You can probably think back to a time you could barely pay for groceries – let alone international travel. But now, in your later years, with your hard-earned cash saved up and your offspring (finally) self-sufficient, seeing the world looks a whole lot more doable. And for more mature travellers, cruises are just the ticket. With accommodation, transportation, and entertainment rolled into one, cruises are ideal for the un-hassled globetrotter. Not to mention the amazing sights to see along the way!
If a Scandinavian cruise is on your wish list, you can bet you’ll be passing through Copenhagen. You might only get one day in this stunning coastal city, so make the most of it with our handy itinerary.
What to See
Visit the Little Mermaid Statue
The first thing any visitor to Copenhagen should do is make a pilgrimage to the city’s iconic statue, the Little Mermaid (or ‘Den Lille Havfrue’ in Danish). This bronze statue sits serenely on a rock near the water by the Langelie promenade. It is a nod to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote The Little Mermaid and many other fairy tales. A major tourist attraction since its introduction in 1913, the mermaid has come to symbolise Copenhagen in the same way the Statue of Liberty symbolises New York.
Langelinie, 2100 København Ø, Denmark
Next, make your way over to Rosenborg Castle, passing by the the impressive star-shaped fortress, the Kastellet, on your way. As you walk southwest along the Øster Voldgade you’ll see a large public park, Østre Anlæg, off to your right. Ahead of you, Rosenborg Castle rises out of a lush garden. This Renaissance castle was originally built as a summer country house in 1606 by King Christian IV. Inside, you can tour the royal residence and get a sense of what it was like to live like a king.
The Castle also houses several collections, including artefacts of the nobility and aristocracy, the Danish crown jewels, and the Throne Chair of Denmark. Don’t miss the surrounding Kongens Have (King’s Garden), the oldest park in Copenhagen.
Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Tel: +45 33 15 32 86
Hours: Open daily 10:00am-4:00pm
Prices: 105 kroner (about £11)
Less than ten minutes from Rosenborg is another architectural project of Christian IV: the Rundetaarn, or ‘Round Tower’. Designed by the castle’s architect Hans van Steenwinckel the Young, the 137-foot-high Rundetaarn was originally designed as an astronomical observatory. To get to the top of the tower, you won’t ascend stairs but rather a long spiral ramp, which makes seven and a half turns before arriving at the viewing platform. Designed to accommodate a horse and carriage, the ramp also affords access to the Bell Ringer’s Loft and neighbouring Library Hall – today an exhibition space and concert venue.
Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København, Denmark
Tel: +45 33 73 03 73
Hours: Open daily 10:00am-6:00pm
Prices: 25 kroner (about £2.65)
Nyhavn & Lunch at Nyhavn Faergekro
Now make your way straight down Gothersgade to Nyhavn (‘New Harbour’), a bustling canal-side district with a long history. With its brightly coloured 17th century townhouses, Nyhavn is the picture-perfect part of Copenhagen you’ve probably seen on postcards. There are plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants here that are perfect for a midday meal. We recommend Nyhavns Faergekro, where you can order traditional Danish smørrebørd (open sandwiches) and choose from the herring buffet. Make sure you get a table outside to enjoy the atmosphere!
Nyhavn 5, 1051 København K, Denmark
Tel: +45 33 15 15 88
Hours: Sun-Thursday 9:30am-10:00pm, Fri & Sat 9:30am-11:00pm
National Museum of Denmark
Get moving after lunch by walking to the National Museum of Denmark, about 15 minutes away from Nyhavn. On the way you’ll pass by Christiansborg Palace, home to the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court of Denmark – an important building indeed.
The National Museum covers a staggering 14,000 years of Danish history, from Ice Age reindeer hunters to Vikings to present-day culture. The museum also houses many exhibits and artefacts from other cultures. Here you can find ancient Greek coins, Egyptian mummies, and African masks in addition to an impressive collection of medieval and Renaissance art.
Ny Vestergade 10, 1471 København K, Denmark
Tel: +45 33 13 44 11
Hours: Tues-Sun 10:00am-5:00pm
Prices: Free admission
Church of Our Saviour
Now cross the canal (by foot or via bus route 9A) and make your way over to the 17th century Baroque Church of Our Saviour, one of Copenhagen’s most recognisable landmarks. The church is easily identified by its black and gold corkscrew spire topped with a gilded globe. An external staircase winds around the spire, which the more daring can climb to get panoramic views over central Copenhagen. Even if you arrive too late to climb the spire, this church is well worth a look.
Sankt Annæ Gade 29, 1416 København, Denmark
Tel: +45 3254 6883
Hours: Open daily 11:00am-4:00pm
Prices: 35 kroner (about £3.02)
Dinner at Noma
If you play your cards right and book well ahead, you just might be able to snag at a table at this two Michelin star restaurant, run by internationally acclaimed Danish chef René Redzepi. Known for its fresh takes on Nordic cuisine, Noma ranks high on many international lists. Located in an unassuming warehouse in the Christianshavn neighbourhood, expect to be delighted and surprised at this famous spot. Even if Noma is a bit out of your reach, Copenhagen is certainly not lacking in excellent restaurants – you can be sure of a good dinner no matter where you go in this part of town.
Strandgade 93, 1401 København K, Denmark
Tel: +45 32 96 32 97
Hours: Tues-Sun 12:00pm-4:00pm, 7:00pm-12:30am.
How to Get There
Copenhagen has three ports of call – Langelinie Qusy, Freeport Piers, and the DFDS Terminal at Amerika Plads – any of which may be your landing point. Since your time in Copenhagen is limited, don’t waste a single second getting started. Copenhagen cruise port transfers from Shuttle Direct can collect you at your port of call, take you to your desired destination, and pick you up again at the end of the day.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is the top provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and North Africa. Shuttle Direct drivers make sure you get safely and swiftly to and from the airport, and are dedicated to making your travel experience as pleasant as possible. Whether they’re hefting heavy luggage, assisting disabled passengers, or giving you tips on the best local sights, the Shuttle Direct team is here to help.