My visit to Copenhagen came about rather quickly and unexpectedly, so I didn’t have the normal planning and research completed before starting the trip. Plus, I was quite jetlagged when I arrived and found myself a bit out of sorts and unsure what to do in the city. When I got off the train the first day, I really had no game plan. I truthfully didn’t even know what I wanted to do.
So I decided to just start walking and see where the city would take me. I wandered the sidewalks of the old town area a bit and finally found myself in Nyhavn, where the famous colorful houses line the streets along the canal.
One of the most recognizable places in Copenhagen, Nyhavn was once home to writer Hans Christian Anderson and painter H.G.F. Holms.
As I approached the area, I came upon the Memorial Anchor, which stands in honor to the 1,600 Danish sailors who lost their lives in World War II.
There are many shops and restaurants along the canal, some more touristy than others. But just walking along and seeing the sights on a beautiful sunny day was the perfect way to start the trip!
Netto Baadene Boat Tour
Cost: Boat Tour $6
Along the canal, you’ll notice blue and white open-air boats filled with tourists. These are the Netto Boats! Their guided tours last one hour and take you through the canals and harbor. It’s a beautiful way to see the city from another perspective, as you’ll pass by such sites as The Little Mermaid Statue, Amalienborg Palace, Our Saviour’s Church, the National Museum, Christiansborg Palace, and many others. I really enjoyed it and would recommend taking the tour.
While on the boat tour, I caught sight of The Standard, a beautiful building that used to be the old ferry terminal and now houses various restaurants. It was a short walk from Nyhavn, so after the boat docked I decided to go there for lunch and to do some writing while looking out over the beautiful canal. Oh, and check out the little Danish gnome statue I found along the way!
NOTE: According to Yelp, Haven Bar itself was a pop-up restaurant that is now closed, unfortunately, but there were other restaurants & bars in the same building, so I would still recommend checking it out!
Haven Bar: Burger, fries, cocktail $26
One of the first public museums in Denmark, Thorvaldsen’s Museum opened in 1848 to exhibit the work of Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), including his sculptures, drawings, sketches, and reliefs. His art and the building itself are quite beautiful.
The architect of the museum, Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll was actually a friend and colleague of Thorvaldsen’s. The archeological excavations of ancient cities like Pompeii inspired his design of the museum.
I was struck by both the beauty of his work and of the building itself while I walked thru. I especially enjoyed the afternoon sunlight streaming thru some of the rooms and seeing how it encased his work in different shadows and light.
Sculpture Garden Park (Glyptoteket Museum)
On my way back to the hotel, I found this adorable park area where I took a moment to just sit and enjoy the view. Turns out, it was the sculpture garden behind the Glyptoteket Museum and across the street from Tivoli Gardens, so I could hear the music and sounds of the amusement park while I enjoyed the flowers and art in the garden.
Cost: Metro Ride $2 (one way)
The next day, I wanted to visit the Langelinie Pier area that was on the opposite side of the city from where I was, so decided to take the metro there and walk my way back throughout the day. I found the Copenhagen Metro system easy enough to use, and convenient to where I wanted to go.
Langelinie Pier, Park, and Promenade
Here, you will find another iconic site for Copenhagen, the statue of The Little Mermaid. Since 1913 she has sat and watched over the harbor. While some claim she’s a bit of a disappointment – too small, too many crowds – I found her to be quite beautiful and with a little patience was able to take some photos without any of the other tourists in the photo.
There is actually a whole lot more to the area than I realized. Along the promenade, in addition to the Little Mermaid, you will also see many other statues and flower gardens. One of my favorites was the “Søfartsmonumentet” (I’ve also seen it referred to as the Angel of Peace), a Maritime Monument to honor the Merchant Navy seamen who died in the First World War.
Towards the end of the path, I came upon the Gefion Fountain and the beautiful Anglican Church, St. Alban’s. It all makes for a very picturesque walk along Copenhagen’s waterfront.
As I walked the grounds around St. Alban’s Church, I turned a corner and found the entrance to the Kastellet Fortress. While it does still house some military activity, the area now seems to serve mainly as a public park and historic site.
I entered from the King’s Gate on the south side. Inside I walked amongst the Commander’s House, Rows (or Barracks), and Storehouses.
Up a slight hill from the buildings below, is a green space area with walking paths, replica cannons, and a windmill. Apparently still a working mill, it was originally intended to ensure a supply of flour for the fortified city in the event of a siege.
Cost: Entrance to Museum, $15 / FREE on Tuesdays!
After visiting the gorgeous garden the day before, I wanted to make sure to visit the Glyptoteket Museum today. I’m a big fan of Edgar Degas’ works and they had a beautiful exhibit of his sculpture on the top floor, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was also struck by this sculpture by J.A. Jerichau called Little Girl with a Dead Bird. I was so struck by how sad she seemed, and how much emotion was depicted in this sculpture.
Of course, I visited the Sculpture Garden again. One of their main pieces is of Rodin’s The Thinker. (As some readers may remember, Rodin is another favorite of mine and I enjoy seeking out his work while visiting various cities, as I did at the Rodin Museum during my visit to Philadelphia.)
