Copenhagen is gorgeous. The Danish capital with its intriguing mix of history, culture, creativity, innovation, design, architecture, and unique biking culture very well deserves a top place on your Scandinavian itinerary.
I know. I know. It’s expensive. Or rather infamous for being one. But that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the happiest city in the world. BTW we found Norway to be more expensive than Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is expensive if you make it be. Copenhagen is reasonable if you make it be.
The good news is that you can get a taste of Copenhagen on a budget too. No matter how low your budget is, Copenhagen welcomes you with open arms.
Stroll the city, get lost in the charming side streets, unwind in the urban parks, take a free walking tour or better yet self-guided walking tour, learn more about the city and its past by visiting some of the many free museums, or get free access to most of the famous attractions with the Copenhagen Card.
TM Tip: Staying at Airbnb and self-catering using discount supermarkets like Netto, Rima, 1000, Aldi, and Fakta also save tons of money.
Dreaming of Europe trip on a budget? Here’s a detailed guide on how you can plan your Europe trip on a budget.
Most of Copenhagen’s famous attractions are open all year round and won’t cost a dime. The beautiful statues, gorgeous churches, ancient monuments, historical ruins, almost all the gardens, and parks are free or cost a little. Some of the cheap and free things to do in Copenhagen are:
Take a free walking tour of the city that gives you a perfect introduction to Scandinavia’s largest city – Copenhagen. Copenhagen Free Walking Tours offers a 3-hour Grand Tour of Copenhagen that departs from Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square) at 11 am every day, a 1 hour 30 minutes Christianshavn Tour departing from Højbro Plads at about 3 pm every day, and a 90 minutes Classical Tour of Copenhagen that starts at Højbro Plads at 12 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Sandeman’s NEW Europe – Copenhagen takes you through 6000 years of Danish history on 2.5 hours walking tour twice a day (11 am and 2 pm) that starts at City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen) and ends at Amalienborg Palace.
Look for a person with a bright neon green umbrella for the Copenhagen Free Walking Tour’s guide and a person with a red umbrella for Sandeman’s guide! You can tip them (as per your wish) at the end of the tour.
A self-guided walking tour (for those who are good at planning and maps) is also a great and cheap way to explore the city.
Copenhageners love cycling! Did you know that Copenhagen has more bikes than cars? And, dedicated bike lanes make cycling fun. As a first-timer, you must know the biking rules before you rent a bike. Bycyklen (The City Bike) and the Donkey Republic are two of the most-trusted bike rentals in Copenhagen. Renting a bike from Bycyklen can cost anywhere between 25 DKK per hour (hourly plan) to 70 DKK per month (monthly plan) depending upon a plan you choose.
Hop on one of the blue Netto Boats to experience the city from the waterfront. It only costs 50 DKK for an adult and 20 DKK for a child. The cheap alternative to boat tours is the harbor buses. The Yellow Harbor Buses cost just 24 DKK for adults and 12 DKK for children.
Your visit to Copenhagen is incomplete without taking a stroll along the new harbor – Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s poster child. The harbor exudes an authentic vibe with its row of ancient townhouses, cafes, restaurants, and bars. Don’t miss no. 18, no. 20, and no. 67 – Hans Christian Andersen’s (iconic fairytale Danish writer) abodes. If you’re planning a Christmas in Europe, Nyhavn in Copenhagen is known for a classic Christmas experience.
A row of historic yellow-hued terraced houses with red window shutters is the highlight of the district of Nyboder. These houses were commissioned by King Christian IV for seafaring staff. Nyboder is now maintained by the Ministry of Defence and houses military personnel. Open for the public on Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm, a house at 24, Sankt Pauls Gade is one of the oldest and is home to Nyboder Memorial Rooms.
A district that’s known for being a true melting pot of culture, Nørrebro exudes charm. Stroll the main street, Nørrebrogade, zig-zag through its charming side streets, climb the Mærsk Tower to enjoy the stunning view over the city, admire the intriguing architecture of the University of Copenhagen, relax and unwind by The Lakes, let kids run and play at Superkilen Park, explore the famous Assistens Cemetery, or stuff your face with the best shawarma or tacos – Nørrebro with its off-touristy character is a great place to hang out with family.
The Harbor Circle is a 13 km long walking and biking path along the harbor and city’s south side green belt that takes you through about 12 diverse neighborhoods including Indre by, Nyhavn, Islands Brygge, Amager Fælled, Vesterbro, Sydhavnen, Holmen, and Christianshavn. You can choose to walk or bike the entire circle or take shorter routes (2, 4, or 7 km). It’s a great way to witness the natural, historical, and architectural gems of Copenhagen on budget.
A beautiful and quiet waterfront promenade in central Copenhagen, Havnegade with its unique trampoline sidewalks is a great place to be with kids. Plus, there are basketball and football courts, cages for ball games, and a playground for kids. Whether you opt to cycle, walk, run, or just sit along the promenade – Havnegade promises an incredible experience for free.
