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48-hours   ›   Short breaks  ›  Europe

48 hours in Copenhagen - unique things to do in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the perfect weekend getaway destination from Northern England – it ticks a plethora of boxes for a quick-city-break-fix beyond the UK. Catch a flight from Manchester airport for under £50, and when you’re at the other end, the journey time from Copenhagen airport to the centre of the city is less than 15 minutes. There’s something for everyone here – you’ll find plenty of unique things to do in Copenhagen. whether you are into culture, art, history, food or adventure.

There’s more than just the tourist trails as well, you can find plenty of unique things to do in Copenhagen. There are adventures to be had and just a few hours away – less than a drive from London to The Lake District.

April 20, 2023

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Friday afternoon in Copenhagen

To make your journey as smooth as possible getting somewhere great to park is essential. 48 hours abroad can be very hectic, but parking at Airport Parking Manchester made it all easier. The Car park felt safe, was smooth and connected to all the terminals within 15 minutes. I didn’t worry about my car once and they were contactable 24/7.

Arriving in a new city is daunting but getting yourself from Copenhagen airport to the city centre couldn’t be easier. One Train or bus will get you into the centre of the city within 20 minutes. Most places in the city are really accessible by bus or train.
Go and find a local bakery as soon as you can. Hart Bageri for a coffee and Danish pastry. The staff were all friendly and we visited this little independent bakery multiple times. Dropping your bigger bags off at your hotel and then spend some time wandering the streets to get your bearings and a feel for the city.

Don’t forget to look up at the beautiful buildings too, this city has got a fantastic history shown in its beautiful buildings. This is all counteracted by a lot of modern and interesting architecture, like the Copenhagen Planetarium. This also happens to be a great place to get inside if the weather isn’t on your side.

Check-in at your hotel or hostel. I stayed at CityHub and they have lockers that you can use before your room is ready. Most hotels will do this but check with them first. Walking is a lot easier without your perfectly-sized carry-on bag!

Friday evening in Copenhagen

Copenhagen has so many museums to choose from, it’s a great way to get to know the country and its history. Lots of them open late and are a handy shelter from any rain that might pass through.

The National Museum of Denmark was our choice and had exhibitions about local and national history, as well as plenty of interactive parts too. A lot of the museums in Copenhagen aren’t free but are discounted with a Copenhagen Card.
The entry is around £14 (DKK 95.00) but heavily discounted with the card. For a visit where you are using a lot of the museums and local paid attractions the card (DKK 459.00) would be worth your money, but I did not get one.

Plenty of the main tourist attractions are open late, including Tivoli. For a family or first-time visitor, there’s a lot to do and an iconic part of the city. However, this is an expensive entry fee and once you’re in there is still more to pay for, like rides and food. They do have special events depending on the time of the year but if you’re on a budget or not with young children then I wouldn’t put it on your must-see list.

After walking, learning and more walking the pastry will be wearing thin and it’s time to eat. Copenhagen is famous for high-end eateries however, you can find some incredible small and more casual options.

Why not try the world’s first Porridge bar? Grød has a few locations over the city and is a small and cosy place that serves more than your classic lumpy cold microwave porridge. They have spent years experimenting with oats and grains to create beautifully, warming dishes to fill you up before or after long days exploring.

They have 10 stores and you can buy kits to make your own delicious bowl of comfort back home. The menu changes seasonally but you can always find something to fuel your Danish adventure. This type of cuisine is so special to Denmark and is one to put on your list of unique things to do in Copenhagen.

Saturday morning in Copenhagen

Denmark has a fantastic swimming culture. There are specific swimming Lidos and areas dotted around the seafront and harbour. They are sheltered, have changing areas and some even have Saunas. Most places are free to use, especially in the winter months, but check their specific website for more information.

I can recommend the Sandkaj bathing zone near Nordhavn. In the summer you will find rows of people lining the shore, diving off the high boards and swimming. In the winter there are fewer people but still a dedicated crowd of bathers and hot sauna lovers. If you already swim at home, this is a must.

Post-swim pastries are essential. There’s no shortage but in Norhavn, a newer and more modern part of the city. Andersen & Maillard, where the pastries are freshly baked, is somewhere to warm up afterwards. The square croissants are one of a kind, I even went back for more. There’s so much choice, from Danish pastries to delicate French croissants and more. Their chefs are award-winning and you are right next to the harbour.

Getting around on foot is simple in Copenhagen. The metro system is great for connecting different parts of the city. There are four lines and it’s clean and simple to connect. You can get to Freetown Christiana – where over 7,000 people live outside of the rules of Copenhagen. It’s worth swotting up on their local rules before visiting as it’s a massive contract from the rest of the city.

