We believe some of the best things in life are free (or very cheap) when it comes to travel and experiencing a new destination. If you know where to look, what to book and a few budgeting tricks, being prepared with some key tips can afford you the chance to find free things to do, and soak up local culture at extremely affordable prices.
It’s true that for budget travelers Scandinavia is not on top of their destination list simply because of the high cost of most of the cities. Copenhagen is known to be one of the most expensive cities to travel to and many visitors can be discouraged by the prices. A cup of coffee at a café can set you back about $7 and in a city famous for Michelin star dining, a cheap meal can be hard to find. However, visiting the city does not have to be reserved for the well off. Budget travelers can also enjoy Copenhagen and will be won over by the city’s secret money-saving options.
Where To Stay
The best option is to stay at one of the many hostels throughout the city. Copenhagen is known for clean, sleek and modern design and this aesthetic translates into many of the hostels. Many of the hostels offer decent prices and options of having a shared room or a private room. Some even have the option of all male dorms or all female dorms. Even for families looking to travel to the city who don’t want to spend too much on a room in a hotel, hostels can be a great option as bigger hostels offer family sized rooms . Staying at a hostel is also a great way to get to know other travelers and to share tips of the best things to do within the city.
Staying in the city center is great as far as avoiding spending money on public transportation. But look into neighborhoods that are not too far off such as Nørrebro, which is a short bus ride or even walk from the city’s center. Staying in a hostel just outside of the center will save you a couple bucks and give you a look into the local side of Copenhagen.
Where To Eat
Noma is known as the best restaurant in the world. This Michelin star restaurant is far off the budget-traveler’s choice of eateries but this gem has rubbed off on restaurants throughout the city. Quality and trendy restaurants are all over Copenhagen and you don’t have to spend a month’s rent on a meal at some of these eateries. Local restaurants and bars such as Madklubben have foods that encompass that same Michelin quality eating without all the pretention or heavy price tag.
Small cafes are also good to look into as they are of abundance throughout the city. However, comparing prices might take some time but luckily most menus and prices are posted for customers to see before choosing to sit down. The Laundromat Café is a popular restaurant that offers cheap foods and also a chance to fit in your laundry time. While you’re in Copenhagen make sure to sample smørrebrød, an open faced sandwich. There are many delis and shops that sell smørrebrød so finding the Dane’s signature dish won’t be difficult or expensive.
Another good option is to go to a local grocery store and have a picnic in the park like many locals do. In Nørrebro, take a stroll through Assistens Cemetery and take a lunch with you, as there are many benches available for you to enjoy a quiet lunch before visiting Hans Christian Andersen’s grave.
What To Do
Copenhagen is a great city to see on foot or bike so save a couple dollars by avoiding the bus or trains. If you are visiting earlier enough in the summer try to find one of the many free bikes in the city. You will have to pay a deposit of about 20 DKK but once you return the bike you will get it back. However, walking the entire city is not impossible and is actually one of the better ways to find small shops and cafes.
Many museums such as the National Museum or the Danish Design Center offer discounts for students or are free with the purchase of a cOPENhagen Card. Purchasing the card which is about $45 for a 24 hour pass or $90 for a 72 hour pass, can give you free admission to many museums, free use of the buses, trains and subway, and also discounts in some shops and restaurants.
If you purchased the cOPENhagen card, entrance into the Tivoli is free. While you do have to pay for tickets to ride the attractions just taking a walk through the amusement park is a great experience. The park has many beautiful gardens and rumor has it that Walt Disney was inspired to build Disneyland after taking a trip to this amusement park.
Even just taking a stroll in different areas of Copenhagen can be interesting and fun. Head over to Nyhavn to take a stroll along the canal and grab some ice cream at one of the many shops for a quick snack. Afterwards, walk along Langelinie to visit Copenhagen’s most famous statue, The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid
Another great place to walk through is the famous Freetown Christiania. The area is a small village that has stark contrast to the rest of Copenhagen. Although one of the city’s top tourist attractions it is also the center of controversy because of the common use of marijuana in the area. Despite this the village is a great place to look at the various shops and cafes as well as the artwork that decorates the entire area. Residents are generally very friendly but are also very protective of their neighborhood, be careful taking photos here as many residents are not too keen on people taking photographs.
For shopping Strøget is the biggest shopping street in Copenhagen and has a mix of both affordable small stores and bigger chain stores. For a cheaper and more intimate experience try looking at shops down Nørrebrogade where you will find small clothing shops as well as design shops were you can pick up a piece of Danish home design to take home with you.
Overall, Copenhagen can be affordable but you will have to do some research and be creative to experience the city on the cheap side.
Thanks to Gretchelle Quiambao for today’s guest blog! Read her personal blog here.