Canal with boats in Denmark

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Copenhagen isn’t know as the cheapest city to visit, especially the accomodation part of visiting. While it is expensive, I still think you are able to visit without putting a major dent in your wallet. I’ll give you tips on how to save money on a canal tour, where to stay, free museums, and places to eat that still allow for an incredible foodie experience (which Copenhagen is also known for. This is your guide on things to see in Copenhagen Denmark on a Budget. 

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Best Food Markets In Copenhagen

With the highest Michelin Star Restaurants per capita (next to Japan), Copenhagen is certainly a high quality foodie town you must explore. The best way to do that on a budget is to visit the many food markets that dot the city. The food markets can be a bit outside the city, they also vary in the type of food and items they offer as well as the type of exposure to the elements - so here is a brief run down, so you can choose which one to visit during your stay. 


Address: Refshalevej 167, 1432 København, Denmark

Located right on the waterfront, Reffen is the food market you visit for the street food ultimate experience. The vendors here are passionate artisans food that combine cultures with an entertaining experience. This is the largest Northern Europe street food market

If you are looking for where locals hang, and want to get inspired with the newest chefs in the street food mecca of Copenhagen then this is your spot. 

Here you will find Afghan, Senegalese, Gambian, Malaysian, Thai, Nepalese, swiss cheeses, savory and sweet French Crepes, Argentinian BBQ, British style fish and chips, Belgian sweets on a stick, Kurdish BBQ, Kaburi Sushi, Iranian dishes, Mexican, Moroccan, and New Nordic Cuisine - the list could go on and on and on, but no matter where you are from, you will likely find some sort of home treats with a twist here. 


Address: Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København K

This food market will accost the senses with mouthwatering delights and variety. Our guide also recommended this food market for the variety (but Reffen for the experience). There are vegetable stands, flower shops, vegan cream puffs, sourdough pastries, UNIKA cheeses, baking tools, Spanish tapas, Oysters, sandwiches, soups, Jian Bing Crepes and a huge emphasis on sustainability and organic produce from locals. 

If you are on a budget, or just want to save some money by eating at your accommodation - this is a great place to get local produce. Torvehallen is right next to Nørreport St, which is a 20 minute walk from Copenhagen Central Station. 

Tivoli Food Hall

Address: Bernstorffsgade 3, 1577 København, Denmark

Located right downtown right next to Tivoli Gardens, this food hall is a bit more on the traditional side of things (think of it like a food mall). It is indoors, so if visiting during rainy weather or blistering hot days - it can offer a reprieve from the elements. The food hall is free to enter, but to get into the gardens you do have to pay the $39 fee just to enter. 

Inside the hall you will find burgers, Pizza, a roof-top sushi restaurant, coffee bar, Tex-Mex, Icelandic, Bobbabella will provide the unique burgers and sandwiches with the odd add ins like kimichi, turnips, parmesean fries, salmon, kewpie mayo or salmon roe. Make sure to grab the Yuzu Lemonade, apparently it is a local classic. 

Bridge Street Kitchen

Address: Strandgade 95, 1401 København, Denmark

Located right across the bridge near Nyhavn and Christiana, this street kitchen provides world class food on a budget. This is also where you will find Popl Burger, started by the NOMA chef that has won numerous awards. If you are looking for delicious food, then this is the one to go to - while the prices are a bit steeper than the other food markets it is worth it for the view over the harbor. The number of stalls is around 15-20, but the location is closer to the city center than Reffen or Torvehallen.

Here you will find a more organic focus on food delivery (because of being backed by NOMA I would expect nothing less). You can find stalls like California Kitchen, GRØD, Gasoline Grill, Pizza Bro, Kejser Sausage, Dhaba, Haddock’s, Palægade, Will at the Bridge, MAC-CIK by IBU and Barabba. 

There are some surprise pop-up cocktail hours, only on certain Fridays that aren't really advertised where they host Bar & Bølger. Basically Bar & Bølger is where cocktail masters from around the world get together and concoct different drinks for purchase, but also provide some free samples for those lucky patrons visiting. 

