Fascinating architecture in every glance, chic designs and high-end fashion scenes, Copenhagen is the way to go. Denmark’s historic capital may only boast a population of 1.2 million, but this compact-sized city has more to offer than you can imagine. Immerse yourself in the world-class museums and fancy storybook streetscapes, the 15 Michelin-starred restaurants are just an icing on the cake.
Whether it is a few nights or a few hours, there is always something in store for you here at Copenhagen. A layover may sound pretty lame… because seriously, what good is visiting a city for only 24 hours? Well, we guarantee that you can have just as much fun on a layover too! Here’s how to make the most of your time with a layover in Copenhagen:
Copenhagen Airport is the main international airport that serves Copenhagen, Denmark, the entire Zealand, the Øresund Region, and a large part of southern Sweden. It is the largest airport in the Nordic countries with 26.6 million passengers in 2015. It is also one of the oldest international airports in Europe, and is by far the busiest airport for international travel in Scandinavia. With over 50,000 people visiting the airport in a day and service that is always up to standard, this busy port is well equipped with lounges, wireless internet points, duty-free shops, boutiques, beauty parlours, restaurants, bars and more.
Address: Lufthavnsboulevarden 6, 2770 Kastrup, Denmark
Website: Copenhagen Airport
Visa entry and requirements
As Denmark is part of the European Union’s Schengen agreement, visitors travelling to or from Denmark from another Schengen EU country do not need to show their national ID or even bring their passport. Of course, it is highly recommended to bring your passport in case some Schengen airports are doubtful of your identity.
European citizens are free to explore Denmark without the need for a visa, but other citizens may require a visa if they would like to explore the city during a layover. However, it is still safe to say that most countries are free from the burden of carrying a visa.
Visa for Layovers
Website: Transit Guide
A layover of fewer than 12 hours: Hilton Copenhagen Airport Hotel
If you are only at Copenhagen Airport for a short stopover and would want nothing more but just a bed to lie on… That can be arranged too. Hilton Copenhagen Hotel is located at the airport, and offers many amenities such as a sauna, indoor pool and fitness centre. Guests are welcome to enjoy a range of massage treatments and beauty therapies at the in-house spa and wellness centre N'mat. Rooms are well furnished which include a flat-screen TV and a private en suite bathroom. A 24/7 customer service is always ready to help, as well as a meeting room that is available for use if guests urgently need a venue to hold any important meetings.
Hilton Copenhagen Airport Hotel
Address: Ellehammersvej 20, 2770 Kastrup, Denmark
Price: 443.74 USD for a twin guest room
Access: 3 minutes from Copenhagen Airport
Contact: +45 32 50 15 01
Taxi2Airport is the easiest and most reliable way to get to and from the airport. Through secure online payments, you can book your airport transfers in advance, saving up to 35% on your journey.
1. Central Copenhagen
Colourful and full of life, Copenhagen is clearly not a city to be missed! Anytime is still precious time, so how about a teaser on Central Copenhagen in preparation for your full-fledged trip the next visit?
Take a train to central Copenhagen
The train station is located at Copenhagen Airport Terminal 3, and it will only take 5 minutes for you to travel from Terminal 1 to 3 by a shuttle bus. The train runs every 10 minutes during the day and it will only take 13 minutes for you to arrive at Nørreport Station in central Copenhagen. However, during the night, the train only runs every 1 - 3 times an hour, so be sure to be on time!
A Citypass ticket allows you to enjoy unlimited travel on buses, trains and metros in Copenhagen zones 1- 4. It costs 80 DKK (11.47 USD) for adults and 40 DKK (5.73 USD) for children if you are purchasing a 24-hour ticket. Purchase them at the ticket machines in Terminal 3 just above the railway, and at the DBS ticket sales counter also at Terminal 3. Do note that the machines only accept coins and major credit cards, but not notes.
Copenhagen Train Guide
Website: Train Guide
2. Rosenborg Castle
An impressive historic building that dates back to 400 years ago, Rosenborg Castle was built by one of the famous Scandinavian kings, Christian IV, in the early 17th century.
