Okay, let’s not beat about the bush, Copenhagen is an expensive city to visit in comparison to most other European cities, one of the most expensive in Europe. However, there are lots of free and cheap and free things to see and do in Copenhagen! better still, free things to see and do in Copenhagen without breaking the bank!
1. See the city on Foot
In my opinion one of the best ways to get to know a city because what better way is there to learn about a place than from locals? There are a number of companies offering these tours like Sandemans and Copenhagen Free walking tour. They’re free but feel free to give a tip if you’ve enjoyed it. Copenhagen is a city best seen on foot so make sure you do so!
2. Climb Christiansborg Palace’s Tower
Another free thing to do in Copenhagen is to climb Christiansborg Palace tower! The palace tower is the highest in Copenhagen and you can even see as far as Sweden! Entrance to the tower is free and there can be long queues so maybe time your visit first thing in the morning. Check out their website for more practical info and best times to visit.
As a bonus, the Parliamentary part of the building is also free with a guided tour but you have to book online. Check here for more details on booking the free tour.
3. Talk a walk down Nyhavn
Speaking of main attractions, you cannot come to Copenhagen and not visit the iconic Nyhavn, it’s easily the most famous place in Copenhagen! Nhyavn is where the colourful houses harbor that you’ve seen in pictures numerous times are. When the weather is nice, it’s a great place to relax, take some pictures and have a drink.
4. Walk around Kastellet
Kastellet, a star shaped former military fort established in the 1600s but now, an oasis of calm for both tourists and locals. It’s one of the best preserved fortresses in Northern Europe and a great place for a leisurely stroll or a morning run. Best part, it’s got really great views, a beautiful fountain and church and completely free to visit!
5. Visit the Genetically modified Little Mermaid
Edvard Eriksen’s “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen is one of the cities’ most visited tourist attractions. However, just up the road from her is Bjorn Norgaard’s mermaid, who’s very different. She’s genetically modified and supposed to be a “provocative and humorous look at postmodern society”. So why not go visit the original, then come visit her weird cousin!
6. Go to the Botanical Garden
The Botanical garden is probably the most beautiful, most serene green space in the city Centre. Access to the garden is free but the palm house is 60DKK, so you can stick to the garden if you don’t want to pay. I really loved the garden, it was supe beautiful and a great place to just relax and read a book.
7. Marvel at Frederikskirken
Frederikskirken aka The Marble Church, like most other churches in Denmark, is a Lutheran church and has an understated beauty with bold gold accents throughout. The dome is the largest in Scandinavia and offers beautiful vies across the city. The church is free to visit but visiting the dome costs 35DK.
8. Visit the Black Diamond
The Black Diamond Library is the royal library and it’s called that because when the sun is out, the reflections from the canal makes the building sparkle, just like a black diamond! This library houses almost ever Danish book ever written.
9. Discover a non-traditional way of life in Christiana
Also known as the Green Light district, the Free Town of Christiana is a controversial part of Copenhagen but it has such an authentic, unique vibe to 100% worth a visit! Christiana is an alternative hippie community with its own rules and is home to lots of restaurants, bar, concert venues and so on. It has lots of beautiful street art, lots of areas to chill and you could easily spend the whole day there.
10. Climb 400 stairs to the Christ Our Saviour Spire
The view from the top of this church was voted the best view in the City in 2007! It can be a challenging climb, especially the last 150 steps so if you’re ready for an adventure, make sure this is on your list! There are places to rest in the climb as well if you need a break. The tower is closed in January and February and partly in December.
11. Experience the changing of the guard at Amelienborg Palace
Amelienborg Palace is the winter home of the Danish Monarchy from September to April. The royal guard at Amelienborg Palace, called the Den Kongelige Livgarde (The King’s Life Guards), can be experienced marching on the grounds of the palace. The complete change of guard happens at 12pm when the guards leave Rosenborg Castle at 11.30am to arrive for the ceremony at 12. Don’t miss it!
12. Go to a Festival
Copenhagen loves a good festival! From Japanese festival to Improv festival to an Architecture festival, there seems to be always something on here! All of the events and festivals are usually free, mainly open-air and scattered all around the city. While we were there was a Japanese culture Festival all weekend and a street food festival.
For more information, simply google search “What’s on in Copenhagen” and click on the Scandinavia standard link or the Visit Copenhagen one. I personally prefer the Scandinavia standard website’s list, it has more cultural events.
13. Go deer spotting
A few train stops out of the city, you can take a visit to Dyrehave, a massive garden home to wild animals, specifically different species of deer. Jægersbord Dyrehave is quite special because it has remained unspoiled for 350 yrs. The park is free to visit and easily accessible by train (20mins) and bus from Copenhagen city centre. Check out their website for more information.
14. Visit a Museum
If you’re a museum junkie or just want a place to warm up when it’s cold, there are a few museums that offer free entrance on certain days during the week! Here they are:
- Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen (Tuesdays)
- The Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen (Wednesdays)
- Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen (Wednesdays)
- Nikolaj Kunsthal (Wednesday)
- Museum of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (Fridays)
15. Hit the Beach
When you think of Copenhagen, I’m pretty sure beach isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Or second or 5th haha, but believe it or not, Copenhagen has its very own beach! A few metro stops from the city centre, Amager Strand is a great escape from the hustle of city life. Take some snacks, bikini bod (however it looks) and go lounge on the beach!
16. Swim at the Islands Brygge Baths
On hot summer days, everyone heads to Islands Brygge for some open air swimming and sun bathing. You can even do some water polo, go kayaking or rent your own boat! If the thought of swimming here brings up pictures of dirty waters, not to worry, the water quality is checked daily and approved before people are let in! Also, there are diving towers and kiddie pools. It’s open from June to the end of September.
17. Go skateboarding at Superkilen
Located just north of the city centre, in Nørrebro, probably the most ethnically diverse area in Copenhagen, Superkilen Park was created to celebrate exactly this diversity. It is filled with features from over 50 countries like a streetlamp from Iran, Moroccan water fountain, sculpture from Japan and more! I personally really enjoyed the park and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Cheap things to do
18. See the City on Water
Copenhagen is a maritime city so a lot of the biggest attractions are connected by it, and as a result, there are lots of options. The cheapest option is the Havnebussen (Harbour Bus) run as part of Copenhagen’s public transport network. So this means if you have a city pass it’s covered (so, free!) and if not, it’s the same price as a bus/metro ticket, 24DKK. It’s not a guided tour obviously but it’s still a great way to get between certain locations and enjoy the view! Majority of the tours leave from Nyhavn or near Christiansborg Palace.
19. Be Amused at Bakken
Dyrehavsbakken (aka Bakken) is over 400yrs old and claims to be the world’s oldest Amusement Park! It is also the biggest amusement park in Scandinavia with over 30 roller coasters and more. Entry to the park is free but you have to pay for rides, which aren’t expensive, and multi ride passes are available. So if you’re really on a really tight budget then you could come here instead of Tivoli!
20. The Round Tower (Rundetaarn)
A really cheap but great thing to do in Copenhagen is to visit The Round Tower, the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. The top offers amazing views across the city. The walk to the top leads to a hall with art, history, culture and science. It also recently has a floating glass floor that you can now stand on and see the core of the tower. It costs only 35 DKK (£4) and is worth the visit.
I hope this has helped remove some of your fears about visiting and having to pay to see every single thing. There’s a lot more I didn’t cover in this post so definitely do your research and make use of the Visit Copenhagen website.
Until Next time Biscuits xx,