Copenhagen is a surprising city and I say that with love! It’s one of those cities that feels almost town-like in its appearance but with the buzz and vibrancy that matches any major capital city across Europe! It’s also a city where can you visit one of the oldest Luna parks in the world, ride the waves of its famous waterways and gorge on delicious street food – all within one day!

Everyone who’s ever been before remembers their first time visiting Copenhagen – whether due to its amazing castles, its stunning waterways or that little mermaid that everyone seemed to mention is apparently a thing… ;-).

Portraits From Copenhagen, Denmark... (6)

Planning your time efficiently here can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve got to herd friends or your significant other around (which can sometimes feel like herding cats) – the pressure even builds up more if you’re the person who’s in charge of the maps/itinerary so if you find yourself in that position (of indeed, if you fancy yourself in that position), here are 14 of the best spots to include for a first time visit to Copenhagen.

A First Timers Guide To Visiting Copenhagen!


1.) Eat at the best street food markets

There are a good few street food markets to visit in Copenhagen – each of which will ensure that you never run out of delicious opportunities to fill your tummy!

A Local's Guide To Eating At Koedbyen, Meat Packing District, Copenhagen (3)

A street food market to visit before your night out on the town: Head to Papirøen (Paper Island) that is the perfect place to visit as this is where locals and visitors alike start their evenings in the city. Head to one of the many worldly and unique stalls that sell everything from juicy steaks and Japanese food to craft bears that are out of this world! Read more about how to plan your visit to Paper Island here.

Why You Need To Enjoy Copenhagen's Delicious Food Market on Paper Island (8)

A street food market to enjoy brunch: Torvehallerne street food market is the perfect place to enjoy a weekend brunch or even buy some of the freshest seasonal ingredients to make your very own! Take a wander through the stalls and discover some of the high quality produce that this market offers – just be prepared for slightly higher than average grocery prices (though it is arguably worth it!). Read more about how to plan your visit to Torvehallerne here.

A Local's Guide To Eating At Koedbyen, Meat Packing District, Copenhagen (4)

A street food market to grab a quick bite and drink with friends: Koedbyen is the city’s ‘raw’ but wholesome Meat Packing District Market in Copenhagen. Head here for a quick bite to eat in one of the many street food stalls and check out the local bars here that open until quite late! Read more about how to plan your visit to Koedbyen here.

Why You Need To Enjoy Copenhagen's Delicious Food Market on Paper Island (9)


2.) Tivoli Gardens 

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No first time visit to Copenhagen is complete without a trip to Tivoli – the greatest and quaintest theme park in all of Europe!

Said to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney World, Tivoli is a truly stunning inner-city park that’s filled with some impressive and historic rides. Hop on board the Rutschebanen Rollercoaster, a 100-year-old wooden masterpiece that weaves in and out of a (faux) snow-capped mountain… right in the centre of Copenhagen! See more tips from Tivoli here.


3.) Walk the spiralled walkway of Rundetårn

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For a few Euros, you can grab yourself a really great view of the city that is situated on the top of Rundetårn. Walk the spiralled and slightly dizzying reverse-style helter skelter walkway to the top – there are actually no steps… just a constant and gently incline until you reach the summit.


4.) Become royal for a day at Rosenborg Castle

10 Fairytale Castles You Will Want To Visit In Denmark (9)

There are lots of castles to explore in Denmark, with Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen being a top favourite. Head here to discover a truly stunning piece of Danish history and the ornate yet beautiful artistry of the castle which embodies Danish architectural prowess at its finest!

If you’re visiting Denmark, don’t forget to check out these 14 impressive castles during your stay.


5.) Pop in to see The Little Mermaid

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Loved or loathed, a fleeting trip to see the Little Mermaid should be on every first-timer’s visit to Copenhagen. Some people feel underwhelmed when visiting (probably because it was over-hyped before they visited) but for lots of visitors it is a photo opportunity of the city’s most famous landmarks, where you can spend 10 minutes or so viewing her statuesque pose!


6.) Board a relaxing Boat Tour

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There are many ways to see the city of Copenhagen, with its waterways being one of the best! Board a boat near Nyhavn harbour area and discover a whole new perspective of Copenhagen.

Top tip: Many of the boat tours also include a stop by The Little Mermaid, though the photographic perspective is not as great as seeing her from the land.


7.) Grab a dog!

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If you’ve ever visited a Scandinavian country, you’ll have to realise that their love of hot-dogs is deep and very, VERY real! It’s not just any old sausage slapped in a 3-week old bun (served to you at a cinema), these hot-dogs are deliciously gourmet.

