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Copenhagen on the cheap

Scandinavia, the sub-continent known for its beauty, cleanliness, beautiful inhabitants and expensive living. We’ve compiled a weekend itinerary from the things that we did that will help you explore the beautiful city of Copenhagen as cheaply as possible. If you like to booze, and are happy to drink where you stay then the first bit of advice is buy some alcohol at the airport to save the pennies. Alcohol is THE most expensive thing to purchase, and if you flew with the low-cost airlines, a bottle is probably more expensive than your flights were!

When you arrive take Nyhavn on while it’s light still. THE place for your Instagram shots, the beauty of the coloured houses and docked vessels is just not easy to explain, it’s so much more beautiful in person! Wonder around Nyhavn, stop for waffles if you fancy and walk up to the edge of the harbour. Price: Free.

Tivoli Gardens
Depending on the time of year and your personal preference for wooden rollercoasters, Tivoli Gardens is a great place to go. We went just to check out one of the world’s oldest roller coasters, built out of wood in 1914…and I totally chickened out of going on it! It’s a cool place to go, but unless you’re really in to theme parks it is definitely missable. Price: 160DKK (£19) for entrance to the Gardens, 60DKK (£7) for the roller coaster.

Torvenhallerne Market
Torvenhallerne Market is one of the most wonderful European markets, full of food. If you’ve got an Airbnb it’s the best place to go to get ingredients for your dinner, but if not, or you don’t fancy cooking, it’s a fabulous place to walk through, see what’s on offer (it’s all so pretty), and watch old ladies, local hipsters and famous chefs go and source their ingredients. Price: Free

Walking tour

Copenhagen is another of the cities that has a few different companies that do walking tours. We again, went with Sandemans, and found out all about the diverse history of the city and how it has been destroyed multiple times by fires. The walking tour we did was about 3 hours, but they did stop for a particularly long time for a break in the middle. If you’re doing it, make sure you do an earlier one so you have time to enjoy other things on the Saturday too. Price: Free, you tip as much as you can afford.

Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace is the most beautiful place. It is where the Danish Parliament sit and the Royal Reception rooms are. We managed to get in to the Palace for free by accident as their computer systems had crashed, and we spent the time looking at the library rooms and reception rooms where we pretended to waltz like we were in a Disney movie (NB. We definitely don’t now how to waltz). You can get in to the tower and the church of the royal family for free, and the tower has some amazing sights of Copenhagen, and you can see across the water into Sweden! Time it right and you can get a free tour round most of Christiansbourg, but the irregularity and specificity of these meant we missed them! Price: Free.

Personally, I love Christiania, but admittedly I will only go to have a look around in the light, I feel that the atmosphere changes after dark and it feels less safe. However, during the day Christiania is the best place to visit, a “Free Town” established in 1971 by squatters taking over what used to be a military base. It is a huge place, with many trails to follow through the nature reserve and by the lake; there’s street art that East London would be proud of; there are markets and venues and workshops going on every day, and the notorious weed dealers as it is unpoliced and weirdly legal in an illegal way. Go and have a look at what an entirely different way of life is like. Price: Free.

War Pigs
Although the rest of the recommendations for places to eat and drink come at the end, War Pigs is somewhere you need to make sure you make an evening out of. A huge warehouse full of benches and tables, that serves a huge range of draught craft beer and slow cooked meat. Most of which is cooked in their own smoker. A fantastic atmosphere, brilliant for meeting locals and tourists alike, just don’t go if you don’t eat meat AND don’t drink, there will be very little for you to do. Price: really reasonable for the quality.

Botanical Gardens

Slap bang in the middle of Copenhagen is the Botanical Gardens. It was stabilised in 1600, but moved to where it is now in 1870. The garden, again season dependent, has more than 13000 species, but the most impressive part, aside from the beauty of the gardens, is the Old Glasshouse. Looking like it belongs in something out of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s collection of buildings, the 1874 Old Palm House is the most impressive. With cast iron spiral staircases up to the roof, and an environment that makes rainforest plants feel happy even in the Copenhagen winter, it’s really impressive. Keep exploring through the gardens as there are 27 glasshouses in the gardens, one of which houses arctic plants! Wrap up! Price: Free

Carlsberg factory
Visit Carlsberg is a little way out of Copenhagen but very easy to get to. Of all the things on the list aside from Nyhavn it’s probably the most busy. You have a guide round parts, learn the history of the family and get to try some of the amazing beer – that is NOTHING like the Carlsberg we get in the UK, honest! There’s a shuttle bus that takes you there from the city centre between March and December. Price: about £10 for the entry just to the museum which comes with 2 taster beers.

Recommendations for reasonably priced food and drink:
Atelier September – healthy, small and chic and reasonably priced. Favoured by locals.

Danish local meals:
Aamann’s deli and take away: does what it says on the tin!
Chicky Grill – a good few steps up from Sam’s chicken

Sticks and Sushi – expensive but incredibly beautiful food that filled us up and was perfect for celebrating special occasions.

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