Copenhagen isn’t known as a budget destination, but surprisingly, there are a multitude of experiences to be had for no cost at all, among them are some of the most famous sights that this capital city has to offer.
1. Climb Copenhagen’s highest tower
The tower at Christiansborg Palace is free to climb and provide great views over the city. There’s not a great deal of space at the top, so go early or through the week to avoid queues.
2. Marvel at the Black Diamond
Copenhagen is full of interesting architecture, but we love the Danish design of the Black Diamond Library. From the outside its black glass shines like a diamond overlooking the waterfront, but inside it’s light and airy and the walls curve like waves. It’s not what you’d expect a library to look like. Browse the collection of manuscripts by Hans Christian Andersen, check out the exhibitions, or just be wowed by the impressive architecture.
3. Visit colourful Nyhavn harbour
Soak up the atmosphere at Copenhagen’s most famous harbour area, Nyhavn. The bars here are expensive, thanks in part to the number of tourists passing through, but there’s nothing to stop you grabbing a cheap beer from a local shop and enjoying the exact same vibe. And if you’re looking for the perfect Instragram snap, you’ll get it here.
4. Go kayaking & help the planet!
Go kayaking for free – yes, that ‘s right, free! Green Kayak has several locations in Copenhagen where you can take a kayak out onto the water for two hours for free, as long as you commit to pick up litter during your trip. We think this is a great concept: have fun whilst helping the environment.
5. See the (very) Little Mermaid
Okay, this is very touristy but no round-up of free things to do in Copenhagen would be complete without mentioning the iconic Little Mermaid statue. We should manage your expectations though, she’s probably smaller that you might envisage and there are always tourists clambering near her to get a photo.
6. Hit the beach
Purely a summer suggestion – pack your swimwear and pray for sunshine! There are a couple of pretty beaches within cycling distance of the city centre, including Amager Strand where locals go to sunbathe and swim in the ocean when it’s warm enough!
7. Explore the royal gardens
Relax in Rosenberg Castle Gardens. Set around a 400-year-old castle, these neatly clipped gardens provide the perfect place to have a picnic or just enjoy a little rest while sightseeing. The gardens are free to visit, though admission to the castle is 120 DKK.
8. If Carlsberg made art museums….
Marvel at how wealthy beer can make one man on a visit to Glyptoteket, a unique collection of art and antiquities amassed by one of the early bosses of the Carlsberg brewery. It opened to the public back in 1882 and shouldn’t be missed. Admission is completely free on Tuesdays, and 115 DKK the rest of the week.
9. Explore Nordic art at the National Gallery
Gawp at the incredible collection of Nordic art at Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark’s national gallery. The collection spans more than seven centuries, as well as countless artistic styles.
10. Do a spot of window shopping
Get a taste for Danish design with a walk along Strøget, the city’s main shopping street. And it isn’t just design here; Danish brands like Trollbeads and Bang & Olufsen also have stores along the kilometre-long street.