Deciding how many days to spend in Copenhagen is one of the first (and most difficult) planning steps. From the beautiful Nyhavn waterfront to the whimsical Tivoli Gardens theme park, the Danish capital is full of things to keep you busy.
This quick guide will help you to figure out exactly how many days work best for your personal wants and needs. We’ll cover everything you need to know to confidently make your plans.
Copenhagen truly is one of the most charming cities not only in Scandinavia, but in all of Europe. The sooner you settle in on how long you’ll be there, the sooner you can start filling each day’s schedule full of amazing sights and activities.
How Many Days in Copenhagen – The Short Answer
Travelers incorporating Copenhagen into a broader trip plan will usually find that 3 days is a good starting point. If Copenhagen is more of a detour than a destination, 2 days will suffice. 4+ days is recommended for anyone who considers the city a top priority.
Now, those recommendations are grossly simplified. Take them with a grain of salt and consider them only as starting points. Realistically, you need quite a bit more detail to properly evaluate and settle on how much time you want to devote to experiencing the city.
We’ll dig a little deeper from here. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that we recommend that you plan for two “main” things each day you spend in Copenhagen. That’s the safest way to know how much time you’ll need.
For example, visiting a place like Nyhavn or Tivoli should take at least half of a day. It’s easy to miscalculate your available time if you try to cram 3+ main attractions into each day. Sure, it can be done, but it’s definitely not recommended for the smoothest trip possible. Two big plans per day will give you some wiggle room and should allow you to sprinkle some secondary sights/attractions into your days.
If Copenhagen is one of several important stops on your trip…
Start your Copenhagen planning with 3 days in mind. Most travelers fall into this category and have chosen Copenhagen as an individual stop in a larger trip plan. It’s very common for people to visit other Scandinavian cities (Oslo, Stockholm, etc) or German cities on the same trip.
In this case, the first step is obviously to prioritize each city/area by your own wants and needs, along with the scope of the location. Copenhagen itself has a lot of things to do, but it’s not so huge that it demands the same amount of days as some of Europe’s larger areas. You can cover quite a lot of ground here in a few days.
3 days in Copenhagen is a good tentative place to start planning. You should be able to add or subtract days from there based on what you can fit into a three-day window. Some people will find that they can fit all of what they intend to accomplish in Copenhagen by dropping down to 2 days. Others may need 4 days. 3 is simply a happy medium for most.
A three-day schedule in Copenhagen will allow you to see the majority of major attractions if you move at a decent pace. You won’t have a ton of downtime unless you cut some of the major stops. You definitely won’t get bored, but you shouldn’t feel terribly rushed.
If Copenhagen is a secondary part of your trip…
It’s also common for travelers to stop in Copenhagen as a secondary piece of their European vacation. This usually means that, while they want to see as much of Copenhagen as possible, it’s not their number one priority.
In this case, 2 full days in Copenhagen can be a good choice. It only takes 20-30 minutes to get from one side of Copenhagen to the other, so you shouldn’t have too big of a problem with logistics.
Your main focus on a 2-day leg in Copenhagen is narrowing down the attractions that you feel you can’t miss. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to hit everything the city has to offer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel satisfied with your stay.
The best advice I have for a shorter trip to Copenhagen is to avoid attractions that are off the beaten path. You’ll be able to cram in a lot more activity if you eliminate too many taxi/bus rides all over the place.
Luckily, you’ll find that a ton of Copenhagen’s best spots are clustered closely together in the Copenhagen K. This is the part of town where you’ll find places like the Nyhavn harbor, Tivoli Gardens, and the Strøget (a pedestrian shopping street). The whole area is full of awesome history, art, and architecture and it’s all relatively easily accessible by bicycle or on foot.
If Copenhagen is your number one priority or your only stop…
This one is pretty open-ended. You could easily spend anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks in Copenhagen if it’s the top priority of your trip.
Most travelers will find that they can accomplish almost every item on their Copenhagen wish list within 4 to 6 days, even if they move at a somewhat leisurely pace. Tivoli, Nyhavn, castles, museums, and tours can all be accomplished with this sort of schedule.
This length of time will also make it much easier for you to take day trips to areas around Copenhagen. Roskilde, for example, is a 23-minute train ride from Copenhagen and home to the popular Viking Ship Museum. You can even visit Sweden by taking a 35-minute train ride to Malmö.
Art and history buffs may want to consider 5-7 days in Copenhagen if they intend to take their time seeing the majority of museums, exhibits, and architecture. Copenhagen is famous for being one of Europe’s finest in these areas and it can take a while to truly see them all from top to bottom.
Extra Tips for Visiting Copenhagen
Here are a few extra things that will help you get the most out of your time in Copenhagen.
Rent a Bike
Renting a bicycle is easily the most enjoyable, affordable, and efficient way to explore Copenhagen. Matter of fact, the city is often considered to be the most bike-friendly city in the world. There are tons of rental stations around town, making it easy to hop on a bike in one spot and drop it off in another. You can even rent bikes from the city with built-in GPS systems.
Get a Copenhagen Card
A Copenhagen Card will give you unlimited access to Copenhagen’s public transit systems for a period of time. You can choose to buy the card for a period of 24, 48, 72 or 120 hours. The Copenhagen Card also gives you free admission to 80+ attractions in the area. Tivoli, museums, and other admissions are all covered. Here’s a link to the Copenhagen Card website. You’ll find a big list of everything included. Whether or not the card makes sense for you should be fairly straightforward with some quick math. The site even has a helpful built-in trip calculator.
Save Money by Ordering Food from Street Vendors
By all measures, Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities for just about everything. This definitely includes food. There aren’t a ton of ways to save money in Copenhagen, but eating at street stalls is one of them. You can get some outstanding quick food for quite a bit less than you’d pay at a local restaurant. True to Scandinavian form, hot dogs are especially good here and can’t be missed.
Tivoli Gardens is a Great Place to Enjoy in the Evening
This is especially true if you’re crunched on time but would still like to visit Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. When open, Tivoli has hours that go well into the night. This makes it easy to save your daytime hours for other activities and visit Tivoli during the hours when most other things are closed.