Copenhagen is not exactly known for being a cheap place to visit, but much like any other city it can be – if you know what to do, where to stay and how to get the most value-for-money. From free museums and a well-functioning public transport system to cheap-yet-stylish hostels, Copenhagen can be a fantastic destination for travellers who want the adventure, but don’t want to or can’t spend their entire savings in one city. So here are some tips if you’re visiting Copenhagen on a budget:
Did you know that Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world? There are over 390 kilometres of bike lanes in the city and most Copenhageners prefer the bike over public transport or car. Not because they’re that environment-friendly, but because it’s the easiest way to get around. There are bike lanes everywhere! As a visitor, you can rent a bike (many of the hotels also offer free bikes for borrowing) and just get started. If you’re not up for biking, however, the public transport system here is pretty well-functioning as well. Although the metro isn’t as developed and huge as in Paris and London (or even Stockholm), it runs every other minute or so. If you miss one, you’re just in time for the next one. Buy a 24 or 72 hour City Pass and you can use buses, trains and the Metro in Copenhagen (get it here).
Where to stay
If you’re not up for couch surfing, a hostel is the cheapest way to stay in Copenhagen. Thankfully, there are many modern, clean and newly refurbished hostels, which also have a perfect location. Check these out for instance:
Copenhagen Downtown Hostel – located between Rådhuspladsen and Gammel Strand (where you’ll find the bars Ruby and Fugu, which I love), is this award-winning hostel which offers both private and shared rooms from 130 DKK/night.
Generator Hostel – the famous hostel chain has a prime location in Copenhagen with designer interior and fun events. Rooms from 140 DKK/night
Woodah Hostel – if you’re into yoga and clean living, this is the hostel for you. It’s located just by Copenhagen central station and offers daily free yoga for all staying guests and a daily organic breakfast. Namaste! (Closed during winter months)
What to do
There are many things that are free or cheap in Copenhagen that you can do. Go on a free walking tour and learn about Copenhagen and it’s history (if you like it, you can tip the guide). There are two to choose from: New Copenhagen Tours (which also offers a cheap pub crawl in the city) and Copenhagen Free Walking Tours. Hop on one of the harbour boat buses (for the cost of a single bus ticket, or for free with your City Pass) and go on a boat ride in the canals – a fun and cheap way to see the city. Are you a beer lover? Take a tour of Carlsberg for 85 DKK, which includes two beers or sodas. You can also visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens, situated just by Nørreport Station, visit one of the many free musems or wander around the “free city” of Christiania.
It’s not cheap to eat out in Copenhagen, particularly not in the City Centre. Head on over to Nørrebro and try a falafel in one of the many falafel joints on Nørrebrogade or, if you’re determined to stay in the city centre, you can try the really cozy book café Paludan, where you’ll get a hearty meal for under 100 DKK. Café Sonja is a volunteer based restaurant in Vesterbro with homecooked meals for every taste, with great vegetarian options and wallet-friendly prices. Up for some pizza? Try my second-favorite pizza place (after Mother in Kødbyen) Forno a legna in Frederiksberg (Falkoner Alle 42, 2000 Frederiksberg). You can eat there or get your order to go. Pizzas are really good, baked in a stone oven and cost around 50-60 DKK.
Top and bottom photo: Jacob Surland. Biking photo: Jan Jespersen. Used under Flickr Creative Commons license