Do you have those places you’ve travelled to that you find yourself daydreaming about, wishing you were back there? For me, that place is Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. Northern Europe is well known for being quite expensive, but there are lots of ways you can save money and still have a fabulous trip.
A couple of years ago my housemates an I were desperate to go on a girls holiday for a few days, something affordable and as it was December, something a bit Christmassy too! With hand luggage and cheap Ryan Air tickets, we got on a sleepy early morning flight!
Where to Stay
We’d decided to stay in an Airbnb with a kitchenette because, as students, we’re drawn to ways of saving money. Plus, with two of us being gluten-free and veggie (this was in my pre-vegan days) cooking for ourselves some of the time was much easier. I can’t find the exact place we stayed, but Airbnb has countless listings across the city, and they just scream hygge! Our adorable apartment (the photos don’t do it justice!) was perfect a short break, and we couldn’t believe how trusting the owner was, leaving the keys in a box on her doorstep. Danish people are so friendly!
Follow this link to get £34 off your first Airbnb booking.
Where to Eat
I always find it’s best to do a mixture of eating out and cooking for yourself if you can when you go away. You get to dress up and have someone else do the washing up for some of the time, but then you get to explore the supermarkets and eat like a local too. This has to be one of the best ways to make your budget stretch when travelling.
For us, this consisted of eating breakfast in our apartment, cereal, pastries, etc, and getting some snacks to take out with us as well. Also, one evening I made us all a pasta dish in our baby kitchen.
If you’re gluten-intolerant like me, we found an amazing bakery called Landbageriet, which had loads of gluten-free options. They even had a gluten-free and vegan pizza bread! Everything from there was just incredible.
My top recommendation to finding vegan options around the world is Happy Cow (they have a website and app). It lists all the places which are vegan, vegetarian, has veggie options, you get the picture. Copenhagen has tonnes of yummy places to check out for all budgets.
You should also head to the indoor Torvehallerne market to try delicious food, coffee and produce.
Another great thing about Copenhagen is that as it’s small, you’re never too far from the centre. Our apartment was halfway between the airport and city, and they have a great Metro and bus system. Although if your Danish isn’t so good, maybe write down where you’re headed to show the bus driver, as we made a fool or ourselves butchering the street names several times. Getting a Metro straight from the airport to central Copenhagen takes about 20 minutes, and costs 36DKK, or just over £4.
And of course, you can’t visit Denmark without renting a bicycle with a basket on the front! This was both an exhilarating and a slightly scary experience. Bicycles run the roads in Copenhagen and although this means that it’s really cyclist friendly, it had been years since I’d ridden a bike. Plus, being from the UK we were used to driving on the other side of the road! After a wobbly start, it was so refreshing in the winter air, and cycling really is the best way to see all the sites. There are so many places to rent from, so have a look around. Here is a link to a few different companies: www.visitcopenhagen.com
Places to Visit
There are so many things to do and see in Copenhagen, but if you’re reading this I’m sure you’re looking for some of the low cost and free things to do.
The Little Mermaid
Although this famous statue is much smaller in person than you expect, she really is beautiful. We rode our bikes to Langelinie where she lives, and then came across the Kastellet nearby, a military fortress you can walk through.
You’d recognise Nyhavn from images such as the one below of bright buildings along a river. It’s so vibrant and alive in this area of town, with lots of restaurants and the Hans Christian Anderson gift shop.
Nearby you can watch the royal changing of the guard at Amalienborg.
Christiania is a car-free, green neighbourhood established by a group of hippies in the 1970’s. Today it is a quirky mix of houses, cafes, workshops and shops. You’re not allowed to film or take photos inside, and there is a list of rules at the entrance. It’s an unusual place but totally worth a visit.
By far the best place we visited was Tivoli Gardens. This 19th-century amusement park is a dream world, especially at Christmas, with rides, cafes, restaurants, gift shops. Everything is lit up and magical! It looks very different depending on the season you visit, but honestly, it’s a must for your trip.
So there you have it, how to visit Copenhagen on a budget (even a student budget!). I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you’ve been to Copenhagen and what you loved about it.