Discover all the best things to do for free in Copenhagen. Hunt for the Forgotten Giants, visit Freetown Christiania, watch the Changing of the Guard, stroll along Nyhavn waterfront, visit numerous free museums, enjoy panoramic city views from tower viewpoints, and experience live music performances.
The wide range of free attractions makes Copenhagen an ideal destination that won’t break the bank if you plan your trip wisely. Despite being one of the world’s top tourist cities, you can still visit on a budget.
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Go Looking For Thomas Dambo’s Forgotten Giants
The enchanting Forgotten Giants, also known as trolls, were originally introduced to Denmark with just six sculptures. However, their popularity spread and there are Forgotten Giants across the globe.
These remarkable constructions are the brainchild of the Danish artist Thomas Dambo, who skillfully creates them using recycled scrap wood.
Each giant is a unique masterpiece, adding a touch of whimsy and wonder to the landscape. They not only showcase Dambo’s creativity and commitment to sustainability but also serves as a reminder of the beauty that can be found in unexpected places.
Where To Find The Forgotten Giants Around Copenhagen
Forgotten Giants can be found at these locations around Copenhagen.
Visit Freetown Christiania
Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous area of Copenhagen, has a population of 800, receives 2 to 3 million visitors annually and will always be free to visit.
During the summer, Cafe Nemoland stages free outdoor concerts on Sundays, providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy live music in a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Use this link to check out who’s playing.
Located in the neighbourhood of Christianshavn, Freetown Christiania is renowned for its Pusher Street, which offers cannabis products, but there is much more to experience within the area.
Until 1985, Christiania was not subject to any planning regulations—residents could construct housing with whatever materials they chose. As a result, you can see remarkable structures around Christiania’s lake while also marvelling at its vibrant street art across the entire area.
Christiania has several entrances, but the main entrance is on Bådsmandsstræde 43, 1407 København K, close to The Church of Our Saviour, a renowned Copenhagen landmark featuring a climbable spiral staircase around the exterior of its tower.
Watch The Changing Of The Guard
The changing of the guard takes place at Amalienborg Palace Square every day at noon.
You can watch from outside the palace or follow the guard through the streets from the Lifeguards Barracks at Gothersgade 100, 1123 København from 11.27 am. The lifeguards typically pass Kongens Nytorv and the Round Tower.
If you miss the ceremonial changing of the guard at midday, you can still see the guards on watch duty changing positions between the four royal palaces throughout the day.
Visit Colourful Nyhavn
Nyhavn is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Copenhagen. Its iconic beauty makes it a prime spot for photography. I’ve lived in Copenhagen for over ten years and still can’t pass without taking several photos.
Nyhavn is an ideal spot if you’re looking for a bite to eat, but prices are higher than elsewhere. However, there are hot dog vans (pølsevogn) at the Kongens Nytorv end of Nyhavn where you can get a cheap snack.
Nyhavn Address – København K
Wander The Photo Friendly Streets In Copenhagen
You’ll come across some beautiful sights and architecture just wandering around the streets of Copenhagen. Whether you are a serious photographer or like to point and click for social media, there are plenty of places to take stunning shots.
Keep your eyes open for places like Børsen (1217 København K), the old stock exchange with its twisted dragons’ spire. While it’s no longer open to the public, the building close to Christiansborg Palace is eye-catching.
And take a stroll along Magstræde (Magstræde, 1204 København), one of the oldest streets in Copenhagen.
Wherever you are, look up and look back, and you’ll see some fantastic architecture.
Visit Copenhagen’s Free Museums
There are 15 free museums in and around Copenhagen, although not all are free every day.
Copenhagen Museums That Are Always Free
Copenhagen Museums That Are Free On Wednesday
Take a look at this article, 15 Copenhagen Museums With Free Entry in 2023, for much more information about the museums, including opening hours, addresses and websites.
