The reason I start with this quote is because I couldn’t help to think of Hans Christian Andersen and his fairytales during my short trip to Copenhagen. You can understand how this city became his inspiration for his magical stories. Castles, princesses and narrow mysterious streets all come to life in Copenhagen.
Can you really see the city in a few hours though? Is there enough time to explore the streets and do some sightseeing during your layover? The answer is Yes, yes YES! Even though Copenhagen is by far the largest city of the country everything is quiet close and is by far one of the most relaxing European capitals with unique café and culture. Make sure to bring your camera though as this city is extremely photogenic with plenty of great spots to visit.
We found a very good deal from London to Athens with a 14 hours layover in Copenhagen and this was our question as well but we decided to give it a shot. Seeing a city, even a small one with the size of Copenhagen demands a big amount of research. You need to make a plan and check what you want to see in advance so that the moment you arrive you start exploring.
Copenhagen is such an easy city to explore. Most of the main attractions are clustered in the town centre around Slotsholmen and at the island of Christian Town which you cross by a pedestrian/bicycle bridge. There are many attractions to check such as the parliament, the old town hall, Nyhavn, The Black Diamond, just to name a few. Most of the attractions are easy to be covered in a short time but of course cities like Copenhagen are made to be explored slowly.
Here you can see the route we followed. Our layover was during the night so all the museums, palaces and churches were closed so it was a very interesting walking-at-night exploration. Since we stopped constantly to take photos and took our time to explore the surrounding streets, we spent roughly 5 hours walking.
If you fancy something more interesting, you can rent the City Bikes which you can find throughout the city. They feature a tablet on the handlebars with built-in GPS which makes it easy to get around. You just need to register on the tablet, put your credit card information and you’re good to go. The touchscreen tablet will help you explore the city and guide you to points of interest in Copenhagen.
Below you can see some of the highlighted places from the route map. Not in particular order, just my favourite ones.
The historic waterfront of Copenhagen. You probably know Denmark by this spot you see on the postcards. Colorful 17th century townhouses with wooden ships docked out front. I really enjoyed walking there at night so I visited again at sunrise. It really feels like it hasn’t been touched by time.
The longest Pedestrian Street in Europe. Bring your girlfriend there and you doomed to spend an evening strolling around the shops. Strøget itself is ideal for Street Photography so that’s something I enjoyed a lot.
It is the main square of Copenhagen which is the main square of the city. There you can find the Townhall which is a really impressive Italian Renaissance building. On top it has one of the most accurate clocks for its scale in the World.
In my opinion one of Copenhagen’s busiest attractions. One of the oldest amusement parks of Europe and the world. It really is worth it to visit. It opened in 1843 which makes it the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. You can go crazy with roller coaster rides, grab a bite in one of the numerous restaurants or just scroll around and snap some cool pictures.
The home of the Danish Royal Family. A very interesting location with four identical palace façades in an octagonal courtyard. Each building is guarded by soldiers similar to those in Buckingham Palace. Very close by is Frederik’s Church which is another must-see attraction.
Copenhagen’s original Hotspot. It used to be an abandoned military based and it was taken over in the 70’s by hippies and artists. It is a very interesting and vibrant community to visit. Plenty of graffitis, street art and music. Strolling around Christiania’s streets you can feel this alternative positive vibe and it is something different from Copenhagen’s city centre. It is a also a place where Marijuana and other soft drugs are available among the Cannabis Shops there. Although Marijuana is technically illegal here, it is openly sold and tolerated.
St. Alban’s Anglican Church
Although quiet unknown, St. Alban’s Church is an ideal place for photography. The architecture really caught your eye and the nature around is just incredible. Just a few steps away from the Little Mermaid.
The Marble Church
The church and the place are just incredible. It can be seen from the courtyard of Amalienborg Palace so it is pretty easy to tick another location of your checklist quickly. The exterior is definitely something to photograph and I am sure you will be as amazed as I was.
Despite my 14 hour stay, I felt in love with Denmark’s capital. Even if you stay just for few hours, it is definitely worth taking this 30 minutes metro ride to the centre and explore its little secrets. I assure you that they are too many to be unravelled, so, take it slow. Throughout the city, there’s always this relaxing vibe reflected in the colourful homes bicycle paths. Take your time and enjoy it. After all, Cities like Copenhagen always makes you feel like there’s some unfinished business and you need to visit again. So, have fun, or should I say ‘’ha’ det sjovt’’
Have you ever had a long layover and visited the city? How was your experience?