In 2019 there was one city I wanted to see. In the summer, I spent 72 hours in Copenhagen, exploring canals, gardens and food. Known for being one of the best cities in Europe to live in, Copenhagen is a city rich in history with lots to explore.
From my research, I knew that Copenhagen was an expensive place to live compared to other capital cities in Europe. The reason for this would have something to do with the average wage of €4000 (after-tax). I suppose you give what you take and if the quality of life is good then it is worth it.
During my 72 hours in Copenhagen, I frequently saw electric bikes being used and left in random places. I took one photo of an electric bike propped up in a town square filled with people, left waiting in a crowd for its next user. That’s modern life in Copenhagen.
Having 72 hours in Copenhagen to explore is an ample amount of time to see the city as a solo traveller. I explored fourteen places across the city taking in views of the city from the streets, canals and high above. I had a tool that helped me to explore, which I will come onto later. For a solo trip to Copenhagen this is what I recommend you explore with 72 hours in Copenhagen:
The purpose-built canal region of Nyhavn is one of Copenhagen’s most recognisable places. Along the north side of the canal is a stretch of multi-coloured buildings, popular for photographic opportunities. Restaurants and cafes now adorn the colourful canal side, a good chance to relax and spot tourists admiring the city. I would advise visiting Nyhavn before ten in the morning. I did that a couple of times and it was a more quiet setting to take your time wondering by the canal.
Free Walking Tour
Copenhagen offers free walking tours. These types of tours are an excellent way to discover more about any city. Copenhagen Free Walking Tours offer daily tours at different times, durations and routes. The tour I booked on was the Classical Copenhagen Tour lasting 90 minutes from noon. Our guide was from Australia who had been resident in Copenhagen for nine years. He introduced us to hidden locations, the two main high streets, The Round Tower and told us many facts about the city. Excluding any tips you may want to give at the end, you can’t really say no to a free walking tour.
At the end of our walking tour, the guide left us at a place for lunch. Situated close to the busiest station in Copenhagen Norreport, is the urban marketplace of
Torvehallerne Copenhagen. Here you will find stalls with local produce, food, drinks and desserts.
The various street foods stalls offer many options but with Denmark being famous for open sandwiches I had to choose that. I chose a very nice smoked salmon and scrambled egg sandwich from Hallernes Smorrebrod. There are a lot of sandwiches to choose from, just be prepared to join a long queue.
Aside from the open sandwich; I tried a smoothie from Vita Boost and a Cinnabun from Lauras Bakery. Both were too tempting to miss out on. On another day I went back to the marketplace to have fish and chips from Fiskerikajen. Being freshly made it took a little longer than usual to receive it but worthwhile.
Rosenborg Castle and Kongens Have
The Rosenborg Castle is located in the beautiful Kongens Have (Kongens Park).
Rosenborg was built by Christian IV in the 1600s as a pleasure palace. It was the king’s favourite residence but by the 1700s it was no longer used for its original purpose. It became a place for kings to keep unique objects and in 1838 it opened to the public as a museum.
Admission to the castle allows you to see the royal rooms on the ground, 1st and 2nd floors. The Great Hall is on the second floor with tapestries on the wall illustrating Christian V’s victories in the war against Sweden in 1675-79. The basement is where weapons and unique items are displayed. The treasury level of the basement is where the crown jewels can be viewed.
During my second day in Copenhagen, I went on a one hour canal tour. Seeing Copenhagen from this perspective enables you to see the boathouses located outside of the city centre. Also outside the city centre is the Little Mermaid statue. It attracts many tourists but it wasn’t something of great interest to me. At least by taking a canal tour, you are taken close to the statue, to at least tell people you saw it.
I visited Tivoli Gardens on a sunlit Copenhagen evening. The sun was slowly setting over the city and despite entering the gardens at 7.30 pm it was very busy. A large crowd gathered to watch live music at The Open Air Stage in the centre of the gardens. Many more were walking around eager to get to one of the many fairground attractions, restaurants or entertainment areas. Tivoli Gardens catering all types of visitor. If you want beautiful scenery, there are many open spaces to photograph.
Performances are scheduled across the various stages in the gardens that you can watch for free. I was fortunate to see a ballet of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. My evening was set with ice cream in hand!
The Round Tower
Seeing Copenhagen at street level enables you to cover more ground. By boat, you can see more of the city quicker. To complete the hat-trick you should be viewing the city from above. The Round Tower is a well-known structure to view the city. Christian IV built the tower between 1637-42 as an astronomical observatory, which is still used today. The tower opens at 10 am, which is when I visited. With fewer people around it is quicker to walk up the ramp to the top. You then have more space at the top to view Copenhagen in all directions.
How did I explore so much?
I purchased a Copenhagen Card to help me explore in the city (not sponsored). I have used similar cards in various cities and it is a valuable tool for a solo traveller. It allows you to explore with compromise. To make the most of it you have to set off early and have a plan of knowing where you want to go. That is precisely what I did and it allowed me to explore much more than I would have done without it. What made the Copenhagen card different to others I have used before is that each day of use is a full 24 hours.
For other cards, let’s say you arrived on a Saturday evening and activated it at the same time. That would be one day’s use. With the Copenhagen Card that one-day would last for 24 hours until the next evening. So by purchasing a 72 card it latest from the moment I arrived on Sunday evening up until I travelled to the airport on Wednesday evening. It even includes the use of public transport.
Final thoughts on my 72 hours in Copenhagen
For this solo trip, I wanted to have the fullest experience possible. I achieved this through careful planning and having the determination to explore early and late in the day. I stayed at a hotel close to a metro line (CPH Hotel), which was only a few minutes from the airport and the city centre. A beach was a few minutes walk away too.
Going on a walking tour helped me fit it with other solo travellers and the people of Copenhagen were very welcoming. If you want a beach, a castle, gardens, street food and canals Copenhagen is a city you should visit.
No need for postcards, feel free to write a comment…