• 20 September 2019

Copenhagen, Denmark is a charming seaside city that inhabits the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. The Danish capital offers an alluring mix of old and modern attractions that are perfect for all interests and age groups. 

If you’re touring Scandinavia and making a stopover in the city, we’ve laid out the perfect itinerary for one day in Copenhagen for you. Our guide will help you to easily discover the cultural, historical, and local highlights of the city and provide you with plenty of Copenhagen sightseeing tips. 

Here is how to spend the perfect 24 hours in Copenhagen: 

Wander Langelinie Promenade 

Langelinie is a promenade, pier, and park in central Copenhagen. It’s set in a beautiful seaside location offering gorgeous harbour views. Take a stroll by the sea and start off your 24 hours in Copenhagen with the fresh air of a new day. 

One of the promenade’s most popular features is its iconic bronze statue of the Little Mermaid. This 1,25m tall sculpture is displayed on a rock along the shoreline and depicts a mermaid becoming human. It’s been popular with tourists since it premiered in 1913 and is a must-see Copenhagen attraction.

The little mermaid at Langelinie Promenade
The little mermaid at Langelinie Promenade
Tour Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle is a Renaissance castle that also houses a museum. To visit the castle and museum, you may either buy a general admission ticket and visit the sites by yourself or book a 1-hour tour and learn more about the castle from a knowledgeable tour guide. 

The museum displays the Royal Collections of the palace. Of particular interest are the Crown Jewels, the coronation chair, and the Danish Crown Regalia. By visiting the castle you’ll obtain a more insightful and comprehensive look into Copenhagen’s unique history. This is a must for all travelling through Copenhagen in 24 hours.

Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen
Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen
Climb up the Round Tower

The Round Tower is a 17th-century public astronomical observatory tower. It’s the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and definitely one of the top things to see in Copenhagen in one day.

To reach the top of the tower, instead of climbing stairs, you’ll have to walk up a wide spiral ramp. Once you reach the top you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the city. 

Rundetaarn - The Round Tower
Rundetaarn – The Round Tower
See Amalienborg Palace and the change of the royals guards 

Amalienborg Palace is the official residence of the Danish Royal Family. The large complex consists of four identical classical palace façades. To see the palace’s elaborate Rocco designed interior, be sure to purchase a general admission ticket or book a tour

The changing of the guards also takes place in front of Amalienborg Palace every day at 12:00 and is a Copenhagen must-see attraction. 

Royal guards in the Amalienborg Castle
Royal guards in the Amalienborg Castle
Visit the Nyhavn District 

Nyhavn is Copenhagen’s iconic waterfront and entertainment district. It’s the postcard of Copenhagen and one of the city’s most recognizable sites. If you’re wondering what to see in Copenhagen in 1 day – this is unmissable.

The waterfront is lined with brightly coloured 17th and 18th-century bars, cafés, shops, and restaurants. You’ll find lots of traditional Danish restaurants in this area as well. Take a boat tour, sit down for a drink, or try out the local cuisine. Visiting this colourful district is an essential stop on your 1 day in Copenhagen itinerary. 

The famous Nyhavn pier in the Nyhavn district
The famous Nyhavn pier in the Nyhavn district
Take in the views from the Church of Our Saviour

The Church of Our Saviour is a 17th-century place of worship. This Baroque church is most famous for its helix spire that contains an external winding staircase.

Climb to the top for breathtaking views over central Copenhagen. Religious or not, you will appreciate the ornate architecture and magnificent history of the building. 

The famous spiral at the Church of our Saviour
The famous spiral at the Church of Our Saviour
Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace houses Denmark’s 3 supreme powers of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial powers. It is both a palace and a government building. 

It’s located on the small islet of Slotsholmen, a quick 10-15 minute walk from Copenhagen City Hall. Tours of the palace are included in the entrance fee and last for approximately 60-minutes. Tours are offered daily, however, different days of the week offer different tour itineraries of the palace and visit different rooms, but all will provide information on the history, function, architecture and decoration of the castle. 

The Christianborg Palace in Copenhagen
The Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen
Stroll Through Strøget

Strøget is in the centre of the old city of Copenhagen and a popular car-free and pedestrian-friendly shopping and tourist area. Spanning 1,1km, it’s one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe. 

The area is filled with many popular attractions. For shopping, you’ll find a wide range of options, from high-end designer brands to classy boutiques and souvenir stores. For eating out, you’ll find everything from large eateries to cosy cafés to fast-food restaurant chains. All of the attractions are set within the wonderful backdrop of the classically gorgeous Danish architecture.

The Amagertov Square in Strøget
The Amagertov Square in Strøget
Visit City Hall Square

The City Hall Square in Copenhagen is a large public space in the centre of the city. It’s located in front of Copenhagen City Hall and is surrounded by museums, cafés, restaurants, and shops.

It’s filled with tourists and locals all hours of the day and is a connecting point for many of the city’s attractions. 

If you’re in need of an energy boost, Bastard Café is just a quick 5-minute walk from the square. This cafe is a local favourite; it’s simple and casual, a great place to grab a coffee or a snack. There are also many Copenhagen free walking tours that depart from here. If time allows, take a guided group tour for more insight into the city’s history and culture. 

City Hall Square
City Hall Square
Take in the splendour of Tivoli Gardens 

Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world. This vintage theme park has a vibrant and fairytale-like feel to it. The park is located in the city centre and is just a few minutes’ walk from City Hall Square. 

This historic park is fun for all ages. If riding roller coasters isn’t your thing, the park also offers beautiful gardens, regularly scheduled music and theatre performances, firework shows, and much more. 

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

If you’re spending just 24 hours in Copenhagen, seeing the highlights of the city is totally doable thanks to the city’s compact layout, well-established transport links, and accessible attractions. 

The city often tops the happiest-places-on-earth lists, which makes visiting Copenhagen a true bucket-list travel experience. Everything about the city is magical, from its wonderful waterfront location to its imposing palaces and its warm-hearted locals.

Even if you’re only able to explore Copenhagen in a day, you’ll realize right away why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world!

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