How to spend the perfect 3 days in Copenhagen.
I recently embarked on my very first solo trip to Europe. As it turns out, Copenhagen is an amazing place to wander about as a solo female traveler. It’s easy for a native English speaker (everyone speaks English and most signs are written in English), and it’s safe to explore on your own as a woman. I’ve put together a Copenhagen itinerary and travel guide with everything I visited, saw, and ate over three days in the city.
Day 1: Arrival
I took a direct overnight flight with Air Canada from Toronto to Copenhagen, arriving at around 11 in the morning. By the time I got into town and checked into my hotel, I could have easily crashed and napped. However, I suggest powering through so you can make the most of your day. Also, you’ll combat jet lag by getting to sleep at a usual time, according to your new time zone.
Where to Stay
I stayed at Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade, a modern, no frills hotel in the middle of town. It’s inexpensive (around $100 Canadian a night) and has your basic needs covered: it’s clean, has a modern design, and has the essentials (bed, shower, bathroom, TV, Wi-Fi).
The rooms are tiny, but it’s best for those who aren’t spending much time in the room anyway. As someone who was looking for a place to rest her head at night, travelling on her own, this hotel was perfect.
The hotel is right in the centre of it all. You can walk everywhere, and there’s a train station down the street. I took public transit from the airport to the subway stop and walked to the hotel (about an 8 minute walk).
Book your stay at the Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade as it’s a cheap hotel in Copenhagen with all the amenities you need.
Copenhagen City Card
I highly recommend that you pick up a Copenhagen City Card when you travel to Copenhagen. It might seem a little bit expensive, but the whole city is pretty darn expensive and the card will save you some money. You can buy it for 1 – 4 days and it includes an absolute ton of attractions in the city.
The Copenhagen City Card also allows you to take public transportation anywhere, including some day trips within Denmark that are outside the city limits (excluding Sweden). This includes public transportation into the city from the airport. For this reason, I recommend that you pick up the pass at the airport and start using it right upon your arrival. You can buy the Copenhagen City Card in advance and bring your receipt to a kiosk at the airport where they’ll hand you your card. It’s really easy!
I used the card for transportation, a canal boat tour, admission to the Tivoli Gardens, and admission to other museum and historic attractions. You don’t even have to feel bad about poking your head into a museum for a short amount of time. If you decide that you don’t want to spend a lot of time there, you won’t feel like you wasted your money’s worth.
Lunch at Green Burger
I walked down the street from my hotel for about 10-15 minutes until I reached Green Burger, a vegan restaurant that was on my list. Green Burger has all of your fast food favourites, made healthier using plant-based ingredients.
I decided to go with a combo: a classic burger, fries, and a retro soda (I chose an orange one that reminded me of a Creamsicle).
The burger had mache lettuce, a spicy mayo sauce, red onion, and pickled cucumber as toppings. The fries were topped with sea salt and thyme. Yum!
I savoured my burger with some of the first views I’d stopped to notice in Copenhagen, besides the ones I admired on my walk to the restaurant. My next stop, the Torvehallerne market was right across the street.
Torvehallern Food Market
Who goes to a food market right after they eat lunch? I love visiting markets on my travels, and I thought to walk through to scope out the vegan options (there were quite a few!). I’ll be covering this soon in my vegan guide to Copenhagen. I really enjoyed the Torvehallerne market and ended up returning in the future on another occasion.
I suggest poking around the market and stopping for a coffee before you continue your adventures. Or maybe it’s time for second lunch? There’s a Coffee Collective location inside the Torvehallerne market.
Vegan Finds at Naturbageriet
Looking for vegan or gluten-free baked goods? Naturbageriet is right beside the Torvehallerne market, and it’s a gem. This little bakery always seemed busy with mostly locals, lining up for their favourite treats.
Everything is clearly marked as vegan or gluten-free. I stocked up on a few sugary desserts and some croissants for breakfast the next morning.
There’s also a great variety of grocery items, including refrigerated goods like vegan cheeses. If you’re staying for a little while in Copenhagen or have access to a fridge, be sure to stock up here.
It was so busy that I couldn’t take photos inside, but I snapped a few through the front window.
Looking for more vegan food in Copenhagen? Check out my vegan Copenhagen restaurant and travel guide.
It’s Time to Wander
Throughout my 3 days in Copenhagen, I did a whole lot of walking. One of my favourite things to do in Copenhagen was wander around. Explore at your own pace. Wander down any cobblestone street that you please. I walked around the central neighbourhood of Indre By (aka ‘inner city’ or downtown Copenhagen), strolling into little shops, taking a peek into churches, and wandering wherever I pleased.
