Copenhagen is a wonderful city. The capital city of Denmark is classed as the happiest place to live and regular tops the charts of one of the best places to live. We recently went to Copenhagen for 3 days and thought I could turn this into a great guide for people. I absolutely loved Copenhagen. I looked into moving there because it is so peaceful. Unfortunately, it is very hard to get into and you need to be able to speak Danish, which I do not. I thought I would share with you How to plan a trip to Copenhagen on a budget, to get the most out of this beautiful City!
How to plan a trip to Copenhagen on a budget
Just to make you aware the currency is very different to the UK, Europe or America. It does fluctuate, so it’s not always this amount.
UK: £1 GBP is 8.39 DKK (Danish Krone)
USA: $1 USD is 5.97 DKK (Danish Krone)
Europe: 1 EUR is 7.45 DKK (Danish Krone)
How to get there
The easiest way to get there is by plane, of course. From the UK you can get to Copenhagen from lots of different airports. It will take around 1hr 30min – 2hrs.
So once you get off the plane you have a couple of choices of how to get to the Capital. It isn’t far away, but not walkable.
You can get a taxi which takes about 20 minutes and is the most expensive option, between DKK 250-300. It’s a great way to travel if you need quick, direct access to somewhere. Taxies can be found from the arrivals exit of Terminal 3, make a right and exit the terminal. Once outside, the taxi line will be immediately in front of you.
The bus is about 35 minutes. Priced around 24 DKK for a two-zone (regular) ticket. There is a free bus between each of the terminals at the airport. Your best option is to get bus 5A but there are lots of different buses you can take to the city center. From the arrivals exit of Terminal 3, take a left and exit the terminal. Once outside, continue towards Terminal 2 until you see the line of buses waiting on the right.
Tickets need to be purchased before you get on the bus at machines in the baggage claim area or machines near the DSB ticket sales counter inside Terminal 3.
Metro or Train
We ended up getting the train, as its the easiest and most budget-friendly option. It takes about 13 minutes and takes you right into the city center. The entrance to the train station is located near the end of Terminal 3. From the arrivals exit of Terminal 3, walk straight across the terminal. At the end of the terminal, follow the signs towards Track 2 for Copenhagen Central Station, Nørreport, Østerport, Helsingør, Fyn and Jylland.
You can get both the Metro and Train at Terminal 3.
When you have crossed Terminal 3 just look for the signs for the metro. Don’t worry about getting on the wrong metro train as all trains departing from here, head in the same direction. The metro heads towards Vanløse Station with stops in Copenhagen’s Nørreport Station and Christianshavn Station. The metro does not stop at Copenhagen Central Station.
Tickets need to be purchased before you get on the train or metro at machines in the baggage claim area or machines near the DSB ticket sales counter inside Terminal 3. They do not need to be validated or stamped though.
City Pass ticket
You can get something called a City Pass. Which lets you, for 24 or 72 hours, get on as many buses, metros and the train’s as you want. Because we were only spending time in the city center we didn’t need this, it saved us some money as well. There is a 24 hours City Pass (Adult: 80 DKK – Child: 40 DKK) or 72 hours City Pass (Adult: 200 DKK – Child: 100 DKK).
The main train station is beautiful! It also has lots of places to eat in there, so if you get stuck you can always head back to the train station.
Where to stay
I mostly use booking.com. The great thing about them is unlike other sites, you can book a place to stay, cancel it for free and you don’t have to pay until you arrive. So if you’re tight on cash it’s a great option. Most hotels also include breakfast in the price. I also check back ever so often because 9/10 times the price will get cheaper. Which means you can cancel the old booking for free and rebook for cheaper! If you follow this link and do book a place you get £15 back as well. Win-win. The other place I look at is Trivago because this a compare website, you find the hotel you want to book and Trivago will tell you what site to book it on to get the best price.
Now Copenhagen hotels are not the cheapest, unfortunately. This will be the most expensive part of your trip.
We stayed at the Absalon Hotel, which was beautiful. Right by the train station, so not far to walk and the staff were so lovely and friendly. Breakfast was amazing and they even had board games in the bar in the evening. On arriving we were able to leave our bags in a safe area and the receptionist even told us the best places to visit in the city, as it was our first time. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Other places in the City to look at are Vesterbro, Nørrebro, Østerbro or Frederiksberg.
Prices can start from 150 DKK (around £18 in a hostel) and go up to 1400 DKK (around £168) or more per night, depending on what you are looking for.
Things to Do
The Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park and was founded in 1843 and has become a national treasure and an international attraction. Fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen visited many times, as did Walt Disney and many other celebrities, who all fell in love with the gardens.
This is literally opposite the train station. Unfortunately, it is only open between 24. Mar – 23. Sep,
12. Oct – 4. Nov and the 17. Nov – 31. Dec and it wasn’t open when we went. I would love to go one day though!
Let’s be honest this would take up most of the day. It’s 175DKK (around £21) for an adult ticket.
