The Best of Copenhagen in 1 Day

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I didn’t plan on only having 1 day in Copenhagen. But of course, as is often the case when travelling, a lot can happen to throw your plans down the drain. This time it was a majorly delayed flight that saw me spending nearly an entire day in the Dublin airport instead of hanging out with the Little Mermaid.  By the time I finally arrived in Denmark’s capital it was nighttime, which left me with only one full (and sadly, rainy) day to explore the home of the infamous Danish fairytale writer: Hans Christian Anderson.  While Copenhagen has plenty to see including the Tivoli Gardens and Christiania (which are not included in this guide because of the time constraint but worth it if you have more time), one day in this Scandinavian capital is definitely worth your time. Here’s how to see Copenhagen in 1 day.

Copenhagen in 1 Day

Getting to Copenhagen

Located by the sea, there are plenty of ways to get to Copenhagen. I arrived by plane where I was able to easily hop on the metro to take me downtown in about 20 minutes. Copenhagen also has a central train station, located near the Tivoli Gardens, which the largest train station in Denmark. Trains here have connections to other cities around the country as well as with southern Sweden. As a port city, Copenhagen is also a popular cruise hub and has been named Europe’s leading cruise port multiple times.

1 Day in Copenhagen

Getting Around Copenhagen in 1 Day

Copenhagen is a very walkable city. For the most part, the majority of the hotels and attractions are within a reasonable walking distance from each other. That being said, the city also has a good metro station and bus service. Another option for sightseeing is to take one of the canal tours, which leave regularly from Nyhavn; it’s an easy and relaxing way to see some of the city’s highlights (especially if its pouring rain and you don’t want to walk).

Need a place to stay? For something elegant try Skt. Petri Hotel. If you are on a budget try Generator Hostel which has both dorms and private rooms

Copenhagen in 1 Day: What to See and Do


Literally translated to ‘New Harbour’, the colourful buildings of Nyhavn make it the most photographed area in all of Copenhagen. Originally a hub for prostitution (and also where acclaimed author Hans Christian Anderson lived), today Nyhavn is full of restaurants and bars and home to the Veteran Ship and Harbour museum. You probably don’t want to eat here (it’s very pricey) but its perfect to walk around and take photos. Here is also where you will find the canal tours. Since it’s only about 100 minutes long, this is are a great and fun way to see the city from the water if you only have 1 day in Copenhagen. 

Copenhagen in 1 Day

The Little Mermaid Statue

Possibly one of the most iconic statues in the world, the Little Mermaid is a top tourist favourite. Popularity aside, the poor girl has had it rough over the past 50+ years in which she has been decapitated, had her arm cut off, been covered in paint, and defiled with the dildo. However, despite the numerous cases of vandalism she has been restored many times and is usually found all in one piece.  The Little Mermaid can be found on a rock in the bay along the Langelinie promenade. It is a fair walk from the city centre, but don’t worry; if you are pressed for time and/or stuck in bad weather (like I was), the canal cruises that I mentioned above will take you out to her.

1 Day in Copenhagen


This pedestrian only area is considered to be the shopping street of Copenhagen. At 1.1 km, it is one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in all of Europe. StrØget has something for everyone and is filled with a selection of souvenir shops, popular chain stores, and of course high end designer boutiques. This is also the area where you will find Copenhagen’s most famous (and expensive) stores including the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory. Even if you don’t really want to do any shopping, this area has a fun atmosphere and is worth walking around. 

Amalienborg Palace

The winter home to the Danish royal family, Amalienborg is made up of four mansions or palaces, centred on a courtyard. Of the four palaces only two, the Christian VII and Christian VIII, are open to public. Frederick VIII’s Palace is the home of the current Crown Prince Frederik and the Crown Princess Mary. Amalienborg palace is guarded 24/7 by the Royal Life Guards who execute a changing of the guard at noon every day in front of the palace. Also close by the Frederick’s Church (the Marble Church) which is also worth a peek if you are in the area. 

one day in Copenhagen

City Hall and Jens Olsen’s World Clock

Located in City Hall Square, City Hall is a beautiful building that was inaugurated in 1905. But despite the beautiful façade and interior, the main attraction here is Jens Olsen’s World Clock. This astronomical clock has twelve movements and is wound once a week to display an incredible variety of things including: lunar eclipses, different times around the world including Copenhagen time and solar time, the time of sunset and sunrise, the calendar, a star map, and the solar system amongst other things. The World Clock located just inside city hall to the right. Entry to city hall (and the World Clock) is free to visitors. You don’t have to spend much time here but it is definitely a must-see for your 1 day in Copenhagen.

