Is Copenhagen Expensive to Visit? What to Expect & Ways to Save

So you’re thinking about or already have booked a trip and are wondering, is Copenhagen expensive? The short answer is it’s relatively expensive compared to other European destinations. However, this doesn’t mean visiting Copenhagen isn’t worth it, and there are still lots of ways to save money on a trip. We’ll talk about all those in this post.

As with most of Scandinavia, Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in Europe to visit. However, it is a beautiful city that’s worth a visit, so let’s explore what makes it expensive and how to save.

Table of Contents

Is Copenhagen Expensive? Here’s what to Expect

The level of expense can vary depending on individual preferences, travel style, and specific choices made during the trip. Below, I’ll share some averages; however, just remember we’ll get to ways to save after this.

When writing this post, I thought a lot about how prices vary for people and budgets vary as well. Costs are always relative, but being prepared and knowing what to expect is helpful when planning a trip.

Food: A meal at an inexpensive restaurant/street food can cost around 80 to 150 DKK (12 to 23 USD), and costs do go up from there. The average is around 20 USD.

Accommodation: Hostels average around $80 and hotels average $182.

Transportation: There is no Uber in Denmark; taxis start at 50 DKK ($7) and 18 DKK per kilometer ($2.60). A taxi ride in Copenhagen costs significantly more than public transportation. Train tickets are 24 DKK ($3.50).

Activities: Most museums and entry are between $15 – $25 each. Guided tours and food tours are $80 – $150 a person.

Past travelers have spent, on average for one days:

  • $62 (427 DKK) on meals
  • $73 (500 DKK) on local transportation
  • $182 (1,255 DKK) on hotels
  •  

Examples of Things to Do in Copenhagen and the Cost:

On average, a one-week trip to Copenhagen for two people costs $2,964 (kr20,383). This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing. Budget Your Trip has collected these average travel prices from other travelers.

However, I paid below the averages listed above, and so can you! Let’s discuss ways to do that.

NOTE: Denmark uses the Kroner, not the Euro. I’ve converted some of the prices to US Dollars since the Danish Krone (DKK) is a bit confusing to convert in your head, but it also fluctuates. Check out XE.com for the latest exchange rates.

What makes Copenhagen expensive?

The short answer is that most things in Copenhagen are more expensive than in other European destinations, such as accommodation, dining, transportation, and activities. Food and alcohol, in particular, tend to cost a lot more.

Denmark prioritizes quality, offering a value proposition that leans towards sustainability and durability. The country’s wage structure, reflecting the quality of services, contributes to its high costs. High taxation in Denmark funds extensive public services, improving the overall quality of life.

So overall, most people living in Denmark experience a higher cost of living, which also leads to a high quality of life. According to the Global Peace Index, Copenhagen is also one of the safest cities.

Tips to Save on Your Trip to Copenhagen

To manage costs, travelers can do a variety of different things. As mentioned, I was able to get costs below the average using a few other methods and discounts. Below are four different ways I’d recommend saving money on your trip!

Planning and researching different options for attractions and activities can also help make the trip more budget-friendly.

PS Travel hacking and using a travel credit card are always great ways to save on pricey accommodations. If you want to learn more about travel hacking, check out my beginner’s guide to travel credit cards.

1. Accommodation Considerations

While even hostels are relatively pricey in Copenhagen, there are ways to save on hotels and hostels! Hostels are generally cheaper than hotels for a single person, but a hotel will likely be more affordable if you travel with someone.

    • Copenhagen is small, so consider staying “further” outside the city center. I put further in quotations there because on the map, something might look far when, in reality, it’s less than 15 minutes by train to the city center. For example, I stayed at Zoku, which is on the other side of the river and could seem far; however, it was only 10 minutes from Indre By and Nyhavn by train.
    • Start planning and book far in advance. Special promos are released a few times a year, like Black Friday/Travel Tuesday and during the winter months. Also, travel deals go fast; if you wait to book, you’ll likely lose it. If you wait until the last minute, you will pay more. I was able to grab Zoku Hotel Copenhagen for $20 a night during a sale on Hopper (it’s usually about $140- $160 a night).
    • Alternative booking sites like Airbnb are a well-known alternative to hotels, but it’s not the only option. VRBO, Trusted House Sitters, Sonder, Homestay, and more are alternative accommodations that run sales and sometimes offer lower prices than you can find at a hotel.

