Copenhagen is a relatively small city and you can get a lot done in a single day. If you’re pressed for time I suggest viewing the following major attractions: Rosenborg Castle, Amalienborg Palace and Christiansborg Palace. You’ll see from the map below that they are within walking distance from each other, so it’s best to start early at Rosenborg, then make your way to Amalienborg and finally Christiansborg (or the other way around of course – whatever you prefer). Personally, I preferred to start at Rosenborg and end up at Christiansborg because then you’re in the hubbub of the city by early evening, ideal for dinner or drinks.
Rosenborg Castle can be done within an hour but I recommend adding on some time to walk around and admire the castle from the beautiful gardens. Be sure to see all floors once inside the castle, plus the royal treasury and crown jewels down below (I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of all that ivory and tourists taking selfies with the ivory to be honest). Nonetheless, it’s important to see the crown jewels and be in the know about what times were like back then.
Next up, walk to Amalienborg Palace (the current royal residence) where you can see the changing of the guard at 12 noon. You can enter the Amalienborg Museum which is housed in one of the four main buildings of the palace. This takes around an hour but including the changing of the guard, you’d want to bank on two to play it safe.
For a quick and easy lunch thereafter, stop at any of the Baresso Coffee chains. I loved the coffee, sandwiches and sweet stuff (pictured below). Prices weren’t too bad either (considering this is one of the most expensive cities in Europe…).
Make your way to Christiansborg Palace in the city centre – you can’t miss it! Christiansborg can keep you entertained for hours. You can pay to enter various sections of the palace or just simply go inside one section only. However, I do recommend seeing it all as it was most fascinating.
Christiansborg Palace has some beautiful stately rooms and exquisite tapestries as pictured below:
You can also visit the Royal Kitchen, Royal Stables and underground ruins at Christiansborg Palace – all of which I found very worthwhile and worth the extra fee. These sections are literally all in the same area and don’t require much walking so you can easily combine them (you’re also given a map at the ticket counter which makes life easier). However, if you want to view them all you are going to need around two hours to see it all properly and without rushing.
You can easily see these three main sights on foot in a single day if you’re a fit and good walker! I spread them out over two full days (but also saw various other attractions too). However, in retrospect, it’s wise to see these three together as they are royal buildings and fit nicely together as a day trip.