Free To Visit Towers And Viewpoints In Copenhagen
For a panoramic view over Copenhagen, take the elevator up to the top of the following towers and viewpoints. It’s worth visiting as many as possible as they each offer Copenhagen from a different perspective.
Visit Copenhill Rooftop Cafe For An Amazing View
For a free 360-degree view over Copenhagen, the Øresund Sound, and a good view of Sweden, you won’t get anywhere better than Copenhill.
Copenhill stands 124 metres (406 feet) tall on top of a waste-to-energy plant. It’s a ski slope, but there’s every reason to take the elevator up to the top just for the view. At the top, there’s a bar that also serves hot drinks and snacks.
If you feel athletic, you can also walk or run up the stairs.
Copenhill Opening Hours, Address And Website
|Opening Hours||Mon-Fri 12 pm – 7 pm|
Sat 10 am – 7 pm
Sun 10 am – 5 pm
|Address||Vindmøllevej 6, 2300 København|
Enjoy The Spectacular View From Mærsk Towers
Mærsk Tower was opened in 2017 and stands 75 metres (246 feet) tall. The free entry viewpoint on the 15th floor gives a view of The Lakes and the surrounding area.
On a clear day, you can see the Øresund Bridge, connecting Denmark to Sweden in the distance.
Mærsk Towers Opening Hours, Address And Website
|Opening Hours||8 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday|
|Address||University of Copenhagen Panum and Mærsk Tower Blegdamsvej 3B, 2200 København|
|Website||Mærsk Tower Website|
Visit Konditaget Lüders Rooftop Playground In Nordhavn
Konditaget Lüders is a playground, a sports training area, and a place to relax and enjoy the view over the harbour water.
Positioned on top of a car park, 24 metres (79 feet) up, you’ll be pleased to know there’s an elevator to the top unless you want to use the stairs at the side of the building as part of your training regime!
Konditaget Lüders Opening Hours And Address
|Opening Hours||7 am – 10 pm|
|Address||P-hus Lüders på Helsinkigade, Helsinkigade 30, 2150 Copenhagen|
Take A Look At The Panoramic View From The Black Diamond
The Royal Library, also known as The Black Diamond, is part of the national library and several Danish universities.
For a free panoramic view, take the elevator to the sixth floor. However, if you’re afraid of heights, you may find it easier to admire the view from the fourth floor.
The Black Diamond Opening Hours, Address And Website
|Opening Hours||Mon – Fri 8 am – 9 pm|
Sat 9 am – 7 pm
|Address||Søren Kierkegaards Pl. 1, 1221 København K|
|Website||Black Diamond Website|
Visit Christiansborg Tower For A City View
Christiansborg Tower is part of the Christiansborg Palace complex. Located above Folketinget, the Danish Parliament, the 44 metres (144 feet) high viewing platform provides an excellent lookout over the surrounding area.
There are two lines to visit the tower, one for guests who have reserved a table at Restaurant Tårnet and another for visiting the tower. Get there early as there is always a queue to go up Christiansborg Tower.
Entry into the building is subject to airport-style security.
Christianborg Tower Opening Hours, Address And Website
|Opening Hours||Tues – Sat 11 am – 9 pm|
|Address||Christiansborg Slotsplads, 1218 København|
|Website||Christiansborg Tower Website|
There are plenty more towers and viewpoints around Copenhagen, but they aren’t all free. Check out my article, Where Are The Best Viewpoints In Copenhagen to learn more.
What To See At Christiansborg Palace Complex For Free
Whilst there is an entry fee for most of the Christiansborg complex, there are some things you can see for free, including the tour of Folketinget, the Danish Parliament and Christiansborg Tower.
Visit Christiansborg Royal Chapel (Christiansborg Slotskirke)
Unfortunately, Christiansborg Royal Chapel is not original; however, it is beautiful and well worth a visit.
In 1992 fireworks from a Sankt Hans Midsummer’s Eve celebration caused severe damage, hitting the dome, which was undergoing repair and covered in plastic, causing a fire which almost destroyed the chapel.