This has to be one of the most famous places in Copenhagen. This is where the famous coloured houses/shops are located. This would be a lovely place to visit in the summer and free to walk around. There are a couple of restaurants along here and to sit outside and enjoy the view would be beautiful. Hans Christian Andersen used to live in no. 20, let me know when you have found it! Around Christmas time they also have a Christmas market that lines the streets, I bet that would be amazing as well.
Stroget is the largest shopping centre in Copenhagen. It is also one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets. It has brands like Prada, Max Mara, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Hermès and Boss. But also budget-friendly shops like H&M, Vero Moda, Weekday and Zara.
While exploring the shops we found a beautiful church, you can walk all the way up and the view was gorgeous from the top. At only 5DKK each (around £0.60), it was a bargain as well. It was called the round tower and is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
Christiania is a green and car-free area in Copenhagen. It existed under special conditions for 40 years with clashes between the locals and the Danish state. After many years, an agreement was made which meant that on 1 July 2012, a foundation, the Foundation Freetown Christiania, was founded. This means that Christiania is a Freetown. With homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and beautiful nature, it is a society within a society. You cannot buy a house in Christiania. You have to apply for it, and if successful, it is given to you. The area is open to the public and free to enter. For your own safety, visitors are advised not to film or photograph in Christiania, especially not in the area in and around Pusher Street, mainly due to the hash dealing, which is illegal in Denmark.
There are some beautiful gardens and parks all around Copenhagen. The one we found is near the Little Mermaid and is called the Citadel. The buildings inside the Citadel are used as military barracks and offices, so you will often see military personnel working around in their uniforms, however, it is open and free to the public.
The Little Mermaid
At Langelinje Pier you will find one of the most famous tourist attractions: The sculpture of The Little Mermaid. On the 23 August 2013, she turned 100 years old. You can read all about the little mermaid’s history on the visit Copenhagen website.
There is so much more you can visit in Copenhagen, this is just a snippet of what you could see.
How to get around
the city sightseeing – hop on, hop off bus
The best way to get around has got to be the city sightseeing – hop on, hop off bus. It is a two-story bus that offers an audio guide on various routes so you can find out more about the city. The best bit is you can stay on the route and complete it all or hop off at various points along it, walk around and then hop back on to get back to your hotel. It takes you to all the major attractions and the audio is in lots of different languages. We actually found this when we got to Copenhagen and bought the tickets on my phone. You can pay at the kiosk where the main stop is or buy before you go.
It varies in amounts depending on what time of year you go but it is around 158 DKK per person (around £19). And the tickets last for 48 or 72 hours.
We also added an extra of having the boat tour as well, which actually goes right up to the little mermaid statue.
Cycling is a great way to get around the city. Be like a local and experience the amazing cycling lanes in Copenhagen. There are lots of cycling tours you can go on. Or pick up a bike from the many points around the streets, they are fully electric and work 24/7 365 days a year. Each bike has a screen attached so you can find points of interest, pay for longer or use it to navigate. They cost around 30 DKK per hour (around £3).
Walking is of course free. You get to experience so much while walking throughout the city. We walked 10 miles one day because we were so in awe. It’s very easy to do. With all the fascinating shops, parks and eateries there really is something for everyone.
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Where to eat
The best thing to do is book breakfast with your hotel, depending on how much it is of course. Most hotels create a buffet breakfast, so this way you can stock up on food and not have to worry until dinner. If your a fussy eater, every city seems to have a Mcdonalds nowadays so that would be another good, cheap option.
If you are looking for more culture then just a Mcdonalds, Copenhagen has some great healthy cheap options. Also ,they do vegetarian and vegan options all around the city, which is great! We found lovely little cafe’s and bakery’s around the city that offers a lot of different meals.
Kalaset: This place does lovely hot chocolate’s and also great brunch ideas.
Next Door Cafe: Offers a cosy, living room feel. The owners bake everything themselves and offer great cups of coffee
Den Økologiske Pølsemand: or Dop for short. The greatest hot dog stall! It was voted as one of the best places to grab a bite as well. Hotdogs in sour bread, yum! also you could also swap the bread for potato and parsnip mash if you wanted.
A total of 18 Michelin stars to 15 restaurants has been awarded in Copenhagen. So if you are looking for a really nice posh place to eat, Copenhagen has some of the best.
Geranium: Is the only restaurant in the city to hold 3 stars and it is also the 19th best restaurant in the world. It is on the 8th floor so you will have some beautiful views of the city.
AOC: AOC holds 2 stars. It is in the centre of the city. The restaurant serves between four and seven courses.
Other restaurants that hold 1 star: Clou, Studio, Relæ, Den Røde Cottage, Kong Hans Kælder to name a few.
I hope this helped to plan a trip to Copenhagen on a budget, or if you were deciding where to travel next I hope I have convinced you to try Copenhagen. Honestly, Copenhagen is one of my favourite Cities and I can’t wait to visit again!
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