Copenhagen ranks in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world. Its high cost of living wipes out tourists and locals alike, but these tips will keep you from breaking the bank during your visit.
Book your hostel or Airbnb well in advance
By waiting until the last minute accommodation prices spike, especially in the high season (May to September) when days are long and nights are warm. Successfully saving in Copenhagen is all about planning, so know your dates well in advance and find a budget-friendly location.
Find a rate that includes breakfast
It is well-known that one of the most expensive items in Copenhagen is food. By finding lodging that includes breakfast, you not only save the 50-70 Danish krone (€7 to €10), you also won’t waste time looking for a place to grab breakfast.
Bring your own sheets and travel towel
Some Scandinavian hostels and Airbnb’s charge for these items. It always makes more fiscal sense to buy than to rent, so invest in a travel towel and sheet set if you plan to travel extensively in Scandinavia and greater Europe.
Fly with a low cost airline
Easyjet and Ryanair offer flights from London airports and greater Europe for as low as £9 each way. Book far in advance as prices increase closer to your date of travel.
With Easyjet and Ryanair, you are allowed one carry-on bag only (no personal item) for free. Anymore luggage comes at a high cost. Wear your larger clothes, shoes, and jackets on the plane to save space and make this work.
Again, food will be expensive, so bring along fruit, snack pack crackers, chips, or pretzels, and chocolate for dessert. This way you can buy smaller meals and then supplement them with your own treats, as well as keep your energy high throughout the day.
Eat out for lunch
If your Airbnb or hostel has a kitchen, consider making dinner in. Lunch prices (though still high) range from 80 to 170 kr (€11 t0 €23). At dinner, you can expect 120 to 350 kr (€16.50 t0 €48).
If you do eat out for all of your meals, be patient when searching for great eateries (see our recommendations here). Many great, and cheap, restaurants live just off the main drags and can get you full without emptying your wallet.
Buy duty-free alcohol in the airport
If you plan on going out in CPH, buy before you fly at the duty-free shops. Alcohol in Denmark has a 25% VAT (value-added tax), bringing the cost of a standard pint between €7 and €12. Danes tend to drink at home before going out to fight this cost, and getting your spirits early puts you ahead of the game.
Visit free museums
Copenhagen has loads of free (and quality) museums to choose from. Unless you have specific interests in art or niche history, it is easy to see a lot for a little.
Instead of paying for public transport, register for Bycyklen & pick up bikes across the city for cheap. It costs 25 kr (€3.40) per hour for pay-as-you-go biking, or you can buy the monthly subscription for 70 kr (€9.50) and pay only 6 kr (€0.85) per hour.
Also check with your hostel or Airbnb, as they may rent bikes out for the day. For additional savings, Copenhagen is also walkable… just bring comfy shoes.
Be practical, but have fun
Though it is nice to save money, try not to focus all of your attention on the budget. Some experiences are worth a splurge (like Tivoli in Copenhagen’s city centre at Christmastime). Try to stick to your budget, cut corners where you can, but enjoy your time in this gorgeous city.
You can see our budget and actual costs here for a picture of how much it truly costs.
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