Extensive restoration, which was eventually completed in 1997, is true to the original, and the chapel is worth a visit.
Christiansborg Royal Palace Chapel Opening Hours And Address
|Opening Hours||9 am – 5 pm Aug – June Sundays only|
Open daily during July
|Address||Christiansborg Slotsplads, 1218 København K|
|Website||Christiansborg Palace Chapel Website|
Watch The Royal Horses Being Exercised At Christiansborg
Although there is no fixed schedule, the royal horses are exercised daily in the Christianborg Palace paddock. If you’re lucky, you could see the horses pulling the royal carriages as they trot around the training ground.
Take A Free Guided Tour Of The Danish Parliament (Folketinget)
When parliament is in recess, Folketinget, the Danish parliament, offers free, 45 minutes guided tours.
It’s worth taking a tour whether or not you are interested in politics, as you’ll learn a little more about Denmark and some amusing snippets while taking the tour.
You must reserve your place in advance and be aware of airport-style security before entering the parliament building.
Watch A Sitting Of The Danish Parliament
The Danish Parliament sits from the first Tuesday in October until mid-June, and during sittings, you can watch the proceedings inside the Chamber. Of course, the sessions are held in Danish, but for more information, visit the Folketinget website.
The Danish Parliament Address And Website
Visit Copenhagen City Hall (Københavns Rådhus) For Free
Designed by architect Martin Nyrop, Copenhagen’s City Hall (Københavns Rådhus) was constructed between 1892 and 1905, with the interior featuring Jens Olsens World Clock, the most accurate analogue clock in the world, mural paintings and glass roofs.
The main hall is the most impressive room, reminiscent of an inner courtyard of an Italian Renaissance palace.
It’s worth a visit, especially if you enjoyed the Danish television series The Killing, as some of it was filmed inside Copenhagen City Hall.
From the 1st of May to the 29th of September, the garden is open to the public between 9 am and 4 pm on weekdays. The entrance is on H C Andersen Boulevard, opposite Tivoli Gardens.
There is the option to climb the City Hall Tower on weekdays. However, this is not free and can only be done as part of a guided tour. The tower is closed for maintenance during 2023.
For more information, take a look at my article 17 Of The Best Rooftop Views In Copenhagen.
Copenhagen City Hall Opening Hours, Address And Website
|Opening Hours||9 am – 4 pm Mon – Fri|
9.30 am – 1 pm Sat
|Address||Rådhuspladsen 1, 1550 København|
|Website||Copenhagen City Hall Website|
Enjoy Copenhagen’s Free Festivals
The Copenhagen Light Festival
For three weeks during the dark month of February, Copenhagen Light Festival illuminates various sites around the city. The exhibits change annually, and the Copenhagen Light Festival website contains all the information you need to find the illuminated artworks.
In 2024 the Copenhagen Light Festival will take place from Friday 2nd of February until Sunday, the 25th of February.
Enjoy Copenhagen Pride
Copenhagen Pride takes place in the middle of August and features various free events throughout the city.
Copenhagen City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen) is transformed into Pride Square, with lots of events taking place throughout the week.
On the last Saturday, a huge Pride Parade begins at Frederiksberg City Hall (Frederiksberg Rådhus) and ends at Pride Square in the city centre.
Winter Pride takes place in February and includes numerous free events throughout the city.
For more information, take a look at the Copenhagen Pride website.
Copenhagen Jazz Festivals
The Copenhagen Jazz Festival is a 10-day festival which takes place from the end of June to the beginning of July each year. There are various events across the city; however, not all events are free, so visit the website to find out more.
Denmark Winter Jazz Festival
Meeting Of Styles Street Art Festival
The Meeting of Styles is an annual street art and graffiti festival at the end of July. The artists set up at Axeltorv, opposite Tivoli Gardens, where you can watch them create stunning works of art from start to finish.
The next Meeting of Styles in Copenhagen takes place from Friday, the 21st of July, to Sunday 23rd of July, 2023. See the Meeting of Styles website for more information.
