You’ve likely heard that Copenhagen is an expensive city to visit. And while there’s no way around this fact, there are many ways to make your krone go further as you prepare for the trip. 

This guide has all the insider tips you need to explore Denmark’s capital on a budget. Here are some unique tips to save money on your trip to Copenhagen. 

Can I get a cheap flight to Copenhagen?

Copenhagen has one large international airport, happily close to the city center. Since it’s served by most low-cost carriers including easyJet, Norwegian, Wizz and Ryanair, cheap flights to Copenhagen are plentiful. Depending on where you’re coming from, you might also be able to hitch a cheap bus ride with Flixbus or even arrive by train. 

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Ditch the cab and hop on the metro

In Copenhagen, both the metro and the train network are well connected to the airport: the metro takes you to the city center in 20 minutes, the train in just 13. You can buy train tickets at the station or through the app, DOT Mobilbilletter (available for iOS and Android); a ticket to or from the airport is 38DKK, and tickets to ride throughout the city are 24DKK. If you are staying in Copenhagen for longer, consider visiting a station ticket office to pick up a frequent traveler train pass (rejsekort), which will get you access to cheaper train tickets.

The Copenhagen card could save you more money than you think

Planning to visit museums while in Copenhagen? Consider the Copenhagen Card, which includes unlimited access to public transportation, discounts on stores and restaurants in the city and free access to a long list of museums and attractions such as Tivoli. As you plan, determine whether the card will be a good value for you

When in Copenhagen, do as the Copenhageners do: bike!

If you are into cycling, Copenhagen is simply heaven. Biking is the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to get around the city, as the city was planned for bike transportation. Download the Donkey Republic App to use bikes on the go throughout the city. Alternatively, visit a local bike shop and rent a pair of wheels for your time in town. 

Hostels are the best-value accommodation

Since accommodation tends to be a hefty percentage of any travel budget, opt for a hostel if you’re on a strict budget (private rooms are available if sharing in a dorm isn’t your thing). Hostels in Copenhagen with great locations include Urban House, Generator, Steel House, Next House Hostel, Sleep in Heaven, Woodah Boutique Hostel and Copenhagen Downtown Hostel. All have comfortable interior design (of course) and are situated in central locations, from the hip neighborhoods of Nørrebro to Vesterbro and the core of the city. 

A woman makes a selection at the counter inside Juno Bakery in Østerbro, Copenhagen, Denmark
A coffee and pastry at a typical Copenhagen bakery such as Juno is a budget-friendly way to start the day © Ulf Svane / Lonely Planet

Fuel up with a Danish breakfast 

Instead of that huge breakfast or brunch, start your day the simple Danish way. Visit one of Copenhagen’s famous bakeries (my favorites are Juno, Hart, Depanneur and Benji) and opt for a coffee and a sourdough bun with cheese. If you want a treat, end your morning meal with a pastry such as the tebirkes, made with poppy seeds. 

Bring a reusable water bottle with you 

Instead of using your pocket money on drinks, make sure you take advantage of some of the world’s cleanest drinking water and bring a reusable bottle with you. Refill it as you go, either by asking politely in a cafe, hitting up a public restroom or by finding a public refilling station. This simple tip is friendly for both your budget and the environment.

Have a cheap dinner at folkekøkken

Copenhagen is known for its folkekøkken (folk kitchen) culture. A communal dining experience, folkekøkken is a group meal prepared then shared at large communal tables. Here, you can meet new people and have interesting conversations as you break bread. One of the best spots to enjoy folkekøkken is Absalon, a former church turned non-profit communal space. Folkekøkken dinner here will set you back just 50DKK – and the food is great, too.  

Enjoy tax-free shopping

Copenhagen delights anyone who loves shopping. And if you’re from a non-EU country, you are eligible for sales tax-free shopping, which means that you can save 25% on your purchases. If you spend over 300DKK, ask for a tax-free form. Have the forms validated at the airport or the Illum department store in the center of the city, and you should get the money back within four months.

A yellow “harbor bus” passing through the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe
Tickets are inexpensive for the “harbor bus,” which provides an excellent tour of waterfront Copenhagen landmarks © PhotographerCW / Getty Images

Get on the water to see the city’s best views on public transport

A seaside city, Copenhagen offers fabulous water views on public harbor buses, with a trip costing no more than 24DKK. Get on in Nyhavn for a cruise by some of Copenhagen’s most important waterfront sights, including the ultra-modern Opera and the famous Little Mermaid sculpture. 

Where to get a cheaper caffeine kick

Coffee in Copenhagen is extremely expensive (approximate average price is 40DKK for a cappuccino). Luckily, if you’re a caffeine lover there are low-cost ways to get your caffeine kick. At beloved Copenhagen spot Minas Kaffebar, every item on the menu, coffee included, is just 15DKK. At Lille Kafeteria, every menu item costs 20DKK. 

Here’s where to find cheap eats in Copenhagen...

Dining out is generally pricey in Copenhagen. But fret not: the city offers plenty of yummy options that won’t dig too deep into your pockets. Have Danish porridge at Grød, tacos and quesadillas at La Neta, dumplings at GAO, the lunch of the day at Absalon, burgers at Jagger or Louis, or visit Reffen, a large outdoor street kitchen featuring food from all over the world. 

…but budget-friendly fine dining is possible, too

If want to spoil yourself with a finer dining experience, there are ways to do so without breaking the bank. At Höst, an award-winning and Michelin-recommended restaurant with beautiful decor, three courses will run you only 395DKK. Omar and Safari offer tasting menus with a focus on seasonal vegetables, with eight courses for just 350DKK. And Italo Disco, a dinner of up to nine plates of nouveau Italian cuisine costs 500DKK. 

A man comes out of the water after a swim in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe
A swim in Copenhagen’s super-clean water is a highlight of any visit in the summer months. It’s also totally free © Cavan Images RF / Getty Images

Focus on Copenhagen’s free attractions

There are a multitude of things to do in Copenhagen that don’t cost a cent. If the weather allows it, amuse yourself with a dip in the water in the middle of the city: many consider Copenhagen the best place in the world for city swimming. If the sun is out, hang out in one of the green areas such as Ørsted Parken or a the almost-secret Royal Library garden. You can also visit a top museum on an admission-free day. Here are 20 more free things to do in Copenhagen

Have a bodega night out 

Going out in Copenhagen is always fun, but those rounds of cocktails can add up. Instead, visit one (or a few) of the old-school Copenhagen dive bars locals refer to as bodegas. Here, you get bottled or draught beer at low prices (bottles start at around 20DKK) and in an authentic ambiance. Classic, super-fun spots include Eiffel Bar, Bobi-Bar, Palæ Bar, Stefanhus and Nørre Bodega. 

How much money do I need per day in Copenhagen? 

Hostel room: 200DKK (bed in shared room)–800DKK (private room)
Basic room for two: 900DKK
Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): 1100DKK
Public transport ticket: 24DKK (within city center), 38DKK (to/from the airport)
Coffee: 35DKK
Sandwich: 65DKK
Dinner for two: 500DKK
Beer/pint at a bar: 40DKK

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