What do you do when you visit one of the most expensive cities around the globe? In Copenhagen, Denmark there are certain earmarked strategies that can help you keep your travel expenses to a minimum.

Rent a bike


Cab fares can definitely burn a hole through your wallets, and renting a car is even more expensive. If you really want to save up, you should rent a bike. Copenhagen is a bike-friendly city. There are bike racks across the city where you can rent these dark blue solid wheels. You might want to check out the train stations: the Metro and the central Norreport stations to be exact.

These bike owners also ask for a deposit of 20 crowns. Don’t worry. They’ll give this back to you as soon as you return the bike. You might also want to brush up on your hand signals before you make the trip.

Exploring the museums


Once you’re tired of the great outdoors, you can visit Copenhagen’s many museums. Some of them give free passes at least once a week. Highlights include the Thorvaldsen’s Museum which is a labyrinthine structure housing Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original sculptures. This museum lets people in for free on Wednesdays.

The Ny Calrsberg Glyptoteket, on the other hand, gives free passes on Sundays. The collection is a fine mix of both artifact and artwork. Once you’re tired of the displays, the site is also great for people watching.

Denmark’s National Museum is at the heart of the city, close enough to the touristy canals and the Parliament Building or Christiansborg Slot. Both attractions can be enjoyed for free.

Enjoy free music from cafes

If you’re in Copenhagen on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays, you should check out the cafes nearby. Most of them have bands playing and they don’t ask for cover charges. All you have to do is order a drink and park yourself in a table to enjoy free, live music.

The non-profit joints of Café  Zussamen and Café Retro are good places to be in come the evening. They’re known for the local fold and rock bands. The drinks are also cheap, and the vibe, relaxed. The people you meet here might even shatter the preconceived “Nordic coldness” so stereotypically presented in most movies.

You will also want to visit Christiana. This “free town” has a lot of cafes, art galleries, and good music. Just be careful not to take any photos in Pusher Street. Other than that, though, you’re really free to do anything you like.

Throw crumbs to the swans


Another cheap way to spend the afternoon is to feed breadcrumbs to the swans. Just purchase a cheap bread from nearby grocery stores like Netto and frequent the lakes that make Copenhagen pretty all-year-round. There’s quite a number of them between the heart of the city and the funkier parts of Nørrebo.

Once you’re in Nørrebo, make sure that you check out Laundromat Café. This place is expat-friendly, and lets you have breakfast while doing your laundry. If you want to observe the demographics of Copenhagen, this is an interesting vantage point. Nearby, you’ll also glimpse vintage stores and the coolest art galleries in town.

Getting bread, not for the swans, but for yourself, can be a feat, unless you wake up early and make a run for it. Danish pastries are big here, too, and you’ll have to race against locals and other tourists to get a piece for yourself.

Postcard collecting


An inexpensive way to remember your trip to Denmark is to collect as many postcards as you can. It’s also a cheap way to spend half of the day. After all, most cafes give postcards away. If you’re in the mood to get in touch with friends, you might also want to pick one up doodle a hello at the back. Tell them about the interesting sights you’ve seen while enjoying your travel-worthy cup of Danish coffee.

Have a picnic

We’ve already established that Copenhagen (or Denmark in general) has two things they’re exceptionally proud of: their impressive landscape and their bread. What better way to combine two of the best things in Copenhagen than to go on a picnic? You may also want to grab yourself some strawberries and a bucket of cold beer.

There are plenty of benches in the town parks and squares. You can people-watch alone, go sunbathing, enjoy a good book, and you can be sure that you’re not the only person doing so. You can disappear into the crowd and see what Copenhagen is really about.

Go to the flea market

The Nørrebo district is fascinating, and one of its highlights is the flea market. You can find this every Saturdays. The merchants set up shop along the yellow wall of Assistens Kirkegard. This is right at the heart of Nørrebo. Just across the street, if you’re famished from all that shopping, you can visit a kebab shop or bars and ethnic markets.

The bars are seedy, though, so make sure you dress down. The most popular picks seem to be the Drone and the Understellet. While the Assistens Kirkegard itself is a cemetery (for philosophy buffs, this is the resting place of Soren Kirkegard), the site is gorgeous. You can just sit on the grass and think, or maybe read a good book, if you wish. It’s also a nice place for you to hang out with your travel companions.

Danish Hygge


The hygge can be loosely translated to “coziness”. However, when you’re in Copenhagen, this is the umbrella term for everything that’s nice. For a Danish tour on food, go to the Folkets Hus (The People’s House) which serves a “hygge” dinner every Monday at 6PM. They also serve it for brunch during Sundays at noon. The Overdrevet, on the other hand, serves the hygge on Thursdays, at 7PM.

Beach bumming


An inexpensive way to enjoy Copenhagen is also to hit the beach. Just hop onto the Metro train, take the M2 line going to Lufthaven airport, until you reach Amerget Strand. From this station, the beach is only a five-minute walk.

If you want to enjoy Copenhagen the way the Danish people do, take a daytrip to either Harbour Baths or Havnebadet, located at Islands Brygge. This enclosed pool has a diving board and is conveniently located at the south harbor. During the warmer months of the year, droves of locals go to this area for swimming, beer-drinking, and sun bathing. It’s a good spot to visit if you’re traveling with friends.

Canal tour


If you don’t mind the kitsch, a canal tour is also a good way to spend part of the day without busting your pockets. While it does cost 60 crowns, with a beer and good weather in the afternoon, it’s a nice way to survey the city as a whole. And yes, it is legal to drink in public at any time of the day when you’re in Copenhagen.

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