I’m not gonna lie to you guys. We DRASTICALLY failed at traveling Copenhagen on a budget. I already mentioned how we spent twice as much money on our Copenhagen canal tour as we needed to. But did you know that we also ate double lunch on our second day in Copenhagen? Or that, while we were in the airport on the way home we were so tired and hungry that we stopped at the first place we saw for dinner?
Okay, so a lot of our budget mishaps have to do with food. But when you’re traveling with a young guy, that’s kind of bound to happen. They get hungry. And when they get hungry, they get cranky. And cranky boyfriends are not the sort of people that you want to deal with while you’re traveling.
Still, I’m not entirely unconvinced that you can’t travel to Copenhagen and still have a few cents left in your bank account. Not a lot, of course. But like… maybe enough for a coffee in the airport. Maybe.
In total, we spent £530.32 over 3 days for two people or £265.16 per person including flights. That amounted to a daily budget of £88.38 per person including flights or £68.33 a day of in-country expenses per person.
So, where exactly did all of this money go? Let me break it down for you!
Copenhagen on a Budget
We bought two return tickets from Edinburgh to Copenhagen airport for £60.16 a piece, or £120.32 total. Cheap flights are awesome, aren’t they? The only thing is that, sometimes, the cheap flights trick you into going places that are a little bit more expensive than you might like. Like Copenhagen. Good job, me.
We paid 400DKK or £47.21 for two unlimited 72 hour City Passes which allowed us unlimited use of the bus, train, and metro – including the metro from the airport to the city! No hidden transportation costs for us here, no sir.
Transportation Total: £120.32 (return flights) + £47.21 (City Passes) = £167.53 total or £83.76 per person
Like transportation, I’m also really proud of our budget accommodation prowess in Copenhagen. Or, should I say my budget accommodation prowess, since, as usual, I was the one who did all the research (happily, of course), while Daniel just tagged along and had no idea what we were doing.
We snagged a really awesome Airbnb in Frederiksberg, a residential neighborhood in Copenhagen for £34 a night. Including taxes and cleaning fees this amounted to £44.30 a night or £132.90 in total.
Accommodation total: £132.90 total or £66.45 per person
As I mentioned earlier, food is where things really took a turn for the worse budget-wise. Even though we only ate out for lunch most days and cooked for ourselves the rest of the time, we still managed to spend a whopping £143.74 on food over three days. AKA 26.5% of our total expenses. Yikes.
Food in Copenhagen is expensive, and I’m pretty sure there’s just no getting around that fact if you don’t want to straight up starve.
Food total: £31.28 (Lunch at Copenhagen Street Food) + £18.88 (groceries) + £23.01 (Smørrebrød at Torvehallerne) + £9.15 (Bread and Cheese at Torvehallerne when we were still hungry) + £23.60 (Lunch at Carlsberg Brewery + £5.90 (Ice Cream in Christianshavn) + £31.92 (Dinner in the airport) = £143.74 total or £71.87 per person
All in all, I think we actually did pretty decently when it came to entertaining ourselves in Copenhagen. We did a fair bit of wandering around on our own, and managed to go to the NY Carlsberg Glyptoteket on Tuesday, when admission is free. The one big mishap we had was not shopping around for our canal tour – although we did buy our tickets for that in combination with entrance to Tivoli Gardens, so that saved a little bit of money on that end.
Entertainment total: £43.67 (Canal Tour + Tivoli Gardens Entrance) + £16.52 (Student entrance to Rosenborg Palace) + £16.52 (Student entrance to Carlsberg Brewery) + £9.44 (Student entrance to the Christiansborg ruins) = £86.15 or £43.08 per person
What We Could Have Done Better
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet or not, but we spent a lot of money on food. Oh, I already did? Like 10 times? Sorry about that, but it really is true. Food in Copenhagen is expensive. And other than buying groceries we didn’t really do a lot to curb those expenses. Plus, we may or may not have accidentally bought our groceries at a super fancy (aka expensive) grocery store because it was the closest to the metro stop on the way home. Oops.
The other big budget mistake that we made was to not shop around for our canal tour, so we ended up paying twice as much as we could have. Once again, oops.
Tips and Tricks for Traveling Copenhagen on a Budget
Seriously focus on what you’re spending on food
I’ve said it 20 times and I’ll say it again. Food in Copenhagen is expensive. Check out this guide for tips on how to find cheap food in Copenhagen.
Go for budget accommodation
There are loads of cheap places to stay on Airbnb, or you can always try out a hostel. I’ve heard really great things about Copenhagen Downtown Hostel (you get a free dinner if you book with them directly) or you can always check out this list of the 10 Best Hostels in Copenhagen. No matter where you stay, though, definitely go for a place with a kitchen. This will drastically cut down on your food costs (see above).
Research Free Museum Days
You can always invest in a Copenhagen Card if you’re planning on visiting a lot of museums, but that still costs money. My suggestion? Research what museums you’d like to visit and then check to see if they have a free admission day. If you’re in town on that day, then you’re in luck! Here’s a good list to get you started.
Invest in a City Pass Transport Card
If you’re planning on using public transportation a lot, then definitely invest in a City Pass transport card. You can buy them for 24 or 72 hours periods (80DKK for 24 hours, 200DKK for 72) and they allow unlimited use of the bus, train, and metro – including the ride from the airport to the city center! Copenhagen Cards also allow for unlimited public transportation use, but are more expensive because they include a lot of other attractions. Do your research to figure out which one will work better for what you want to do.
Take the 40DKK Canal Tour
We forgot to shop around when we got to Nyhavn and ended up taking the more expensive canal tour. You can take from from Netto-Badene for 40DKK, which is a serious steal.
Make Use of Free Walking Tours
Copenhagen Free Walking Tours offers several different free walking tours of Copenhagen (just tip your guide at the end!) that look really cool. We didn’t make use of any of these tours while we were in Copenhagen, but I wish we had!
Using these tips and tricks, I think it should be more than plausible to visit Copenhagen on a budget of £65 a day.
While it’s certainly not the cheapest place in the world to visit, Copenhagen is a great city and totally worth a bit of a splurge if you feel like going. Or, you can always just travel with your parents and get them to pay for everything 😉