History buffs would be excited to view the royal hermitage set in the King’s Garden. Apart from the most famous crown jewels (the emerald being the most finest), feast your eyes on the glimmering crowns of Danish Kings and Queens. Embellished with table-cut stones, enamel and gold ornamentation, these beauties have been kept in special vaults to ensure that they are kept in tip-top condition. Another popular attraction in the Rosenborg Castle will have to be the portraits of Caroline Mathilde (Christian IV’s wife) and Struensee (her illicit lover), painted by Jens Juel. Here, admire the fine art strokes and colours depicted in the vibrant paintings - a reminder of Caroline Mathilde’s shameful affair. Usually most people will only take up to 1.5 hours here, so there is still plenty of time for you to visit other sights.
Address: Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Price: from 11.5 USD for adults, free for children below 17 years old
Opening Hours: 10 am - 2 pm daily. Closed on Sundays
Access: 6 minutes’ walk from Nørreport Station
Contact: +45 3315 3286
Website: Rosenborg Castle
3. Food tours
After half a day of heading from one destination to another, we understand if you are feeling a bit restless and hungry (we feel you, flights sometimes are just not as comfortable as we hope they would be). The next stop is pretty exciting, for you get to go on a food tour in Copenhagen! Taste the different cuisines and unique dishes, it’s time for a crash course on this city’s 8-course-meal.
Find out more about Nordic food and why they appeal so much to people. Choose from a wide range of tours, from trying the most delicious open faced sandwiches to the exclusive liquorice from Bülow, get your tastebuds ready for an explosion of flavour. Each tour takes 3 hours to complete, but don’t worry, you will still have plenty of time to explore the rest of this creativi-city!
Address: The Church of our Lady (Vor frue kike) on Nørregade 8, 1165 Copenhagen
Price: from 88 USD per person, different food tours have different prices. Check the website for more details.
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 10 am - 2 pm, 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm, Saturday 10 am - 2 pm, closed on Sundays
Access: 5 minutes from Nørreport Station
Contact: +45 5012 3645
Website: Food Tours
4. The David Collection
The David Collection in Copenhagen contains the largest range of Islamic artworks in Scandinavia. It also showcases a wide collection of European 18th century fine and applied art, a museum worth the visit for art lovers around the world.
Housed in a building once occupied by museum founder Christian Ludvig David, enter the vibrant art museum which holds 3 main collections: Islamic Art, European 18th Century Art, and Danish Early Modern Art. The collection of Islamic Art would have to be the highlight of the museum, as apart from being one of the largest range of artworks in Scandinavia, it is also one of the most important collections in the Western world. Some artists involved in these beautiful artworks include Theodor Philipsen, Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, L. A. Ring, Peter Hansen, and Vilhelm Hammershøi. Feel free to borrow an info tablet with an integrated audio guide (in English) if you would like a 2-hour audio tour of the whole museum.
The David Collection
Address: Kronprinsessegade 30, 1306 København K, Denmark
Price: Free admission for all
Opening Hours: Tuesday, Thursday - Sunday 10 am - 5 pm, Wednesday 10 am - 9 pm. Closed on Mondays
Access: 8 minutes’ walk from Norreport Station
Contact: +45 33 73 49 49
Website: The David Collection
5. The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue)
Last but not least, we present to you Copenhagen’s iconic symbol, The Little Mermaid statue. Despite it being a long walk (11 minutes from the nearest station), we feel it would be rude if this iconic statue wasn’t in our list. Unveiled on 23 August 1913, The Little Mermaid was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to the City of Copenhagen, and has been a popular tourist attraction since then.
Made of bronze, The Little Mermaid was inspired by local author Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale about a young mermaid who was willing to give up everything she had to be human so that she could be with the prince she loved so dearly. With 5 million snaps each year, you would be shocked to hear that The Little Mermaid has actually lost her head twice. A victim of vandalism, twice she has lost her head, her arm had been sawn off once, and several times she has had paint poured over her. Many a times she has been restored and cleaned, welcoming travellers each time they visit.
The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue)
Address: Langelinie, 2100 København Ø, Denmark
Price: Free of charge for all
Opening Hours: Open 24/7
Access: Take a 3-minute train ride from Nørreport Station to Oesterport Station before walking 937 metres or 3074 feet (11 minutes) to arrive at your destination.
Contact: +45 24279602
Website: The Little Mermaid
This is not goodbye!
As much as we would like to go on, all good things will have to come to an end. The vibrant and lively atmosphere of Copenhagen is clearly a prominent light - a day in this amazing capital is already enough to establish that. Though it is always hard to say goodbye at first, we hope you will take the next holiday there to experience this energising city in full detail.
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