Saturday lunchtime in Copenhagen

Lots of Scandinavian cuisines is warming, full of root vegetables and warming grains. It’s worth heading outside of the main part of the city to Refshaleøen to see some of the smaller and more local cafes.

Refshaleøen is a hub of creativity and festivals. The development of this area means there’s a really diverse range of people and cuisines in the area to try. Contemporary art galleries, street food and even a ski slope on top of a building!

La Banchina celebrates local, seasonal, cuisine. Their focus is on vegetables and everything the sea around Copenhagen can provide. Everything they serve is natural and organic whilst you’re there book a sauna. You can swim in their small harbour and warm up in the sauna too. Really embrace the Danish culture.

Another option, if you’ve had your fill of cold water for the day, is Lille Bakery. The best arancini I’ve ever eaten, filled with rice, sweet potato, carrot and blue cheese. The bakery uses wholegrain, and seasonal produce and service was always with a smile. The tables are long bench-style and you’re encouraged to share with others. I got plenty of recommendations for other local places to try from here too.

Saturday afternoon in Copenhagen

You may only have 48hrs but there’s still time to relax. Hop back on a bus or metro into the centre of the city for a spa afternoon at Manon de Suites is top on my list of unique things to do in Copenhagen. In fact, there’s hardly anywhere else in the world quite like this. You can book a day pass of their Jungle Pool, a tropical pool surrounded by plants and sunny surroundings. You can enjoy a coffee or cocktail, or simply relax around the pool, sauna and steam room.

If you choose to stay at Manon de Suites then you can get access to the spa for a smaller additional extra. The day pass is DKK 495,00 per person – around £60 but well worth your pennies. I cannot think of a better way to spend the afternoon.

Head back to your hotel – if you’re not staying here. CityHub had a fantastic communal area to grab a drink or snack. You can get a takeaway to bring back and the bar is self-serve with your wristbands. I love to try a local beer or wine whilst away and this was a great way to do it.

Saturday evening in Copenhagen

The best way to celebrate somewhere is to find those hidden gems and smaller places to eat and be entertained. Islands Brygge is an industrial centre on the front however, has a lot of gems and exciting things to do.

Il Buco is a beautiful, small and intimate Italian restaurant. The 5-course set menu is beautiful with all Danish and Italian sourced ingredients. The food is on the pricier side but will be worth the money for an evening like this.

After food, you can continue your evening at Kulturhuset Islands Brygge. They host events all year round so take a look at their website to see if you want to be entertained with music, drama, dance and more.

This area is full of amazing restaurants and culture. If you have the opportunity seek out the Michelin-decorated Alouette. Enjoy your evening and take a bus, metro or bike back to your hotel. Everything is so well-connected and easy to navigate in the city that getting around early or late isn’t a problem.

Sunday Morning in Copenhagen

It’s time to make the most of the city on your last morning. The best way to see a lot in a short amount of time is on two wheels. You can hire bikes from lots of places but using Bycyklen is a fantastic way to see the city. The bikes are all E-Bikes and every road has bike lanes, so don’t worry if you’re uncertain.

In a morning you can take in sights such as The Little Mermaid, Nyhavn Harbour, and more. Some of the greener areas like Østerbro and Ørestad. When you get out of the busier parts of the city there’s coastline, parks and even a sculpture trail to explore. Use the City Areas part of the Visit Copenhagen website to decide which area suits you and your style.

If you do want a ride out of the city then I recommend following all or some of the Six Forgotten Giants. These massive wooden structures, created by Thomas Dambo, are set in tranquil places and were built to encourage families and others to get outside of the city centre of weekends. Lots of them are accessible by bike, or bus and you can spend a little time soaking in your surroundings and seeing a little more of the city.

If you have a little time leftover then you can visit another swimming location – I would recommend the incredible Kastrup Sea Bath. This an architectural sensation and protects against the wind with opportunities to jump or dive in.

A seaside town worth stopping at is Dragør. Just south of the airport this town is full of ‘hygge’ and has some small shops and cafes. Being about 10 minutes from the airport means that you can hop out of there whenever you need to.

Copenhagen airport was a pleasure to get through and if you don’t have a bag to check in then you can get through in minutes, not hours!

Unique Things to do in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a city with so many options that you could see different things every time you visit. Take a look through all the handy links below to help your 48hrs in Copenhagen. Whether you want to swim, learn, eat, or ride your way through the city then this is place for you. Let me know where you head to first.

Happy travels, Ali x


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April 20, 2023