Known for its effortlessly cool vibe, its minimalistic and modern fashion sense, its great coffee shops, and of course, its delicious pastries, Copenhagen is one of those places I have always wanted to visit, so when a good friend of mine told me she was working just outside the city, I jumped on the first train out of Germany to finally check the stylish Danish capital off my list. I spent 36 leisurely hours there, which gave me the perfect opportunity to craft my ideal itinerary for how to spend one day in Copenhagen.
While I know there are some main attractions in Copenhagen that every guide will tell you to visit, such as Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid, I ended up skipping them. I did not feel like going to a theme park while I was there visiting a friend, the Little Mermaid seemed a bit too far out of my way, and it got dark by the time I got to the colorful houses of Nyhavn.
So instead, I spent the day “living” in the city, walking around, trying the local coffee shops, and stopping by the local shops, because after living abroad continuously while living on tour, I found that that is the best way to get a more personal sense of a city—so that’s what we did.
I have also been lucky to meet a lot of Danish friends through work, and after having shown them my Google Maps pins of Copenhagen they were all very impressed with my findings and approved of everything on this list, so you know this concise itinerary of how to spend one day in Copenhagen has a local stamp of approval. So let’s begin!
How To Spend One Day In Copenhagen: The Alternative Guide
Breakfast At GROD: Mouthwatering Danish Porridge
If you know me, you know that I love breakfast food, I live for brunch, it is the first thing I will look for in a new city, that and coffee, and while normally breakfast for me means some kind of egg dish, this porridge restaurant looked too good not to try.
Grod, or GRØD, specializes in traditional Danish porridge, and they know what they are doing. I never would have considered porridge to be a favorite dish, but they have completely converted me.
I still dream about their porridge up to this day, so much so, that I visit Grod twice during a 36-hour trip. It’s just that delicious!
They have different porridge set options on the menu, or you can personalize and add your own toppings to their basic porridge. I got a small size and added banana, coconut flakes, crunchy granola, and their caramel sauce, and it was just *chefs kiss*
GRØD has a few locations around the city, but the one that I went to, and recommend based on the accessibility of the location is the one inside the food hall TorvehallerneKBH, which is very central.
PS: Local friends of mine also gave their stamp of approval to Grod as one of the best breakfasts in Copenhagen.
Coffee At Local Coffeeshop: Coffee Collective
Another perk of the location of GRØD is that is surrounded by tons of great food options, a few shops to wander through, and most importantly, it’s very close to one of the best coffee shops Copenhagen has to offer: Coffee Collective, where we will have our first coffee of the day.
Coffee Collective is a local coffee shop that has a few different locations around the city, the one in TorvehallerneKBH is very open, and it makes it feel more like a big coffee stand instead of a cozy coffee shop—like some of their other locations— but the coffee is still great.
This location offers some indoor seating, as well as some outdoor tables, which are perfect for people-watching and taking mental notes of all those amazing Scandi outfits.
Walk In The Park: Ortedsparken Or The Kings Garden
Now for a little walk in the park after fueling up on porridge and coffee, luckily the food hall is surrounded by two gorgeous parks, Ortedsparken and The Kings Garden.
Ortedsparken is a relatively small park with a lake in the middle, I ended up walking through the park as it was on the way from my hotel to the food hall, and found it very cute during a crisp fall day, perfect if you want a shorter walk in nature and then keep moving along.
The Kings Garden is a bit bigger, offering a few gardens and tree-lined paths to walk through, plus a castle, which if I put it that way, this one probably sounds better, but it will also take longer to walk through, plus people like different things, so I’m giving you two options.
Shopping At Strøget: The Longest Pedestrian Shopping Street In Europe
Whichever park you choose the popular shopping street Stroget will still be just around the corner.
Stroget is the main shopping street in Copenhagen, and it is also the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe with 1.1 km of length, offering a variety of shops for all price points, from the minimalistic and convenient Uniqlo to high fashion houses, cafes, souvenir shops and with some second-hand stores sprinkled through the side streets.
Shopping is not a mandatory activity when visiting this popular street, just walking along the beautiful pedestrian boulevard is a must in itself when spending 24 hrs in Copenhagen, plus, window shopping in the area is also a great way to get a look at what that Scandinavian chic style looks like on the storefronts.
Nyhavn: Copenhagen’s Picture-Perfect Waterfront
Since we are already in the area you could also make your way to see the colorful houses of Nyhavn, a waterfront district known for the eye-catching view of its vibrant 17th and 18th-century townhouses that line one side of the canal.
This is undoubtedly one of the most iconic views of Copenhagen and one that is easy to fit into any itinerary, so I will add it to this one even though I said it would be more of an alternative guide.
Bonus points if, unlike me, you manage to make it there during daylight to fully admire the popular houses, but if not, Nyhavn also has a cozy vibe at night with the street lights reflecting onto the canal and people sitting on the outdoor tables sipping a glass of wine.
Smorrebrod At Rort: Must-Have Danish Lunch
After wandering around Stroget Street and hopping in and out of shops, we might be ready to have some lunch, and what better way to make the most of our one day in Copenhagen than trying one of Denmark’s most iconic dishes: smorrebrod.
I knew I wanted to try smorrebrod while in Copenhagen, even though the concept of it never sounded too appetizing to me—fish on bread— however, all my Danish friends guaranteed that it is actually delicious and that I would most definitely change my mind once I tried it, if I had a good one, and they were right.
While looking for Grod on that first morning at the food market, I noticed this little stall close by serving a small menu of different smorrebrod. I made a mental note to go back, and I did, twice, during a 36-hour trip.
