How to Spend a Weekend in Copenhagen

With James moving to Denmark as part of his conservation degree this year, this was a perfect excuse to explore a new city. I’ve now managed to visit twice, the first in November and the second time in the February midterm break. I flew direct from Edinburgh – a quick 1hr30 flight. Each trip, I’ve spent two days exploring Copenhagen with James, exploring lots of museums and wandering around the colourful streets. We’ve then spent a few days exploring Rudkobing (a 3 hour Flixbus ride from Copenhagen), which is the wee town where James works and I’ll be sharing a blog post on things to do there too!

Looking for another European get away? Read my guide to Naples, Italy, here!

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

The Tivoli Hotel and Conference Centre

Luxury

Admittedly we splurged on our hotel for our first trip – we hadn’t gone away to Skye like planned in Summer, which was my birthday present last year. So, James popped some extra money in the pot, meaning we were able to stay in this beautiful hotel. We originally booked a superior room, but when we arrived, they upgraded us to an executive room – meaning we had use of the executive lounge and breakfast bar, which was incredible.

The Tivoli Hotel and Congress Centre entrance, with a Christmas tree across the left side of the photo

The room was beautiful, with a large bed, seating area and walk in shower, and views across the rail tracks where we saw a steam train arrive at the station! The executive breakfast bar had a a huge selection of breakfast foods, and live cooking station for omelettes to order. There was even Prosecco on offer, so I had a mimosa to start my birthday off right on the Sunday. The executive lounge was cosy with plush seating area and free wine, beers, cakes and snacks, which we (of course) took full advantage of. The hotel also had a pool and fitness suite, which we visited on the Saturday and relaxed in the sauna.

Executive suite at the Tivoli Hotel in Copenhagen

As we arrived late on the Friday, we ordered room service before visiting the hotel bar, and having some delicious cocktails to toast our arrival. We liked the bar so much that we returned again the Saturday night, after our day of exploring, for some more cocktails, and the staff were so welcoming and remembered us.

Cocktails at the Tivoli Hotel and Congress Centre

As the name gives away, The Tivoli Hotel in the Tivoli area of Copenhagen, which is a convenient spot near to the central station and where Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park, is located.

Wake Up Copenhagen

Budget

This latest trip, we decided to scale back a little bit for our two nights in the city centre. We booked a first floor double room with Wake Up Copenhagen, and it was everything we needed for the wee get away. The staff were all super friendly, and even let me check in early after I had to change my flight.

We didn’t spend too much time at the hotel – we decided to not book in for the breakfasts, but the dinning area looked like a nice area and was certainly busy in the mornings as we passed.

Breakfast at Wake Up Copenhagen Hotel

The room was small, but comfortable. The toilet and shower were in a wee glass pod in the room, so if you’re sharing a room, make sure you’re comfortable with one another!

The location was great – there are 3 Wake Up hotels in Copenhagen: Bernstorffsgade, Borgergade and Carsten Niebuhrs Gade. We selected the Borgergade hotel, which was right next to the Kongens Nytorv Metro stop. It was a great base to explore the city – only a short walk from the main shopping area, and to many of the sights we wanted to see!

Where To Go in Copenhagen

Copenhagen City Centre

As with any city, one of my favourite things to do is wander around the streets, and I did plenty of that in Copenhagen. The city is divided into different areas, with plenty of places to see and things to do in each area. Strøget is the main shopping street in Copenhagen, 850m filled with shops to pop in and out of. There are many shopping areas in the Aarhus area of Copenhagen, including Vestergade, and the Latin Quarter for some cute coffee shops and places to eat. We popped into many of the book shops and game shops that we found along the side streets, stopping to look at the many jewellery stores and flower shops.

For another city guide – read all about how to spend a weekend in Durham here!

Museums in Copenhagen

As two archaeologists, of course museums were at the top of our list of places to visit. As you have to pay entry to most museums in Copenhagen, we decided on two that were ‘musts’: The National Museum of Denmark and The Glyptoteket. Most of Copenhagen’s museums are located around the same area, making it an easy walk between them.

The National Museum

The National Museum of Denmark (National Museet) has an incredible collection, spanning from Danish prehistory and across world cultures. The museum was filled with incredible artefacts – in fact, both James and I said it was our favourite prehistory section we’ve ever visited. A lot of this is down to the preservation conditions in Denmark, meaning many metal objects are preserved, unlike here in Scotland. There were many artefacts found from bogs, including wooden boats and fascinating bog bodies. It was incredible to see the Trundholm Chariot of the Sun and the Gundestrup Cauldron. We enjoyed the museum so much that we returned on the Sunday, so that we could explore more displays. We visited the ‘Raid’ exhibition which is a special 3 year exhibit on the Viking raid, which involves an immersive story telling of Björn Ironside’s journey to Rome. Within this exhibit are beautiful artefacts as well as the Danish Viking Ship ‘Roskilde 6’.

The Sun Disc at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen

The Glyptoteket

Emily, The Heritage Tourist, at the Glyptoteket, Copenhagen

The Glyptoteket is an art and archaeology museum, with over 10,000 objects. Whilst we were most interested in the collections from Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Etruscan galleries, the museum also holds C19th French and Danish collections. The collections are housed in a beautiful building, and you first walk into a breath-taking greenhouse, filled with plants and water features. The museum is very interactive, and we spent much of our time in the Egyptian gallery which had audio guides to explore the stories of different statues and sculptures.

The Glyptoteket Museum in Copenhagen

Get to know another city in my Edinburgh Royal Mile Guide!

Thorvaldsen Museum

The Thorvaldsen Museum is dedicated to the life and art of sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. Born in Denmark, Thorvaldsen moved to Rome where he lived and worked for most of his life.

