How to Maximize Copenhagen with a Limited Budget

How to Maximize Copenhagen with a Limited Budget

Hi, everyone!

As some of you may know, I was in Copenhagen last week for a couple of days. A lot of you asked me how the trip was, and I must say, I had an amazing time in the city! I really wish I could stay longer than a few days.

Interestingly, the second most asked question was whether it was a very costly trip or not. I guess because the Danish capital is known to be one of the most expensive cities in Europe to visit, so naturally, some people assumed I had to break the bank to make the trip happen. However, the truth is, with enough research and planning, a trip to Copenhagen is possible even if you only have a limited budget.

At the airport, a man at the currency exchange counter said one person would spend on average about US$150 a day (excluding accommodation) in Copenhagen, but I actually only spent about US$85 a day (and no, I didn't starve myself).

Below, I've put together a few tips on how to maximize your trip to Copenhagen without the risk of going bankrupt. And then, check out the video featuring my top places in the city at the end of the article! 

Consider Traveling Early or Late Summer

Although you can find cheap tickets in the winter, Copenhagen is going to be too cold for travelers to be out and about. You still want to make sure you're visiting the city at a time when you can actually enjoy it. According to a lot of the travel sites, the best time to visit Copenhagen is between May and September. Obviously, smack in the middle of summer vacation is going to be the peak season, i.e. the pricey time to visit, so avoid going in July.

So with that in mind, I decided to go late August. And my flight from JFK ended up being around US$500 with Norwegian Airlines (which is one of the best budget airlines I've ever traveled with, by the way), the same price I would've paid to go to California for a weekend!

Use Airbnb Instead of Booking a Hotel

Although sometimes staying at a hotel is nicer (because there's someone cleaning up after you daily), you'll easily save a lot by staying at an Airbnb. When I looked online, there was actually a wide selection of nice, quaint apartments in the city; the average price per night is around US$185. If you go for the private room option, prices can easily be under US$100 per night. For your reference, most decent hotels are at least US$200 per room night.

The Airbnb I picked out was for an entire one-bedroom in the Frederiksberg area for around $165 a night. The place was conveniently located near a metro station, a shopping mall, a supermarket, as well as some cafes and restaurants. I was able to get to all the sites within 15 to 20 minutes via metro and walking.

The Airbnb I stayed at features a spacious open kitchen area.

The Airbnb I stayed at features a spacious open kitchen area.

Buy a City Pass

The City Pass offers travelers unlimited access to buses, trains, and metro in zones 1 - 4, and that includes to and from the airport! If you buy single tickets, they can be quite expensive, but a 24-hour and 72-hour City Pass costs about US$12.80 and US$31.90 for an adult, respectively. Upon arrival, you can buy the City Pass online, receive it as a text, and use it immediately from the airport.

Join a Free Walking Tour or Rent a Bike

Boat tours and the "Hop-on, Hop-off" buses are available in Copenhagen with tickets priced at approximately US$35 per person. If you prefer to save that money for a good meal, then consider joining a free walking tour instead!

There are several options out there that offer different theme tours. Most of them are guided by locals who would explain the history and share stories along the way. 

I didn't go on a walking tour but I did use some of the itineraries I found online as a reference, consolidated them, and created my own with just the places I was interested in seeing. So, you can also consider that option too, if you want to have better control over your own time!

Walking alongside the colorful houses at Nyhavn was one of the highlights of my trip.

Walking alongside the colorful houses at Nyhavn was one of the highlights of my trip.

One of the best ways to see Copenhagen is actually on a bike. Most people in Copenhagen also commute via cycling, so the biking routes are very well-designed throughout the city. You can also easily find bike rentals everywhere, so don't worry about having to find the rental stores beforehand. In fact, I came across a lot of Airbnb hosts offering bikes to their guests, too!

Sadly, I'm not a very good cyclist (that's a little secret of mine), so I didn't go with that option.

Eat Locally at the Food Markets

An average mid-range restaurant meal in Copenhagen is around US$50 per person, but you can easily have a really good, authentic meal for about US$15 at the local markets.

During this trip to Copenhagen, I went to two different markets: the stylish, trendy Copenhagen Street Food, and the more traditional Torvehallerne. They both offer a wide selection of food trucks and stalls, and to be honest, the best meal I had in Copenhagen was at Torvehallerne.

At the market, I also bought Danish pastries to have as breakfast the following morning.

This pulled pork burger was one of my favorites!

This pulled pork burger was one of my favorites!

Open sandwiches are one of the must-haves in Copenhagen.

Open sandwiches are one of the must-haves in Copenhagen.

And that's all for now! I hope you'll find some of my tips helpful when you're planning your trip to Copenhagen.

If you're interested in seeing some of my top places in the city, check out the short video I put together for you!

Thank you for reading!



Tricia Chen is co-founder of Key To Radiance. She loves having fresh flowers in her apartment, putting on face masks, savoring cupcakes and a daily cup of grande almond latte. She works in PR and Marketing, and is currently based in New York.

Skin Type: Combination skin with an oily T-zone area (forehead and nose). Changes in climate, diet and/or lack of sleep irritates skin and causes inflammation, which then leads to large pores. High moisture level required on dry cheeks.