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Top 10 free things to do in Copenhagen

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Ignore Scandinavia’s expensive reputation – Copenhagen has plenty of things to do that don’t cost a thing. State art museums, bike hire, parks and all-night dance parties break the Scandinavian stereotype. Here are 10 of the best of free Copenhagen.

Free cycle hire in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is kind to cyclists and locals take advantage of the wide bike lanes lining most roads. Renting a two-wheeler is the best way to get around town quickly and is a healthier alternative to buses. The city’s free bikes can be hired at 110 bike racks around the city centre between April and November for a DKK20 deposit.

Preserved bog girl at the National Museum

The free National Museum's permanent prized exhibit is the embalmed body of the Bronze Age Egtved girl. Her 3,500-year-old preserved oak coffin has maintained her body, clothes, comb, bracelets and blonde hair eerily intact.

Frederiksholms Kanal 12, Copenhagen 1220

Pristine parklands in Copenhagen

Wake up early and experience the summer sun on your face with a walk around Orsteds park, Frederiksberg Garden or Vondelpark. Fountains, sculptures and street performers keep the interest high.

Free Sundays at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

After a bite in the glass-domed Winter Garden, explore the post- Impressionists’ gallery upstairs. As well as pieces by Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh, the museum has one of the world’s richest collections of Gaugins. Gaugin was married to a Dane, and the light captured in many of his paintings reflects the work of other Danish painters and of Denmark’s landscape itself.

Dantes Plads 7, 1556 Copenhagen

Swimming at Islands Brygge

Swimming right in the centre of downtown Copenhagen is the perfect way to cool off from the swelter of a Scandinavian summer. The waterfront Havneparken of this quiet residential neighbourhood, stretching from Langebro in the north to Bryggebroen in the south, is among Copenhagen’s most popular spots for taking a midday or evening dip.

Walk in Christiania

The hippie ‘free town’ of Christiania is free in every way. Spend a few hours in the area, filled with inventive murals and sculptures and abuzz with quirky characters.

Entrancing art at Denmark's National Gallery

The only museum in Denmark with 700 years of Western art and cultural history under one roof holds old masters such as Matisse. Lesser- known Danish works are equally astounding. Be transfixed by Danish painter J.F Willumsen's 1912 A Mountain Climber.

Sølvgade 48, 1307 København

Dance till dawn at Ideal Bar's Club Night

Copenhagen's trendy set comes out in droves to party at VEGA bar's street-level lounge. From Wednesdays to Saturdays the club hosts themed evenings, with free entry for all.

Enghavevej 40, 1674 Copenhagen

Changing of the guard at Amalienborg

Poker-faced guards change position every day of the year at noon outside the royal Amalienborg Palace. During the ‘Vagtparade’, the guards are relieved by colleagues arriving on foot from Rosenborg Castle. It’s a tradition accompanied by music if the queen or other royal family members are present at the palace.

Toldbodgade, 2200 Copenhagen

Art Previews at Larm Gallery

Get your fill of modern art at this recent addition to Copenhagen’s galleries. Most galleries hold free previews on Fridays from 5pm. Larm in Valby comprises five separate galleries and hosts free previews on Thursdays.

Bredgade 25F, 1st Floor, 1260 Copenhagen