Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark is famous for the Little Mermaid statue, a colourful harbour and tasty Danish Pastries. Denmark’s highly efficient tax system means free education (to postgraduate level) and up to a year off work for new parents, making the Danes right up there with the happiest people in the world. All of the sights mentioned in this blog on 48 hours in Copenhagen are FREE to visit.
Copenhagen Stock Exchange is the Oldest Stock Exchange in the World.
How long should you Spend in Copenhagen?
I enjoyed Copenhagen so much and managed to see a great deal in just 2 days. However, it can be an exhausting 2 days if you cram everything in. Ideally, if you want to know how long you should stay, I would recommend 3-5 days, particularly if you want to visit museums and absorb the local culture.
48 Hours In Copenhagen
Of course you don’t want to miss the boats and colourful houses of Copenhagen Nyhavn. On my arrival, I headed straight from my accommodation (the Generator Hostel) to Nyhavn to look at the picturesque postcard scenes of the harbour.
Copenhagen Walking Tour
If you enjoy walking, and have a limited amount of time in the city, I highly recommend that you take the free walking tour which starts from the front of the town hall at 11am every day. Get there a bit early (about 15 minutes before the tour) so that you can go inside the town hall (it’s free) and also see the astronomical clock (on the right hand side of the town hall as you enter).
The Town Hall
The town hall is the sixth town hall to be built in Copenhagen. The previous town halls were mostly wooden and burn down. Sadly, this seems to be a common theme throughout Danish history – there were 6 great fires that destroyed the city over time.
Next to the town hall you can see the Tivoli gardens, the world’s second oldest amusement park.
You can then walk to the oldest square in Copenhagen, ironically called ‘New Square’!
During the walking tour, you will be able to see the Parliament building and, surprisingly, walk through the middle of it! Image trying to do that in London?!?!
When you come out of the other side, look out for the impailed Polar Bear statue. It has been put there to show the impact of global warming.
Copenhagen Royal Palace
Also on the walking tour, you will be taken to the Royal Palace, where you can enter the grounds. A word of warning – the guards (you can’t miss them for their furry hats) are armed, so no guard-selfies!
The Danish family are very laid back and personable – it is not uncommon for you to see the Queen walking the dog! You probably get the impression that most official buildings still offer public right of way. There are even Royal public toilets that you are welcome to use!
Frederiks Kirke (The Marble Church)
From the centre of the palace grounds, you will be able to see Frederiks Kirke (The Marble Church), which is the largest dome Church in Scandinavia. It’s called the Marble Church, but wasn’t actually built out of Marble when they realised the cost. So, the Marble Church is not made out of Marble!
My Search for the Little Mermaid
The following morning, I went on my search for the Little Mermaid statue. On the way, I discovered the parks, architecture and statues that the city has to offer.
I walked towards the Churchillparken and Kastellet. This area of Copenhagen is so green and serene that it’s hard to believe that you are in a European capital city.
Kastellet is one of the best preserved Star Fortresses in Europe. It’s original pentagon shaped structure was instructed by Christian IV of Denmark in 1626.
St Albans Church
Referred to as ‘The English Church’, St Albans was the Anglican Church constructed between 1885-1887 for the growing English population of Denmark.
Next to the ‘English Church’ you will find the Gefion fountain. It was donated by Carlsberg as a gift to the city 50 years after the brewery opened in 1897.
Whilst larger and more impressive than most other statues in this area, the Gefion’s popularity fades behind the much smaller and less impressive, but well known ‘Little Mermaid’
The Little Mermaid
She is indeed small! Our walking tour guide commented that she was once voted the second most overrated statue in Europe, after the little boy statue in Brussels. I thought she was really sweet!
Just one tip for you – visit The Little Mermaid in the early hours unless you want to be fighting through a stream of tourists with cameras.
Before I headed to Malmo, I felt that I really should visit the hippie hangout Freetown Christiania. Hippies descended on some disused army barracks in the 1970’s and stayed as squatters. The resulting street art is phenomenal. This was actually my favourite part of my 48 hours in Copenhagen!
What to Pack for Denmark
If you are travelling short haul with a cheap airline from elsewhere in Europe, you can travel hand luggage only. In this case, go for a backpack like the Nomatic Travel Pack. This Water Resistant 40L Travel Duffel/Backpack, Built in Laptop and Tablet Sleeve with lots of small details and organisation.
When packing clothing for the Baltics, prepare for all weathers. The climate is slightly continental with cold winters and mild, moderately rainy summers. Essential items include a rain jacket and decent waterproof walking boots.
Pack a range of jeans, jumpers and tops and also one decent dress or something nice for the evening in case you go to the theatre or orchestra. An umbrella might come in handy if you like to have one for going out in the rain. You could also consider packing a winter hat and gloves especially if you are visiting Estonia in the winter months.
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:
48 Hours in Copenhagen – Further Reading
Have you ever spent 48 hours in Copenhagen? I’d love to hear what you thought about it.
If you are travelling to this fabulous city, you might also like to read:
Arriving in Copenhagen
Gluten Free Copenhagen