Denmark’s New ‘CopenPay’ Program Gives Travel Freebies to Eco-Conscious Visitors

Denmark’s New ‘CopenPay’ Program Gives Travel Freebies to Eco-Conscious Visitors

Denmark’s New ‘CopenPay’ Program Gives Travel Freebies to Eco-Conscious Visitors

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Denmark’s New ‘CopenPay’ Program Gives Travel Freebies to Eco-Conscious Visitors

A new campaign from Wonderful Copenhagen is asking visitors to be as sustainable and eco-conscious as the city’s residents. And it’s giving free prizes and perks to visitors who agree.

The Copenhagen tourism board announced the new “CopenPay” initiative on July 8. For now, it’s a trial program, running from July 15 to August 11, 2024.  “Copenhagen attractions promote green actions,” reads the promotional video highlighting the program. The name comes from the fact that tourists can “pay” for perks and freebies at attractions by showing proof of an eco-friendly action. There’s no program to register for, no smartphone app to download, and really, no reason not to participate.

kayakers in copenhagen

Free kayak rentals are one of the many available perks for eco-friendly visitors to Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital. Photo: Visit Copenhagen/Daniel Rassmussen

As of mid-July, there are 24 businesses and attractions throughout the city participating in the program. They’re all marked on an interactive Google map, and each one has a different free perk — and a different green action you’ll need to take to get it. If the program goes well, the tourism board says it plans to add additional destinations, and hopefully expand into a year-round program in multiple cities.

With no phone app, sign ups, or even email address required to participate in CopenPay, proof that visitors “paid” with the appropriate eco-friendly action is determined by each individual location, Wonderful Copenhagen says — but they’ll almost always give travelers the benefit of the doubt. “Participants can show proof, such as train tickets or photos of themselves biking or participating in cleanup efforts,” says the release. “But generally, CopenPay is built on trust, just as Danish society is the most trusting in the world, according to PEW Research.”

Copenhagen’s reputation as a sustainability leader is backed by impressive statistics. The city has 340 miles of designated bike paths, and half its residents commute to work or school by bicycle.. This cycling culture has slashed car usage and fossil fuel dependence, contributing to Copenhagen’s goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025.

But the city’s commitment extends beyond individual responsible decisions, and government initiatives play a major role. Copenhagen has electric harbor ferries, energy plants that convert waste to power, and an impressive commitment to organic food and local sourcing. (In Copenhagen’s public buildings, nearly 90 percent of food served is organic.) Those initiatives and many more have landed Denmark and Copenhagen on many lists of the most sustainable cities and countries in the world, from organizations like the Global Destination Sustainability Movement, the Green Future Index, Time Out, and Matador Network.

The best CopenPay freebies and perks

Copenpay skier at copenhill

Photo: Visit Copenhagen

With 24 attractions in the program ranging from museums to farms to kayak rental companies, CopenPay is likely to have something to appeal to almost all travelers. But the businesses below represent some of the highest-value and most unique perks available in the program.

  • Get a free organic lunch when you volunteer at Øens Have, the largest organic urban garden in all of northern Europe (and home to a fantastic restaurant).
  • Arrive by bike to marketplace and social hall Langelineskuret and get a free glass of wine, plus a free pétanque ball rental set to play on the rooftop terrace courts. (It’s similar to bocce ball).
  • Visitors to Copenhill, the city’s human-made hillside park that hides a power plant, will get extra time on the outdoor “ski” hill on the building’s roof. It’s really skiing, but on turf, not snow.
  • Green Kayak offers absolutely free kayak rentals for visitors who pick up trash while they’re on the water (and share the experience on social media).

clopenpay bike rental

Photo: Visit Copenhagen

  • Get 45 minutes of free city bike rentals from Donkey Republic rentals just by pledging to engage in sustainable behavior while visiting. It’s on the honors system.
  • Help clean up litter in Fælledparken, the largest park in the city, and get free coffee and a pastry.
  • Bike or take public transportation to the National Museum, and you’ll get a free ice cream with your ticket purchase.
  • Volunteer for an hour in the gorgeous gardens of the Karen Blixen Museum, and you’ll get free admission to the site.

Note that some activities and offerings are only available during certain days or times, and others may require reservations. So browse the CopenPay activity page in advance of your visit to the city, especially since new attractions may be added throughout the summer.

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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