Copenhagen is known for a lot of great things, including colourful townhouses, fairy tales and Michelin-starred restaurants. One thing the Danish capital isn’t known for is being budget friendly. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a great time in Copenhagen on a budget. Here are some of our top tips for saving money while having a great time in Copenhagen.
The Danish capital is a very walkable city but if you want to do and see a lot of things in a short amount of time a bit of motorised transport can be very helpful. Our Hop-on Hop-off bus tickets are valid for 72 hours and bring you to many of the main sights in the city. You can even combine your bus ticket with a boat tour through the city’s harbours and canals to get even more value for your money.
If you do want to see Copenhagen on foot, you can take a free city walking tour. StoryHunt offers free, self-guided walking tours. Choose your tour of choice in their app, which tracks your location and guides you through the city. When you are 20 metres from a story, you can unlock it and listen as you enjoy the sights. If you prefer a guided tour, you can try New Europe’s tips based tour, where you decide at the end of the tour what it was worth to you.
Several of Copenhagen’s most famous sights are free to visit all year round. The iconic Little Mermaid statue for instance can be visited at any time of day. The bronze statue is relatively small and can be underwhelming but it is unescapable when you visit Copenhagen as it adorns postcards, magnets and many other souvenirs.
Visiting Amalienborg Palace, the residence of the Danish royal family, and its museum is sadly not free, but you can admire the outside of the palace and every day at noon, you can watch the changing of the royal guards, Den Kongelige Livgarde, in the court yard. When the Queen is in residence the guards are accompanied by the Royal Guards music band. If, instead, one of the royal princes is residing at the palace in the capacity of regent, the guards are accompanied by drums and flutes.
Nyhavn was once a harbour of ill repute, today it’s the city’s most photographed location. The harbour is lined by brightly coloured 17th and 18th century townhouses which offer lots of (pricy) restaurants and cafés. If you want to enjoy the a drink here, do it like the locals do: pick up a beer from the closest shop and sit down by the water.
Another district of Copenhagen that should be on your must-visit list is Christiania, a Freetown often described as a society within a society. It started as a loose conglomerate of anarchists and hippies but has turned into a tight knit community. Though Christiania is best known for its Green Light District, a short street where marijuana is (almost) freely sold, there is much more to it. When you get beyond the hash dealers you can find unique architectural pieces and an amazing view at the lake.
Copenhagen has a wealth of free to visit and enjoy green spaces. Five minutes away from the Little Mermaid statue you can visit Langelinie Park, where in spring you can enjoy the Copenhagen Sakura Festival under the park’s 200 cherry blossom trees.
The Botanical Gardens offer 10 hectares with more than 13,000 species of plants, all arranged in different sections. The outdoor areas of the Gardens are free to enter, if you want to head inside the glass houses and the Butterfly House there is a small fee, though.
The King’s Garden, outside Rosenborg Castle, is another not to miss outside, free to the public park. Kongens Have is Denmark’s oldest royal garden with impressive herbaceous borders, numerous historical sculptures, and Krumspringet ('The Caper') - a restored Renaissance park with a pavilion, espaliers and rose gardens.
Much like Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace cannot be visited for free, except for the tower, the Tårnet. It is the highest tower in the city open to the public, by just 40 cm compared to the Townhall tower, and open six days a week. The viewing platform stands at 44 metres above the ground and offers amazing views over the city, and on clear days you can see all the way to Sweden across the water.
Some of Copenhagen’s most popular museums offer free admission one day per week. So which museum you can visit can depend on when you are in the city. The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is free on Tuesdays and offers amazing paintings and sculptures from both the ancient world and modern times. Thorvaldsens Museum, dedicated to the Danish neoclassicistic sculptor and the paintings he collected, is free on Wednesdays. And the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, one of the largest exhibition spaces for contemporary art in Northern Europe, is free to enter on Wednesdays after 5 pm.
Several of they city’s smaller museums are always free to enter. These include, the David Collection, which has distinct collections of Islamic art, European art, and Danish Early Modern art; the Cathedral Museum, a hidden museum in Copenhagen Cathedral; and the DieselHouse Museum, dedicated to Burmeister & Wain, a large established Danish shipyard and leading diesel engine producer.