visit by car or by train. Book a day trip and venture to Malmö—Sweden’s third-largest city—to see its hyper-modern skyscrapers contrasted with historical sights like the Malmö Castle. From Malmö, Lund, one of Sweden’s top university towns, is also just a quick journey away. Alternatively, Copenhagen serves as a gateway to the beautiful Danish countryside. Denmark is home to fairy-tale–worthy castles like Kronborg Castle (which inspired William Shakespeare’s Hamlet) and Frederiksborg Castle, and day trip itineraries from Copenhagen take all the stress out of exploring them.