Rort offers a small but delicious menu of smorrebrod to enjoy there and also sells the toppings to go, which I saw lots of local purchasing. I had the shrimp with kimchi and the smoked salmon smorrebrod, and both the toppings and that famous Danish bread were incredibly delicious!
They also offer a small menu of wine and beers to accompany your lunch. We had some rose wine to celebrate our little get-together in Copenhagen and it was also really good!
Assistens Kirkegard: A Beautiful Walk Through A Park/Cemetery
After fueling up on a couple of smorrebrods, it is time to keep exploring, and we are moving north to the trendy neighborhood of Norrebro.
Walking from Torvehallerne, you will have to cross Peblinge So lake, and in order to get to our main destination in the neighborhood, the quaint Jaegersborrgade street, we will walk through Assistens Kirkegard, a beautiful park, that is also a cemetery.
It may sound a bit dark to just take a leisurely walk through a cemetery, but it is also considered a park, and the tree-lined promenade that goes through it is beautiful, and it will get us exactly where we need to go.
Jaegersborggade: Cute Shopping Street With Bakeries And Cafes
Exiting the Assitens Kirkegard Park we will arrive at Jaegersborggade, a cute street in the trendy Norrebro neighborhood.
Jaegersborggade is the street where locals go to hang out, lined with bakeries, independent coffee shops, local shops, and many options for international eats, this cute street has a lot to offer for both tourists and locals alike.
Some of the things that caught my attention while there, were:
- Ladyfingers: A Copenhagen jewelry collective with some beautiful handmade pieces.
- Tricotage: A cute little clothing and accessories store.
- Plant Kobenhavn: Even if you cannot buy a plant, it is always nice to look at them.
- Mikkeller & Friends: There is also a location of the popular Danish craft beer brand just around the corner.
Coffee Collective Jaegersborggade: Coffee Break
Why fix it if it isn’t broken? As you may have noticed, I do have a tendency to visit the same place more than once during a trip. Because if I know it’s good, I don’t want to risk trying something bad elsewhere, but also, because it makes me feel a little bit like a local, at least for a day, I become a regular at that one coffee shop.
So while we are in the lovely Norrebro neighborhood, I think it’s worth paying another visit to Coffee Collective—one of the best coffee shops Copenhagen has to offer—for a second round of caffeine, and a much-needed little break.
Coffee Collective’s location in Jaegersborggade has a cozier vibe than the one in the food market, with plenty of tables on the inside and some sitting space on the outside, it is easy to see that this is a place for people to meet and hang out over a cup of coffee.
Meyers Bageri: Danish Cinnamon Rolls Of Dreams
One of my absolute favorite things that I discovered in Jaegersborggade Street has to be Meyers Bageri, a little bakery selling Kanelsnegle, the Danish cinnamon rolls of dreams!
I kid you not, I still dream of these Danish cinnamon rolls to this day—technically all my dreams now are just about Danish porridge and cinnamon rolls.
I discovered this place by pure luck, but my local friends agreed that these are some of the best Danish cinnamon rolls in the city, so this should be an absolute must while spending a day in Copenhagen!
They were so good I didn’t even manage to get a picture of the full roll…
Hija De Sanchez: Some Of The Best Tacos In Europe
Now for a not-so-traditional Danish meal; tacos.
I know this is not what we go to Denmark for, but as a Mexican, I feel like it is my duty to inform you that Copenhagen has some of the best tacos I have ever had in Europe, and I had them here at Hija de Sanchez.
Depending on where you are staying in the city, and at what time you are ready to have dinner you could visit either of their two locations, one is in—you guessed it—the food hall and the other one is Kodbyen, another neighborhood that we didn’t explore yet, and the one that I actually visited.
The Hija de Sanchez in the food hall closes at 8 pm, and the one in Kodbyen closes at 10 pm, plus the one in Kodbyen is its own little restaurant so it is a bit cozier to sit there for dinner instead of going back to the food hall.
The thing that sold me on these tacos was the quality of the tortilla, which is actually corn-based and handmade, their menu is simple but authentic, with no weird Tex-Mex stuff, it’s all the real stuff.
Where to stay: Urban House Copenhagen By Meinniger
During my short trip to Copenhagen, I stayed at the Urban Copenhagen by Meinniger and it was just perfect; clean, well-located, and affordable, I couldn’t ask for more.
They have lots of spaces to hang out in the hotel, a bar, lockers for your luggage, and very friendly staff, a perfect score for me.
Risteriet Coffee Halmtorvet: Cozy Basement Coffee Shop
In case you need a coffee before taking your train or flight the next morning, Risteriet Coffee is just a block away from the Urban House.
Risteriet Coffee Halmtorvet is a cute little basement coffee shop and roastery, that serves great coffee, a nice selection of breakfast options, and some light lunch.
If you stay at Urban House like I did, this is the perfect place to wait out for your next move after checkout time.
Copenhagen is one of those places I always wanted to visit, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint.
Being here just made me fall more in love with the Danish minimalistic and elegant aesthetic, I appreciate their love for good coffee, and is needless to say, I am now obsessed with their porridge, Smorrebrod, and Danish cinnamon rolls, and I cannot wait to go back for round two.
I hope this alternative guide for one day in Copenhagen motivates you to explore the city in a more slow-paced way, or at least combine some of my recommendations with your original itinerary, either way, I would love to know if you try any of these places and what you thought of them.
PS: Eat an extra cinnamon roll for me!
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