Where to stay
Copenhagen Downtown Hostel and Generator Hostel Copenhagen seem to be the most popular hostels, I haven’t stayed in either so can’t vouch for them unfortunately. Hotels are pretty pricey here so I’d definitely check out AirBnB if sharing a room with 8 drunk strangers isn’t your thing. I stayed in the area of Sluseholmen in an AirBnB – this is a really nice area on the canals, it’s a bit out of the way but that makes it cheaper and there are regular buses into the centre and you can get free bus travel with the Copenhagen Card. The photo below was from out balcony:
Literally everything in Copenhagen is eye-wateringly expensive, so prepare yourself. I didn’t include alcohol and going out in the budget calculations as some people don’t like to drink every day (why?) – but a beer in a bar will set you back around £5/6, some decent pre-drinks around £5, and a wild night out probably about £70 (by my standards at least)
Daily overall budget: £60 (frugal)/£85 (budget)/£185 (standard)
- Daily accommodation: £20 (hostels)/£35 (AirBnB)/£100 (hotel)
- Daily price of food: £15 (budget)/£30 (a few fancy meals)/£60 (restaurants every meal)
- Daily price of attractions: £25 (based on the cost of a 72-hour Copenhagen Card split over 3 days)
I would strongly advise getting the Copenhagen Card, you can get these for 24, 48, 72 or 120 hours and it covers all the major attractions, and most of the smaller ones – plus free bus, metro and train travel. They seem a little pricey but it’s much cheaper than paying for each thing individually – go to the website and choose all the attractions you want to visit and it will show you how much you’ll save. Once you’ve bought one of these you won’t need to pay for any more attractions or travel and really only need to worry about the important stuff – food and alcohol.
Price: 24 hours – 379 DKK/48 hours – 529 DKK/72 hours – 629 DKK/120 hours – 839 DKK
Copenhagen is a very walkable city and with the Copenhagen Card you can get free public transport should you need to – even out of Copenhagen to surrounding places like Roskilde – so I wouldn’t budget anything for transport. However it is a very bike-friendly city and if you fancy you can hire very snazzy power-assisted Bycyklen with touch screen tablets that will help you navigate and point out landmarks. You can find the bikes at different stations around Copenhagen, sign in on the tablet and you’re good to go and when you’re done you can drop them back off at any station. You’ll be charged 25 DKK for every hour you actually use the bicycle.
What to do
Harbour baths – Copenhagen has a few free public swimming places along the canals, where you can swim and sunbathe with the locals. We went to the Sluseholmen ones and it was very pleasant on a sunny summer’s day – I’d probably give it a miss in the winter unless you have a strong desire to die of hypothermia. It’s free to get in and the one we went to even had a sauna so you could sit and sweat in a small room with strangers too. The small jelly-like blobs you’ll find there are indeed jellyfish – they’re harmless, if incredibly weird to brush against.
Cruise along the canals – included in the Copenhagen Card are a few different boat tours, we went on 2 because we’re lazy and they were pretty much exactly the same. You’ll get to sit back and relax and listen to the history of Copenhagen while you take in the views. Our guide did the tour in no fewer than three different languages – English, Dutch and German – which was very impressive, and he even sung Rolling in the Deep for us when we went under a bridge with good acoustics. While we were doing this we saw people who had hired their own solar powered boat from GoBoat, with a picnic table in the middle so you can have a little picnic party, and we were extremely jealous.
Price: boat tour: 80 DKK or free with the Copenhagen Card/GoBoat: 399-1332 DKK per hour
Nyhavn – postcard picture Copenhagen so you’ve probably seen it several times by now, it’s very pretty and the perfect place to take some shameless Instagram shots. There are a few shops and restaurants around here but they are very expensive as this is such a popular place, I would take some photos and then move onto nearby Paper Island to eat.
Price: free to look at
Tivoli Gardens – a theme park but if you don’t like rides don’t worry, it’s a nice place just to hang around. If you have a deathwish there’s a 102 year-old wooden rollercoaster you can ride, along with a mixture of some more terrifying ones and little kiddy ones. Entry is free with the Copenhagen Card but rides cost extra, and you’ll need to purchase coupons from machines dotted around the park or get an unlimited ride band.