A shopper or not, a walk up the most high-profile street in Copenhagen and one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe, Strøget is a delight. From budget-friendly shoppers to brand fanatics – it has something for everyone. Strøget is located right in the heart of the Old Town meaning you can spend a leisurely afternoon shopping, eating, or drinking at the street after exploring the Old Town’s attractions.
Experience the beauty of Copenhagen from above by climbing the highest tower in Copenhagen, Christiansborg’s Tower (Tårnet). While entry to Christiansborg Palace costs DKK 160 per adult (free of charge for under 18s) but the access to the tower is free. The admission to the Parliament and the Palace Chapel is free too. If you are there on Sunday, don’t miss the free guided tour of the Danish Parliament that starts at about 11:45 am.
Climb the Round Tower to experience the city from the top with a meager entry ticket of 25 DKK (adult) and 5 DKK (child.)
When in Copenhagen, you must experience the changing of the Royal Guards at Amalienborg. Every day at 11:30 am, the guards march from Rosenborg Castle reach to Amalienborg Palace Square at 12 pm, passing through Round Tower and Kongens Nytorv. The royal parade with music creates a lively and fun atmosphere.
Kastellet (The Citadel) is famous for being one of the Northern Europe’s best preserved fortresses. Founded in 1626 by Christian IV and commissioned in 1662 by Frederik III, this historically significant star-shaped fortress houses military barracks, and a chapel. Locals visit its lush green ramparts for morning walk or jog.
Finding the Six Wooden Giants scattered around the woods of the suburbia Copenhagen is one of the best fun activities for kids. And, it’s completely free! These quirky giants created by Thomas Dambo using the recycled woods attract tourists especially the families with kids. You can enjoy nature and breathe in fresh air while your kids enjoy the game of treasure hunt. Spread across the areas of Rødovre, Hvidovre, Vallensbæk, Ishøj, Albertslund, and Høje Taastrup – you’ll need a car to complete the hunt.
Rosenborg Castle Gardens is a perfect place to relax and spend some time picnicking or admiring the green side of Copenhagen. Entry into a 400-year-old Rosenborg Castle costs 120 DKK per adult (free for under 18s) but the King’s Gardens are free to visit.
The statue of King Frederik VI welcomes its visitors just as they enter the beautiful baroque Frederiksberg Gardens. A boat ride (Svendsens Bådfart) along Frederiksberg Have’s canals is the best way to explore the gardens. A boat tour will let you see some amazing little bridges, Frederiksberg Palace perched on a hilltop, and a Chinese Pavilion and gives you a brief history of the gardens. Along with the gardens, you can also visit one of Europe’s oldest zoos, Copenhagen Zoo located in the north end of Frederiksberg Gardens.
Apart from the numerous species of flowers and plants, the Botanical Garden is known for its historical glasshouses complex. Out of 27 glasshouses, Palm House is the most famous and costs 60 DKK to enter. Excluding Palm House, the Botanical Gardens are free to visit.
Located in the Copenhagen harbor, Langelinie houses the statue of Mermaid, Gefion fountain, a pier with sculptures, a pavilion with a restaurant and a cafe, a promenade with outlet stores, and a beautiful park with a playground for kids.
Kids will love this unique park in Nørrebro that beautifully reflects the diversity of the neighborhoods it’s set in. The urban park boasts the objects from over 50 countries. Japanese Octopus Slide remains my daughter’s favorite.
Denmark’s largest skatepark, Fælledparken Skatepark fascinates kids as well as skilled skaters for its excellent skating conditions. It’s free to use and is open all through the week. Remember, you need to bring your own skating equipment.
One of the most loved parks in Copenhagen, Faelledparken is also home to Children’s Traffic Playground. With traffic lights, road signs, petrol stations, biking paths, and much more – the playground is a great place for kids to learn about road safety and traffic rules. When bored with all this learning, kids can have fun at the slides, swings, and open gym.
Located in Frederiksberg, Søndermarken is a 300-year old nature park brimming with lush forest and rolling hills. It’s adjoined by another famous park in Copenhagen – Frederiksberg Have. The families with kids can visit the playground or The Cisterns, the former water reservoir beneath Søndermarken.
Located in Vesterbro, Skydebanehaven is a park and playground that also has a pool for little ones. With amazing fun and sports activities for kids, it’s a perfect place for parents to relax and kids to play. They even offer bikes, go-karts, and scooters for little ones.
Copenhagen’s largest park, Valby Park houses theme gardens like a rose garden, a fruit orchard, a water garden, an oriental garden, a herb garden, a garden especially for the disabled, and many more. It’s also a venue for the Grøn Koncert festival.
Who can imagine that a terrace of a multi-story car park can have a space for workout and play? Yes, a car park’s rooftop has been converted into an alternative urban space with a gym and a playground. And, all this with stunning views of the Sound and harbor!
One in a row of inner-city green parks that were once the part of a fortification that protected Copenhagen from Sweden up until the 1850s, Ørstedsparken is a beautiful green oasis right in the heart of the city.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Jaegersborg Dyrehave or Dyrehaven (The Deer Park) is a forest park located in North Sealand. With lush forests, green hills, lakes, a hunting lodge (The Hermitage), and more than 2000 deer – Darehaven is a must-visit if you’re traveling to Copenhagen with kids. Take a tour of the park in the horse carriage to enjoy the countryside.
