A trip to Copenhagen can get expensive quickly. Whilst flights from the UK are reasonable (Easyjet or BA), a couple of nights accommodation, food, drink and maybe spot of shopping on top of a few tours all adds up.
However, with that said, like most cities if you search the backstreet’s, look high and low, there are always a few hidden gems that cost that bit less, or sometimes even nothing.
1. Ride a bike
When in Rome hey. Cycling is a big thing in Copenhagen, where it is estimated that 50 % of all Copenhageners commute to work or school by two wheels, and that collectively they cycle 1.2 million kilometers a year – that’s the equivalent of to the moon and back … twice. Simply put, you cannot move in Copenhagen for seeing someone on a bicycle, and you’ll do well to avoid almost being knocked down by one unless you have your whits about you – hint, the cycle lanes are not a place to stand and admire the city. So why not copy the locals, the pros so to speak, and join them in the cycle lanes. Its fun, healthy, good for the environment, surprisingly quick to get around (owing to the special cycle lanes), and its darn cheap. If you are planning to buy your own bike, grab and find it here.
Cost: Depends really. A hostel might offer free rental, but otherwise the going rate seems to be around 75-100 DKK / £8-£10 for the day.
2. Visit the Meat Packing District of Copenhagen
Admittedly, drinking and partying in the meat packing district of an evening will set you back a pretty penny, but there are a couple of reasons to also take a wander down to this neck of the woods during the daytime – namely food. Now I like a burger – preferably with both cheese and bacon because I am a totally fatty like that – and boy did the meat packing district provide me with a burger. I won’t name which establishment I purchased from, as I’m not here to promote them, but I will say that there were a few delicious looking options in terms of food around the district.
Located in the district of Vestebro, the meat packing district of today is the brain child of the local council, who upon watching the majority of Copenhagens meat butchers pack up and leave, decided upon transforming the 1930’s warehouse complex they owned, to mirror that of Manhattan’s own meat packing district. A pretty smart move! Its really quite a cool and interesting surrounding go for a meal in, as parts of the district are still operational in terms of meat packing, so its quite possible to fall out of a trendy restaurant or nightclub in the early hours of the morning and bump into a butcher on their way to work. Random, but cool!
Cost: To visit and walk around the district is free. A burger and fries might set you back £10/10.00DKK, and come the evening a beer might be around £5/50.00DKK. Food and drink wise, its pretty cheap by Copenhagen standards, plus its in a really cool setting.
3. Eat a Hotdog
Continuing with the food theme, after walking around Copenhagen for a while it’ll soon become aparent that the Danish love their hotdogs. Again, when in Rome, do as the Romans (or in this case Copenhageners) do and eat some good, cheap food on the go.
Cost: A standard hotdog from a street vendor is around £2/20.00DKK each.
4. Wander and explore Superkilen Park
Without doubt one of the most interesting parks I have ever visited, and one of my highlights from CPH. Located in the district of Nørrebro, Superkilen park was designed by the an arts group called Superflex. The idea behind the park, which opened in June 2011 and stretched some 750 metres in length, was the celebration of diversity. As such the park is home to objects from over 50 different nations. For example, there is a lamp post from Italy, a picnic table from Armenia, a manhole cover from Ireland and a palm tree from China. A bike rack from Holland, a bus sign from Jordan and a backetball hoop from the USA. The list goes on, and it is so interesting and awesome, I dare you not to be facinated by this place!
The park is divided into 3 areas – Green, Red and Black.
- The Green Park – centred around sports and healthy living
- The Red Square – again with a sports theme, but also inclusive of additional cultural activities and a popular marketplace
- The Black Market – an urban living room, a meeting place for family and friends
I don’t know what else to say, each is area is just as awesome as the other, and I simply love this park.
Cost: Free :D
5. Explore the freetown of Christiania
I wish it hadn’t had been lashing down with rain upon my visit, but that said I still found Christiania, which is in effect a society within a society, if not a slightly controversial one.