In the Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen

The museum houses impressive collections of both his marble sculptures and plaster casts. His works display many statues from Classical mythology, and can be found across the world – including a statue of Pope Pius VII which is in the Clementine Chapel in the Vatican. Thorvaldsen’s Christus is also renowned for the larger than life image of Christ, and the 12 Apostles, and the museum has a room dedicated to the replicas of these impressive sculptures.

The museum building itself is beautiful, with Egyptian motifs painted around the colourful walls. It is split over three levels, each dedicated to different aspects of his life and work, and has a central courtyard, where his remains are buried.

Casts in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen

The Natural History Museum of Denmark

The Natural History Museum is located in the Botanical Gardens of Denmark and is owned by the University of Copenhagen.

The Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen

The museum houses temporary exhibitions. On my visit, the Museum was exhibiting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and the rooms were filled with stunning photographs from each category. Unfortunately, I was just a couple of months too early for the Neanderthals exhibit which arrives in April 2022.

The Zoological Museum

This museum is also owned by the University of Copenhagen (and buying a ticket to the Natural History Museum & the Botanical Gardens will also get you entry here!). Although this is a bit of a further walk out of town, its entirely worth it.

Misty the Dinosaur in Copenhagen Zoological Museum

The museum is fascinating, and showcases an impressive collection of objects, in both temporary and permanent exhibitions. Entering the room, you’re first met with ‘Misty’ a dinosaur which fills the room. The ‘Precious Things’ exhibit displays many interests artefacts from zoology, geology and botany, including a dodo skull, a whale’s heart, fossils and even Hans Christian Andersen’s snail collection. The ‘Evolution’ exhibit is absolutely beautiful, exploring Darwin’s theory of evolution, with a stunning display of objects.

Read about the top 5 museums to visit for free in Edinburgh here!

The Botanical Gardens and Palm House

The Botanical Garden is a short walk from Nørreport Station, and easy to find. The gardens are beautiful, filled with a huge variety of trees and plants, and statues and sculptures are dotted around. In the centre is a huge pond, which has birds swimming and resting in it. Of course, the gardens change depending the time of year you visit – as I visited in winter, it was rather cold and plants weren’t yet in bloom.

The 19th century green houses are worth paying the small entry fee for. The green houses has a huge array of plants from different climates, as well as ponds with fish, and wee frogs leaping around.

Frog at the Palm House Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen

There is also a 16m tall cast iron staircase to climb which brings you to a small platform walk around the top of the large green house. The staircase dates from 1874. It is incredible to see the plants from above, but certainly not for the faint hearted!

In summer, there is a butterfly house which is open and you can visit for a small fee!

Explore the Butterfly House at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, in this post!

Nyhavn

Nyhavn is an iconic spot in Copenhagen, known for its colourful buildings which appears on every website when you search for things to do in Copenhagen. Nyhavn was one a commercial port for ships trading, and the colourful buildings once popular spots with visiting sailors. The buildings are now renovated into pubs and restaurants popular with tourists, which spill onto the canal side.

The canal is a must-see, even just for a wander along to look at the buildings (the restaurants tend to be on the more expensive side here). You can even spot Hans Christian Andersen’s house at number 20!

Although not as colourful, North Berwick has a beautiful harbour to walk around and discover the Seabird Centre – read my North Berwick blog here!

Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace is on the wee islet of Slotsholmenin in Copenhagen. It is the seat of the Danish Parliament and is used by the Danish monarch.

Christiansborg Palace Tower in Copenhagen

Several parts of the palace are open to the public to explore 800 years of Danish history, including the Royal Reception Rooms, The Royal Kitchen, The Royal Stables, The Ruins and The Palace Chapel. Entry to these are ticketed, and you can buy a combined ticket to visit all of them, or individual tickets.

View of Copenhagen from above, view from Christiansborg Palace Tower in Denmark Copenhagen

Whilst we didn’t visit the ticketed room, we visited the grounds of the Palace, and took advantage of the free entry to Christiansborg Tower. There’s a small queue to enter, as entrance is via a lift and you first have to make your way through airport style security. At the top of the tower, you get incredible 360′ views of Copenhagen, looking down on the orange roof tops.

Explore Tantallon Castle, Scotland, in this post!


For the most part of our trip, we wandered around the city, popping in and out of shops that interested us, and meandering along the side streets. The city is full of colour and life, with food stalls on street corners, open front ice cream shops and cafes filling the air with the smell of melted chocolate or roasting nuts. Musicians sing and perform in the squares, giving you a soundtrack to walk to.

There are, of course, still places that we didn’t have the chance to visit. Tivoli Gardens – an amusement park in the city centre, is still on the list, and lit up the sky during our November visit. It would be great to visit again in summer too, when the sun is out and take a trip along on the canal boats.

Ps: I’ve been writing separate blog posts on a lot of these places – explaining a little more about their history or how to visit. If there’s not already a link, keep checking back for them!

Have you ever visited Copenhagen? What’s your favourite place to visit?

Em

Be sure to check out my instagram, where I share stories, reels and photos from all the places I visit!

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Published by Emily Johnston

Archaeologist and Heritage Tourist Blogger at www.heritagetourist.co.uk

17 thoughts on “How to Spend a Weekend in Copenhagen

  1. We went to Copenhagen at least 5 years ago now for 4 days. We really enjoyed the city. We liked the changing of guards at the castle. We want to go back and this time visit the countryside more.

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  2. You missed the Mermaid?:)) I didn’t have a chance to visit Tivoli Gardens either, and a couple of other things you have seen, so I can only hope to go back and check them! Copenhagen is fabulous, eclectic, cosmopolitan and transnational. I was a bit surprised that the young generation doesn’t seem to speak much English, but anybody over 40 we asked for direction was fluent!

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