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15 budget-friendly things to do in Copenhagen

Updated On 4th October, 2021

While Copenhagen is not exactly known for being the cheapest place to visit in Europe, it is a common misconception that it is impossible to do Copenhagen on a budget. In this blog post I plan on sharing some of the best free things to do in Copenhagen, as well as lots of cheap things to do in Copenhagen, so that you can enjoy some of the best, budget-friendly things to experience in Denmark! We’re talking everything from food, drinks, things to do in Copenhagen, and day trips from Copenhagen!

Cycling along the canal, enjoying hygge with friends and indulging in all the Danish culture at the museums and castles are just a few reasons to visit Copenhagen. On top of that, Denmark is consistently rated as one of the happiest countries in the world! If you’re considering visiting Denmark’s capital, this Copenhagen travel guide will tell you everything you need to know before you plan your adventure!

Not only is Copenhagen beautiful in summer, but it’s also great to explore when you’re wrapped up warm. There are still plenty of things to do in Copenhagen in winter, including seeing sights such as the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, Rosenborg Castle and more. See my winter guide to Copenhagen here.

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15 free things to do in Copenhagen

Where is Copenhagen?

If you’re wondering ‘Where is Copenhagen, Denmark?’ then you’ve come to the right place! Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and it’s spread across the eastern coast of the island of Zealand and the Amager islands. It is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund.

How do you get to Copenhagen?

Getting to Copenhagen by plane:

Flying from London to Copenhagen (CPH) takes just an hour and a half. You can also fly in from many other major European and international cities. A return flight can cost as little at £20 if you are able to be flexible on dates, so it’s a perfect candidate for a short trip or weekend away for anyone travelling on a budget!

Top tip: Check out flights to and from Copenhagen on Skyscanner here.

Check out how to pack a weekend away in a carry-on suitcase here.

15 free or cheap things to do in Copenhagen...

Before starting, I think it is important to mention that Copenhagen is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, and it would be ideal to hire a bike for your visit. With locals that cycle over 1.44 million kilometres per day on 390 kilometres of designated bike lanes, I think it is safe to say that cycling is the most accessible, environmentally friendly and cheapest ways to explore the city… perfect for those of you looking to travel Copenhagen on a budget.

Bike hire in Copenhagen:

  • Baisikeli (80dkk for 24 hours. 270dkk for a week) Ingerslevsgade 80, København V, 1705
  • Luca’s Cykler  (65dkk per day) Fredensgade 15, København N, 2200

Now that you are ready with your bike to get outside and explore the city, here are my 15 free or cheap things to do in Copenhagen:

1. Explore the landmarks in Copenhagen.

One of the best free things to do in Copenhagen is to admire the landmarks! Copenhagen has many beautiful landmarks scattered all over the city, and best of all is that they are either free to visit or have a budget-friendly admission. Some of the best landmarks or places to visit in Copenhagen are:

  • Nyhavn
  • Hans Andersen’s Little Mermaid
  • Tivoli (admission: 135 dkk)
  • Kastellet (The Citadel)
  • Copenhagen Opera House
  • Christiania
  • Rådhuspladsen
  • Gefionspringvandet

2. Take a walk through the many gardens in Copenhagen.

Walking through the gardens with a cup of coffee is many of the locals’ favourite way to spend a day off. If you are craving a bit of nature in the midst of all the city vibrations, do not worry, Copenhagen has got you covered. 

Some of the best gardens to visit in Copenhage include…

The King’s Garden: This is probably the most famous garden in Copenhagen and the one you cannot miss when visiting. It is located right in the centre of Copenhagen and is the oldest royal garden.

Botanical Garden: The Botanical Garden in Copenhagen is best admired in the spring and summer. It is free to wander around the outside area of the gardens, and if you want to visit ‘The Palm House and the Botanical Garden’, the entrance admission is only 60 dkk.

Frederiksberg Gardens: If you are interested in a little adventure, I would recommend taking your bike to Frederiksberg, one of the best places to visit in Copenhagen. It is one of the locals’ favourite areas.

Smaller, more local-friendly gardens in Copenhagen you should also consider visiting include:

  • Østre Anlæg
  • Ørsted Park
  • Vestre Cemetery
  • Fælled Parken
  • Landbohøjskolens Have
  • Haveselskabets Have
  • Amager Fælled / Kalvebod Fælled

3. Admire the art and learn about Danish history in the many museums in Copenhagen.

What a lot of people coming to Copenhagen might not know is that if you plan accordingly, you can visit a lot of museums in Copenhagen free of admission. If you’re looking for free things to do in Copenhagen, make sure you time your visit right! Here is a guide to when to visit different museums in Copenhagen for free:

  • Thorvaldsens Museum (Wednesday)
  • Museum of Copenhagen (Friday)
  • Glyptoteket (Tuesday)
  • The Black Diamond Library (Every day)
  • The David Collection (Every day)
  • Møstings Hus (Every day)

4. Enjoy a royal experience exploring the castles and palaces in Copenhagen.

Some of the best places to visit in Copenhagen are the castles! Copenhagen has some stunning castles and palaces located right in the middle of the city. Do make sure you enjoy a walk around the castles and be amazed by their beauty up close, and what’s more, it’s one of the best free things to do in Copenhagen.