Price: 110 DKK entry Monday-Thursday/120 DKK entry Friday-Sunday/free entry with a Copenhagen Card/220 DKK for an unlimited ride ticket
Freetown Christiania – a lawless area of Copenhagen full of layabouts, sorry – ‘creative’ people. Weed is sold here openly on little stalls, it’s still technically illegal but fuck the police and all that (don’t actually say that if they come and catch you, probably just apologise nicely.) As you would expect from its unemployed and stoned population, it has a lovely laid-back vibe. However, due to cannabis-induced paranoia there are actually 2 rules: no photos and no running.
Price: free to visit/90-140 DKK per gram of sweet Mary Jane
Visit Carlsberg – come and have a look at the history of Carlsberg and how they make their beers. Entry is free with the Copenhagen Card and you’ll get 2 tokens for free beers so you can get tipsy while you walk around. There are several bars along the route and a nice outside area you can sit in, as well as some horses for some reason. You can also do some beer tasting when you’ve finished with the museum – only 50 DKK (around £6) to sample 4 different beers (maybe more if the person running it is feeling generous). You’ll be pressured into identifying smells in each beer, points if you can smell anything other than ‘beer’. Definitely the cheapest way to get pissed in Copenhagen.
Price: 95 DKK or free with a Copenhagen Card/50 DKK for beer tasting
Cafe Miao – actual cats, cat books, cat games, food in the shape of cats – what more could you possibly want from a cafe? If your answer to that is ‘a cat badge’ then don’t worry, you’ll get one of those when you spend a certain amount too. Located on Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard, this is a great place to stop off and stroke some kitties.
Price: 132 DKK for a veggie burger and iced tea
Christiansborg Palace – this palace has four different sections to visit: The Royal Reception Rooms are some very ornate and fancy rooms for the royals. The Royal Party Kitchen, the Ruins underneath Christiansborg where you can find out about the previous palaces built on the site and their tendency to go up in flames. There is also the Royal Stables, which contained no actual horses when we went but did have a dead stuffed 400-year-old horse, which was nice? There are also cardboard cut outs of every king on his horse/car where you will learn that in Danish Royal family every king is either called Frederik or Christian – someone buy them a baby name book.
Price: 150 DKK or free with a Copenhagen Card
Where to eat
Copenhagen Street Food – a large collection of stalls selling all kinds of different food located on Paper Island. Indian, Italian, Thai, Chinese, sushi, Thai, vegetarian, vegan, Mexican, cheesecakes, cocktail bars, pancakes – you could eat here for pretty much every meal there’s that much choice.
Price: 50-100 DKK per meal
Morganstedet – located in the hippy free-for-all area of Freetown Christiania, this is a vegetarian and eco-friendly (whatever that may mean) restaurant with a different selection of delicious dishes available each day, with generous portions. It’s relatively cheap for Copenhagen and has a nice outside area. Great for if you get the munchies #420 #blazeit
Price: 50 DKK for soup and bread/90 DKK for a hot meal/100 DKK for gratin and salad
Mother – this pizza place in the meatpacking district is also a great place for dinner. The pizzas are delicious (see below) although it can get quite crowded especially on a nice day. The surrounding area of the meatpacking district is also a great place to head out on the town after dinner.
Price: a pizza will cost you anything from 75-155 DKK
Rita’s Smørrebrød – located in Nørrebro, this has been recommended to me by several people/blogs as the cheapest and best smørrebrød in Copenhagen, but Rita was out of town when I visited and I actually never tried smørrebrød 🙁
Price: one smørrebrød will set you back 12 DKK and three is a standard meal
Blue Taco – also in the district of Nørrebro, this is somewhere we stumbled upon by accident when Rita’s Smørrebrød unfortunately wasn’t open. For some reason the tacos are blue, which, IMO makes them look fairly mouldy, but they were absolutely delicious. The tacos are gluten-free and they have a great range of vegetarian options.
Price: 100 DKK for 3 tacos
Noma – if you are absolutely ballin’ then why not visit one of the world’s best restaurants and stuff yourself with their ridiculous but preumably delicious 15 course menu. Watch the Travel Man episode from Copenhagen to see Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding give it a go.
Price: a mere 1,900 DKK for 15 courses, plus 1,100 DKK for the wine-paring
Copenhagen is undoubtedly one of my favourite cities I’ve visited and I hope this has given you some idea of what you can do there. Did I miss anything out?