The story goes that back in 1971, a group of squatters moved in on an abandoned military site and claimed the site as a free city. This meant free of taxes and governed by its own laws. This wasn’t legal of course, but thousands flocked to the site and alternative lifestyle – one where most notably, drugs like marijuana were a lot easier to come by – and remain to this day. Walking around Christiania, its easy to sense and notice the alternative way of living within the boundaries of the freetown. There is crazy looking architecture and art everywhere, and there is a definite Rastafarian influence, in terms of style and and colour. Its incredibly interesting,
It also started because of a simple newspaper article which posed the question why the buildings on the site weren’t being renovated and made available as affordable housing for young people struggling to get on the housing ladder or even find a place to live. I’m certainly struggling to find somewhere affordable in London, maybe I should start my own project like this!? Who’s in?
Cost: Free to enter Christiania :D
6. Say hi to the Little Mermaid
On my part I found the Little Mermaid to be pretty underwhelming, but she is a rather major tourist attraction, is free to look at, and is actually located in a rather nice location. The bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen depicting Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fair tale character was commissioned by Carlsberg owner Carl Jacobsen in 1909. The mermaid, modeled on balerina from from Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre, was unveiled in 1913 … and has twice since been decapitated.
Cost: Free :)
7. Play with Lego
You are NEVER too old for Lego, and so I highly recommend you heard to the Lego store on Vimmelskaftet (one of the main shopping streets) and spend just half an hour or so browsing the shelves, and then getting back to your childhood and building the odd Lego character or two. The store is so bright and full of happy people, its hard not to enjoy yourself and get into the spirit of creating brick based masterpieces once more.
Do as the name suggests – LEGO – Play Well (LEG GODT)
Cost: Free to window shop :D
8. Take to the River
Probably best taken on a clear day, although in truth, upon my visit to Copenhagen, my boat saved me from getting soaked in an almighty downpour – as per the below photo.
Tours last around an hour, with the guides providing multi-lingual commentary whilst you simply sit back and relax aboard your chosen vessel. By river is a great way to see some of the city’s main sights such as the little mermaid, and also a top way to orientate yourself. Just be careful to keep your head down when you go under the low bridges!
Cost: £7.50/75.00DKK per adult ticket
9. Have a beer or two at the Carlsberg Brewery
Not free, but cheap enough in my opinion. I won’t go into too much detail here, as I wrote a whole post about my tour of the Carlsberg brewery just a few weeks ago, but if you like good beer and listening to interesting stories of how family feuds, swastikas and elephants can lead to the product of said beer, I highly recommend a trip to Visit Carlsburg whilst you’re in town.
Cost: Min cost £8/80DKK, but you can pay additionally for a guided tour. Min charge includes 2 free beers :D
10. Play Petanque at the Generator Hostel in Copenhagen
Bit of a plug for the Generator Hostel here, BUT, throughout all the hostels I have stayed in as a backpacker, this is the first I have ever stayed in which has a set of Petanque lanes available. Petanque is what some might call boules, a very popular game in both France and Italy. Its quite a social sport, not too demanding and played at a comfortable pace. Most importantly its a lot of fun, and something quite different for a few of us I suspect.
Whilst there is always an element of competition within sport, I actually found playing quite relaxing – but I was having a pint from the bar and eating nachos at the time, so maybe that goes some way to explaining my relaxed state.
Cost: From £5/50DKK per person – 90 minute session, 2-6 players.
So there you go, 10 ways of having an awesome time in Copenhagen, whilst not breaking the bank. It’s an amazing city, and even if you’re not on a budget I would still recommend you check out a few of the above whilst in town, as they’re all pretty special.
You’re welcome :)
My visit to Copenhagen was arranged by Visit Denmark and Generator Hostels as a part of their 2014 Digital Scavenger Hunt initiative to promote tourism in Copenhagen through bloggers and social media users like myself. I was under no obligation to write this post or any others that may follow, but have done so purely because I wished to highlight what I beleve are affordable attractions when in Copenhagen. As such, all opinions are my own.