Canal with boat - Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget


When you come to Copenhagen the first stop I suggest is an early morning visit to Nyhaven Harbour, meaning ‘New Harbor’. While it is a very touristy area, it is the classic Copenhagen card everyone gets with the colorful houses in the background. 

Built by King Christian the 5th in the 17th century, the Harbour houses many historical wooden boats near King’s Square. In fact, it is considered a Veteran ship and museum harbor. 

This particular harbor was notorious for beers, bars, scallywags, sailors, and prostitutes. However, not everyone who lived here was notorious for trouble, the famous author Hans Christen Anderson who wrote The Little Mermaid and Thumbelina lived in house 10 at first, then moved to 67, and lastly in house 18 for the last years of his life collecting tales from these folk that he turned into stories. You can see a memorial plaque on the house commemorating his time here. 

House #9 is the oldest of the colorful townhomes dating back to 1681. If you turn to the southern side of the harbor you can see mansions of the wealthy that live here, and on the corner you will find Charlottesburg Palace. 

Today it houses both trendy people and patrons who love to visit the longest bar in Scandinavia. You can find cafes, music and dancing available here 24 hours a day. 

The anchor you see at the end of the harbor honors the 1,700 sailors and officers for Denmark that gave their lives during WWII. 

Free tour in Denmark

Free City Tour

Stop by the City Hall and pick out the people in bright pink hats and umbrellas. They give you a quick and free tour of the city and payment is voluntary and donation based. The tour is about 1.5 hours long and really informational. It gives a good blueprint on how to spend the rest of your time. 

We ended up doing the 'Politically Incorrect Copenhagen Tour' and I've never laughed so hard during a tour. While it certainly isn't one for kids, I do highly recommend it for adults with a warped sense of humor. It gives you insight into the begrudgings and mumblings of locals that you don't often get on other tours. You can also get some insider tips on places to visit instead of the tourist traps. 

If you want a little preview of the tour be sure to check out my video on Youtube about Unique Things To See In Copenhagen

While the 'Free Tours' are technically free, it is recommended to bring about $15 to $20 tip per person in local currency if possible - we all gotta pay bills and these folks don't just do it for the hell of it. 

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Free Museum Entry in Copenhagen

The museums in Copenhagen are free on Wednesdays, so if you love history (like me) then make sure to check these museums out. 

  • The Glyptothek: This is Copenhagen's top museum, and has the largest collection of art and sculptures in Denmark. 
  • Carlsberg Brewery: While it is better to have a guide for this one to make sense of the large complex, this is where you can see the Elephant Gate, grab a gasoline Grill burger, see a stone lighthouse and where Yeast for pale Lager was discovered. 
  • The David Collection: Free entry to see some of the best Danish 18th Century art. 
Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Tips For Eating On A Budget

Just going for a drink here can be quite expensive, I highly suggest bringing a reusable water bottle and filling up whenever you see a water fountain. Even getting tap water at a restaurant is around 2-3 Euros. You can usually fill up you water bottle at the various parks around the city for free if you don't want to go all the way back to your hotel. Even a soft drink in Denmark will set you back about 8 Euros at a restaurant, and more if you buy one in a bottle or can from a store. If you return the soda bottle, you do get some change back to recycle it. 

A simple dish and drink is about 25 Euros, a Cappuccino is around 5 Euros. I would try to hit some of the food stands if you are on a budget, it isn't fantastic food, but fills you up and gets you by. A great street food eat is in Reffen, near the harbor. You can get some delicious food here for about 10 Euros. Bakery croissants only cost about 3-4 Euros as well. A typical 'fast food' for the Danish is also Polser, basically a hot dog that costs about 5 Euros. 

Bring your own instant coffee, powdered creamer, and sugar if that is how you like it, and make it in your hotel room. 

I always bring some protein bars for breakfast and/or lunch, eating 'in' while traveling can also help save money as well. That way you can splurge a bit on a nice dinner and still be able to experience the culture of Copenhagen through the food. 

Vesterbro - Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Wander Through Norrebro and Vesterbro

Where old meets new, the trendy laid back area captures the uniquely Danish word called Hyggae. Hyggae is basically a word to encourage 'chilling out' and taking life at a more relaxed place. No wonder people here are considered the happiest in the world. These neighborhoods are very relaxed during the daytime, but at night this is where you will also find some of the best nightlife in Copenhagen with plenty of bars and pubs to choose from. 

