How to visit Copenhagen on a budget

Visit Copenhagen on a budget

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget

             Still need a hotel for your trip to Copenhagen?             

              Go to for some great offers!              

              or see which hotel is right for you on TripAdvisor!              

Do you also start reciting ABBA’s classic whenever you enviously look at your friends latest vacation pictures? Then you might belong to those, who still believe that traveling is a privilege of the rich.

Money money money
must be funny
in the rich man’s world
money money money
always sunny
in the rich man’s world
all the things I could do
if I had a little money

(ABBA – Money Money Money)

While money is a factor and I’m personally not a big fan of the whole “See the world on a shoe-string”-movement, I don’t think that traveling has to force you to live off of Ramen noodles for the rest of the year.

Even in places that are rumored to be exorbitantly expensive (such as the whole of Scandinavia) there are lots of simple ways to fully enjoy your stay without completely emptying your bank account.

So, here is everything you need to know to visit Copenhagen on a budget, from affordable accommodations and cheap but delicious food to absolutely free sights and museums.

Copenhagen is not only the coolest kid on the Nordic block, but also gets constantly ranked as the happiest city in the world.

Read more online or in Lonely Planet’s Copenhagen guide

1. Accommodation


The easiest way to safe on accommodation, regardless of your standard of comfort, is to visit during off-season. Off-season in Copenhagen is everything except the summer months (May to September) If you travel outside of these summer months you’ll have more options to choose from and, usually, considerably lower prices.

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget

For that reason, I’d recommend visiting Copenhagen towards the end of April – spring is in full swing, which means better weather, warmer temperatures and beautiful colors, and all the attractions have just reopened after their winter hibernation as well.

Opening hours of museums etc. are still on their off-season schedule, though, so a bit more planing and research is necessary.

Generator Hostel Copenhagen

You can also save a lot of money by choosing the right hostel. While some travelers are as happy as a clam booking a bed in a 20-bed mixed dorm, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But traveling on a budget, doesn’t necessarily mean having to forgo all amenities.

Generator Hostel Copenhagen is, in my humble opinion, one of the best options if you want to visit Copenhagen on a budget. It feels like a hotel while giving you all the perks of a hostel. It’s huge (five floors with about 200 rooms in total), very clean, every room has an en-suite and the bar/restaurant on the first floor serves tasty food to very reasonable prices.

You can book a bed in a dorm room starting at 20€ per night or treat yourself to your own private room starting at 67€ per night (sleeps two people).

The only down-side is that there is no kitchen, so self-catering is not an option. But no need to fret, delicious tips for food on a budget are coming your way.

2. Food

Food is usually the one cost factor that may be influenced the most. Self-catering is a great way to save money. When you’re on vacation (especially on a quick weekend get-away) preparing your own meals is, however, often an unwelcome task.

And you haven’t truly visited a place unless you had a taste of the local cuisine!

So, here are my tips on how to make the most out of every meal without spending a fortune.


Copenhagen is full of precious little bakeries (for example Meyers Bageri just around the corner of the Generator Hostel).

So get yourself down to one of those bakeries, grab a deliciously warm and succulent Kanelsnegle (cinnamon roll) and a freshly brewed coffee and start your day with a smile.


The keyword here is Smørrebrød. Basically, it’s the Danish version of a sandwich. If you’ve ever been dissatisfied with the content-to-bread-ratio of a regular sandwich, Smørrebrød is your dream come true.

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget
Delicious Smørrebrød

It consists of a tini-tiny slice of dark rye bread that serves as the basis for a stack of food the size of the Tower of Babel. And there’s nothing that couldn’t serve as a topping: prawns, eggs, roast beef, chicken salad, salmon. You name it, they probably have it.

The Danes love their Smørrebrød so much, they’ve even created a Smørrebrød app full of interesting information, delicious recipes and, of course, the best places for your daily Smørrebrød fix.


Dining at Noma (the best restaurant in the world in four consecutive years) might be a treat for your senses but probably not for your wallet. One meal at the Scandinavian restaurant could easily cost as much as your flight ticket to and from Copenhagen.

So, for a more sensible option, do as the Danish do. Grab yourself some food from one of the street markets and enjoy the hygge atmosphere of Nyhavn or soak up the sun sitting in one of the deck chairs along the water front.

Make sure to check out Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen (Paper Island) (only open Thursday to Sunday during off-season, every day during summer) and Torvehallerne (open every day but with varying closing times).

3. Sightseeing

Copenhagen is the ideal place for sightseeing. It’s such a small city that, even though the public transport isn’t too bad, you won’t need to spend any money on transportation. Everything’s in walking distance.

