Solo day trip to Copenhagen

Around Christmastime, I was idly browsing Skyscanner, as you do, and noticed that the cheapest flights were £15 return journeys to Copenhagen. Curiosity got the better of me, so I clicked for details and discovered these were for two flights on the same day- one flying out of Stansted at 9am and returning from Copenhagen at 11pm. So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do and booked them on a whim. I wasn't entirely sure if this was a genius idea or the stupidest thing ever, but I was looking forward to finding out. 

Copenhagen day trip

When I landed in Copenhagen, I was struck by how friendly the officials are. While waiting for my metro, unsure if I'd bought the correct ticket from the self-service machine, I watched as the English businessman beside me was issued with a hefty fine for not tapping in his travel pass. While he called his solicitor (genuinely!!), I timidly approached the burly, intimidating enforcement officer to check my ticket. He broke out into a smile and assured me that I'd 'done perfectly'. Straight away, I was set at ease in this unfamiliar city, and felt confident to explore it on my own (Later, when I flew home and flapped about trying to find my passport buried in the bottom of my bag, the border control lady patiently encouraged me to take my time, and made jokes about the straw pig I'd bought in Tiger. Every airport should have officials this friendly!)

Copenhagen snow

The metro journey was short and straightforward, and when I got off at Nørreport, I was right in the middle of the city, perfectly placed for some exploring. I was lucky with the weather, as it was cloudless and fairly warm, aside from the absolutely biting wind that whipped around my face. Still, it felt fresh and only chilled the areas that were exposed to the elements, so I was perfectly happy walking around.

SMK Copenhagen

I started my day with a visit to the SMK art gallery, which had some interesting pieces, but I found it pretty limited in terms of periods and cultures. Pretty much every piece was Scandinavian or French, and it was mostly from the 19th and 20th century. I guess it's understandable that a Danish gallery would focus on Scandinavia, but it would have been nice to have a bit more diversity. There were renovations going on though, so maybe I just got unlucky with the timing. One thing I really loved was the little area with paper, pencils and artist's mannequins so you could practice your own skills. It was lovely to sit down and take a rest while sketching (even if people stand behind you and watch which isn't great when you're far from an artist!) 

When I'd explored the whole gallery, which only took an hour or so, I did what everybody repeatedly told me not to do: I went to see the Little Mermaid. I'd been told it was tiny, underwhelming and not worth travelling the distance out of the city centre. Actually, I didn't find the journey bad at all. It was a 20 minute walk from SMK and it was nice to stroll through some more residential areas of Copenhagen before reaching the waterfront. I got a little lost on the way, taking a wrong turn and ending up going back on myself, but I soon corrected that and found myself face to face with the mermaid herself. And you know what? I actually quite liked her. After all the negative comments, I actually found the statue to be larger than I'd expected, and even though it was a little busy, I found it quite serene to stand on the rocks and snap some photos. Then I sat on a bench and watched the way people reacted around the mermaid, which is always something I find interesting (I did the same thing with the Mona Lisa when I visited Paris). 

The Little Mermaid Statue Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid is another 20 minute walk away from Nyhavn, which had been recommended to me a lot, and it was a pleasant trip along the water's edge. Just like with the mermaid, I found my experience didn't match the recommendations I'd been given. Nyhavn is pretty, with its colourful buildings and boats bobbing in the water, but I found it lacked atmosphere or really anything to do. Unless you're going to be visiting the restaurants, I couldn't see much reason to visit.

Nyhavn Copenhagen

By now, it was getting late and I was hungry so I did what I always do in a new city- I hunted down the Hard Rock Cafe. I know, I know. I just can't get enough of that authentic culture. I justify it by saying the Local Legend burger is practically local cuisine, and it's different at every location so I'm basically immersing myself in the culture. Right? The burger in Copenhagen is the Pølseburger, which is a delicious pork sausage that tops the usual beef burger. I had fun with the server who taught me how to pronounce the ø sound and, because now the museums had closed and I had some time to kill before heading to the airport, the staff happily refilled my drink for an extortionately long time while I rested my very, very aching legs! 

Finally, I popped into the shops to get some souvenirs, including the aforementioned straw pig in Tiger (well, I couldn't go to Copenhagen without visiting my favourite Danish export!), before returning to Nørreport to get my metro back to the station. In the past six hours, I'd walked in one huge circle and experienced everything I wanted to do in Copenhagen.

Danish houses

Honestly, I feel like my short day trip was the perfect amount of time. Copenhagen strikes me as a compact city- it's incredibly easy to walk around- and I didn't find myself wishing I'd had longer. In fact, I think I would have been at a loss for what to do if I'd stayed for a couple of days. So it turns out my impulsive decision to book those flights was a genius idea, and I can't wait to book another day trip soon. I'm thinking Oslo or Luxembourg. Any other suggestions?


  1. I loved Nyhavn but I think we lucked out on timing. Me and my bf accidentally arrived during a jazz festival so we spent our first evening sat together right on the edge of the dock drinking beer with soft jazz drifting over from the main area. Bliss. We were there a few days though so I can see how if you only had a few hours that might be time better spent doing other things.

    I'm planning a one night trip to Luxembourg later this year and from what I've seen its definitely a good day-out option. I've heard Brussels makes a nice day trip too.

    F L Y N N

    1. Ooh thanks! I'll look into Brussels!

    2. I would second that, you could definitely have a fun day trip to Brussels! x

  2. Loved this post! My boyfriend and I couldn't decide between Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen for our holiday. We finally settled on Stockholm as when we researched Oslo and Copenhagen, the same thing we kept seeing was that there "wasn't much to do."

    There's a travel based vlogger on YouTube called Wolters World and he's brilliant! If you're deciding where to go, he talks through the positives and negatives of that place, tells you the best things to do/see, how to get around, where to eat, where not to eat!

  3. I felt the same as you in Copenhagen. I really liked it there, but even though we only did two nights I felt like it was a bit too long. I think it would be a lovely place to live (if you ignore the prices) and it is wonderful to visit but it is a little limited!

    Nicola //

  4. Wow, really cheap flights.
    Copenhagen is a fantastic city with the best ice cream.

  5. Copenhagen is somewhere I'd love to visit and doing it in a day sounds like a great plan - especially when I hear how expensive it is. I visited Luxembourg last August with my mum and it was fantastic - I really fell in love with the city, it was so beautiful!

    Hannah - Suitcase and Sandals xx

  6. I love that you took yourself on a spontaneous day trip like that! I'm glad it was worth the journey :) x

  7. This is such a crazy trip to take, but also pretty amazing. I think I'd like to visit Copenhagen actually, it sounds lovely and relaxed!

  8. I have two and a half days in the city and I'm glad you felt like a day was enough-I'm hoping to take a lot of photos and do a fair bit of just wandering, so I think I'll be fine with the time I have there.


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