Copenhagen on a Budget // A Weekend in Copenhagen Without Going Broke

/Copenhagen on a Budget // A Weekend in Copenhagen Without Going Broke

Copenhagen on a Budget // A Weekend in Copenhagen Without Going Broke

I like to think of myself as a balanced traveler. I’ll splurge on a unique experience or a beautiful hotel and then eat stale bread to recoup my losses. Or I’ll Couchsurf and then splurge on activities and nice meals. Copenhagen is the kind of destination very few people can afford to ball out in. I have never said “pass” to so many things in my life – whether it was a $15 pint of beer, $30 zoo entrance, or $8 latte. Seriously? $8 for a latte? Come on Copenhagen. That being said, I did do (and eat) a LOT during my long weekend in this pretty Scandinavian city. Here’s how I traveled Copenhagen on a budget.

Accommodation

Copenhagen does have some cheaper options for accommodation but you’re kidding yourself if you think you’re going to find a $10 dorm bed. Don’t worry though, this is probably going to be the biggest chunk of your budget and you really don’t have to spend a lot of money on much else.

Hostels

One of my favorite hostels I’ve ever stayed at is Globalhagen. Aside from being a very reasonable price, I loved the fact that Globalhagen is a non-profit run by volunteers AND they’re committed to sustainable and eco-friendly practices. In case that’s not enough, the location is super central and they have a budget-friendly bar and café in their lobby. If you’re visiting Copenhagen on a budget I highly recommend staying at Globalhagen.

Another hostel we looked at but didn’t end up staying this time was called Annex. This was the cheapest hostel I could find and the location is very central as well.

Volunteer

Globalhagen hostel is completely volunteer-run and their staff gets to stay in the beautiful hostel for free. We obviously didn’t stay long enough to volunteer but it seemed like so much fun! The staff would hang out and play games in the common areas and they had their own kitchen for cooking meals. If I had longer I definitely would have looked into volunteering at Globalhagen.

Something I have never done, but would really like to, is participating in a Workaway. This website has a huge database of volunteer opportunities around the world. You usually have to work for 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week, but room and board are almost always included. This would be a great way to experience Copenhagen on a budget.

Airbnb

This is almost always a cheaper option than staying in a hotel. I’ve stayed in quite a few Airbnbs during my travels and I’ve always had great experiences. If you’ve never stayed in an Airbnb you can get $20 off your first stay by clicking here.

Hotels

If you want to stay in a hotel I recommend searching with Booking.com. They usually have the best prices and you’re able to sort by price to find the best deals. Never used Booking.com? Sign up here to get $25 off your first stay. Wow it’s just raining discounts on this post!


Transportation

Transportation is where you will recoup your losses my friends. Copenhagen is a SUPER walkable city. We didn’t even bother with buses or the metro because everything was pretty close together.

Walking

My recommendation? Walk EVERYWHERE. The longest distance we had to walk was about a mile and a half but there were always so many pretty streets and buildings to see along the way that we didn’t even notice the distance.

Biking

Another option is to rent a bike. We really wanted to rent bikes but it was absolutely freezing the weekend we went. Like face-hurting, nostril-freezing cold. I was shocked to see locals out on their bikes without hats or scarves just cruising through the streets. Those Scandinavians are crazy, man. And I know cold — I’m from Wisconsin.

Public Transportation

You will have to take some form of transportation to and from the airport. Luckily the airport is roughly 20 minutes from the city center by Metro and relatively cheap. A one-way ticket to the city center only set us back 36 DK (about $5.75).


Food

Okay, this is coffee. I tend to inhale my food before getting the chance to take a picture of it.

Cuisine is huge in Copenhagen. There are fine-dining options all over the city and it seems like every menu has the word organic plastered all over it. If food is a big part of the travel experience for you I say go for it. You’ll probably have some of the best food of your life here. In fact, the best restaurant in the world is in Copenhagen.