For not having a specific plan in mind, I still managed to find many things to enjoy during my short stay in Copenhagen. And, of course, learned of so many more that I want to do the next time I visit!
My itinerary and budget for my visit to Copenhagen:
My budget has been translated to USD, based on my final credit card charge or a google conversion where I paid in cash.
As always, if you liked this post, please consider sharing it on social media. Click on the photo below to easily share on Pinterest!
A reminder, all links are for your convenience only, I am not an affiliate of any company and do not make money off recommending them. I just want to make it easy for you to find them if you’re interested!
Subscribe To the Two Day Travels Newsletter
Join our mailing list so you always know when new travels are posted!
So much fun to see this charming city through someone else’s eyes. We truly loved our time there and saw most of what you did although we did spend a day in the Tivoli gardens. Such a blast.
There are so many great things to do in Copenhagen – Tivoli Gardens being one of them – I definitely need to go back to see more!
I have been twice <3 it is quite pricey, but you can defo make it for under 250 <3
Yep, just need to be willing to put a little work into researching free things!
I really want to take a walking tour of Copenhagen and see all the sights
It’s a beautiful city, and a walking tour would be a great way to see it!
Wow, you did great, especially with little planning. Copenhagen is not a cheap city. I didn’t go to any museums when I was there, so those are on my list for next time.
I’ll admit, I got very lucky! Where I expected just to see just the Little Mermaid ended up being an entire promenade, that led to the Kastellet area and I was able to wander around there for a few hours and explore everything for free!!
I have yet to go to Copenhagen, I’ve always heard it was very expensive. If I ever go, I will use your guide! Nyhavn looks beautiful with its colourful buildings!
It can be expensive, especially food, but it is such a wonderful city I hope you get a chance to go!
I totally agree with just walking around to get to know a place well. It is the best thing to do to get to know a city and to orient oneself. I have never been to Copenhagen and your two days seem very lovely. I hope I can visit sometime.
There are so many different nuances you get when you walk the sidewalks of a city, plus so many opportunities to interact with people!
Copenhagen is one of these cute cities you can easily explore by foot, and indeed can do so on the budget side. Just walking around can you get a great trip. And with several free or cheap museum & attraction entrances, it’s perfect for the purse!
Exactly! Just spend a little time researching the free things and you can have a wonderful budget vacation!
This looks like such a cool city, I love the colours of all the shop fronts, especially in the sunshine! I love doing boat tours on city rivers or canals and this looks like it’s a great way to explore more of the city! It looks like you had a great time!
I had a wonderful time! I agree boat tours are such a fun way to see the city!
The boat tour and museum are so reasonably priced! $6 for an hour tour is awesome. In recent years, I’ve enjoyed visiting museums and this looks like one I would really enjoy 🙂 Btw, how was the burger? Was it delicious?
The burger was A-mazing!! The perfect lunch that afternoon. 🙂
This sounds exactly like me! I very rarely have a clue about things I want to do in cities. Just walking around seems to be the way to go! $6 boat tour though is incredible value and something I would definitely enjoy. I went to Copenhagen when I was 13 so don’t remember overly too much, but would definitely use your guide if I was ever to go again!
I always feel like I do lots of research but then when I get there it never feels like I researched enough! LOL
Copenhagen is such a beautiful place and I really like Nyhavn when I was there too. I never knew that Hans Christian Anderson lived there that is a cool history fact. I never knew about Kastellet Fortress definitely on my list for next time and the best bit is it is free so that is a bonus. Thanks for the tips
The Kastellet was a surprise to me too and I ended up really enjoying it!
We have seen so many pictures of Nyhavn with those colorful houses along the canal, a guided tour of the canal is definitely on the list. Thorvaldsen’s Museum looks interesting with all the sculptures on the display, even the Sculpture Garden Park looks like a must visit.
I can attest that seeing all of those things will make a wonderful visit!
I’ve heard that Copenhagen can be a bit of an expensive place to visit. I can’t believe you did so much with such little cash! I want to see the Little Mermaid statue, even though it’s not all that exciting 😛
You should definitely go to see the Little Mermaid – there is so much more there than I ever realized! Plus, I kind of like her myself.
Can’t believe you did all these activities (and stayed at a hotel too) on a $246 budget. That’s insanely cheap! Well, cheaper than what I would’ve ever imagined for visiting Copenhagen. I haven’t been yet but am definitely intrigued now especially by the boat tour. Must’ve been such a unique way to see the city!
I love seeing cities by boat when it’s available. I enjoy the ride but also seeing the city from a different perspective than you can on the ground.
Nice photos! Copenhagen is still on my bucket list. Any recommendations on accommodations?
I enjoyed my stay at the Best Western but also found a couple of options on AirBnB that I considered briefly. It all depends on what you’d like to spend. My best advice on picking an accommodation is to find the best cross between what you can afford that’s closest to the area you want to explore so you can cut down on travel time & costs.
Great guide. I just got back from Copenhagen and, although it is expensive, there are plenty of free things to do indeed.
Yes, I agree! You just have to look around and do a little extra research sometimes. Hope you enjoyed your trip!