2. Suggestions for Saving on Food

    • Take advantage of the many fantastic food halls in Copenhagen. Food halls and markets have affordable prices, delicious food, and the option for various types of cuisine. Some suggestions are:
        • Reffen – Copenhagen Street Food
        • Torvehallerne
        • BaneGaarden
        • The Bridge Street Kitchen
        • Tivoli Food Hall
        • Street Food Market in Elsinore – Værftets Madmarked
    • Enjoy street food! You can find street food carts all over downtown Copenhagen; they are fast, convenient, and affordable.
        • Hot dog from a street vendor: $4-$8
        • Sandwich at a basic sandwich shop: $7-$12
        • Open-faced sandwiches (known as smørrebrød) at a small, cheap café cost $4-$6 each, and you’ll need 3-5 for a meal.
        • Cheap takeaway meals (like a kebab with fries): $9-$14
        • The food at 7-11 is also delicious ($8-15 for a meal)
    • Have a bucket list of places you want to eat at? Consider going for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch prices are often a bit smaller portions, but also cheaper. Lunch at a Michelin Star restaurant in Copenhagen was $50, whereas dinner was a 3-course prefix menu and well over $120 a person.
    • Consider grocery stores and cooking at your hotel! Consider an accommodation with a kitchen to shop for your own food and make your own meals. I stayed at Zoku, which had a full kitchen in the apartment hotel, making it easy to cook on my own.
    • Consider dining in less touristy areas where prices may be lower.
    • Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it at public water fountains to avoid buying bottled water.
    • Carry snacks with you to curb hunger between meals and avoid spending on expensive snacks.

3. Transportation Ideas

    • Avoid taking taxis; the average Taxi ride is $73
    • Take public transit; it’s considerably cheaper. Trains come every 3-5 minutes and are very clean and reliable. Everything is in English and Danish, making it easier, too.
    • Consider a Copenhagen City Pass offering unlimited public transit rides with options from one day to seven days. Copenhagen City Card includes attractions and public transit.
    • In Copenhagen, practically everybody rides a bike. If you want to live like a true Copenhagener, you can rent a bike and cruise around the city on two wheels. Here are some places to rent a bike in Copenhagen.

4. Saving on Activities

    • See the sights of Copenhagen at your own pace and enjoy free entrance to 80+ attractions. Choose a ,,Copenhagen City Card to suit your needs (24 to 120 hours) and save time and money while exploring the Danish capital. The card also includes unlimited public transit.
    • Combination tickets are available for the palaces and different museums when you arrive. Consider doing a combination ticket to save a little bit on activities.
    • Free walking tours are a great way to take a tour for less. Please note you still pay for these through a tip! They are just cheaper than other guided tour options. ,,Here are some options.
    • Build free things into your itinerary every day. There are many great free things to do in Copenhagen, like the Changing of the Guard, hanging out at the beaches, and visiting Kastellet Military Barracks.

5. Timing

    • Visit during the off-peak or shoulder season when accommodation and flight prices may be lower. My flight to Copenhagen was just $240 USD, and my hotel room was just $20 a night when I visited during the off-season in February.
    • Check for discounts or promotions during specific times of the year, like Black Friday.

I hope these tips help you consider the different ways to save on your trip to Copenhagen. While we did answer yes to our initial question about whether Copenhagen is expensive, this is still a city well worth visiting, and you’ll have an incredible time.

Is Copenhagen expensive? Here's what to expect and how to save on an unforgettable trip. From accommodation to food, we've got you covered!

Meghan

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