One of the main spots frequented by tourists is Strøget, a pedestrian zone and shopping area in Indre By. It’s one of the longest pedestrian only shopping streets in Europe. Some interesting stops include the Storkespringvandet (Stork Fountain), Helligåndskirken (Church of the Holy Spirit, a 13th century church), and any shops that strike your fancy.
Copenhagen City Hall
Once you reach the end of the pedestrian zone, it’s nearly impossible not to see the majestic Copenhagen City Hall building. Designed by architect Martin Nyrop in the National Romantic Style, I happily snapped a bunch of pictures of this building and the statues in front of it. The city hall building sits at the head of City Hall Square, which is a fantastic meeting place for tourists and locals alike.
Fun fact: Copenhagen City Hall was modeled after the municipal building in Siena, Italy. I can definitely see the resemblance!
Anyone can come and go from city hall during opening hours, free of charge (Monday – Friday 09:00 – 16:00, Saturday 09:00 – 13:00). There are opportunities for guided tours, and you can only visit the tower with an escort (Monday – Friday at 11:00 and 14:00, Saturday at 12:00 for 30 DKK).
Although I didn’t take a guided tour or visit the tower, I went inside the city hall building to catch a glimpse. The architecture and design of the interior rivals the exterior for its beauty. There was also a small art exhibition happening indoors, which was quite intriguing.
When you spend 3 days in Copenhagen (or any amount of time), you should spend some time exploring the various neighbourhoods. One of those interesting districts is called Vesterbro. It’s a former meat packing district turned hip hotspot, with independent shops, vintage finds, and the coolest bars and cafes.
I took a stroll down the lengthy shopping street, Istedgate, where I discovered street art and interesting specialty stores.
Prolog Coffee Bar
I stumbled upon a small coffee shop called Prolog, which I hadn’t seen on any best coffee in Copenhagen type lists…but it should be on all of them.
This was the best coffee that I tried in all of Copenhagen, and I’m an avid coffee drinker.
Prolog Coffee Bar is a really small, cute cafe in Vesterbro. There aren’t too many seats inside, but for warmer days, there’s outdoor seating. Pull up a chair at one of the small tables in the front or snag a spot at the back. I loved the greenery and terrariums hanging about in the back, as well as the randomly scattered shelves along the front wall.
The coffee was delicious. My pour over coffee was prepared with perfectly roasted beans for a rich mug full of the good stuff. I wasn’t offered any milk or sugar, and I didn’t see any of it around. This coffee was meant to be savoured just as it was, and it didn’t even need anything extra added to it. Trust me, drink this coffee black. You won’t regret it.
Interested in more of Copenhagen’s coffee culture? Here are the 5 best coffee shops in Copenhagen you won’t want to miss.
For the rest of the afternoon, I wandered between Vesterbro and downtown Copenhagen a little bit more, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
District Tonkin for Dinner
As I was still feeling a little bit jet-lagged and had walked quite a bit, I looked for a restaurant that was near my hotel. I decided to bring the food back to my room to eat it there, rather than dining at the restaurant.
District Tonkin is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Copenhagen. It’s not a vegan restaurant, but they serve a few vegan meals that are clearly advertised as such (VG on the menu).
I was a little bit disappointed because they were completely sold out of tofu, and most of the vegan meals had tofu in them. I ordered some vegetable spring rolls and the rice noodle salad (sans tofu), which was super yummy. They added some extra vegetables to the mix; however, it would have tasted better with some tofu in it.
That was my first of 3 days in Copenhagen. Ready for day 2?
Day 2: Best of Copenhagen
I woke up bright and early to beat the crowds to some of the most popular sights in Copenhagen. Justin and I found last year when we were in Czech Republic that waking up really early was the best. You could explore the most happening tourist spots without many other people around, like the Charles Bridge in Prague.
Naturally, my first stop was Nyhavn. It was also right down the street from my hotel, Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade.
So, there were a few other people who were sauntering around early like I was. One of them asked that I take a photo of her in front of the brightly coloured buildings and love locks. Naturally, I asked if she could do the same for me!
Nyhavn is probably the most iconic spot in Copenhagen. There are rows of colourful buildings along each side of the canal. You’ll also find restaurants, bars, cafes, and an assortment of historic wooden ships and canal tour boats.