Cook your own food

If you’re a peasant like me, the kitchen in your hostel will be your best friend when traveling Copenhagen on a budget. Grocery stores have standard prices for food. We got all our groceries for the long weekend for about $20. Keep in mind we eat a lot of really basic food when we’re traveling: pasta, rice and beans, oatmeal, etc.

Convenience stores

If you’re out and about and you need a quick bite to eat you can hit up a 711. There are 711’s on pretty much every corner in the city center. For breakfast one morning I scored a coffee and two croissants for about $5. They also have a shocking amount of healthy and organic food at these convenience stores.

Eating out

It will be difficult, but budget-friendly restaurants can be found in Copenhagen. The only restaurant we ate at was an authentic Italian restaurant called La Fiorita. They have huuge personal pizzas starting at 50 DK ($8.50 USD). Another option that we saw all over town were kebab and falafel restaurants. You can find meals at these places for 35 DK, although our Danish friend told us to look for the mid-range ones to avoid risking food poisoning.


Nightlife

If you’re a bar-hopping kind of person I have some bad news for you. Copenhagen is going to drain your bank account faster than you can say “I just paid $15 for a pint of beer??”.

I’m not a huge nightlife person anyways so this category didn’t break the budget for me. We found a couple ways around the crazy bar prices:

  • Open carry is legal in Copenhagen. One night we grabbed a couple of beers from the supermarket and watched the sun set over the river. When you’re in Copenhagen on a budget, the world is your bar.
  • Our hostel served beer, wine, and cocktails for pretty reasonable prices. There was live music one of the nights we stayed so we just grabbed a couple drinks from the hostel bar and enjoyed the party.
  • Most bars and craft breweries offer cheaper half-pint sizes. You’re not going to get drunk but at least you get to sample some local brews. Our favorite (and only) brewery we went to was called BRUS and they had some seriously creative flavors of beer – beetroot IPA anyone?

Activities

Luckily, most activities are free or reasonably priced, which makes it easier to travel Copenhagen on a budget.

Many museums are free for students or anyone under 25. One of these bargain museums that was highly recommended to us is the Design Museum. Unfortunately, it was closed when we tried to go on a Monday. Instead we opted for the David Collection, a really fascinating art and history museum that is completely free to visit.

My favorite thing to do in the city is to just walk around and take in the sights. We did a little self-guided walking tour that included Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid statue, the Queen’s Palace courtyard, the royal church, and Freetown Christiana.

If you’re able to shell out a few more dollars, make sure to pay the Tivoli Gardens a visit. Apparently, these gardens inspired Walt Disney to create Disney world. They’re totally magical, especially at night in winter with all the Christmas lights up.


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By | 2018-03-16T12:37:22+00:00 March 16th, 2018|Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe, Uncategorized|24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Mikaela March 16, 2018 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    I think we must take a weekend trip to Copenhagen now. It has been years since last time. Thanks for this!

    • Leah March 21, 2018 at 7:28 am - Reply

      Glad you found it helpful! It’s such a perfect city for a weekend trip

  2. Kiara March 16, 2018 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I LOVE Copenhagen. i’m moving to London soon and planning another trip there so will be using your blog to plan. Thanks for all the great information.

    • Leah March 21, 2018 at 7:27 am - Reply

      Glad you found it helpful! It’s such a lovely city so I’m glad we were able to do it on a pretty reasonable budget!

  3. Danila Caputo March 19, 2018 at 11:01 am - Reply

    This was a pretty handy guide! While we don’t couchsurf, we definitely can cut off expenses on food. Especially in Copenhagen where everything seems so expensive!

    • Leah March 21, 2018 at 7:27 am - Reply

      I typically don’t couchsurf either. It’s just an option 🙂 We stayed in a really nice hostel in a private room and it was pretty budget-friendly.