Ballet And Brunch At The Royal Danish Theatre Old Stage
Watch the dancers of the Royal Danish Ballet as they practice on the main stage. The practice session lasts an hour and a half, and you can buy snacks in Cafe August B, inside the theatre.
While viewing is free, you must get a ticket online to reserve your place.
Royal Danish Theatre Address And Website
The Outdoor Royal Summer Ballet
For two weeks during June, the Royal Summer Ballet performs for free at 12 different outdoor venues around Denmark. You don’t need a ticket but check the Royal Danish Theatre website for a Royal Summer Ballet event nearby.
Where To Enjoy Free Live Music in Copenhagen
Visit Byhaven Pumpehuset For Free Live Music
Byhaven Pumpehuset is an outdoor venue, open from Wednesday to Sunday from the end of April to September. The venue offers free live music, snacks and a well-stocked bar.
Byhaven Pumpehuset Address And Website
Opera In The Open Free Concerts Around Denmark
Opera In The Open is an annual series of free outdoor concerts around Denmark. Grab a picnic and blanket, sit back, and enjoy some of Denmark’s finest opera performers.
The events take place in May and August. Visit the website for more information.
Free Live Music at Nemoland, Christiania
Nemoland in Christiania offers free concerts each Sunday throughout the summer, beginning at the end of May. You can choose to watch close to the stage or from the ramparts.
Check the Nemoland website for more details.
Free Classical Music At Ofelia Plads
Ofelia Plads, close to The Royal Playhouse (Skuespilhuset), is the setting for many events throughout the year.
On Thursday nights at 5 pm, from the middle of June until the end of August, a floating stage becomes the setting for free classical music concerts by Danish artists. Grab yourself a seat on what is known as the kissing stairs (Kyssetrappen), sit back and enjoy.
Free Concerts At Trinity Church, Next To The Round Tower
Free Friday concerts at Copenhagen’s Trinity Church begin each April. You’ll need to check the website for what’s happening each week; sometimes, it’s an organ concert; other weeks, it can be a choral concert.
Located next to The Round Tower, Trinity Church is beautiful and well worth a visit.
Trinity Church Address And Website
Holmens Church Free Organ Concerts
Holmens Church offers free organ concerts featuring organists from different parts of Europe every Wednesday at noon during July and August.
There are additional free concerts at Holmen Church throughout the year, so check the calendar for more information.
Holmens Church Address And Website
Free Concerts At The Church Of The Holy Spirit
There are occasional free concerts at the Church of The Holy Spirit (Helligaandskirken). Check the website for more details.
Address And Website For The Church Of The Holy Spirit Copenhagen
Visit One Or More Of Copenhagen’s Stunning Churches
Copenhagen has some of the best churches in Europe, with stunning architecture and a rich history. All churches are free to visit, although some may charge a fee to climb the towers.
Take a look at this article about the best churches in Copenhagen for more information, including addresses, opening times and photos. The article includes the following churches.
- Frederiks Church, also known as the Marble Church, with the largest dome in Scandinavia.
- Copenhagen Cathedral, where Crown Prince Frederik married Crown Princess Mary in 2004.
- Holmen’s Church, where Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II married Prince Henrik in 1967.
- Christians Church is often called the theatre church because of the floor-to-ceiling viewing boxes.
- The Church of Our Saviour with a staircase winding around the outside of the tower (you can climb the tower, but it costs 65 kr).
Free Things To See And Do Outdoors In Copenhagen
Relax And Enjoy The Botanical Garden For Free
Copenhagen’s botanical garden is an oasis in the middle of the city. There’s plenty of seating and marked grass areas where you can relax, enjoy a picnic or do a spot of inner-city bird watching.
While the botanical garden is free, there is an entry fee to the Palm House and Butterfly House.