While I didn’t stop here for food and drink, I marveled at the spectacular scenery. It’s one of those spots I’ve seen so many times in pictures, so it was amazing to see it with my own eyes.
If you’re feeling a little bit hungry between point A and point B, stop by your local 7-Eleven in Copenhagen! Surprisingly, 7-Elevens are really vegan-friendly with loads of plant-based options advertised on billboards in front of the shop.
They have vegan croissants that are delicious, so I grabbed a couple in case I felt a little hungry throughout the day.
Still feeling a little bleary-eyed, it was the perfect time to stop for my first coffee of the day.
Cafe Norden opens fairly early in the morning at 8:30am, but it was comfortable and quiet. I enjoyed my coffee there, while sneakily eating one of my 7-Eleven vegan croissants as there weren’t any vegan food options there.
I noticed a few tourists ordering breakfast, as well as locals reading the newspaper before carrying on with their days.
Canal Boat Tour of Copenhagen
Taking a canal boat tour of Copenhagen is something you simply must do when you travel here. It’s included with your Copenhagen City Card, and the boat ride gives you a unique perspective of the city from the water.
The tours are guided, so you might learn a thing or two about Copenhagen. While offered in multiple languages, everyone on our boat spoke English so the tour was only conducted in English.
We drifted around the waterways, catching glimpses of the city from all angles. It reminded me a lot of the canal tour in Amsterdam that Justin and I took last summer.
I learned quite a few interesting details about Copenhagen that I wouldn’t have learned elsewhere during my stay. Did you know that Copenhagen burns their garbage for power? And the city doesn’t have enough garbage to burn, so it imports garbage from other countries? We could learn a thing or two from Denmark.
My only time viewing the Little Mermaid statue was from our canal boat tour. The statue is insanely popular, and I didn’t see the point of walking really far to see a tiny statue on the water. I guess it’s iconic, but after seeing these crowds around the Little Mermaid, I was content with my decision to not see her up close.
I saw the gorgeous Black Diamond Royal Danish Library from the water. Unfortunately, it was closed when I visited (Good Friday and the Easter weekend), but I’d love to return to check out the interior of this beautiful architectural structure.
Even though the wind was chilly on this seasonably cold March day, the sun was shining brightly. I appreciated the changing views all around me. As a city known for its design, the various buildings all over Copenhagen’s canals did not disappoint.
The canal tour lasted approximately an hour. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend you add it to your travel plans.
Guess what…it was time for another coffee! To be fair, my chosen restaurant for lunch wasn’t open for another half an hour, so I decided to wait it out with a hot beverage in my hand.
Den Lille Gule Kaffebar
Den Lille Gule Kaffebar, or The Little Yellow Coffeebar, is right in the middle of downtown Copenhagen. While there’s limited seating inside, pull up a chair and drink your coffee on the patio. If you’re feeling chilly, there are blankets and pillows on every chair so you can feel cozy.
After all, you must experience hygge as much as possible when in Denmark!
Lunch at Riz Raz
Out of my 3 days in Copenhagen, Riz Raz was the most economical meal out of them all, without any sacrifices in quality or taste.
Riz Raz has a regular menu, although you’ll want to make a beeline straight for the buffet. There’s a fully vegetarian buffet, which can be added on to a meal or eaten as the entire meal itself. Most dishes are marked as vegan, and all are vegetarian.
There are so many choices, like various salads, pasta, hummus, falafel, and more. And it’s all you can eat!
Climbing the Round Tower
A trip to Copenhagen isn’t complete without a trip to the top of the Round Tower (aka Rundetaarn). Built in the 17th century as an astronomical observatory, it now serves as an observation deck.
The best part of the Round Tower? There aren’t any stairs! Well, there’s a small flight of steps at the very top leading outside. But for the most part, the ascent up the tower is a steady incline. It makes it a little easier to climb to the top for some reason.
The view from the top is nothing short of spectacular. Admission to the Round Tower is included with the Copenhagen City Card.
Design Museum Denmark
While I don’t tend to visit a lot of museums when I only have a short period of time in a place, I wanted to check out the history of Scandinavian design for which Denmark is most famous. The Design Museum Denmark provides a glimpse into architectural design, fashion and fabrics, furniture, product design, and even a display about Japanese influences.
For anyone even mildly interested in design, pay a quick trip to the Design Museum Denmark. It only took me about a half hour to explore the entire museum. Admission was included with the Copenhagen City Card.