Rosenborg Castle

Originally built as a summer house in 1606, the Rosenborg Castle was only used as a royal residence for a little over 100 years. Since then it was been used twice more to house the royal family in emergency situations, but today is used as a museum. The exhibits here are royal collections including the crown jewels, the coronation carpet, and the throne chair of Denmark.

Depending on your interests, you may or may not be interested in going inside the castle. However, Rosenborg Castle is located in the Kongens Have (King’s Garden) which is the country’s oldest garden and free to visitors. This area is a picture-perfect place to relax and take a break from sight-seeing, especially if you have a nice day.

1 Day in Copenhagen

Christianborg Palace

Although the area has been the site to many different castles over the centuries, Christianborg Palace today is the Danish house of power. Parliament is located in the southern wing while the northern wing houses the royal reception rooms, Supreme Court, and the Prime Minister’s Office. Tickets for entry as well as tours are available however another traveller told me it was quite expensive so I didn’t bother. That being said, the buildings are still quite impressive to see from the outside. 

How to Get the Most out of Your 1 Day in Copenhagen

If you are up for a lot of walking I highly recommend taking a free, three hour city tour to get the best out of your short stay. I took a group tour with Sandeman’s New Europe Tours (which run twice a day, daily) and was able to see a lot of the city in the three hours. Also, as mentioned above, there are a the canal tours  that offer a great introduction to the city from the water.

Copenhagen is a beautiful city, and while you can easily stay longer to explore, one day is perfect for seeing the highlights.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Please do not travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to use it multiple times throughout my travels and it has saved me thousands of dollars. You can learn more about travel insurance here. If you are looking for a provider I love and recommend SafetyWing. For Canadian readers, take a look at SoNomad.

Book your accommodation

I love and recommend for accommodation. They have a range of hostels, guesthouses, hotels, and resorts. Plus, the platform has a great loyalty program that means the more you book, the more you can save. 

Book your tours

My go-to tour provider that I love to recommend is GetYourGuide. They have options all over the world and partner with local companies for everything from day trips to food experiences and even airport transfers. 

Get connected

If you want to have data while travelling for online maps or any other needs, an esim is one of the easiest solutions. I’m a big fan of Airalo and have used their sim cards around the world from Brazil to Uzbekistan, Greece to the USA. It’s really easy- you download the app, pick what country you want an esim for, and after you purchase it follow the installation instructions. You can use promo code HANNAH3326 to save $3USD on your next esim purchase. 

Not sure what to pack?

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  1. Lauren on August 28, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    It is hard when you only have one day to see a city, but it looks like you covered a LOT of ground! Amazing sights here! Sorry the weather wasn’t better, but I’m still glad you were able to walk all over the place and see some incredible places!

  2. Samantha on August 29, 2014 at 4:04 am

    This is so helpful for people who have a short period of time there and can only squeeze in so much. If you do some research and find great articles like yours, you can definitely see a lot in 24 hours!

  3. Alli on August 29, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    So lovely, even in the rain. I was shocked to read that about the Little Mermaid! Geesh, you weren’t kidding – she has had it rough over the years! Glad everything was in place and intact when you were there! ;P

  4. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs on August 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I think I have to go back to Copenhagen! I have been once for 4 days but now I feel like visiting again! 🙂

  5. Margherita @The Crowded Planet on August 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I agree with Marysia there, I only took one trip to Copenhagen about 10 years ago, this made me want to go back!

  6. Raphael Alexander Zoren on August 31, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Looking forward to visiting it during the winter, I bet the Xmas markets will be amazing!

    • Hannah Logan on September 2, 2014 at 12:55 am

      Oh god yes Christmas markets! You’ll have to write about them!