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Take A Water Bus Instead 

With your train day ticket, you can hop on a water bus boat and cruise the harbor like the touristic boats do and save yourself about 14 to 23 Euros doing so. If you get train pass, it will cover the water bus tours and for a full 24 hours costs about $23. The passes can be anywhere from a few hours to a full day or a whole week, just depends on your budget and how long you will be staying in Copenhagen. The passes include utilizing the trains, buses, and water taxis so it really is worth it.  

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

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This former railway station space itself if broken up into three different zones: The Red Square, The Black Market, and The Green Park. 

The Red Square covering a wide public walkway in angular neon pink, orange, and red shapes. This area is supposed to represent recreation and modern living in Copenhagen. 

The Black Market consists of black asphalt which has a series of tight white lines that curve and zag across the square. In the center you can find a shiny black abstract octopus. You can also find a fountain, BBQ grills, and lounge like area where locals meet - it is said to represent a sort of living room. 

Green Park is supposed to represent nature, with rolling hills, carefully manicured trees in all shapes and sizes, and areas for walking the dog.

This Superkilen Park is a bit like walking through an artists playground, with all the shapes, colors, amenities, and different themes and lamps and features that were inspired from 50 different countries. There is a bench from Brazil, a street lamp from Iraq, palm trees from China, a trash can from England. It is an assault on the imagination, and boy does it help it run wild with creative ideas. So if you are a creator, artist, or just like to admire imagination on display - then I wouldn't skip this place. 

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Tivoli Park

Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843, is the second-oldest amusement park in the world (after nearby Dyrehavsbakken, which opened in 1583).

Tivoli, with its merry-go-round and boat rides, resident symphony orchestra, and Chinese harlequin theater (which is designed like a peacock), is the most visited amusement park in Scandinavia. At night its gardens lit up with thousands of tiny colorful lights.

King Christian VIII commissioned Georg Cartensen to build the amusement park with the justification of funds being, "When people are amused, they do not think about polotics". 

Famous folks that you may recognize played music here include Michael Jackson and the Beatles, and was a major source of inspiration for Walt Disney creating Disneyland. 

The Star Flyer, The flying Trunk, and Rutschebanen, which is the oldest roller coaster in Europe that is still in use. To ride the rides you do have to either pay for each ride individually at the entrance of the ride with a card - OR (my recommendation - is to buy a ride pass so you can ride all the rides. 

As of 2024 Ticket Prices at Tivoli are: 

Ride Pass AND an Entrance ticket together will cost around $61 (419 DKK)

Ride Pass only is $44 (299 DKK)

Entrance Ticket only is $21 (140 DKK)

Individual rides will cost you anywhere from $9 to $13 per ride and there are 30 rides in Tivoli, this includes a haunted house. 

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

The Little Mermaid

Located at Langelinie Pier you will find a very SMALL 4ft tall (child-like) statue of Hans Christen Anderson’s Little Mermaid Statue. It was erected in 1913 and quickly became an icon of this city. She stares longingly out to catch a glimpse of her beloved prince to return to her. Despite the hardship of waiting, she has also endured quite a bit of vandalism, head lopped off a few times, arm sawed off, and paint poured on her — honestly, what is wrong with people….

To get to the Little Mermaid statue you will need to either take the water taxi or the train. I recommend the water taxi because it is a way to save money on seeing the coastal waters of Copenhagen vs a canal tour. A full day for a ticket on public transport is around $23 (as of 2024) and this does include the water taxi. JUST MAKE SURE you get on the correct water taxi, unlike us, and we ended up having to take the train anyway. Make sure you take the 992 water taxi if you are coming from Nyhaven to see the statue, 991 takes you in the opposite direction, but there are no postings saying which boat takes you where (that I could find). 

It is really easy to use public transport in Copenhagen, once you get to the Østerport station, where some people say you can take a bus then a 10 minute walk, or you can just walk about 30 minutes to the mermaid. Keep in mind that the walk is in full exposure to the sun to get there and in the heat of summer can get quite hot to do so. 

