When my good friend and I said we were going to Copenhagen everyone’s initial thought was the Little Mermaid but there is a lot more to this Scandinavian city than this small statue such as its colourful houses and beautiful architecture, delicious food, great cafés, unusual neighbourhoods, stunning views, fascinating history and great day trips.
Two things struck me when we arrived in Copenhagen; the first thing was how cool the city was and the second thing was the Scandinavian prices. There’s no denying it, Copenhagen is more expensive than other cities in Europe but that shouldn’t put you off visiting this amazing city, you can still visit on a budget.
It’s a great city to visit in a weekend, with all the major sights in walking distance you can actually get a lot seen in a day or you can take your time and spend a few days exploring everything that Copenhagen has to offer.
Continue on reading for our budget guide to visiting Copenhagen in a weekend.
Getting there and getting around
Despite been an expensive place to visit, Copenhagen is actually relatively cheap to get to. Most European Budget airlines fly into Copenhagen’s International airport, we flew Ryanair from Dublin for about €90 return.
From the airport you can grab a Metro or a train into the city centre depending on where you are staying for 36DDK one way, just follow the signs when you enter the arrivals hall.
The public transport system in Copenhagen seemed to be pretty good; there were buses, metros and trains running regularly. However the best and cheapest way to get around and see the city is on foot or on a bicycle, all the major sites are very close to each other and Copenhagen is one of the most bicycle friendly cities I’ve ever visited.
Where to stay
Finding cheap accommodation in Copenhagen isn’t very easy, even a bed in a dorm room can cost up to 250DDK a night and you can expect to pay up to 700DKK for a double room in a hostel. While, a room in a budget hotel or guesthouse can cost anywhere from 500DKK to 1000DKK. AirBNB is another good budget option whether you want to rent an entire property or just a single room in someone’s apartment.
We opted to stay in the Hotel Kong Arthur and while we did end up paying a bit more than if we had opted for an AirBNB we found the location of this hotel to be perfect, just 5 minutes from Norreport station and 10 minutes from the historic centre of Copenhagen.
Where to eat
Again, eating out in Copenhagen is not the cheapest but if you check out some of the great Food Markets in the city you can save yourself some money. We visited two while we were in Copenhagen Papiroen and Torvehallerne where you can eat for about 80DKK, the food was delicious and the options were endless, especially in Papiroen.
The thing that I loved most about Copenhagen was the great selection of cool cafes in the city, they seemed to be everywhere and we made sure to check out a few on our trip.
Here are some of our favourites –
Kalaset on Vendersgade 16.
Next Door Cafe Larsbjørnsstræde 23.
The Coffee Collective in Torvehallerne on Frederiksborggade 21.
Big Apple on Fiolstræde 18.
Paludan Bog & Café on Fiolstræde 10
Take a look at some things that you should include on your trip to Copenhagen
This is a must in Copenhagen, the climb to the top up its unique spiral ramp can be a little tiring but it’s worth it for the views over the Copenhagen’s Old Town. It is also Europe’s oldest observatory built in 1642. You can take a little rest halfway up the tower and visit the old Library hall which now accommodates art exhibitions and a souvenir shop.
Be sure to visit Christiania on your visit to Copenhagen! It’s unlike any place I’ve ever visited; it’s like a hippie paradise. Christiania prides itself on been an independent state and drug regulations are pretty loose here. But be aware locals don’t like to be photographed so keep your cameras in your bags.
Our Saviours Church
Or the Church of our Saviour is hard to miss, as it’s noticeable from all over the city thanks to its golden spire. If views are your thing be sure to climb the 400 steps to the top of the tower, its most definitely worth it! (35 DKK to climb the tower)
You can’t come to Copenhagen without visiting picture perfect Nyhavn, it is really as pretty as it looks in photographs. You can hang out in one of the many cafés along the canal or you can just wander around soaking up the atmosphere like us. Nyhavn is also where a lot of the canal boat tours originate.
Christianshavn is another nice area of Copenhagen to explore with its trendy cafes, galleries, picturesque canals and brightly coloured buildings. Made up of several different islands, including Paper Island, Christianshavn is also home to Copenhagen Street Food also known as Papiroen.
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park located near the train station in the city centre and while it’s not cheap to visit (and amusement rides cost extra) it is a popular place, especially with families. We visited at the end of October where the gardens were all dressed up for Halloween and it was really really busy!
Christiansborg Slot, Amalienborg Slot and Rosenborg Slot and Gardens
Copenhagen’s second most visited castle, Christiansbord, has one major draw, the view from the top of its central tower. And the best thing about visiting Christiansborg is that the lift (yes I said lift) to the top is free! Admittedly we did have to queue for a while but we were rewarded with beautiful nighttime views over Copenhagen.
Another thing not to miss (although we admittedly did) is the the changing of the guard ceremony at Amalienborg Slot.
Not the biggest or most popular palaces in Copenhagen, Rosenborg is still pretty impressive and it’s also the home to the Danish crown jewels. The nearby park is a nice place to relax and maybe have a picnic if you are visiting during the warmer months and if you are there in the colder months like us you can warm up with a tea or coffee in the nearby Big Apple cafe which I have mentioned above.
Day trips from Copenhagen
Malmo in Sweden
Malmo is Sweden is only 40 minutes away from central Copenhagen on the Oresund bridge and I’d definitely recommend it, if you have the time! While it is Sweden’s third largest city, the major sights are all in walking distance of each other. It rained when we were there but we still got around to most of the must see places, like the moat at Malmo Castle, the quaint Lilla Torg, Malmo’s largest square Stortorget, St. Peter’s Church and the picturesque streets near Jakob Nilsgen.
This beautiful little seaside village overlooking the Oresund bridge is 12km and about 35 minutes from central Copenhagen. It’s a lovely place to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can pass your time here strolling along its cobblestones streets and its historic harbour. To get here catch bus no 350s from various stops in the city centre.
So there is my budget guide to Copenhagen. I hope you found it helpful. Have you ever been? Would you have any recommendations? Please, let me know.
Thanks for reading.