Hot dogs can be found in many of the market stalls or even in the central district of Copenhagen itself. If you’re not ‘into’ bread buns… no problem, it’ll be replaced with creamy mash or tasty, seasonal beets – all served with your very own type of sausage, cooked just how you like it!


8.) Visit The Aquarium, Den Blå Planet

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Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet) is one of the biggest aquariums in all of Europe. Housed in an impressive building, this aquarium is an education centre that teaches the importance of protecting our oceans and the animals that live within it.


10.) Party on up at Blågårdsgade in the evening

How To Spend a Weekend in Copenhagen

This area of Copenhagen is fuuuuuuuun! Filled with lots of chilled out local bars, live music venues and a buzzing atmosphere, this area is a great place to spend a Saturday evening out with friends and locals alike.


11.) Kayak the waterfront 

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If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and fancy something with a more of a workout than a cruise of the harbour, hop on board your very own kayak! Kayaks can be used within certain parts of the waterways in Copenhagen and is a really unique way to get around the city… though, nowhere near as much fun if you fall in! 😉


12.) Stay at Kong Arthur

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This is my favourite hotel in Copenhagen! It’s such a lovely, centrally located hotel that has some of the nicest rooms ever! They serve a pretty mean breakfast and even have their own (not so) secret spa that’s under the hotel itself!

Top tip: To save money, book during off peak rates and take advantage of their FREE happy hour in the early evening! Wine please! 😉


13.) Enjoy the colourful houses at Nyhavn

First Time Visit To Copenhagen Guide

Every picture you’ll ever find of Copenhagen will include these colourful houses. Take a wander around the area and enjoy some of the pretty little homes, cafes and shops that make up this part of town.

Top tip: Prices for food here tend to be a little higher due to the volume of visitors, so take that into account if you plan on dining around here.


14.) Thorvaldsen’s Museum

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Bertel Thorvaldsen is arguably one of Denmark’s most famous artists from Copenhagen. His craftsman skills were obtained from a rather long residency in Rome (some 40 years). When he returned, he brought a wealth of artefacts, beautiful art and stunning new artistic perspectives for the city to enjoy. Nowadays, Thorvaldsen’s Museum is like stepping back in time to see some of the very best in classical architecture!

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  • thank you for the recommendations!! Copenhagen looks like a beautiful place
    The Color Palette

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is Abril – it’s such a wonderful city, with so much to do! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • You guys make me want to go to ALL the places! I have to start saving.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Haha! We’ve started a piggy bank fund for European trips too! 🙂

      Ah! You’ll love the city Emmie, especially Copenhagen’s markets!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I am pinning this for future reference – just in case! I want to see all of these amazing places you post about haha. That food looks incredible, by the way.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’ll love it! It’s a great city to explore – especially to food! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • This place looks stunning 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks Conor! It’s such a great city! One of our favourites 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • rebecca beesley

    We didn’t have nearly as long as we wanted to there as our main focus was our visit to noma. However the little mermaid was a priority for us and it was just magical. We visited her at night and i expected to see lots of tourists but we had her all to ourselves with the beautiful lights of the city in the background. It was just so peaceful and special. (if you wish to you can see our post about it here )

    • HandLuggageOnly

      So glad you had an amazing time in the city, Rebecca – Copenhagen is wonderful isn’t it!

      What a great idea about visiting her at night… and getting her all to yourself! Thanks so much for sharing your link too! Looks like you had a great trip! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Thanks for this roundup! I’m starting to plan a trip to Copenhagen so I’ll definitely be using these tips!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yay! Ah, you’ll love the city Rachel – it’s so vibrant and there’s so much to do… we can’t wait to go back! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

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  • Cheri Peacock

    Thank you for this post! I’m headed to Denmark in April and this has been SUCH a big help in planning our trip.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah… you’re going to love the city, Cheri! It really is amazing. Let us know if you need any other tips/advice. We’re always happy to help. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Lce Selene Gamez

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks! Will be in Copenhaguen in April, little worried about the weather, tho… Im from a very hot city in México… any advice about weahter? clothes?

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re going to love the city. Definitely take a coat – if you’re used to warm weather, it’s likely you will be cold. Also make sure to bring an umbrella. The weather can be quite unpredictable in Copenhagen.

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Aanal Chokshi

    This article has been of great help. Thanks for sharing! I am planning this for a group of 6 senior citizens. Do you think they can cover any other must-visit place in or around the city if they are staying in Copenhagen for 3 days?

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much – it really depends on mobility but there are plenty of amazing places to visit. The city is such a gorgeous mix of food markets, beautiful parks and gorgeous buildings. Alternatively, take one of the boat cruises that take you all around the canals and to see the mermaid 🙂