This was my first time in a Scandinavian city and to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I heard Denmark is the happiest country in the world and that Copenhagen is pretty expensive overall. What I found was something that completely changed my opinion of Denmark and naturally, Copenhagen – lots of parks and nature, a myriad of bikes and cyclists, a clean city and friendly faces. To be completely honest, I fell in love with it. Simple as that.

So, what can you do in Copenhagen for 3 days on a budget?


  1. Eat cheaply and get around for free

I know that a lot of people considering a city break here are worried about hefty pay checks and not being able to have a great time because of it. However, don’t fret: there are lots of ways to have fun in one of the most expensive cities in Europe on a budget. With one caveat: say goodbye to meals in fancy restaurants. Because that is the most expensive thing here. There are a few ways to work around that: you can buy food at several supermarkets (Aldi, Netto, etc.), kebab houses menus are reasonably priced and if you still want to try some Danish cuisine (and other international dishes), you can hit the street food market on the Paper Island, where you can enjoy meals at more decent prices than other places (50 -100 Danish crowns or 7 – 14 euros) and a very nice view from its pier.

One thing that you can do in order to save time and hassle is to save an offline map of the city on your smartphone – especially if you already marked the spots you want to visit beforehand.

Copenhagen is THE Bike City, no doubt about it. And that is coming from someone who has lived in the Netherlands. So, if you decide to visit, you have to join in on the fun. Best part? You can do it for free. A very nice group of 4 people have created the Copenhagen Free Bike Rental, which does exactly what the name states: rents bikes for free. Most of the bikes are donated or found on the streets of Copenhagen and these guys patch them up and put them to good use. To reserve a bike, send them an email at this address: [email protected] at least 7 days before your trip. If they have a bike available, they will hand it to you in front of Gloria Cinema, Rådhuspladsen 59, near the City Hall square.


  1. Admire the castles or palaces

If you want to take a peek at the lives of Danish kings, queens, princes and princesses then you definitely have to visit Copenhagen’s royal structures. You can start with the neo-baroque styled Christiansborg Palace which is currently the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s House and Denmark’s Supreme Court. While a relatively new construction (it was finished in 1928), it is one of the most imposing buildings in the center of Copenhagen. You can visit for free the public galleries of the Parliament, the Royal Chapel and the palace’s interior courtyard. If you’d like to visit more, I’d recommend the combination ticket which will cost you 150 Danish crowns or about 20 euros. For students the price is 125 Danish crowns or 17 euros.


Christiansborg Palace


Relatively close to Christiansborg, to the North, you can find the Amalienborg Palace, which is the current home to the Royal Danish family. It consists of four identical rococo structures around an octagonal courtyard and it dates back to 1760. This is where you get to see the Changing the Guard ceremony every day at 12:00 PM (at noon). The guards leave Rosenborg Castle at 11:30 AM and arrive at the Amalienborg Palace for the ceremony.


One of the four identical palaces – Amalienborg

One of the four identical palaces – Amalienborg


The Rosenborg Castle together with the Rosenborg Gardens are one of the most visited places in Copenhagen. And no wonder. You have a renaissance castle in the back, gorgeous roses around the gardens and a nice place to have a picnic with your friends or family. The Rosenborg Castle Gardens is the oldest park in Copenhagen dating back to 1606. It is filled with various sized statues, including one of the famous Danish author, H.C. Andersen. If you’d like to visit the inside of the castle, I would recommend the combined ticket for both Rosenborg Castle and Amalienborg Palace (which is valid for 36 hours) at 145 Danish crowns or 19.50 euros.




  1. Take advantage of the free entrances to various cultural and educational institutions

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is an art museum which has created its exhibitions around the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries. It is home to antique Egyptian and Greek sculptures as well as 19th and 20th century Danish and French works of art. Here’s a little bonus information for pop culture fans: this is the place that owns the Caligula bust which Jack Gleeson (the actor who portrays Joffrey Baratheon in the Game of Thrones series) resembles. You can visit the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek for free every Tuesday.




Every Wednesday you can visit for free the Hirschsprung Collection which houses important works of art that belong to the Danish Golden Age and the Modern Breakthrough. In the same parkland area you can find the Danish National Gallery, which contains both Danish and international art dating from the 14th century until the present day. The entrance fees are as follows: 110 Danish crowns (15 euros) or 85 if you are under 30 (11.50 euros). However, the museum also hosts a special event seven times a year called SMK Friday from 4 PM until 10 PM. Entry to SMK Fridays is free, and everyone is welcome. If you want to see when the next Friday SMK is, go ahead and check out this website:

Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann - An Egyptian Pottery Seller near Gizeh

Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann – An Egyptian Pottery Seller near Gizeh


Really close to the Danish National Gallery you can find the Botanical Garden. The entrance is free with the exception of special events. It is worth a visit, especially for botany enthusiasts, since this is a research-based garden and you can even see endangered species in one of the greenhouses. You can find more information about the opening hours on this website: While you’re here, you can also visit the Geological Museum. It costs 40 Danish crowns (5.50 euros) for adults and 25 Danish crowns (3.5 euros) for students.


  1. Visit known landmarks

Copenhagen is a wonderful city filled with gorgeous architecture, parks, statues and it even has a well preserved fortress from the 17th century. Here are some of the more notorious and fascinating attractions that you can enjoy in Copenhagen while strolling around the city:


  • The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid


You cannot come to Copenhagen and not pay a visit to Edvard Eriksen’s Little Mermaid. Sadly, the small statue has suffered at the hands of vandals throughout the years – people have especially thrown paint over her for some reason. Luckily the Danish authorities have restored her every time.


  • Nyhavn Harbor

Nyhavn Harbor


This is a popular place for tourists and therefore it is always packed. And one can understand why: the colorful houses, the sweet smell of Danish pancakes, and the lovely breeze. Some people are also flocking to the place due to the fact that H.C. Andersen lived here at No. 67. Definitely worth a visit.


  • The new Opera House

Opera House


A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation donated the new Opera House to the Danish state in 2000 and it is one of the most expensive Opera Houses ever built. You can find it right across the Amelienborg Palace.


  • Kastellet (17th century star shaped fortress)

View from the ramparts


You can take a walk (or even jog, if you feel like it) on the fortress’ ramparts. There are also many species of birds that you can watch or photograph on or around the moat. Or you can just take a nice breather and enjoy the view. It truly is a lovely place and one of my favorite from Copenhagen.


  • Former Stock Exchange of Denmark or Børsen



A really eye-catching building that dates back to 1640. It is said that the spire is made of four dragon tails because they were meant to protect the building against fires. Consequently, it is still standing. So far so good.


  • Freetown Christiania

In order to genuinely experience this place, you need to see it to believe it – people live here by their own laws. Christiania is a funky mix of nature, music, workshops, art galleries, music venues and well… green. A noteworthy thing, for your own safety, is to leave the camera in your backpack while here. Either way, if you want to see a different side of Copenhagen, this is the place to go. But, “beware! Here be dragons.”


All the sightings that I have managed to pack in such a short time have resulted in this: I’ve loved every minute of my time in this amazing city and three days certainly weren’t enough. Until next time, beloved Copenhagen.


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