  7. Chris Boothman on September 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    PERFECT POST for us right now! We are heading to Copenhagen at the end of September and will only be there for 24-36 hours so I have been looking for quite some time now for a post that identifies the key landmarks/attractions worth exploring in such a short timeframe. Looking forward to checking out some of these spots for ourselves! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hannah Logan on September 3, 2014 at 12:32 am

      I’ll cross my fingers for you that you get better weather

  8. Milosz Zak on September 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    You need to watch Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown – he has a Denmark episode, and the sights bring you right back – plus the food looks delicious!

    • Hannah Logan on September 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Sounds good! Thanks for the recommendation

  9. Tammie on September 8, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Copenhagen looks stunning even in the rain. You managed to see a lot in ioe day. I would absolutely love to visit one day!

    • Hannah Logan on September 9, 2014 at 11:42 am

      It was gorgeous 🙂 I would like to go back in nicer weather though!

  10. Mindi @ 2foodtrippers on September 9, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Wow, this is a lot to do in one day. I hope to spend more time in Copenhagen when I get the chance to visit.

    • Hannah Logan on September 9, 2014 at 11:39 am

      It is a lot but a lot of the sites are close together which made it easy. I saw the majority of them on a free 3 hour walking tour

  11. Gran Canaria Local on September 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Wow, there sounds so much to see and do in Copenhagen. Thanks for the comprehensive round-up. We can’t wait to try out your recommendations.

  12. Lila Asnani on September 16, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Great and informative post! Copenhagen is one of my favorite cities in Europe. Did you notice how quiet it is since most people cycle around the city? Thanks for a good read!

    • Hannah Logan on September 16, 2014 at 1:58 am

      It was but those bike’s were a little disconcerning! I’m definitely not used to that many here at home !

  13. […] the Terminal. More than the boredom though, was the fact that it cut my already short 2 day trip to Copenhagen down to […]

  14. Gemma on April 13, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    A great little insight to Copenhagen! Just what I’ve been looking for! I’m heading there for 2 days this weekend and trying to come up with a plan of what I can fit in in two days 🙂

    Gem x

    • Hannah Logan on April 13, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Hope it comes in handy! Also hope it doesn’t rain on you like it did for me 🙁 either way, Copenhagen is awesome!

  15. NiccaWa derlust on July 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Will be heading to month on weekend till monday ,I was also thinking if we can roam around cph for 1day and then drive to Malmo Sweden the next day.. Im so happy that I found this site.Thanks for this guide.. Greaaat help !!

    • Hannah Logan on July 14, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Glad to help- enjoy! It’s a beautiful city!

  16. Sharon on January 28, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Great post. We will be in Copenhagen for one day and night in June this year on our way back from our Norwegian fjord cruise. I’m an avid traveller and like to fit in as much as possible wherever I am. You have certainly given me some ideas. Hopefully we won’t have a delay in Dublin like you did or we will miss our cruise!! I lived in Canada for 15 years and miss it so much!

    • Hannah Logan on January 28, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      I will cross my fingers no delay for you! haha. Enjoy Copenhagen and come back to Canada next time 😉

  17. Malmö e Copenhagen – Beyond Windmills on June 12, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    […] Para quem quiser fazer uma viagem curta como eu: roteiro de 1 dia em Copenhagen. […]

  18. Jellywoman on October 1, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Thanks for a very helpful blog.

  19. Christine Muldoon on January 27, 2018 at 3:02 am

    HI if you only had time to do 2 of the palaces, which ones would you pick. Also any restaraunts

    • Hannah Logan on January 27, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Christine, I didn’t actually go into any I just walked around them all to see. Amalienburg was probably the coolest because it’s the royal residence and have the changing of the guards if you time it right.

  20. Marie Wise-Miu on June 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for the rundown, Hannah. We will have 2 days in Copenhagen next month on our way to Longyearbyen. This will go a long way to filling our limited time there.

  21. stephanie on October 12, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    What did you see on the free sandemans tour?

  22. […] Copenhagen is ranked as one of the happiest places in the world, so it makes sense that this Danish city should have awesome Christmas markets. The main Christmas market in Copenhagen is in the Tivoli Gardens where you can enjoy plenty of rides and entertainment while you shop. […]

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