48 hours in Copenhagen travel guide

What to do with a weekend in bike-loving Danish capital

Day one

Start the day with a traditional pastry at one of the city’s most popular bakeries: Lagkagehuset (Torvegade 45, Christianshavn, 32 57 36 07). There are now several branches, but this was the first, overlooking the Christianshavn Canal.

Head round the corner to Vor Freisers Kirke (Sankt Annoegade 29, 32 57 27 98). You can walk up around the gold spire for fantastic views – including of nearby Christiania – but hold on tight, as it gets windy at the top.

A visit to the Christiania district is essential for anyone after a greater understanding of the city. The alternative residential area was founded in 1971, and is home to some 1,000 people. Photography is forbidden on Pusher Street, where certain substances are openly sold. The more interesting zone is on the eastern side.

Café Wilder (Wildersgade 56, 32 54 71 83), on Wildersgade in Christianshavn, is a good nearby bet for lunch. Unless, of course, you’ve been lucky enough to secure a booking at restaurant-of-the-moment Noma (Strandgade 93, Christianshavn, 32 96 32 97) on Strandgade, near the canal.

After lunch, head across Knippelsbro bridge to Slotsholmen, the island on which the city was founded. The area has several draws, including Christiansborg Slot, housing parliament; the Thorvaldsens Museum (Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2, 33 32 15 32); and one of Copenhagen’s most striking modern buildings, the extension to the national library, the Black Diamond (Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1, 33 47 47 47).

From Slotsholmen, head west to Rådhuspladsen, the city’s focal point. From here turn right and along Strøget, the main shopping street. The better shops are at the western end, near Kongens Nytorv. Cross over the square for a wander down Nyhavn. The canalside path is full of camera-wielding tourists, but we defy you not to take a photo of the colourful buildings.

Salt (Toldbodgade 24-28, 33 74 14 48) is a good bet for dinner. Aside from the decent modern Scandinavian food, the restaurant has wonderful views of the Opera House across the water

Day two

Start the day in Østerbro, one of Copenhagen’s most well-do-do neighbourhoods, and home to some excellent cafés. Enjoy a coffee and a pastry at Café Bopa (Løgstørgade 8, 35 43 05 66), which is located in
a charming square.

Østerbro is lovely to amble around. Head up Østerbrogade and you’ll come to Brumbleby on your left, an enclave of cute terraced houses. Now a desirable address, the ‘village’ is one of the earliest examples of social housing in Denmark.

Take a wander down Sortedam Dossering beside the lakes, a popular path for jogging, cycling, leisurely strolls and other outdoor pursuits. Some of Copenhagen’s most beautiful houses line the route.

Turn right up Læssøesgade to reach Ryesgade, running parallel, home to some of the city’s hippest shops and eateries, including Underwood Ink (Ryesgade 30A, 35 35 55 53) and the pioneering Nørrebro Bryghus (Ryesgade 3, 35 30 05 30). The latter is a nice spot for a traditional smørrebrød lunch (with a modern twist).

After lunch, set off down Ryesgade and turn right at Sankt Hans Gade. Stroll up to Sankt Hans Torv, one of Nørrebro’s best-known squares; full of cafés and restaurants, the place buzzes in summer. Then make your way to Elmegade, one of the city’s best independent shopping streets. From here, it’s a short walk to Nørrebrogade, and on to the Assistens Kirkegård (Jagtvej and Nørrebrogade, 35 37 19 17) the final resting place of Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard.

Head back along Nørrebrogade to witness one of Copenhagen’s most spectacular phenomena: the bicycle rush hour. Some 35,000 cyclists travel along this street every day.

The neighbourhood of Vesterbro, further south-west, is at its best in the evening. Head to Kødbyen, the now-trendy Meatpacking District, where you’ll find a handful of cool eateries. You can’t go far wrong at Mother pizza parlour (Høkerboderne 9-15, Vesterbro, 22 27 58 98) or Fiskebaren (Floesketorvet 100, 32 15 56 56).

Need to know

Getting there
Emirates flies direct to Copenhagen, with return flights from Dhs4,200.

Where to stay
For those with plenty of money to burn, the Copenhagen Plaza (Bernstoffsgade 4, 1577 Copenhagen V, 33 14 92 62) is hard to beat. Commissioned by King Frederik VII in 1913, it’s recently been transformed from an old English-style hotel into something a little more ‘Scandinavian’. At the other end of the scale, DanHostel Copenhagen City (HC Andersens Boulevard 50, Vesterbro, 33 11 85 85) claims to be ‘the largest designer hostel in Europe’, with trendy Scandinavian furniture setting off a modern, edgy aesthetic.

Dubai to Copenhagen
Flight time: Approximately six hours 40 minutes.
Time difference: Two hours behind Dubai.
Dhs1 = 1.6 Danish krone.

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