Copenhagen may be one of the most expensive cities in Europe, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t cheap or free sights to see to make your stay worthwhile. Here I share with you the top things to see and do in Copenhagen when sticking to a budget.
When one thinks of Copenhagen, images of brightly coloured houses and canals may spring to mind. The world famous Nyhavn, once an old port, is a place for indulgence, relaxation and exploring. It offers traditional restaurants, boat tours and a wonderful quayside to perch upon with an ice cold beer in hand. It is perfect for a leisurely stroll to see the brightly coloured facades and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of tourism.
Outdoor Art Exhibitions
On a leisurely stroll through Nyhavn, keep an eye out for an outdoor exhibition at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg exhibition hall. On display was Ai Weiwei’s ‘Soleil Levant’ installation that documents 3,500 life jackets that belonged to individuals who were part of Europe’s refugee crisis. Incredibly moving, Ai Weiwei draws light upon the humanitarian crisis that we are faced with today.
Further along Copenhagen’s harbour lies Paper Island. Next to the outdoor food market is the Copenhagen Contemporary gallery which was exhibiting Yoko Ono’s ‘Wish Tree’ exhibition. You can contribute by adding your wish to one of the tags and placing in a branch. It is fascinating to see what other people from all over the world are wishing for and how we are all connected.
To my surprise, Copenhagen’s botanical garden was free of charge. You are guided through many exquisite greenhouses, some humid some cool, showcasing a wide range of plants from across the globe. The favourite greenhouse hosted a spiral staircase taking you above the plants and into the dome, making you feel superior to what is below you. Make sure you wear minimal layers before entering as you will work up a sweat in the humidity!
In the district of Nørrebro lies Superkilen Park. This outdoor space is well worth a visit and is a 15 minute bike ride outside of the city centre. You will be transported back to your childhood in this playful park with brightly coloured walls, quirky swings and street food stalls. I couldn’t resist having a go on the swings and rocking chairs then running through the black and white linear space with a smile!
Browse The Danish Homeware
If only I had the money to purchase all of the incredible Danish furniture and home decor we saw! Copenhagen will leave you speechless at the minimalist design, simplistic decor and array of beautiful plants that shops have to offer on every other street. You could spend hours in every other homeware store, browsing the products and selecting which items you’d love the most. Window shopping gave me the inspiration to seek cheaper alternatives at home and create the minimalist home I desire.
Hire A Bike
Experience Copenhagen like a true Dane and hire a bike! We chose to use Bycycklen, a high tech, GPS navigated bicycle which is the equivalent of London’s Boris Bikes. They are located all over the city and the GPS system will not only take you to your destination but will show you were to park your bike safely. For around 30DKK an hour it is a great way to get around the city once or twice throughout your stay. Be aware, a deposit of around £25.00 is taken when your account is set up and returned 2-3 days later.
Freetown Christiana is a cultural hippie-commune made popular by tourists. This colourful and vibrant area is known for it’s eco-friendly cafes, live music and hash selling Pusher Street. Strict rules are outlined at the entrance of the freetown in which it states running, photography and selling hard drugs are prohibited. Tourists may visit for a cheeky spliff or just to experience the free spirited lifestyle that is embodied in the settlement. Pusher Street was rather unsettling upon visiting and soon forced me to put my camera away and enjoy the casual stroll.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid
Whether you are a huge fan of Christian Andersen or not, everyone should visit the Little Mermaid statue for the experience. I made the long walk along the harbour to see what all of the fuss was about. Some tourists were fighting over the best spot to take their picture whilst others waited patiently inline to strike an awkward pose. The backdrop is not the most picturesque nor is the statue itself but it was fascinating to see how so many flock to see this naked woman on a rock.
The Round Tower
For views over the Danish capital, head to the Rundetaarn. Walk up the windy cobbled slope to the viewing platform and admire the views on the way. At the top you will see across rooftops and beyond. Don’t forget to look out for the Oresund bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden. Finish your trip with a peak at the observatory used by amateur astronomers before your 2,685 metre descent.
Tivoli Gardens By Night
Despite costing a whopping 120DKK (£13-£14) for entry alone, visiting Tivoli Gardens is worth the investment. At night the park is lit up and beautiful. Walk underneath the lanterns, through the themed districts and under the multitude of rides. The rides themselves cost up to 100DKK for a go which is extremely pricy! We chose to explore in awe and then settled in a deck chair with a beer to watch the season’s firework finale which were spectacular!
These were my top things to see and do in Copenhagen on a budget. Have you visited?
See my other posts on Copenhagen here