The Marble Church
Frederik’s Church, also known as the Marble Church, is right down the street from the Design Museum and worth checking out. Wander into this peaceful sanctuary to admire the gorgeous art painted inside the dome.
It is the largest church dome in Scandinavia at 31 metres. It reminded me quite a bit of the beautiful churches we witnessed in Italy.
Amalienborg is right across the street from the Marble Church. It’s a complex of four identical palaces that are home to the Danish royal family.
Guests can come and go from the palace grounds, including the massive central square into which all of the palaces face. There’s a massive equestrian statue in the middle as a tribute to King Frederick V.
Cub Coffee Bar
It’s possible to walk past this one without even noticing it. CUB Coffee Bar is tucked away in a cozy nook on a side street near the waterfront. With only a couple of tables outside, the coffee bar itself is down a flight of stairs in a shallow basement. Here, you’ll find some delicious and flavourful brews.
To shake things up a little bit, I ordered a flat white with oat milk. The oat milk was rich and creamy, with the right kick of caffeine. During my 3 days in Copenhagen, I drank a lot of yummy coffee.
Tivoli Gardens is one of Copenhagen’s most prized and famed attractions, and it opened back up for its operating season shortly before my arrival. It’s an iconic and world famous amusement park, with many rides and daily performances. Tivoli Gardens is the world’s second oldest amusement park, and it’s amazing that it’s still thriving after all these years.
It was really busy when I visited as it was the Good Friday holiday. I feel as though going to Tivoli Gardens would be much more exciting with a buddy and not as a solo female traveller. With a friend, you could go on a couple of rides together and share in the excitement. I didn’t really feel like going on rides on my own.
I still enjoyed my visit, wandering around and taking in the sights. Some of my favourite aspects of Tivoli Gardens were the Chinese pantomime theatre, the wonderful fountains, and the colourful decorations.
My admission was included in the Copenhagen City Card, though ride tickets must be purchased separately.
After seeing so many exciting attractions and popular tourist destinations in one singular day, I was ready to rest my legs and eat some dinner.
Dinner at Chao Viet Kitchen
Chao Viet Kitchen is a Vietnamese restaurant with a separate vegan section on the menu. Count me in! I sat by the front window with a view looking out to the street and thoroughly enjoyed my meal.
I ordered the Bun Cha Gio Chay, which was a rice noodle dish with spring rolls on top of it. They even prepare their own vegan fish sauce for a more traditional taste, leaving out any animal products.
To drink, I sipped an iced green tea with lychee and mint.
Phew, that was a busy one! Moving onwards to the third day of my 3 days in Copenhagen.
Day 3: Local Neighbourhoods
Even though I still made the most of my day, I took a slightly more relaxed approach to my third day in Copenhagen. After all, when your legs, feet, and back are still aching from the day before, you know that you should probably take it a little easier.
A trip to Copenhagen isn’t complete if you don’t go to Freetown Christiania. I find Christiania to be absolutely fascinating.
It is a self-proclaimed autonomous district within Copenhagen that’s determined to be separate from the city, the country, and the European Union. Almost 1000 people live in Christiania, technically as squatters in a former military base.
When you visit Christiania, there are certain rules that you must follow. Photos are allowed, but only in certain areas and definitely not in the Green Light District. Cannabis is sold regularly here, even though it is illegal in Denmark. Those selling it do not want to be photographed.
You also can’t run in Christiania (as it creates panic because it could signify a police raid or violent acts). Weapons and violent acts are prohibited.
Although Christiania is a very peaceful place, I still had an eerie feeling as I walked through its streets. As I visited on a Sunday morning, there weren’t many people around. With lots of graffiti and buildings kept in questionable repair, I was wondering just how safe it was to be wandering around by myself. It is really safe to go there (guided tours visit all the time). Please be respectful of the residents and their wishes.
In my opinion, it had a bit of a post-apocalyptic vibe (think: The Walking Dead), but I really felt as though I stumbled upon a unique place with a totally different atmosphere than anywhere else in the city. There’s some stunning street art here, although much of it is along Pusher Street where you cannot take photos. You’ll just have to go to see for yourself.
Breakfast at the Yellow Rose
UPDATE: March 2019 – Unfortunately, the Yellow Rose is permanently closed.
Before a jaunt to Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood, I stopped at the Yellow Rose for a bite to eat. There are small meals here, but the Yellow Rose is best known for their plant-based cakes and desserts.
It’s a cute restaurant on the second floor of the building. I loved sitting by the window with a view overlooking the cobblestone streets.
