A picturesque city on the coast, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is one of the most visited cities in the Nordic region. Known to be one of the greenest capitals in the world, it is the center of commerce and entertainment for the Danish people, who are consistently rated as some of the happiest on the planet. If you are headed to Denmark and would like to avoid burning a hole in your pocketbook, consider these top seven free things to do in Copenhagen!

Save Big on Your Dream Trip to Copenhagen

Check out the Top Tours & Day Trips from Copenhagen

Read Reviews of the Best Hotels in Copenhagen, Denmark on TripAdvisor 

7 Free Things to Do in Copenhagen

1. Bakken

Bakken

Bakken park opened all the way back in 1583, and is the world’s oldest operating amusement park. While going on rides will cost you, admission into the amusement park Bakken is free.  Bakken is quite the experience. Boasting up to 2.7 million visitors annually, Bakken is the second-most visited attraction in all of Denmark. The park hosts six full-on roller coaster rides, but is home to dozens of other smaller rides for all ages.

2. Frederiksberg Garden (Frederiksberg Have)

Frederiksberg Garden

One of the largest green spaces in Copenhagen, Frederiksberg Garden is a wonderful place to relax for a while on a mild Copenhagen afternoon. The garden is classified as a romantic landscape garden. The garden includes a lake, rolling lawns set against grove trees, the Apis Temple, and a Chinese summerhouse and bridge. For an extra slice of tranquility, you can check out the Artificial Waterfall, nestled into the central wooded area of the park.

3. The David Collection (David’s Samling)

The David Collection (David's Samling)

The David Collection is one of the few free museums in Copenhagen. It’s home to a collection of fine and applied art. The museum is built around the private collection of businessman and art collector C. L. David. For those interested in ancient art pieces, the museum is renowned for its collection of Islamic art, dating back to the 8th century. It also houses a number of well-known Danish painters, and underwent a major refurbishment project in 2006. If you want a free piece of cultural enrichment, this is definitely the place to go.

4. The Little Mermaid (Den Little Havfrue)

The Little Mermaid (Den Little Havfrue)

One of the most popular things to do in Copenhagen is to visit the Little Mermaid statue. Take a stroll on Copenhagen’s Langelinie promenade and find the iconic Little Mermaid statue perched on the shoreline. Based on the fairy tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Cristian Anderson (a Danish author), the statue has come to symbolize the country of Denmark, much like the Statue of Liberty symbolizes the United States. Built back in 1913, the statue is a must-see if you’re in the city.

5. Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Located in central Copenhagen, the Botanical Garden is a must-visit for any nature lover in the city. The Garden boasts 27 glasshouses that date back as far as 1874, featuring the Palm House, which is 16 meters tall with a narrow spiral staircase that leads to a passageway at its peak. The Botanical Garden over 13,000 different species of plant, and has different themes in each glasshouse, even including an Arctic glasshouse with special air temperature control to recreate the plant’s’ natural environment.

6. Christiania Freetown

Christiania Freetown in Copenhagen

One of the most intriguing locales in Copenhagen, Christiania Freetown (Christiania for short) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood. It is just under 1,000 residents and run by a self-governing anarchist community. The town certainly constitutes an alternative way of living, an is an interesting departure from the normalized first world way of living. Christiania has been famous for its open cannabis trade since its inception in 1971. It is a popular tourist destination for the myriad of oddities that can be found here, a locale entirely unique to Copenhagen.

7. Copenhagen Free Walking Tours

Copenhagen Free Walking Tours

What better way to experience Copenhagen than on a free walking tour? Get your fix of Copenhagen sites, smells and history by joining the tour, which runs year-round regardless of weather. The tour kicks of at Copenhagen City Hall every day of the year at 11 am, as long as there are five people present for the tour.

It’s highly recommended to start your Danish adventure with this tour, to get yourself grounded and accustomed to your surrounding. You will get a chance to check out all of the most famous landmarks in Copenhagen on this tour, which is given fully in English. Of course, the best part about it is that it’s free, but tips for your tour guide’s efforts are encouraged.

Hope you enjoyed these 7 Free things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark. This post was written by Andrew Larson, travel enthusiast and semi-retired globetrotter which now runs Wanderlust 15. For more information, visit Wanderlust 15.

Things to do in Copenhagen

Best Hotels in Copenhagen

By the end of the night, you’ll be ready to get a good night’s sleep. Knowing where to stay in Copenhagen in key! There are three main areas for hotels near Copenhagen’s city center: City Hall, Nyhavn, and Vesterbro.

