Are you looking for free things to do in Copenhagen ? Summer might just be the best time for it ! Copenhagen is not what I would call a budget friendly city to visit, just like many cities in Nordic countries. But don’t let that stop you as it still offers many options for those of us who are on a tight budget.
We visited Copenhagen at the end of July and even though I can’t compare to another season, Summer was an awesome time to visit the stunning capital of Denmark. As the sun is shining and the nature filled with colourful flowers, it is also the best time to do all these free activities and outside places to visit.
Here is a selection of 10 free things to do in Copenhagen during Summer.
Get cultured at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen
The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen is free every Tuesday. Its displays over 10,000 works of art basically divided into two very different sections.
The ground floor hosts the collection of Mediterranean artefacts and artworks and the first floor is dedicated to 19th and 20th centuries Danish and French art.
The museum building itself is a good enough reason to visit if you’re an architecture lover and the rooftop terrace is supposedly a great view over the city (we got here too late and weren’t able to get up there…)
2. Visit the independent town of Christiania in Copenhagen
The independent town of Christiania or also known as Freetown Christiania, is a self-governed green and car free area of Copenhagen.
Founded on an abandoned military barrack in 1971 by a group of hippies, it is an actual city made of houses, workshops, art galleries, music halls, restaurants, bars, etc. But it’s also mainly known for being the place where you can buy drugs.
Although cannabis is illegal in Denmark it is a public knowledge that hash and weed is sold in Christiania, and is the main reason why you are not allowed to take any pictures or film in the dealing street (or you will get seriously yelled at by every single person, trust me).
3. “Pay” your respects to Hans Christian Andersen
The Little Mermaid and other fairy tales author Hans Christian Andersen was born in Copenhagen and is buried in Assistens Kirkegård in the northern part of the city. We actually didn’t know about it until stumbling upon his graveyard whilst walking through this graveyard.
Not just a graveyard, Assistens cemetery looks more like a nice park to relax and have a pic nic. It is definitely a place to check out if you are in the area. We personally just happened to rent an Airbnb flat nearby.
4. Bring out your inner child self at the Lego store
Did you know Lego was a Danish company ? Well, I didn’t. I used to love playing with them as a child and couldn’t be happier to discover this fun store in Copenhagen.
I would not recommend you to go there on Saturday (just like we did) when it’s full of people and especially families with kids running around. You know how you leave your seat to old people on a bus. Well, apparently, as an adult you’re supposed to let children play with legos before you. I want to play and build something too !
5. Take a selfie with the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen’s icon
© Edvard Eriksen
And be prepared to get in line ! The Little Mermaid is the most photographed statue in Copenhagen. The 1.25 meters high (yes, she is small…) statue was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg as a gift to Copenhagen.
It was made by Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1913 and is based on H.C. Andersen fairy tale, the Little Mermaid and has become a landmark and an icon of Copenhagen.
Why is it so famous ? Well, I couldn’t find out ! Most people gets disappointed when seeing it for the first time, a bit like the Mona Lisa. But an artwork doesn’t need to be monumental to be iconic, don’t you think ?
6. Walk around Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s most beautiful area
Nyhavn is a must do in Copenhagen, if you had only one day to spend in Copenhagen I would advise you not to miss the colourful harbour of Nyhavn.
It is just a great place to walk around, enjoying the jazz music, admiring the renovated houses, watching people on their boats and even sitting at one of the many bars and restaurants taking in lots of sunshine. It is also a great sunset photo spot !
7. Have a barbecue in the King’s Gardens
The King’s Gardens are perfect for a having barbecue with a group of friends on a sunny afternoon. The grass area is big enough for people to sunbath and use one of these disposable barbecues that I’ve came across in Edinburgh.
There you’ll also get a great view on Rosenborg Castle and see the famous statue of Hans Christian Andersen (yes, this guy is everywhere).
8. Relax at the Botanical Gardens
I love Botanical Gardens, it’s probably the place I always visit when I travel somewhere. They usually are so peaceful and quiet, a great place to read a good book whilst sunbathing.
Copenhagen’s Botanical Gardens are part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, at the University of Copenhagen. It contains the largest Danish collection of living plants and host a beautiful 19th century glasshouse, the old Palm House.
There is also a special air-conditioned greenhouse that re-creates the ideal conditions for growing Arctic plants. A must-see in Copenhagen !
9. Take a look inside Frederik’s Church for free
Marmorkirken or Frederik’s Church is the central point of Frederikstown, the fashionable quarter of 18th century Copenhagen, and was commissioned by King Frederik in honour of the Royal Family.
The 46 metres high circular nave is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Its Baroque interiors and rich decorum gave this church the name of the Marble Church. Although the climb up to the Dome is 5€, you can still enter the church for free and check out its gorgeous sculptures and artworks.
10. Look out for street art, cheapest Art gallery in Copenhagen
Street art is the cheapest Art gallery you can visit, and Copenhagen has some great street art. You would think Berlin has the coolest but wait until you go to Copenhagen. I just love the way all these different architecture styles are mixed together.
You will spot a huge painted wall right next to a 18th century building and both architecture just mix so well together. Keep an eye out for street art, it is everywhere in Copenhagen !
Oh and, I would recommend you to travel around Copenhagen on a bike, just like locals do. And also because your feet will thank you, trust me.
This is only a fraction of the many free places to see in Copenhagen, one that I didn’t see was the Black Diamond, Copenhagen’s Royal Library. It is free to get in and apparently the building is really cool.