Though I was thinking about ordering a yogurt parfait, they were sold out of that menu item. So, I went with something a little more sweet for breakfast. I’m so glad that I chose the Banoffee pie over a boring cup of yogurt. Paired with a cup of coffee, it was simply divine.
As you can see from this Copenhagen itinerary, I ate a lot of really yummy food over my 3 days in Copenhagen!
The Nørrebro district shouldn’t be missed, especially if you love wandering around neighbourhoods in new places. It’s a multicultural area of Copenhagen, where one out of every six inhabitants has a non-Danish passport.
You’ll find a multitude of quirky shops, restaurants, and parks. There’s colourful street art covering some walls and sides of buildings.
I spent the second half of my day exploring Nørrebro by popping into little boutiques and artist’s shops, sipping coffee, wandering around parks, and eating delicious vegan food, of course!
The streets near the waterfront have so many cafes, shops, and restaurants. I zigzagged around winding side streets, finding vintage clothing stores and vegan ice cream shops. A big part of my afternoon was spent walking around here, looking in shops, and enjoying a brisk March day in an unexplored territory.
Lunch at Plant Power Food
I quickly fell in love with Plant Power Food. After all, their food showcases the power of plants! Their primary mission is to rescue our environment by serving plant-based meals and taking extra initiatives to rescue our planet. Their website features a lengthy list of ways they reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even their straws are made from corn.
It’s the best places to stop for lunch or brunch. They serve healthy and delicious eats like smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and more. I chose the Noodle Bowl for lunch, which consists of udon noodles with power veggies, spring onions, and coriander in a ginger-miso broth, topped with chili, dehydrated portobello, and a wedge of lemon.
This soup was hearty, healthy, and warmed my bones on a chilly day.
The best shopping street in Nørrebro is Jægersborggade. I’ve never seen so many interesting shops all in a row, as I nearly wanted to go into each one. You can find artists’ paintings, stores devoted entirely to kitchen wares, housewares, crafts, clothes, and much more.
As many things are pretty expensive in Copenhagen, I also saw some high price tags! But, if you’re seeking out that perfect gift or looking to splurge on something really cool, chances are you’ll find it down Jægersborggade.
If you’re into design and something a little bit different, head to Superkilen Park in Nørrebro. It’s often called Europe’s strangest public park, and I thoroughly enjoyed meandering through the Green Park, Black Square, and Red Square.
The Black Square was the most visually appealing, with swirling lines reminiscent of a bike path gone awry.
The park celebrates diversity by including monuments paying tribute to over 60 nationalities, whether it’s trash bins from England, swings from Iraq, or manhole covers from Zanzibar. There are 108 artifacts and plants representing the ethnic diversity of Nørrebro.
Dinner at Souls
Wandering back from Nørrebro, I stopped at Souls for dinner. Their motto is super cute: “Eat like you give a fork!”.
I opted to take my meal away because after a long day of walking around, all I could think about was resting my legs in bed. The restaurant is spacious and comfortable, so it would be a treat to dine in as well. Souls has two locations, but their newer one is in the centre of town and a little more convenient to access by foot.
Souls has every meal covered: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. You could actually go there for every meal of the day when you’re in Copenhagen. That would be such a treat! As I was only spending 3 days in Copenhagen, I wanted to dine at as many vegan restaurants as possible. I could see myself going here more often if I lived in Copenhagen.
There are so many choices on the menu for every taste. Burgers, ramen noodles, pizza, pancakes, smoothies… it’s the comforting food that you love.
I ordered the BBQ seitan burger (marinated seitan strips, cole slaw, BBQ sauce) and the tempura cauliflower bites. The tempura cauliflower starter were little morsels of deliciousness. The seitan burger was flavourful and meaty, something that any herbivore or carnivore would devour.
They also asked if I wanted sweet potato fries, and initially I didn’t. When I got to my hotel, I found that there were sweet potato fries in a takeout container, so that was a pleasant surprise!
3 Days in Copenhagen
There are so many things to do in Copenhagen. This is one Scandinavian city that you simply must visit. I had a fourth day in the region, so I hopped on a train and went to Malmö and Lund, Sweden. That’s another thing that I loved about Copenhagen – I could take a 30 minute train ride and be in another country!
I’ll write more about my day trip adventure to Malmo and Lund soon. I hope you enjoyed this incredibly lengthy Copenhagen travel itinerary, with every detail of what to do in Copenhagen. Happy travel planning!
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