  4. Eric Gamble March 19, 2018 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Great tips on how to explore Copenhagen on a budget. We desperately want to go and explore but I keep hearing horror stories of how expensive it can be. Love the places you found. They look clean and nice while helping save a lot of money. Riding a bike and walking round sound like the best way to explore this great area too!
    Eric Gamble recently posted…Things You Need To Know Before You Travel to Malaysia

    • Leah March 21, 2018 at 7:26 am - Reply

      There were definitely some shocking prices there but I think we managed pretty well! Grocery shopping definitely helps because food is so expensive.

  5. Bernie March 21, 2018 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Those are some great ideas for enjoying the city on a budget. The hostel recommendation in particular sounds awesome! I remember it being eyewateringly expensive; I went into a few shops, enjoyed looking and left. I think there is, or at least used to be, an outlet mall at the port where I bought a couple of dresses for what I would call normal person prices. But the rest of the time, we were just wandering, watching, and soaking up the ambience.

    • Leah March 21, 2018 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      I didn’t know about the outlet mall! Great suggestion 🙂

  6. Brianna March 21, 2018 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Man, I’m glad I don’t drink! It sounds like those bars would eat up your budget in no time! I also like hearing that Copenhagen is so walkable! You never know with big cities…

    • Leah April 2, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

      I’m glad I’m not a big nightlife person either! I wouldn’t have been able to afford it in Copenhagen.

  7. Emma | The Gap Life Diaries March 22, 2018 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Unfortunately I think my trip to Copenhagen will have to wait until I get a pay rise (or a lottery win). It’s definitely possible to go on a budget, but I think saying no to so many things would make me feel like I was missing out – cheap and cheerful destinations only for me at the moment, but Denmark is still high on my ‘one day’ list!

    • Leah April 2, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

      I felt like we were able to do almost everything we wanted to do actually! We said no to a lot of “extra” stuff like expensive lattes or going out a lot. But if you like to treat yourself a lot on vacation then I’d agree to hold off on Copenhagen!

  8. Divyakshi Gupta March 23, 2018 at 3:56 am - Reply

    Balanced travel is just so me! I d spend less on an airline and then splurge on a destination 🙂 Loved your recco of staying in hostels! 🙂 so good to see they are eco friendly as well! Volunteering is a greta way to experience local cultures! 🙂 I love WALKING! Best way to explore a city absolutely 🙂 Great tips on seeing Copenhagen without burning a hole in your pocket!

    • Leah April 2, 2018 at 10:51 am - Reply

      Yes I love finding cheap airline tickets! And walking is my favorite way to discover a city

  9. Food and Footprints March 23, 2018 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Wow those are some insanely high prices! You gave some good tips for how to overcome. It sounds like a place we would only want to visit briefly, especially since we love to eat local food outside as opposed to cooking

    • Leah April 2, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Even thought Copenhagen is a super big foodie place I don’t know that it has a ton of local food that I really wanted to try so I was fine with cooking!

  10. Marteen March 24, 2018 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I’ve heard Copenhagen can be quite expensive but it’s great to have tips to gets around it. It’s great that activities are free or relatively cheap. I love museums, pity the Design Museum was closed. The majority of museums around the world, especially the national museums, are closed on Mondays for conservation work.

    • Leah April 2, 2018 at 10:49 am - Reply

      Overall it’s super expensive but there’s a ton to do that’s free or cheap!

  11. Sumit Surai March 27, 2018 at 12:54 am - Reply

    $15 a pint of beer is too much!!! We also love to budget travel with occasional splurges. This post will help when we will be in Copenhagen. Thanks 🙂
    Sumit Surai recently posted…In Search Of Bristol’s India Connection – Raja Ram Mohan Roy

    • Leah April 2, 2018 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Glad you found it useful!

  12. Mike Korkin May 23, 2018 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the info on a Copenhagen! We’ll be staying there before and after Baltic cruise for several days. While I now know how to entertain my girls, I am a foodie, so I appreciate the points there as well 🙂
    Regards,
    Mike

    • Leah May 29, 2018 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      Have a great time! Copenhagen is the perfect spot for foodies 🙂

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