For more information about the palm house, butterfly house, and botanical garden, take a look at Best Parks and Picnic Spots in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen Botanical Garden Opening Hours and Address
|Opening Hours||8.30 am – 4 pm Oct-March|
8.30 am – 6 pm Apr-Sept
|Botanical GardenAddress||Gothersgade 128, 1123 København K|
|Website||Botanical Garden Website|
Visit Copenhagen’s Parks and Picnic Spots
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to parks and picnic spots in Copenhagen’s city centre.
Because there are so many to choose from, I have written a separate article, Best Parks and Picnic Spots in Copenhagen, which includes green spaces in the city centre and a few further out of town. The article contains opening hours, addresses, nearby attractions and includes the following parks.
Visit Bakken, The World’s Oldest Amusement Park
Bakken is the world’s oldest operating amusement park, boasting rides and attractions since 1583. While you have to pay for the rides, entry to the park is free.
One of the most iconic attractions at Bakken is Rutschebanen, a wooden rollercoaster constructed in 1932 that remains operational today.
Due to seasonal variations, it is essential to check the website for up-to-date opening times.
You’ll find more information about Bakken in this article, The Best Parks And Picnic Spots in Copenhagen.
Spot Wild Deer At Copenhagen Deer Park (Dyrehaven)
Located inside a UNESCO forest, Copenhagen Deer Park is a great place to spot wild deer. The park has three types of deer: sika, red and fallow. Because there are approximately 2,000 deer in the park, you have a good chance of spotting not just one but often a whole herd.
The Deer Park is open 24 hours a day and has free entry.
Check out the article The Deer Park, Copenhagen: Everything You Need To Know for more information about getting to the park and what to expect.
Take A Walk Or A Run Around The Lakes (Søerne I København)
The 6.35 km (4 miles) track around the trio of lakes in the inner city attracts 1,500 joggers daily but also serves as an ideal spot for walkers.
Photographers can capture the beauty of the lakes, while duck and bird sightings and benches for picnicking are abundant. Four bridges make it easy to access and cross the lakes.
The Lakes address – 2200 Copenhagen
Free Things To See And Do On The Water In Copenhagen
Visit The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue)
The bronze statue of the Little Mermaid sitting on a rock in Copenhagen’s harbour waters attracts tourists worldwide.
She’s much smaller than you might imagine, and you’re likely to spot the crowds before you see her. If you want to visit without the crowds, get there early in the morning.
You can view The Little Mermaid 24 hours a day at Langelinie, 2100 København Ø.
Mermaids of Copenhagen: Everything You Need To Know contains details of the Little Mermaid and all the other mermaids and mermen you can see around Copenhagen.
The Genetically Modified Mermaid
Created by Bjørn Nørgaard, The Genetically Modified Mermaid is ten minutes from The Little Mermaid. She sits on a rock in the water, but unlike The Little Mermaid, you can’t get close enough to stand next to her for a selfie without getting more than your feet wet.
Landbound at the Genetically Modified Mermaid’s side, there are six other sculptures entitled The Genetically Modified Paradise.
You can visit The Genetically Modified Mermaid for free 24 hours a day at Langelinie Allé 17, 2100 København.
Hire A Green Kayak For Free
The principle behind Green Kayak, an environmental NGO first implemented in Copenhagen, is to reduce water pollution while having fun.
You can hire a kayak for free, provided you collect trash from the water as you paddle, weigh in the trash at the end of your trip and share the experience on social media at #greenkayak.
Green Kayak Address and Website
|Address||Various Locations Check The Website|
|Website||Green Kayak Website|
Free Outdoor Swimming Around Copenhagen
Copenhagen has several purpose-built harbour baths and bathing zones and some of Denmark’s finest beaches. So I have written a separate article, Where Are The Best Places To Swim in Copenhagen, which covers the best swimming spots in more detail.
As you can see, there are so many free things to visit in Copenhagen. No matter what time of year, there are always plenty of free things to see and do.
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How Can I Help?
Having lived in Copenhagen for over ten years, I can share valuable insights to help you make the most of your visit and provide information on the city’s unique attractions and culture.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need recommendations on places to see or things to do.