Copenhagen travel guide

The capital of the Danish empire is just half an hour away from Sweden and is therefore a perfect city trip to do in combination with some other Scandinavian countries. Port cities are characterized by their proximity to the water. That water also brings a lot of wind with it. Temperatures can feel quite cold here, so take some extra clothes with you.
Copenhagen is easy to do in one or two days. If you would like to see a bit more, you can also arrange full or half-day trips to Danish Zealand or Sweden.

botanical gardens copenhagen

The Botanical Gardens of Copenhagen. Inside the conservatory it seems like you’re visiting the tropics!

  Average costs in Copenhagen

Stay – A sleeping place in a capital city is always more expensive. Denmark is one of the more expensive countries in Scandinavia and you can expect to pay hefty prices for an overnight stay.
I paid approximately sixty euros per night using Airbnb (for two people). Not super expensive, but we did have to take a bus ride for about half an hour to get to the center.
For a hostel you pay a lot of money in Copenhagen. Booking a lot in advance doesn’t always give you the cheapest price either. For a few months in advance you pay an average of 45 to 55 euros per night. Booking only a week in advance sometimes gives you the same prices, sometimes a lot cheaper. The cheapest I found was 35 euros via
Budget hotels can also be found in Copenhagen. Whether it really is prices as a budget hotel, I don’t really dare say. If you go with two people, these rooms are often cheaper than a hostel. Count on at least 80 euros per night.
Luxurious hotels of three or more stars start at +/- 150 euros per night.

Eat – A menu at MAX (Scandinavian burger chain) will cost you between 70 and 100 DKR. Converted, that’s a bit more than ten euros, twelve dollars or about nine British pounds.
For lunch you pay a bit more and when you go to a restaurant you have to think of at least paying twenty euros or DKR 150 for a simple meal.

Transport – Copenhagen is a normal European city. So much can be done on foot and for the rest public transport is pretty good. Public transport is very expensive. If you plan to take public transport regularly, I recommend that you immediately purchase a 24 or 72 hour ticket. Otherwise you pay at least three euros for a single ticket (22.5 DKR). With a 24 or 72 hour tourist card you can switch from bus to metro to train, as long as you stay within a certain zone.

Rundetaarn copenhagen view

The skyline of Copenhagen, seen from the ‘Rundetaarn’ (round tower).

   Saving money in Copenhagen

Cook yourself – In all Scandinavian countries the food costs a lot of money. Cooking yourself is therefore the best option if you want to save a lot of money. Do your shopping at supermarket chains such as Netto, Rema, Kvickly or Remo 1000. These are affordable.
Also take a look at Ikea. Cheap and tasty food! From the center there are regular free buses that take you to IKEA. Swedish meatballs in Denmark. Why not?

City bikes – An alternative for the expensive public transport are the city bikes in Copenhagen. Just like in the Netherlands, the Danes seem to be born on their bicycles. For an hour you pay 25 DKK. Keep track of your time, because otherwise it might get a lot pricier… Most of the sights can be reached on foot, but if you’re in a hurry these bikes may come in handy.

VAT refund – Certain purchases made in Denmark will give you 25% VAT back. If you show your receipt of the purchase you’ll receive this large sum of money back. Of course, that doesnt’ apply to all purchases… But trying doesn’t hurt, right?

Alcohol? Airport! – Do you want to drink some Danish beer, wine or perhaps even liquor? Buy your favorite alcoholic drink in the airport. A lot cheaper than in the city center of Copenhagen. Don’t get your hopes up though. It’s still expensive…

rosenborg castle copenhagen

The Rosenborg castle in Copenhagen. The waiting times for entering can be long!

   Things to do in Copenhagen

The little mermaid – In Copenhagen there are a lot of statues. The most famous of these is undoubtedly the statue of the Little Mermaid. The lonely girl sits along the harbor and is one of the nicest photo locations in the city. The siren is a little bit out of the center of København. Walking there is possible, but you should count on half an hour or at least 45 minutes to get there. There are some buses that stop nearby.

Botanical garden – Near the Rosenborg castle you’ll find the Botanical gardens of Copenhagen. Outside you’ll find a cozy park to walk through, with a mountainous landscaped garden with all kinds of indigenous and exotic plants. The nicest part of this park can be found in the greenhouses. These warm glass verandas are crammed with tropical plants and even some fish. I definitely recommend visiting them in the winter.
Be sure to climb up the white stairs in the middle conservatory.

Visit Christiania – A city in a city. This part in Copenhagen broke free from Copenhagen and has become a big hippie community. Weirdly shaped houses, graffiti and waste everywhere: it doesn’t sound appealing, but it really is one of the nicest sights in Copenhagen. At the central square, it’s prohibited to take pictures as a lot of weed dealers are active and don’t want to get caught once they wander outside Christiana. Once you have stepped through this noisy part you can safely get your camera out and start to photograph the crazy houses. Fun guaranteed!

Tivoli – One of the olders theme parks of Denmark (and even the world!) is Tivoli. The almost two hundred year old park is suitable for young and old, because in addition to the many attractions, the park is also really beautiful. In the evening the park is lit up by thousands of lights, which give even more atmosphere to the park. Especially during Christmas it really becomes magical. In the park you can even ride on the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the world. Only for daredevils!

Rundetaarn – The round tower or Rundetaarn is located in the center of the city and gives you the best view over the city. You can walk around the roof of the tower and from up here you get a 360° view over Copenhagen!

tivoli copenhagen

The entrance to one of the oldest theme parks in the world: Tivoli!

   Things not to do in Copenhagen

Staying too long – Copenhagen looks very big at first sight, but in terms of size it’s actually not that big. Most tourist attractions are located around the center and can easily be reached on foot or by bus. If you’re a fast explorer, one day is more than enough. If you also want to shop, two days would certainly be enough.

Get out of the bus without looking – Denmark is a cycling country. Everywhere you look you’ll notice dozens of cyclists. As a pedestrian or bus passenger you always have to look left and right to make sure that there are no cyclists passing. Citizens of Copenhagen are certainly not the friendliest in the world, so expect some Danish swear words if you didn’t see them coming.

Not taking enough clothes with you – Temperatures seem to be alright in Copenhagen. But that’s not always the case. The temperature is generally a few degrees lower than the actual temperature. When I was there, it was -3°C but it felt more like -10°C…

copenhagen christiansborg palace

The Christiansborg palace. The Danish parliament and the Danish Supreme Court are located here, among other things.

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