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget
The Little Mermaid

And even better, many of Copenhagen’s best sights are absolutely free! Take a selfie with The Little Mermaid, enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Copenhagen’s parks and historical buildings or relax in Freetown Christiania where everything smells like weed and freedom (IMPORTANT: Freetown or not, cannabis is still very much illegal in Denmark!).

Free walking tour

If you’re not satisfied with simply seeing the sights, but would actually like to learn something about them as well, why not join one of the Sandeman’s free walking tours?

No, it’s not a ruse, they are completely free – technically.

They work on a tips-only basis which means you can pay as much as you can afford and as much as you thought it was worth (they also accept a thank you and a hand-shake as payment).

I’ve already joined at least 10 of these tours all over Europe and they’re always a blast!

High above the ground

And it doesn’t stop there: You don’t even have to pay a dime to enjoy the city from a bird’s-eye view! Tårnet, the tower of Christiansborg Palace, is the highest tower in all of Copenhagen and absolutely free of charge.

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget
Bird’s-eye view of Copenhagen

If you’re thinking that you’ll have to pay plenty in sweat and tears climbing all those stairs, then you’re wrong, my friend. A lift takes you quickly and comfortably all the way to the top of the tower.

Testing the Water

Copenhagen used Amsterdam as a model when planning the harbor. So it’s no wonder that one of the best ways to see Copenhagen is by boat. Float gently through the canals and marvel at the beautiful houses of Christianshavn.

While these boat cruises aren’t free (the Danish generosity has to end somewhere), there’s a simple way to safe a lot of money.

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget
Copenhagen by boat

There are two companies that offer these canal and harbor tours. They both start at Nyhavn, they basically have the exact same boats, they make the exact same route and both include an English audio guide.

Canal Tours Copenhagen is the popular one with the big, flashy booth at the very beginning of Nyhavn. Yes, you might have guessed it already, don’t choose that one if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck.

Just a couple of steps down the right side of the canal, you can see the inconspicious booth of Netto-Bådene. As mentioned before, they both offer the exact same tour, but Netto-Bådene will cost you only 5€ instead of 10€ (money you can spend on your next Smørrebrød).

4. Museums

Copenhagen isn’t just a gorgeous city with beautiful buildings and stunning parks, it also has plenty to offer for the museum lovers among you.

The Copenhagen Card gives you free access to 73 attractions and museum and lets you use the public transport free of charge. Unless you plan on visiting 10 museums in one day, though, the card is rather pricey, costing you 51€ for 24 hours.

However, it doesn’t have to be this expensive. With a couple of simple tricks you’ll get to enjoy more culture and art than you can shake a stick at, all without spending a single krone.

(IMPORTANT: most museums are closed on Monday, so you have to plan accordingly.)

National Museum

The National Museum shows you the entire history of Denmark spread out on three beautifully organised floors. Learn more about the first brave settlers, the belligerent Vikings and the prosperous Danes of today – and the entrance is always free!

You can easily spend an entire day exploring this fascinating museum and it’s a great activity for a rainy day.

Make sure you grab the information leaflet at the entrance of the museum. It shows you all the must-see exhibits, offers some additional information and is proof that the Danes have a great sense of humor.

National Gallery of Denmark

This is an absolute must for all the art-lovers among you. And just like the National Museum, the National Gallery is absolutely free.

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget
National Gallery of Denmark

The exhibit features mainly European and Danish pieces from the 1300s to the modern age and includes works from artist such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Matisse and Rubens.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

No, despite the name, this is not a beer-museum. If you’re more into the art of beer than art itself, there’s Visit Carlsberg, The Copenhagen Exbeerience (their pun, not mine).

The Glyptotek in Copenhagen started as the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of the Carlsberg breweries, and has grown into an impressive sculpture museum.

If you visit Copenhagen on a budget but don’t want to miss out on this fascinating museum, you should schedule it for a Thursday. Once a week on Thursday, the museum opens its doors to all art aficionados at no cost at all.

Den Hirschsprungske Samling

For a more local take on art, you should visit Den Hirschsprungske Samling. This museum puts a focus on Danish art from the 19th and early 20th century.

It is located just around the corner of the National Gallery and is free of charge every Wednesday.

              Still need a hotel for your trip to Copenhagen?              

              Go to for some great offers!              

              or see which hotel is right for you on TripAdvisor!              

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget


Do you have any more tips on how to visit Copenhagen on a budget?

Share them in the comments.

How to visit Copenhagen on a budget














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29 Comment

  1. Garth says: Reply

    Nice write up on Copenhagen we did some of what you’ve written about … The Smørrebrød is so good right?! We’ll have to try a Sandeman walking tour on the next city we visit

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      Smørrebrød is soooo delicious…
      Yes, you should definitely check them out. They have walking tours in almost all the major cities in Europe and even expanded to offer tours in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and New York!

