In our A Total Trip series, writers document what they spent on a recent getaway. In this edition, Chamidae Ford shows us how far her money went on a long weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I recently spent a sunny weekend in Copenhagen – a city known for its stunning architecture, signature design and burgeoning food scene – with my friend and coworker Ann Douglas. When planning this trip, I knew I’d only be there for a few days, and I also knew I wanted to taste delicious food and shop for a few souvenirs (or more than a few).

As someone who lives in New York, I must acknowledge that my sense of what is deemed overpriced and what is "normal" is a bit skewed. Still, I will bare my spending soul if only to offer a grasp on what a weekend in this city may cost if you enjoy yourself rather than convert prices on a currency app.

A receipt with Chamidae's pre-trip spending figure

Pre-trip spending 

A goal for me was to do as little pre-trip spending as possible. Since I was already in Dublin for work, I took a short flight costing 679kr to Copenhagen. 

For the hotel, I wanted a place that felt young and prioritized design, so it truly felt like we were in Copenhagen. I also looked for something central to avoid long commute times when visiting the main sites. We stayed at 25 Hours Hotel in Indre By, a pricier option but in a great location, and we split the cost of the room. For three nights, our stay was 5408kr, which means my portion was 2704kr, which I paid for with credit card points I had been saving.

Pre-trip spending: 697kr

L-R: The writer and her friend posing for photos with their cocktails; their dinner plates
Dinner at Lilo Vinoria - Left: Chamidae and her dry martini. Center: Ann Douglas poses with her drink. Top right: the life-changing pea and asparagus risotto. Bottom right: the burrata, and pork and veal rosemary poplettes © Chamidae Ford 

On-the-ground spending

Friday

Airport transfer: We landed in Copenhagen around 4:30pm, and we discovered that one of Copenhagen's finest perks is how straightforward it is to get from the airport to the city! Doing the same in London, Paris, or New York is a pricey, timely and exhausting feat; this was cheap (30kr) and fast. I got from the airport to my hotel in roughly 20 minutes.

Activities: With a dinner reservation for 8pm (you must make dinner reservations in advance; Copenhagen is not the place for walk-ins), we spent a few hours taking in the early evening, the winding streets, and noting places we would like to visit the next day. 

Apertivo: We stopped at Little Green Door, a cocktail bar along the canal, for a pre-dinner drink. We each enjoyed a single shot, gin and tonic for a whopping 131kr (262kr for both). After swiping my card, this was the moment I knew my weekend was going to be more expensive than I had anticipated.

Dinner: In the evening, we dined at the intimate yet bustling Lilo Vinoria, a chic wine bar with Italian-inspired food and an extensive drink menu. I am unsure if it was because I had only consumed a single croissant that day due to travel or because I was coming off a week of pub food in Dublin, but this meal felt like everything I had ever needed.

We split the burrata featuring a yuzu marinade, walnuts and jalapeños and shared the pork and veal rosemary polpettes. Ann Douglas and I each enjoyed a plate of the freshest, brightest, most rejuvenating pea and asparagus risotto. Throughout the meal, I nursed a very dry martini, which was fine but made me long for the Dirty Martini at Long Island Bar in Brooklyn. My share of the cost for that meal was 471.85kr.

Total: 632.85kr

L-R: Avocado, bacon and toast; up-close shot of a hotdog; a collection of colorful glassware; a boat tour of Copenhagen
Left: breakfast at Coffee Roon. Center: Chamidae's cheap and tasty hot dog. Top right: colorful glassware from Studio Arhoj. Bottom right: The girls on a boat tour © Chamidae Ford 

Saturday

Breakfast: On this beautiful Saturday, the sun was shining, and we were on the hunt for a full breakfast – I needed more than a croissant to sustain me today. We stumbled across Coffee Room, where I had a scrambled eggs with chives, crispy bacon, toast, avocado, freshly squeezed orange juice and an Americano (237kr).

Activities: First and foremost, I wanted to shop. I had heard about the city's vintage stores and seen the incredibly stylish locals, and I knew I needed to come home with a few pieces from my travels.

We went to Mads Nørgaard, a Copenhagen brand that makes iconic striped shirts that are so comfy. I bought the pink-on-pink, striped long-sleeve, which I would end up wearing the very next day (299kr). From there, we browsed a few vintage shops, but the real winner was O-S-V Second Hand, where I got a very chic, brown boatneck top sprinkled with polka dots and a white midi length skirt (599kr for both). 

We stopped by a stunning glass shop called Studio Arhoj, a suggestion courtesy of Lonely Planet writer Verona Farrell in her story, Copenhagen in 5 Shops. I walked away with a handful of gifts for friends and a piece for myself (599kr).

Having sufficiently spent a lot of my money, we decided to start sightseeing. We chose to purchase the Copenhagen Card (CPH Card), which includes all public transit and entrance to most of the city’s main sites. We strategically bought it in the afternoon of day two to maximize its use. For 48 hours, the card costs €100 (746kr). Included in the card was a boat tour through the canals. We cruised through the city, learning some of its history while enjoying the sunny day. The hour-long tour even gave us a glimpse of the famous Little Mermaid statue

Lunch: For lunch, we visited a hot dog stand, where I got a spicy dog covered in onions, relish, ketchup, mustard and a herby aioli. Delish! (45kr).

