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The Best Weekend in Copenhagen on a Budget

ByDave Stopher

Jan 15, 2019 #North East

Copenhagen, Denmark’s incredible capital city, is famous for a lot of things – from Michelin-starred restaurants and architectural masterpieces to colorful canal-side houses, historic landmarks, and the “happiest people on earth”. However, it is also known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world to travel to. 

In fact, Copenhagen was ranked 4th most expensive European city and 7th in cities with the highest cost of living. If this is stopping you from exploring the Danish capital, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Copenhagen without breaking the bank.

While this intriguing city is most certainly worth the splurge, you can definitely spend a weekend in Copenhagen on a budget. This weekend guide includes tips on how to save some dough as well as cheap (or even free!) things to do in the Scandinavian city. For ease and convenience, leave your heavy bags and other items in a Copenhagen luggage storage locker while you roam around.

How to Enjoy Copenhagen on the Cheap

When on a weekend trip to Copenhagen, these are the things that you can do to stretch your holiday budget:

  • Choose an affordable accommodation.

Gone are the days when cheap means basic accommodations; with the rise of tourism in the city, Copenhagen is now filled with affordable accommodation options that feature above-average amenities, primarily budget hotels and hostels. To help you decide on where to stay during your trip, check out Culture Trip’s recommendations on cheap hotels and hostels in Copenhagen.

  • Buy an all-inclusive pass. 

For the best value for your money, consider buying either a Copenhagen City Pass or Copenhagen Card before you arrive in the city, both of which are available in 24-, 48-, 72- and 120-hour durations. The City Pass gives you access to over 50 of the city’s top attractions as well as unlimited use of Stromma’s hop-on, hop-off tours via bus and boat! On the other hand, the Copenhagen Card covers more than 80 city attractions and includes unlimited public transportation and a free canal tour.

  • Avoid the peak season.

For Copenhagen, the summer season takes place between June and September, which is when most people come to visit. Just like any other major tourist destination, however, this is also the time when prices of hotels, goods, and other expenses skyrocket. If you want to avoid paying hefty amounts of money, the best time would be autumn (September to December). During this time, the weather is still relatively warm and the rates drop significantly.

  • Look for cheap transportation options.

If you have one of the city cards, you’ll get to take advantage of free public transportation when exploring the city. If not, however, there are plenty of cheap options for getting around. For one, Copenhagen is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world and it is fairly easy to explore on foot. Walking also gives you a chance to discover some cool places and hidden gems that you otherwise do not know about.

Another affordable way of exploring Copenhagen is through a bicycle, which is the local’s preferred mode of transportation. The city has an excellent bike system known as Bycyklen – in this system, bike docking stations are scattered all over the city and you can simply grab a bike and rent it for 12 DKK for 20 minutes. Each electric bicycle comes with a tablet and a GPS that’s filled with the city’s points of interest. 

  • Join a free walking tour.

One of the best ways to get an introduction to Copenhagen is through a walking tour and there are plenty of free options to choose from! More than just being free of charge, these guided tours are extremely helpful if you want to get an in-depth knowledge of the city’s colorful history. 

One of the acclaimed free walking tours that you can avail of is the Sandeman’s New Copenhagen Tours. This 2.5 hour-long tour takes you through 6000 years’ worth of history within the city center. Another highly-rated tour company that offers free tours of the city is Copenhagen Free Walking Tours, which provides a variety of tours in certain areas of the city.

  • Eat Michelin-starred quality food without the hefty price tag.

One of the biggest draws of Copenhagen is its selection of world-class restaurants; the Danish capital has been awarded an impressive total of 23 Michelin stars across 17 restaurants. Additionally, two of these Michelin-starred restaurants are also in the top 5 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants listnoma ranks 2nd while Geranium ranks 5th. With such accolades, it’s to be expected that dining in these places will cost you a lot of money. 

If you want to experience some of the finest food that Copenhagen has to offer without blowing your entire holiday, there are several bistros that offer high-quality dishes at great prices. For some New Nordic fare, check out Manfred’s and Uformel, which are definitely more affordable than other spots in the city (check out this list of New Nordic restaurants for those on a budget.) Other value for money restaurants in Copenhagen include Neighbourhood, Hos Fischer, Sanchez, and Restaurant Mes.

  • Take advantage of free attractions.

By purchasing a city pass or card, you get free entrance to almost all of the top attractions in Copenhagen. However, in case you opted out of buying one, you still have a number of free attractions to see and enjoy in the city. Most of the popular parks and gardens in the city are open to the public free of charge; this includes the King’s Gardens at the Rosenberg Castle, the Frederiksberg Gardens, and the Botanical Gardens.

For some cultural experiences, some of the city’s most prominent museums offer free entrance on certain days – on Wednesdays, the Thorvaldsens Museum, Royal Danish Naval Museum, the Hirschprung Collection, and the Danish War Museum are all free. The Museum of Copenhagen is free on Fridays; and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is free on Sundays. Other museums such as the David Collection and Post and Tele Museum are completely free of charge no matter what day it is. 

Other free attractions that you should definitely see in Copenhagen include the Little Mermaid Statue, the Islands Brygge Harbour Bath, and the Bakken amusement park, which is the oldest amusement park in the world (and a great alternative if you don’t want to pay for entrance at the Tivoli Gardens).

Sources:

https://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/activities/copenhagen-budget

https://theculturetrip.com/europe/denmark/copenhagen/articles/a-budget-travellers-guide-to-copenhagen-denmark/

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/48-hours-in/copenhagen-city-guide-weekend-two-days-cheap-budget-best-restaurants-bars-a7581391.html

https://www.gapyear.com/articles/travel-ideas/how-to-explore-copenhagen-on-a-budget

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/jun/22/top-10-copenhagen-budget-food-hotels-cycling

https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/travel/cheap-trip-copenhagen/

https://www.skyscanner.net/news/9-best-things-do-copenhagen-budget

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