If you’ve done your research on the costs of visiting the capital of Denmark, then I’m pretty sure you must be terrified by now! Otherwise, why else would you be looking for the best ways to visit Copenhagen on a budget, right?
As amazing as the region might be, a trip to Scandinavia can truly take a huge toll on your bank account if you’re not careful. But worry not! Even if everything seems criminally expensive (and it is), there are ways you can enjoy Copenhagen without blowing up your wallet.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN COPENHAGEN ON A BUDGET
Here’s when you come face to face with the sad reality. Once you try to book a room in Copenhagen, you will immediately understand how expensive the place really is. If you’re looking for an average double room with private bathroom in the city centre, expect to pay no less than 100€/night, even during low season, and without expecting much from it.
To make matters worse, trying to stay away from the city centre in order to get cheaper accommodation prices won’t be of much help. The rooms you’ll find might be a bit cheaper (though still quite expensive), but the costs of getting to the city centre every single day will be quite hefty, as public transportation in Copenhagen – though incredibly efficient – is also remarkably costly.
My best advice is for you to establish a limit to your time in Copenhagen and make the most of your short visit. Renting a bike in order to hop from place to place faster is also a great idea, as this is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe.
During our trip, we stayed at the Ibsens Hotel, a decent mid-range place with an awesome location, and one of the cheapest double rooms (with private bathroom) with good ratings on Booking.
WHERE TO EAT IN COPENHAGEN ON A BUDGET
Once you find out a place to sleep, I promise things will get a lot easier! Though most restaurants in Copenhagen charge unbelievable prices, there are some hidden gems here and there where you can enjoy pretty good meals for fine prices.
First of all, the city has some amazing parks and other green places where you can enjoy an outdoor meal bought directly from the nearest supermarket or 7-Eleven. It may not be the fanciest option but it’s certainly cheaper than a restaurant, and allows you to grab a bite in-between attractions.
However, if you’d like to treat yourself to a sit-down meal, I recommend checking Dalle Valle and Riz-Raz. The first serves an all-you-can-eat brunch every day between 10h00 and 16h00 for just 89dkr (about 12€), as a well as a dinner buffet for 129dkr (17€). As for Riz-Raz, it’s a great option for vegetarians, with a meat-free buffet available for 89dkr at lunch, or 99dkr (13€) at dinner.
In both cases, the food may not be the best you’ll ever have, but considering Danish prices these are two amazing sit-down options for filling and diverse cheap meals.
WHAT TO SEE IN COPENHAGEN ON A BUDGET
Arguably the city’s postcard picture, this beautiful riverfront lined with colourful houses is one of the busiest places in Copenhagen. With a constant influx of locals and tourists alike, the canal is filled with small bars, restaurants and historical ships, and is an absolute must when visiting the Danish capital.
THE LITTLE MERMAID
Based on the insanely popular tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, no trip to Copenhagen is complete without laying eyes on this famous statue. Despite being deemed “disappointing” by some visitors due to its small size, this is nevertheless one of Copenhagen’s most recognizable symbols, and therefore it should be a no-brainer in your “free to visit” attractions itinerary.
It may sound somewhat weird to recommend a shopping area when all you want to do is spend as little as possible, but if you manage to resist temptation, Stroget is actually a great place to walk around aimlessly. Surrounded by great architecture and closed to car-traffic, wandering through the area is one of the most pleasant ways of getting to know Copenhagen’s historic centre. Besides, this is probably the best place in the city to do some people-watching!
Remember the parks we mentioned above? Visiting them is a great way to experience Copenhagen at its core, as Danes are known for their deep connection to nature and the outdoors. Although I could have highlighted the Kastellet or the Botanical Gardens, my favourite greenspace in the city is the Frederiksberg Have, a huge English-style park with a main palace, several lakes, a temple, canal bridges and lots of families with small kids playing around.
The Freetown of Christiania is probably Copenhagen’s most polarizing area. Much like Metelkova in Slovenia (Ljubljana) or Rote Flora in Germany (Hamburg), Christiania is an autonomous left-wing community set in a squatted plot of land once used for military purposes. Although the site’s original intention and meaning were quite honourable, I can’t help but thinking it has lost some of its essence due to the gratuitous drug trade. It just feels like a glorified playground for potheads now. Be that as it may, go see it for yourself!
This is more of a shout out to all of Copenhagen’s amazing free to visit churches. I strongly recommend checking the Church of Our Lady and the Church of Our Saviour, with the latter probably being the most famous worship place in the city. Still, none of these is as striking as the Frederiks Kirke (aka Marble Church). With its huge dome and a straight connection to the Amalienborg Palace, you’ll never get tired of photographing it!
Our last suggestion is a bit of a cheat. After all, you don’t need to enter a place to enjoy it or to realize how great it is. In this case, although a ticket is required to tour the Rosenborg Castle, you can explore its beautiful gardens – the oldest royal gardens in the country – and get great views of the castle exterior for free!
And that’s it! Visiting Copenhagen on a budget might sound like an impossible task at first. However, I hope to have helped you understand that it can still be done if you play your cards right. Are there any other tips worth sharing? What other free attractions in Copenhagen should be visited? Let us know on the comments below!