Across from the Little Mermaid Statue is also the power plant of Copenhagen, that also doubles as a rock climbing and skiing location. Talk about efficient use of space (albiet a bit odd to ski and climb at a power plant). 

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Genetically modified Mermaid

Location: Langelinie Alle 17 Copenhagen

Along with contorted abstract sculptures of Adam, Eve, Mary Magdalene, Christ, a pregnant man, and the genetically Modified Little Mermaid - commissioned in 2006 by Bjorn Norgaard - a professor at the nearby Fine Arts School. These statues are said to take a look at the provocative and humorous postmodern society (in politically correct terms), really the GM-Mermaid looks like a big middle finger to the Little Mermaid - it is quite comical in my opinion. 

To get to the GM-Mermaid it is about a 15 minute walk from the original Little Mermaid statue. So if you're in the area take a gander. 

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Agneta & The Merman

Right near to Christiansborg Palace and Borsen is a different type of mermaid statue, other than the famous Little Mermaid statue near Osteport. This one is right off of Slotsholm Canal next to the Højbro Bridge, and is a tale of Agnete, who fell in love with a merman. 

With promises of love and unending adoration she left her land family and lived with him, having seven sons. One day she heard the bells of her old church, and became curious. After inquiring, she learned it was in honor of her father who had died of heartbreak while searching for her. An overwhelming homesickness took over her, and she abandoned her seafaring family and never returned. 

The statue is of her forlorn merman reaching up to the land with his seven sons, pining after his lost love.

Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

Go For A Swim

Islands Brygge Harbor Bath one of the most visited is located at Islands Brygge, right across the bridge from the city centre. Sandkaj Harbour bath is an official bathing zone in the new Nordhavn quarter, where the boardwalk, the cafés and bathing guests create a lovely beach vibe. Harbour bath Sluseholmen is a small but beautifully designed area with swimming facilities in the southern part of Copenhagen’s harbour.

Budget Accommodation in Denmark

Saving On Accomodation

Compare and contrast your rates and different hostels and hotels and at different times of the year. If you are going in the summer, expect hotels to be around 200 Euros per night (easily) for a three star hotel or lower. A hostel can still run you about $125 to $175 per night in a 3-4 person room, for a larger dorm room you can drop that to 50 Euros per night. 

getting around Copenhagen on a budget Ferry

How To Get Around Copenhagen

The easiest way to get around Copenhagen is with their public transport. There isn’t a lot of parking in the city itself, and if there is a parking spot it is very much regulated and costs quite a bit. If you get a Copenhagen card it can include public transport on that, in addition to  the multiple museums and locations around Copenhagen. 

If you don’t want to get a Copenhagen Card, then you can also get a 24 hour pass if you are only there for a short time. The public transport tickets does include the water buses or water taxi’s that take you to the different islands surrounding Copenhagen. This is a great way to save on a ‘canal tour’ - while you may not get the historical commentary, it does allow you to see the coastline at around $23 or 160 DKK. 

Nyhavn sign - Things To See In Copenhagen Denmark On A Budget

My takeaway of Things To See In Copenhagen On a Budget

Copenhagen will put a dent in your wallet, no matter what you decide to do - but if you take some of the tips and tricks I’ve gone over here then you can escape without using a credit card. Try to book accomodation as far ahead as you can, utilize public transport, visit the amazing food markets, and if all else fails utilizing Airbnb experiences. 

I know you will love Copenhagen, please let me know if you would add any money saving tips in the comments below so we can all help each other out. 

Happy travels, never stop exploring and I’ll see you on YouTube and social media @culturetrekking.

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My name is Janiel, a leader in the travel industry with over 20+ years of experience with international travel. I specialize in solo female travel, cultural connections, sustainable adventures, food and history to help make your travel experiences fun, meaningful, and delicious. My experience in travel, and my personal story have allowed me to get published in Fodor's TravelAtlas Advisor, and multiple Podcast interviews. You can find me on pretty much every social media channel YouTubeInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterestTikTok.  To read more about me and my story click here. If you are a brand and would like to work with me, click here