Castles in Copenhagen you cannot miss include:

  • Rosenborg Castle
  • Amalienborg Castle
  • Christiansborg Castle
15 free things to do in Copenhagen

5. Get a full 360-view of the city.

If you’re travelling Copenhagen on a budget but still want to take epic photos of the city skyline, it’s still possible! There are 3 main ways to get a fantastic view of Copenhagen, all of them being either free or budget-friendly:

  • Rundetårnet (admission fee: 40dkk)
  • Christiansborg Palace Tower (free)
  • CopenHill (free)

6. Experience true ‘hygge’ at the Bastards Board Game Café.

In Denmark, they are big on ‘hygge’, the closest translation being: cosy, warm, home-y.

In Copenhagen when it’s raining, Bastards Board Game Cafe is the go-to place for a cosy, ‘hyggelig’ setting. They have many free board games to choose from, and a cup of coffee costs 22 dkk, a beer 28 dkk. So while it’s not completely free to come here, it’s definitely one of the best cheap things to do in Copenhagen.

15 free things to do in Copenhagen

7. Share a drink with the locals.

If you want to go for drinks in Copenhagen but you’re trying to save money and travel Copenhagen on a budget, I have some good news: in Denmark it is legal to have a drink in public. That means, you can bring your own glasses, buy a bottle from the nearest supermarket and enjoy a drink by the water. This is definitely one of my favourite cheap things to do in Copenhagen! 

Another way to have a budget-friendly drink in Copenhagen is to go to a bodega with more affordable prices. These are some of my favourite bodegas in Copenhagen:

  • Eiffel Bar (Wildersgade 58, 1408)
  • Bo-bi Bar (Klareboderne 14, 1115)
  • Moose bar (Svaertegade 5, 1118)
15 free things to do in Copenhagen

8. Enjoy street food and music at Reffen.

‘Reffen’ is the most popular street food area in Copenhagen. To get there you can take the water taxi directly from near the Little Mermaid and head straight over to enjoy street food, drinks and relaxation for lunch. It’s one of the best places to visit in Copenhagen if you’re looking for food on a budget.

A place I must recommend is a place called Bao Bao. The guy from the stall is super friendly and they always make the best curries! 

9. Have a wander around The Lakes.

One of the best places to visit and free things to do in Copenhagen is to head to the Lakes. The Lakes is known as the locals hang-out spot. If you are not hanging out here, you will be meeting up with a friend here. Everyone hangs out here. So go for a walk around the lakes, and you will definitely feel like a true Copenhagener.

10. Visit Klampenborg.

Just a 15-minute train ride from Copenhagen you will find the beautiful, idyllic Klampenborg. This is one of the best places to visit in Copenhagen, especially for a day trip from Copenhagen! In Klampenborg you will find a gigantic deer park; it is truly a park where you can spend a whole day wandering and getting lost in nature. Afterwards, you can visit Bakken, the oldest theme park in the world, one of the best free things to do in Copenhagen (there’s no admission fee!).

11. Walk down Strøget in Copenhagen.

One of the most famous places to visit in Copenhagen is Strøget, the main shopping street in Copenhagen, which stretches over many of the landmarks and sights I have already mentioned. Go window shopping in the many shops scattered all over the main street, and end up at all the best places to visit in Copenhagen as you do so. It is the absolute best way to enjoy the shops whilst also seeing many of the landmarks and sights, and one of the best free things to do in Copenhagen! 

12. Admire the architecture of the churches in Copenhagen.

When someone says Copenhagen you might not immediately think of churches, but Copenhagen actually has a lot of beautiful churches that definitely should not be missed. And visiting the churches is one of the best free things to do in Copenhagen. Here are some of the churches in Copenhagen that you should visit:

  • Grundtvig Church
  • St. Albans Church
  • Frederiks Church (The Marble Church)
  • Church of Saviour
15 free things to do in Copenhagen

13. Walk around Islands Brygge.

Islands Brygge (Iceland’s Quay in English) is another one of the famous hangout spots during the summer, and it is absolutely understandable why this is one of the best places to visit in Copenhagen 

It has a harbour bath, volleyball, book box libraries, flea markets and a harbour view. Have an ice cream or a coffee and wander around Islands Brygge, and if you dare go into the Scandinavian water, have a swim! 

You can be sure to see the Danes doing this all year round: even in the cold, winter months. If you’re prepared for the chilly water, it’s one of the best free things to do in Copenhagen! 

14. Visit Torvehallerne.

Torvehallerne is one of my favourite places to visit in Copenhagen. Situated by Norreport Station, it has everything from a fresh fruit and veggie market to delis and street food. 

Amongst these, you will find chocolate Summerbird, Gorms, Souls and Xocolatl. Here you will stumble upon delicious food and locals shopping for their dinner. Wandering around and taking in the smells and flavours is completely free, but one of my favourite cheap things to do in Copenhagen is to shop like a local and buy my dinner here too!  

15. Experience the little town of Dragor.

If you want to experience the true H.C. Andersen atmosphere, you must visit Dragor, one of the top places to visit in Copenhagen. It is the cutest little town just below Amager, and I guarantee you will fall in love with this place, so much that you will want to come back just to stay here for your next visit. You take a 40 minute bus here and it’s one of the best cheap things to do in Copenhagen, and great for a day trip from Copenhagen! 

What are your favourite free things to do in Copenhagen?

What about cheap things to do in Copenhagen? Any places to visit in Copenhagen you’d add to this list?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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