Copenhagen Rewards Tourists With Free Meals, Drinks, and Activities In Exchange for Sustainable Actions 

CopenPay brings an innovative sustainable tourism initiative to Denmark's capital.

Copenhagen has long been a leader in sustainability, consistently ranking among the world’s most eco-friendly cities. This summer, the city takes a bold step forward with the launch of CopenPay, a groundbreaking initiative that encourages tourists to embrace sustainable practices by rewarding them with cultural experiences. 

From July 15 to August 11, CopenPay aims to bridge the gap between tourists’ desire to act sustainably and their actual behavior, transforming green actions into currency for enriching experiences across the city.

Copenpay image woman biking on street in Copenhagen
Courtesy | VisitCopenhagen

The Concept of CopenPay

CopenPay, introduced by Wonderful Copenhagen, the capital region’s official tourism organization, seeks to make sustainability an integral part of the tourist experience. Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO at Wonderful Copenhagen, emphasizes the importance of this initiative: “We want visitors to make conscious, green choices and hopefully end up getting even better experiences while they visit. Through CopenPay, we aim to incentivize tourists’ sustainable behavior while enriching their cultural experience of our destination.” 

The simplicity of CopenPay allows easy participation. Tourists can show proof of green actions—such as train tickets, bike rides, or participation in cleanup efforts—to redeem rewards like guided museum tours, free kayak rentals, and organic meals made from local produce. This innovative system not only enhances the tourist experience but also aligns with Copenhagen’s values of promoting sustainability.

It’s significant to note that the initiative is not intended to increase tourism. Aarø-Hansen continues, “With CopenPay, we’re empowering people to experience more of what Copenhagen offers while placing less burden on our planet. It’s about creating meaningful and memorable experiences that are enjoyable and environmentally responsible.”

Courtesy | VisitCopenhagen

How Does It Work?

Participating is simple. Get rewarded by CopenPay attractions for eco-friendly behaviors, including cycling, walking, using public transport, and volunteering. Show proof of your action, such as a train ticket or a photo of you biking, at the participating attractions to redeem rewards. 

Skier on grass slope in downtown Copenhagen
Courtesy | VisitCopenhagen

What Types of Rewards Can I Earn? 

Experiences range from restaurant perks, urban adventures, and rich cultural experiences. 

Need a refreshment? Get a complimentary glass of rosé and pétanque ball rental at Langelinieskuret, grab a cold drink on Level Six’s rooftop terrace, or enjoy a free cup of coffee after a hearty round of jumping in the canal and singing with new friends at Kanalhuset. 

Hungry? Join the locals for a collective breakfast at Absalon, savor a vegetarian lunch at Øens Have, or a free homemade organic meal at BaneGaarden. 

Ready for adventure? Earn some extra ski time on Copenhill’s grassy slope, borrow a GreenKayak for free, power up after windsurfing with a complimentary panini, or pedal around the city on a free Donkey Republic bike.  

Take a look at the complete list of 24 participating attractions, which includes The National Museum and The National Gallery of Denmark, to see what your sustainable actions can get you across the city and to discover which attractions require advanced booking.   

Kayakers on the water on a Green Kayak in Copenhagen
Courtesy | Daniel Rasmussen

Impact on Sustainable Tourism

CopenPay is more than just an incentive program; it represents a shift in how tourism can contribute to environmental sustainability. By encouraging the use of bicycles and public transportation, CopenPay helps reduce carbon emissions and promotes greener modes of travel. The initiative also underscores the importance of trust, as participants are generally expected to self-report their green actions—a reflection of Danish society’s high trust levels.

Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, praises the initiative: “By converting green actions into currency for cultural experiences, tourists are given a unique opportunity to explore Copenhagen in a way that benefits both the environment and the local community. This aligns perfectly with our values and ambitions to promote sustainable solutions in Copenhagen.”

Courtesy | Daniel Rasmussen

Looking Ahead

While CopenPay is currently a pilot project, its potential for long-term impact is significant. The success of this initiative could inspire other cities worldwide to adopt similar programs, transforming tourism into a force for positive environmental change. After assessing the success of the pilot project, Copenhagen could see a future where CopenPay becomes a year-round feature, potentially fostering a global movement towards sustainable travel.

Check the CopenPay website for the full details and FAQ. 

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