Botanic Garden, Habour and Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark

24 Hours in Copenhagen

There are so many great things about Denmark.

From New Nordic cuisine, (it’s home to a restaurant repeatedly voted the best in the world) to distinctive and trend-setting Scandinavian design. I personally love it for the incredible television dramas Denmark churns out such as Borgen, Follow the Money, The Killing and best of all the Danish-Swedish co-production The Bridge. Danish accents are great as well, especially in dramas like The Bridge where you hear Danish and Swedish accents side-by-side you soon notice how different the Danish pronunciation is, with sounds that are so hard to replicate, well, for me anyway. There are many great things about this Scandinavian country and it was difficult to match this appreciation and interest with only 24 hours in the Danish capital.

Iron spiral staircase inside the Botanic Gardens, Copenhagen
Inside the Palmehuset

You may have noticed a bit of a trend, in recent years I haven’t spent much time at a destination. Often I have only been somewhere for 24 or 48 hours. I like visiting as many places as possible but often these brief visits make me feel like I need to return because I haven’t seen it all. This is a habit I am trying to break. Anyway, I certainly had a busy day in Copenhagen last autumn and managed to see a good chunk of the city. Here are my highlights:

The Palmehuset and Botanic Gardens

Copenhagen’s Botanic Gardens are a great place to walk around, it is really picturesque and calming. The main focal point though is the Palm House (or Palmehuset) which is a massive greenhouse with a central dome that is absolutely filled to the brim with tropical plants. Walking through you will frequently have to duck under branches or brush through foliage. There is a metal walkway raised up above the plants in the central greenhouse which you ascend and descend from via some lovely iron spiral staircases. Even better, access to the garden is free and when I visited, so was access to the Palm House.


It’s not hard to find the water in Copenhagen, it is on an Island after all. It is a really calming feature and there are some really attractive harbour fronts, the most famous of which is Nyhavn. Lined with old wooden boats, colourful buildings and waterfront restaurants, it makes a picturesque scene in the middle of this bustling city.

Boats at a harbour in front of colourful old buildings


The Marble Church – Frederiks Kirke

If you watched the recent Danish drama Below the Surface you may recognise this impressive edifice as the location under which the hostages were detained in a half-constructed underground metro station. The construction of this Lutheran church began in the 18th century but it stood unfinished for nearly a hundred and fifty years. Today, this solid lump of rococo architecture is well worth a visit, even if only to come and see the largest dome in Scandinavia.

A Neoclassical church with copper dome and facade featuring pillars and pediment in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Marble Church

Rosenborg Castle

This towering building is a lot older than it looks. It was started in 1606 and took on its current form by 1624.  Classified as a castle, you could be mistaken for thinking it was just a grand country house until you see the soldiers who are still stationed there today. Surrounded by parks and gardens this castle seems to be in a quiet corner of Copenhagen but is in fact surrounded by busy roads.

A red brick castle with towers and copper domes surrounded by a moat and gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark
Rosenborg Castle

I also found time to see the Little Mermaid statue (and yes, it is disappointing), Christiansborg Palace, the Kastellet castle and ended the day at a Turkish ice cream restaurant called Mado on Vesterbrogade (which you can read about here). I had only come to Scandinavia for two whole days, this one in Copenhagen and the day before I had been to Malmö in Sweden (read about it here). I enjoyed my time in both cities a lot but I have to say I did prefer Malmö just a little bit.

Botanic Garden, Habour and Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark


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