Activities: After our quick bite, we headed to the Copenhagen Design Museum (included in the CPH Card), featuring an exhibit on local supermarket chain Irma. It delved into the brand's design evolution, showcasing how it had changed since its inception in 1886. I decided to skip the gift shop. My credit card was still tired from the morning.

Dinner: That evening, we took the bus (CPH Card) to dinner, where we enjoyed a tasting menu at Mirabelle Spisería, a moody Italian restaurant in inner Nørrebro. The food was delicious but not necessarily mind-blowing. We split a crispy arancini, flatbread doused in olive oil and mozzarella, burrata with pistachios and capers. We also enjoyed a salad of cod and citrus, which I loved, plus cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta) and brown butter sage ravioli. I particularly enjoyed the delicious glasses of Nero wine. 

My share of the dinner bill came to 536kr.

Total: 3061kr (oof!)

L-R: Chamidae poses in Louisianna; up-close shot of cheeseburger; seafood dinner; Chamidae poses in her new top
Left: Chamidae in Lousiana. Top center: the 'worth the wait' Gasoline Grill cheeseburger. Bottom center: prawns at Delphine. Right: Chamidae poses in her new thrifted top from O-S-V Second Hand © Chamidae Ford 

Sunday

Breakfast: We stopped by Lagkagehuse, where I had a kanelsnegl (cinnamon roll) and an Americano (90kr).

Activities: Today we were leaving the city behind to visit the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art (CPH Card) – this was the activity everyone had recommended, and I must admit they were right. It's an hour-long train ride outside the city, which is a gentle way to ease into the day and a great opportunity to see a bit of Danish countryside. We followed signs from the station that led us on the 10-minute walk to the museum, and arrived at opening time of 11am.

We spent two hours exploring the museum, which included a wide range of exhibits, from Dominican-American artist Firelei Báez and her captivating multimedia pieces that explore the black diaspora and folk tales to the French artist, Chaïm Soutine's expressionist pieces that span his lifetime. The museum itself is stunning, with glass walls and a sculpture park in the center. Perched on a hill overlooking the water, it is a captivating location that remains the highlight of my trip. I purchased a Báez print to take home with me (350kr).

Lunch: Back in the city, we immediately went looking for a Gasoline Grill for lunch. Famous for its excellent burgers (and long lines), we decided to stick it out as everyone said it is the best.

The classic cheeseburger (100kr) was truly unforgettable. The bun is toasted to perfection, so each bite has a crunch; the meat, which is never frozen, is seasoned throughout the process. Ann Douglas and I ate, standing against a brick fence in silence, completely focused on the experience. For the quality, it felt like a steal (NYC loves to charge $28 for a burger) and totally worth the wait.

Activities: After lunch, we explored the Rosenborg Castle (CPH Card), catching a glimpse of the crown jewels, grand halls and many stylish rooms. It is no Versailles, but it is an interesting historic space in the city's center. The park grounds surrounding the castle are stunning, and catching the tulips in bloom was exciting.

Dinner: For our final evening, we opted for Mediterranean food and ventured over to Vesterbro for a meal at Delphine. It was a bit of an Instagrammy spot, but the food was great, and the atmosphere was fun.

The tzatziki and flatbread, to start, was refreshing and light. The lamb was juicy and delicious, the prawns a bit small but well seasoned, the french fries crispy, which I prefer, but the star to me was a watermelon feta salad, which had mint, perfectly firm chunks of green tomato, onion, olives and a dash of vinegar. Truly perfect.

For my share of the meal, I spent 490kr.

Total: 1030kr

L-R: Broches from Rosenborg Castle, a flower market and Chamidae posing for a photo in the park
Top left: ornamental pins from Rosenborg Castle. Right: a flower market in Copenhagen. Bottom left: Chamidae in the park © Chamidae Ford 

Monday

Breakfast: For our final morning, we stopped by Holms Bager (63kr) for coffee and a pastry before returning to a couple of shops where we wanted to grab some items we had been thinking about (334kr), another one of those Mads shirts and more items from the Studio Arhoj glass shop. Mostly, we savored our final hours and enjoyed the early morning quietness of the city.

Airport transport: We hopped on the train back to the airport and our CPH card, in its final hours, still covered our fare. 

Lunch: In the airport before the 8.5-hour flight, I stopped by Joe & the Juice for an underwhelming sandwich (85kr), but it is airport food; what more can you expect?

Total: 482kr

Final tally receipt

The final tally: 5902.85kr

Overall, it was an expensive weekend, but more due to my own desire to shop and indulge in lavish dinners. Only having alcohol with dinner ended up saving me a lot of money in the long run, as most days, I only had one drink. 

The Copenhagen Card is a hack when you are visiting places nonstop, but I don't think we fully maximized its bang for its buck due to doing more wandering and shopping than overall sightseeing.

Here is more expert advice to help you plan your trip to Copenhagen

9 of the best things to do in Copenhagen
Copenhagen in 5 shops: food halls, curated fashion finds and more
Local Bites: the best places to eat and drink in Copenhagen

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