24 hours in Copenhagen: stay, bike, dine, and discover Danish design

Plan your 24 hours in Copenhagen: sleepover in a former brewery, wake up with a wild swim, and immerse yourself in the home of a modernist master

Copenhagen bikes
(Image credit: Thomas Høyrup Christensen)

In partnership with VisitCopenhagen

Make the most of 24 hours or a weekend in Copenhagen with these city highlights, from a sleepover in historic former Carlsberg brewery buildings to a ride over the ‘Bicycle Snake’, a peek inside Finn Juhl’s house, and an afternoon tea immersed in Danish design.

Stay at Hotel Ottilia, Carlsberg City District

Copenhagen Hotel Ottilia rear façade with round windows

(Image credit: Sasha Maslov)

Occupying the former brewery buildings of Danish beer company Carlsberg – the 1880s Maltmagasinet, and 1960s Lagerkælder 3 – Hotel Ottila is immediately recognisable thanks to the 64 giant gold discs on the exterior of its eastern aspect. Once the lids for huge vats of fermenting pilsner, now repurposed as window shutters, the gilded detailing is just one of many original features that have been retained at the boutique hotel, which is named after the wife of Carl Jacobsen, the founder and master brewer of Carlsberg. Old malt hoppers in the lobby, exposed brickwork, concrete structures, steel beams, silos and old machinery are all part of the design executed by local architects Arkitema. The top-floor restaurant boasts a 360-degree view of the city. 


Rent a bike

Copenhagen Lille Langebro bridge

Lille Langebro (Little Long Bridge), by WilkinsonEyre

(Image credit: Giuseppe Liverino)

Copenhagen is the world’s number-one cycling city. There are more than 745,000 bikes in Copenhagen – five times more than there are cars. Some 37 per cent of all trips to work and study employ pedal power with 1.45 million km cycled every weekday. Copenhagen now has more than 388 km of cycle tracks and 65 km of green cycle routes.

So, make like a Copenhagen local and rent a bike. All local hotels rent bicycles to guests, and there are many hire shopstry Pedalatleten, Rosenborg Cykler, Be Copenhagen or Baisikeli, a bicycle rental which also repurposes old bikes and donates them in Africa. Ride the designated, free-flowing lanes and take advantage of the the specially programmed, smart traffic signals (which reduce the number of stops for cyclists by ten per cent), and make for architects Dissing + Weitling’s gorgeous ‘Bicycle Snake’ bike bridge, connecting the hip district of Vesterbro with Copenhagen’s waterfront

pedalatleten.dk, rosenborgcykler.dk, becopenhagen.dk, baisikeli.dk

Swim at Kastrup Sea Baths

Kastrup Sea Baths, Copenhagen

(Image credit: Astrid Maria Rasmussen)

Designed by White Arkitekter, the wild swimming Kastrup Sea Baths (Kastrup Søbad), situated off-shore in the Øresund Sound, has views of Saltholm Island and the Swedish mainland beyond. There are changing rooms with showers and lockers on site, as well as 3m and 5m diving boards. Affectionately known as ‘The Snail’ by locals, the sea baths’ wooden pier stretches from the shore, elegantly curving to form a south-facing, circular enclosure that provides shelter from the wind and the perfect retreat for swimming and sunbathing. A continuous bench runs along the pier, giving space for relaxation and reflection with a view of the Øresund Bridge, which turns into an underwater tunnel connecting Denmark and Sweden. Open all day and night. 


Lunch at Aamanns Replik

Aamanns Replik canteen

(Image credit: Blank SPace Studio)

Situated on the harbour front in the Frederiksstaden neighbourhood, the Royal Danish Playhouse was designed by Lundgaard & Tranberg back in 2008. After admiring the long, slim, deep-brown brick structure with a glass extension that stretches out over the water, take a delicious smørrebrød (open sandwich) lunch at the playhouse canteen – Aamanns Replik – where dark bread is loaded with quality seasonal ingredients, fresh vegetables and surprising flavour combinations. Chef and proprietor Adam Aamann’s restaurant is certified with the Organic Food Label, which means that 60-90 per cent of ingredients and drinks (including homemade schnapps, craft beers from Herslev, cider and juices) are made of organic, raw materials. An outdoor bar serves wine, rosé and cocktails during the summer months. 


Visit the Ordrupgaard museum and designer Finn Juhl’s house

Copenhagen Ordrupgaard museum

(Image credit: Roland_Halbe)

With extensions designed by Oslo’s Snøhetta and the UK’s Zaha Hadid Architects and serenely alluring interiors that echo the light and spatial construction of Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi’s quietly meditative works, the Ordrupgaard museum is an escape to high culture, fine art and cutting-edge architecture – set amid the deer-filled forest of Unesco site Jægersborg Dyrehave, just north of Copenhagen.

Finn Juhl’s house interior

Finn Juhl’s house

(Image credit: Anders Sune Berg)

The museum includes a collection of French and Danish art from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and is located next door to furniture designer and architect Finn Juhl’s house, now considered one of the most successful functionalist single-family homes in Denmark. Still decorated with the architect’s original furniture – the ‘Chieftain’ chair, ‘Poet’ sofa and ‘Silver’ table – and his personally curated art collection, with works by Vilhelm Lundstrøm, Asger Jorn, Erik Thommesen and Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, the 15 Kratvænget address is a modernist aficionado’s must-visit. 


Breakfast at Apotek 57 at the Frama Studio Store

Copenhagen Apotek 57 cafe interior

(Image credit: Michael Gardenia)

A quintessentially Danish store and atelier selling the best of Copenhagen design, Frama’s in-house, multidisciplinary marque specialises in furniture and lifestyle objects with an emphasis on natural materials, simple geometries and uncompromising quality. Contributing to the store’s warm and honest aesthetic is the Apotek 57 eatery, curated by chef Chiara Barla. A rotating menu features daily house-made vegetarian bites and beverages with a focus on simplicity, seasonal ingredients and the Danish aesthetic. ‘At Frama, all the elements are part of the dish,’ says Barla. ‘Not just the ingredients but also the ceramics and the cutlery.’ Combining Italian-inspired food, such as focaccias and freshly made croissants filled with lemon cream, and the Scandinavian bakery style, Apotek 57 is one of the leading bakeries in Copenhagen’s sourdough revolution.


Dinner at Kappo Andō

Kappo Ando restaurant interior

(Image credit: Ditte Isager)

Named after the Japanese word meaning ‘to cut and cook’, Kappo Andō is an intimate and informal yakitori grill where the close proximity of chef Akiko Andō Levinsen infusing vegetables, organic poultry, fish and unique cuts of meat with deep and smoky flavours over binchotan charcoals is all part of the experience. Choose your favourite dishes from the á la carte menu, try the 12-course tasting menu, or slurp a simple noodle soup. Kappo Andō also has one of the largest selections of craft sake in Scandinavia, curated by master sake sommelier Henrik Andō Levinsen, formerly of Noma, and a carefully chosen wine list – spanning conventional as well as low-intervention wines – along with craft beer, long drinks, soda, coffee, and tea.    


For more information on Copenhagen, see visitcopenhagen.com