While the Danish capital might try its best to lure us in with its colorful waterside buildings, glistening harbor, impressive museums, and photogenic royal residences, tourists have never been able to overlook the fact that - like the majority of major Scandinavian cities - Copenhagen is extremely expensive. Right? Well, not quite.

With a touch of local guidance, visitors can actually experience the City of Spires and keep their accountant happy at the same time. A number of Copenhagen's leading attractions are budget-friendly, if not entirely free, and believe it or not, you can even dine out from time to time without breaking the bank.

10 Take a Canal tour

The shimmering waterways of Copenhagen might not attract the same widespread attention as the heavily-postcarded Venice or Amsterdam, however, the Danish capital’s intertwining canals are as picturesque as any. One of the best ways to explore the city is by sailing along the larger of said canals, and contrary to popular expectation, it’s a penny-pinching way to do so as well.

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There are multiple options available to visitors, the cheapest of which costs the equivalent of about $5. Aside from the stunning surrounds, you’ll also learn a thing or two about the city’s layout and history as well.

9 Check out the Tivoli gardens

While it will set you back about a $15 entry fee, that’s really not too much to ask considering that a visit to Copenhagen’s Tivoli gardens feels like you’re stepping into a fairytale world. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the city, and for good reason - it offers a unique, inviting blend of amusement park and picturesque, relaxing garden.

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As a little bonus, if you’re fortunate enough to be visiting during the warmer months, free concerts are put on during each Friday - in the past, names like Sting, 30 Seconds To Mars, and even Elton John have performed (again, for free!)

8 Visit the picturesque King’s Garden

Speaking of gardens, our next penny-pinching stop on our tour of this sublime city is Kongens Have, translated word for word to ‘King’s Garden’. There is no shortage of palaces and castles in the region, however, this one, with its sophistication, classic Danish architectural design, and stunning garden, stakes its claim as one of the most beautiful.

While the summertime is the prime season to take a stroll through the blooming rose garden, as long as it’s not covered in thick layers of snow, the King’s Garden is always ready to pose for your photos.

7 See the city light up on Culture Night

Locally known as Kulturnatten, Copenhagen’s Culture Night is one of the highlights of the festive annual calendar. Unfortunately, it usually only rolls around once per year, generally during October (in 2019 it falls on Friday the 11th) - however, the city has recently implemented a ‘Little Culture Night’ which takes over the streets in the spring as well.

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If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the right place at the right time, most of the city’s main attractions are open to the public, all under one Culture Pass (about $15) - museums, art centers, public offices, castles, you name it. Plus, transport runs free until 5am.

6 Observe the changing of the guards

We had a glimpse at the King’s Gardens earlier but now it’s time for the Queen to strut her stuff. Every day, at 12pm on the dot, visitors and locals alike can witness the spectacular, somewhat comical changing of the royal guards outside Amalienborg - the official residence of the Queen and the royal family.

If your thirst for royal flair is yet to be quenched, there’s also the opportunity to take a peek inside the castle through the Amalienborg museum - if you’ve got your hands on an all-inclusive Copenhagen Card, it’s free.

5 Stroll through the unique Botanical Gardens

What’s the deal with Copenhagen and gardens? Well, technically Tivoli was an amusement park, so we’ll throw one more garden into the mix. Unlike most botanical gardens, over in the Dutch capital, they’re divided into so-called rooms - each room has a varying temperature and humidity level, which is intended to represent various geographical locations around the world (and of course, the plants in each section differ).

The best part is that a visit to this informative, picturesque locale won’t cost you a thing. Plus, if you’re exploring the city during the colder months, it’s a great opportunity to find some warmer weather.

4 Say hello to the *Little* Mermaid

As you can tell by the photo, the Little Mermaid isn’t trying to be anything it’s not - it really is little. When regularly pictured, it seems grand, overlooking the shimmering water, however, in reality, many tourists are actually disappointed when they discover the Hans Christian Andersen-inspired statue.

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As long as you go in with realistic expectations and are prepared to wait for the other tourists to snap their selfies too, the Little Mermaid remains an icon of the city and would be a fitting addition to any social media feed. As a bonus, the background views are rather impressive in their own right.

3 Bike around like a local!

It wouldn’t be a trip to Copenhagen without at least a couple of hours exploring the city on two wheels - and we’re not talking electric scooters or mopeds, it’s all about the good ol’ pushbike in the Danish capital.

While most locals have their own bikes, tourists can very easily access Bycyklen, the city-wide bike system. They usually rent for about 30 DKK an hour (around $4-$5), however, they come with the added draw of a touchscreen tablet that showcases all of the nearby attractions through its in-built GPS.

2 See it all from above

Unlike some infamous European cities that receive heavy amounts of tourist traffic like London, Paris, and Madrid, Copenhagen has a relatively subtle, innocuous skyline. That being said, there are still a number of opportunities to soak in impressive views of the city from above.

One of the most popular options is the Tårnet tower at Christiansborg Palace, however, if your legs are already feeling like jelly from all that cycling and prefer to avoid the stairs, then the top of the Rundetårn or Round Tower, which each have motorized ramps, will do just fine. The former is free, and while the others aren’t, they’re still very much affordable/

1 Head to the budget-friendly eateries

Sure, it’s all well and good to hit up all of the notable points of interest but we still have to eat! It’s no secret that Copenhagen is rather expensive, especially when it comes to food - however, if you know where to go and where to avoid (plus can cook a couple of meals at the hotel/AirBNB), then it can be far more affordable than first thought.

Dalle Valle is an all-you-can-eat buffet that won’t break the bank, Sunset Boulevard has cheap-as-chips burgers, there are plenty of street carts and hotdogs stands dotted around the city, and you can find yourself some better-than-Dominos quality takeaway pizzas for around 60 DKK (less than $10 USD).

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