  • City Hall is the most central, and the best option for most of the year.
  • Nyhavn gives you the chance to stay near the gorgeous waterfront of Copenhagen Harbor and Nyhavn.
  • Vesterbro is a fun neighborhood that used to be Copenhagen’s Red Light District. Today it’s full of fun bars, great restaurants, and some very nice boutique hotels. Best of all, it’s close to Tivoli Gardens and Central Station with slightly lower prices.

Budget Options

If you’re looking for budget lodging, consider CPH Downtown Hostel (Vandkunsten 5). It’s a lively place to stay with young staff, a busy disco and pub and it’s in a perfect location. They organize nightly activities in the hostel bar and run tours during the day.

A similar option in the Nyhavn neighborhood is Generator Hostel. They have a great bar area with plenty of activities like bocce, billiards, and shuffleboard. They also organize tours and can help you with planning activities in Copenhagen.

Midrange Options

A mid-range option is to stay at First Hotel 27, which is just down the street from City Hall (Løngangstræde 27). The rooms are cozy and modern and it’s been recently renovated. Besides the comfortable accommodations, there’s a lot to do from this area. From First Hotel 27 you are a short walk to Christianborg Castle and Tivoli Gardens.

Just on the other side of Tivoli, you can find Absalon Hotel in Vesterbro. It’s a short walk to Central Station and also close to the hip, trendy Meatpacking neighborhood. There you’ll find some of the city’s best restaurants and cocktail bars.

If you’re looking for a mid-range option in Nyhavn, try Best Western City Hotel Copenhagen. It’s a short walk to Nyhavn and a block from the waterfront of Copenhagen Harbor. The rooms are large, recently renovated and the interior decor is a great example of Scandinavian design.

Luxury Options

For a luxury hotel, you have some great options in Copenhagen. One is staying in Hotel Nimb, located inside of Tivoli Gardens and across from Copenhagen Central Station. Hotel Nimb delivers luxury with incredible attention to detail and a gorgeous building. It’s a stylish boutique hotel built in Morrish-style. The Nimb Hotel is well decorated inside with a stunning exterior.

Perhaps the most famous luxury hotel in Copenhagen is Hotel D’Anglettere in Kongens Nytorv. The area gives you views of some of the most beautiful structures in Copenhagen like the Old Opera House, French Embassy and Scandinavia’s oldest department store, Magasin du Nord. The hotel was built in 1755 and is incredible. Hotel D’Anglettere defines luxury in every way from their sprawling well-appointed rooms to their in-house restaurant, Marchal.

Best Time to Visit Copenhagen

 

There’s really no bad time to visit Copenhagen, but the city is quite different from month to month. If you’d like to beat the crowds and still have warm temperatures and “normal” daylight hours, then late August is a great time to visit Copenhagen.

The warmest month to visit Copenhagen is usually July. It’s warm enough to swim in the harbor and take advantage of Copenhagen’s numerous harbor pools. Boating is also a popular summer activity and you can rent an electric boat to do your own canal tour with an on-board picnic.

In the summer you’ll also have a massive amount of daylight. The days are so long in late June and early July that the sun doesn’t really fully set. This can make it tough to sleep but gives you plenty of daytime for exploring Copenhagen.

The festive Christmas markets are also a huge draw during November and December. Of course, you’ll also want to see Tivoli Gardens at Christmas, their decorations and Christmas market is amazing.

Day Trips from Copenhagen & Top Tours

I love to do a combination of exploring on my own as well as a few organized tours when I travel. I love to learn about the history and culture in a new location and tours with local experts is a great way to do this. I recommend Get Your Guide because you can cancel most bookings for free up to 24 hours before they start and their customer service is available 24/7 in multiple languages. 

A few Top Tours in Copenhagen, Denmark

1-Hour Canal Cruise from Ved Stranden or Nyhavn a 1-hour boat tour along the main harbor and adjoining canals. Depart from Ved Stranden or Nyhavn and see lovely houses, ancient castles, and beautiful churches along the way.

Roskilde, Frederiksborg & Kronborg Day Tour Visit the royal castles of Frederiksborg and Kronborg, and Denmark’s old capital of Roskilde on a tour from Copenhagen. Enjoy the scenic landscape of North Sealand, and the history of the Vikings at the Viking Ship Museum.

Lund & Malmö: Guided Tour of 2 Countries in One Day Visit two countries in one day with this 8-hour guided tour. Sightsee through the city of Lund and Malmö and visit the cities most important landmarks. Take a picturesque ferry trip over the Øresund, visit Hamlet’s castle and the Øresund Bridge in a day.

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