Free Things to Do in Copenhagen, Come Rain or Shine

Despite Copenhagen's reputation as an expensive city, visitors can take comfort in the many free attractions the city has to offer. Things to do in Copenhagen without spending a cent include browsing the exhibits in museums and art museums, kicking back in the sunshine in parks and gardens, and free events and daily happenings, such as the Changing of the Royal Guard or those on offer at amusement park Bakken.

With world class museums such as the National Gallery of Denmark, Statens Museum for Kunst and the National Museum (Nationalmuseet) now opening their doors for free, there's no excuse for not stepping in and learning a thing or two about Danish history and art. Both museums offer great facilities for both children and adults, and are nowhere near as crowded as similar institutions in other European cities. The National Museum also has an out-of-town annex, Frilandsmuseet, which makes for a great family day out from spring to October.

Sightseeing is always free if done independently, including a walk up to Copenhagen's best landmark the Little Mermaid, witnessing the royal changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace or an excursion north to Klampenborg and Dyrehavsbakken. You can even find free guided tours, courtesy of Sandemans New Copenhagen tours that kick off from outside the City Hall on Rådhuspladsen seven days a week.

Copenhagen has some excellent parks and gardens; one of the largest, stately Frederiksberg Have, has a boating lake and views to the adjacent zoo, while the Botanical Garden is an often overlooked patch of paradise not far from Nørreport Station, with numerous glasshouses should the weather not play fair.

Nansensgade Quarter
Botanisk Have
Photo courtesy of Ty Stange / Copenhagen Media Center


A part of the University of Copenhagen's Natural History Museum, Copenhagen's botanical garden may be a place of scientific research and conservation value to the academics who nurture it, but to visitors, it is a vibrant, blossoming oasis in...  Read More

Post & Tele Museum
Photo courtesy of Post & Tele Museum


While a museum of postal and tele communications might not seem particularly fascinating, this museum, located in the old Copenhagen post office not far from the Round Tower, has done a great deal to make its exhibts appealing to families in...  Read More

Changing of Guard
Photo courtesy of Klaus Bentzen


Amalienborg Palace, the residence of the Danish Royal family, is guarded by a team of blue trouser-clad soldiers in tall black furry hats who stand watch around the hexagonal royal 'square'. Changing of the guard takes place daily at noon at...  Read More

Den Lille Havfrue
Photo courtesy of Erling A


The small, unassuming figure in bronze of Hans Christian Andersen's tragic heroine sits patiently on her rock, her head bowed, climbed on by tourists and buffetted by the waves. You might want to hate her, this rather over-rated tourist...  Read More

Outside the city
Photo courtesy of Tuala Hjornø


If entry charges to Tivoli seem a little steep for your pressed budget, you might want to check out Bakken, generally considered to be the oldest amusement park in operation in the world (it dates from 1583). While the rides will cost you the...  Read More

Outside the city
Photo courtesy of Christian Alsing


The Frilandsmuseet, or Open air Museum, is an annex of the Nationalmuseet located in Lyngby, a rural suburb about 20 minutes by S-Bahn from downtown Copenhagen - get off at Sorgenfri and then take bus no. 184 or 194 to the museum gate. An ideal...  Read More

Frederiksberg Have
Photo courtesy of Jakob Botter


Definitely one of Copenhagen's best parks as well as its largest, the romantic landscaped gardens of Frederiksberg Have date from the late 18th century and were built in the English style popular at the time. The long lawns and avenues of trees...  Read More

Sandemans New Copenhagen Tours
Photo courtesy of Ty Stange / Copenhagen Media Center


Should you be hard-pressed to run to the price of an ordinary guided tour, free guided tours are offered by Sandemans, similar to the city tours offered by the company in other European cities. The tours are run by a number of international...  Read More

Statens Museum for Kunst
Photo courtesy of Morten Bjarnehof / Copenhagen Media Center


The National Gallery of Denmark is located a short walk out of the city center in the midst of an attractive park, Ostre Anlaeg, which was once part of Copenhagen's ramparts, The architecture is a fascinating melding of the original, red brick...  Read More


Meet Jane Graham

After touring most of Europe in her twenties, Jane was charmed by Copenhagen's relaxed tempo and moved there from her native northern England in 1999. Four young children at home has meant...  More About Jane