  2. Gareth says: Reply

    Copenhagen is such a great but often overlooked option, particularly for British tourists looking to get a weekend away. It’s totally possible to see major portions of the city in a couple of days however, in my experience, it can be pricey. You’ve got some great tips here how to mitigate the worst of it however. Thoroughly enjoyable read!

  3. A complete and practical reference for visiting Copenhagen! I believe you have it all covered. Will make a note of this or future…will surely save me a lot of time while researching.

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      Thanks. I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂

  4. Joanna says: Reply

    I have been to Copenhagen last year for a day and to save up on costs, I didn’t book a hotel for the night. I had my flight early morning next day so I just spent the night in Christiana. It was very cool actually. 🙂 I wanted to do the free walking tour but I got off at the wrong metro station and I missed it unfortunately.

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      Wow, spending a night in Christiania must have been an unforgetable experience! I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like at night. I bet it’s one huge peaceful party… 🙂

  5. My parents were just here and it seems like such a beautiful city! This article has some great tips! I am saving this for when I am able to visit one day!!

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      It is an amazing place and you should definitely go! I’m glad you found my article helpful 🙂

  6. The rumour that Copenhagen is expensive has always put me off visiting to be honest. These are really good tips though. Guess it’s all about research and good choices. I stayed in a Generator hostel in Berlin and can vouch for how decent they are. I also love finding free walking tours!

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      Thanks! And you’re right, a bit of research can go a long way towards saving some money!

  7. Mel says: Reply

    What a lovely post about Copenhagen. I went years ago and loved it and your post really made me want to visit there again. Thanks for the tips too.

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      Thanks! Happy to help 🙂

  8. Luca says: Reply

    Sure, Copenhagen isn’t the cheapest city around, but it’s still manageable to save some money! I already heard about generator hostel, I guess I’ll give it a try because if a hostel offers you a double room for 67€, I don’t want to think how much in a hotel…

  9. We have been given those rude compliments where people believe we have some hidden treasure that supports our travel. Copenhagen looks like great place to visit. As we travel as a family we may not consider hostels but yes food options do matter. The option for street food sounds great and we love to check them out on our visit.

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      Yes, whether you’re a student, a family or whatever, people always assume you must be rich to travel. But with a bit of research it’s so easy to see the world even with a smaller budget!
      Are you planning on visiting Copenhagen anytime soon?

  10. Thanks for the complete guide and wonderful tips! Have pinned your post and would try to visit Copenhagen once in my lifetime!

  11. Copenhagen comes alive vibrantly in your post. The city is really beautiful and has a unique charm which draws one like a magnet. Of course The Little Mermaid continues to be its iconic attraction, but there is definitely a lot more to it.

  12. I have never been to Copenhagen, I generally thinking that a lot of European countries are expensive, mainly from my perspective of being South African. The flights are usually the deterrent. But with that said, I would love to visit that part of the world, and this tips a useful. Thank you

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      Living in Switzerland, I know that I’m extremely priviledged as almost everywhere else is cheaper. But I’m glad you found my tips useful and I really hope they’ll get you one step closer to visiting Europe 🙂

  13. Excellent read! This will certainly help me for my upcoming Copenhagen trip! Thanks a ton!

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      You’re more than welcome. Always happy to help 🙂

  14. I wish I had read this before I spent one day in Copenhagen that cost me more than several days in Sweden 😛 I loved visiting The Little Mermaid.

  15. Copenhagen and budget are indeed a bit hard to put in one sentence. That is exactly the reason why I am still postponing going. I have a feeling I will really love it there though. The Smorrebrod sounds absolutely delicious and the picture of the food makes me hungry even though I just had lunch. They really pay extra attention to the details and the presentation.

  16. When I visited Copenhagen, I also stayed in the Generator Hostel, and I HIGHLY recommend it as well! Such a great atmosphere, and prices are not too bad for such an expensive city! Thanks for all the other tips, they would’ve been so handy when I visited! 🙂

    1. translatingtraveler says: Reply

      I usually prefer smaller hostels but Generator really was a pleasant surprise!
      Maybe the tips will come in handy for your next visit to Copehagen. Or just pass them along and make someone else happy 😉

  17. I have been avoiding Europe due to my budget issues so far. Guides like these helps me ease my anxieties. Especially the part about hostels and food will be very useful for my plans.

  18. Jarrod says: Reply

    Will be visiting Copenhagen within the next few weeks so this article definitely came in handy! Photos are great! Thanks for sharing!

  19. I Love Paars by: Lee says: Reply

    Breakfast with a bread with lots of onions…. im not sure what will be the smell of my breath after that, lol
    But it seems the hotel offers a good spread of breakfast.

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