Kalvebod Fælled (Kalvebod Common or Vestamager) is a wetland in Zealand known for its plant and animal diversity and unique landscape. Kalvebod Fælled offers amazing things to see and do for kids as well as adults. Read here.
Located on the island of Amager, Amager Strandpark is a seaside beach park perfect for summer fun. Locals and tourists flock here to swim, run, cycle, snorkel, paddle, kayak, windsurf, sunbathe, and enjoy other fun water activities.
Swim and chill like locals at Islands Brygge Harbour Bath – a harbor with a wooden deck.
All the national museums in Copenhagen are free for kids up to 17-year-olds and even have free admission days for adults.
The Workers Museum, National Museum, The David Collection, Statens Museum of Kunst, National Museum of Denmark, Glyptoteket, Mostings Hus, Hirschsprung Museum, Thorvaldsen Museum, Royal Danish Arsenal Museum, Cisterns, and an Open Air Museum (Frilandsmuseet) are some of the best museums in Copenhagen.
True to its name, the new library wing shines like a black diamond and you can’t help but gawk as it reflects the water of the harbor. Apart from the library, the building is home to a bookshop, a cafe, a restaurant, a concert and theater halls, and the National Photomuseum.
Final resting place of notable Danes like Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Ørsted , Niels Henrik David Bohr, Michael Strunge Jensen, Natasja Saad, and many more – Assistens is more than a graveyard. With its lush green, tranquil, and spiritual surroundings, it serves as a perfect place to relax and take a stroll.
Located in Copenhagen Northwest, Bispebjerg Cemetery is a sight to behold especially during Spring when cherry blossoms bloom and burst to color the surroundings with the breathtaking shades of baby pink. You’d not mind taking aimless and endless walks through its gorgeous pathways and avenues – a delight for Instagrammers across the world.
One of Scandinavia’s largest cemeteries, Vestre Kirkegård is home to over 9,000 Germans who sacrificed their lives during World War II. The cemetery houses graves of people of all faiths – Catholics, Muslims, Danish, Faroes, Greenlandic, and more.
Housed in BLOX on Copenhagen’s waterfront, DAC hosts Danish as well as international exhibitions for architecture and design lovers. The entry is free for kids upto 17 years of age, costs DKK 50 for under 26 years, and DKK 95 for 26 and above. You can book one of the many amazing guided tours to experience Copenhagen’s design and architecture. End your visit with a cup of coffee at DAC Café, a terrace cafe with gorgeous waterfront views.
Green Kayak gives you a kayak free if you’re willing to pick up trash from the water. They also provide life jackets and required equipment. It’s your turn to make an impact!
Copenhagen has quite a few free outdoor ice rinks. Some of them are at Frederiksberg Runddel, Havnegade, and Blågårds Plads. It’s one of the most fun activities for kids during winter. You can hire the skates at the rink or can bring your own pair.
Right next to Kastellet, Gefion Fountain inside Langelinie Park is the largest monument in Copenhagen. The statue displays a group of oxen being driven by Gefjun, the Norse goddess. Legend has it that Gefjun ploughed Zealand out of Sweden after the Swedish king allowed her to keep the land she could plough within a day and a night. The fountain well is used as a wishing well.
One of the icons in Copenhagen, The Little Mermaid Statue sits at a rock by the waterfront at the Langelinie promenade
An impressive bronze statue of the beloved Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen can be seen at City Hall Square.
Located in the district of Frederiksstaden, close to Amalienborg castle, Frederiks Kirke looks imposing with its copper-green dome. The dome not only looks beautiful but offers the beautiful view over the city. The entry to the church is free though you need to pay 35 DKK per adult/20 DKK per child to enjoy the panoramic views.
Make your way up to the Christiansborg Kirke’s gorgeous dome for just 20 DKK for kids and 35 DKK for adults.
A fine piece of Victorian architecture, St. Alban’s Church, is Denmark’s only Anglican church. The intricately crafted alter, colorful stained glass windows, and the peaceful grounds of Churchill Park – you are in for a beautiful experience!
Right next to the Round Tower, Trinitatis Kirke is well worth a visit for its beautiful altarpiece, organ case, Rococo clock, and impressive ceiling. The admission is Free. You can get a charming view of the church from the glass door as you climb the Rundetårn.
Located on the Bispebjerg Hill, Grundtvig’s Church is a fine example of expressionist architecture. This massive church is one of the most rare and unusual churches in Europe. The entry to the church as well as a guided tour that takes you to the top of the bell tower are free.
Entry to the world’s oldest amusement park, Bakken Amusement Park is absolutely free. You just have to pay 270 DKK for the multi-ride wristband. If you happen to visit on Wednesdays, you get a straight 50% off with a condition to pay in cash.
Copenhagen’s popular indoor food market, Torvehallerne with over 80 shops offers local produce, fresh vegetables and fruits, and Danish delicacies. If you crave to explore the food scene of Copenhagen, a visit to Torvehallerne is a must!