How Much Money do You Need for a Budget Trip to Copenhagen
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Copenhagen has a reputation for being a very expensive city. But what if I told you it is possible to enjoy a trip to this magical city for about the same amount of money you would spend in other large cities like Berlin or Paris? If that sounds intriguing, you’ve come to the right place! In this article I will share with you the exact amount of money you will need for a budget trip to Copenhagen.
How Much Money do You Need for a Budget Trip to Copenhagen?
In short, you will need around 67-225 USD per person per day; or around 470-1,575 USD for a 7 day trip. However, this varies depending on a number of factors. Here’s how the costs break down:
|EXPENSE||HOW MUCH TO BUDGET PER DAY|
|Eating and Dining||20-35 USD|
|Experiences and Activities||20-35 USD|
Accommodation: 27-110 USD per day
From all the costs you will encounter on your budget trip to Copenhagen, accommodation will vary the most. It is dependent on factors such as the time of the year, the number of guests, and the length of stay.
Where is the Cheapest Place to Stay Copenhagen?
Overall, hostels are always the cheapest option for accommodation in Copenhagen. I particularly like hostels like Next House Copenhagen and Steel House Copenhagen because their beds are shaped like pods with curtains that can cover the opening of the pod. Thus you can have some privacy, while the prices are still some of the lowest in town.
Staying in a shared dormitory room can cost you 27-67 USD per person per night depending on the season and length of stay. As long as you’re not bothered by sharing a room with strangers, this is the cheapest accommodation option you’ll find.
Additionally, visiting Copenhagen with a group of friends may also save you some money. Most hostels allow you to rent the whole dormitory room, which you can share with your friends. The cost per person is the same as only renting one bed. But if you want more privacy, sharing one room with one friend is your best bet. Most hostels also have private rooms with private bathrooms for 2 or more guests. In this case, if you and one friend travel together, the accommodation costs per person can be 70-110 USD per night; again depending one season and length of stay.
If you’re interested in learning more about these hostels, check out this article I wrote on the best modern Copenhagen hostels.
If you’re a family travelling with children, you may be pleased to learn that hostels in Copenhagen also accept children. They must be traveling with at least one accompanying adult and you must book a private room; children are not allowed in shared dormitories. Some hostels even provide baby cribs.
How Long Should you Stay in Copenhagen?
You may already know this, but when booking your accommodation the longer you stay, the lower the cost per night will be. Thus if you’re on a budget, my suggestion is to save enough money until you can afford at least a 5 day trip to Copenhagen. I say this because you also have to factor in the costs of getting to Copenhagen and back home.
In addition to costs, Copenhagen has a lot of attractions and landmarks. Despite being a Compact city, only 2-3 days in Copenhagen isn’t enough to fully experience and enjoy the city.
When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Copenhagen?
The cheapest time is in the off-season during October-November and January-February. As you have seen, the costs of accommodation vary wildly. In the off-season you can pay less than half what you would pay during the high-season. However, during these times the weather can be quite gloomy.
For reasonable prices and nice weather, I’d recommend late September and late March. Temperatures are warm enough for walking around with just a light jacket. As for sunshine, that’s never a guarantee regardless of season.
If you’re trying to save money, you should absolutely avoid Copenhagen in the summer season. Between June and August, you’re looking at astronomical hotel prices. Paying nearly 70 USD per night for a hostel bed in a shared room with strangers is just too much, in my opinion. Just wait until September and only pay 32 USD.
Eating and Dining: 20-35 USD per day
It’s not a secret that dining out in Copenhagen is pretty expensive. However, food at the grocery stores is very affordable. If you’re visiting from North America, you will have a pleasant surprise. You can expect to spend 4-5 USD for a ready-to-eat salad, 4 USD for a sandwich, 3-5 USD for a box of strawberries, 1.5 USD for a small yogurt, 4 USD for smoked salmon, 2 USD for cold cuts, under 2 USD for one pastry, and under 5 USD for a fresh loaf of bread. Pastries and bread at bakeries are a little more expensive, but still comparable to other large cities.
If you want to eat out without breaking the budget at some point during your trip to Copenhagen, I suggest visiting a food market. There are a couple of them in the City and the quality of the food is spectacular. Check out this article if you want to learn more about the Copenhagen food markets.
Furthermore, if you’re craving some sweets/ snacks, just grab some from the grocery store. You can find anything from single serve ice cream, nuts, biscuits, cold cuts, and more. Additionally, you can also buy beer and non alcoholic beverages by the can. And if you want to have an authentic experience, have a picnic either in a park, or on the side of the Nyhavn canal.
Experiences and Activities: 20-35 USD per day
I have actually over-budgeted for this category. The truth is that you could have a lovely trip to Copenhagen and spend less, but it’s alway better to have more money than not enough. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of money going to Copenhagen and not have enough funds for that really fun activity that you just discovered.
Regardless of your age and interests, I recommend everyone go on a canal cruise during their time in Copenhagen. Prices are around 15 USD per adult and the tour lasts about one hour. It may seem a little expensive, but it is worth it since you get a different perspective of the city from the water that you cannot get from land. Please note that there a currents on the canal, so bring a sweater and sit close to the front of the boat if you want to hear the guide well.
Another activity I would recommend is visiting Tivoli Gardens. This is the second oldest amusement park in the world. The oldest being Bakken, which is just outside of Copenhagen. Entry tickets at Tivoli cost around 22 USD. Other attractions I would recommend include Rundetårn and Rosenborg Castle.
But did you know you can access all these places and many more with the Copenhagen Card?
What is the Copenhagen Card?
The Copenhagen Card is a pass that gives you access to multiple attractions and transit. There are two options: the green Discover card, and the white HOP card. Here’s how they compare:
Gives you access to over 80 attractions and public transit. You can use the public transit as many times as you want while you card is active. You can take all metros, trains, buses, and harbour buses all over Copenhagen and nearby regions, including to and from the airport. But you cannot take any hop-on hop-off buses.
Gives you access to over 40 attractions and hop-on hop-off buses. These buses stop at all major attractions and have headsets that provide you with interesting facts. You can get on and off these buses anytime and anywhere while your card is active, but they do not take you to the airport.
Available in 5 options: 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, 96 hours, and 120 hours.
Available in 3 options: 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours.
Both of the two card options give you access to the major attractions, as well as one canal tour with Stromma. Make sure to pay attention as there are multiple tour operators on Nyhavn, but you can only get on the Stromma tours with this card.
Is the Copenhagen Card Worth Buying?
Yes, but only if you stay in Copenhagen long enough. A one day pass will cost you just under 70 USD, but 24 hours really aren’t enough to get your money’s worth out of the card. At most you will only be able to see 2-3 museums and maybe even a canal tour.
However, the five day (120 hour) Discover pass costs around 125 USD, which breaks down to about 32 USD per day. And remember the card also includes transportation throughout Copenhagen including going to and from the airport. In five days you can see most attractions, and have plenty of leisure time to relax and take in the sights.
Are There any Free Attractions in Copenhagen?
Yes. If you’d rather not spend any money on attractions, there are a couple of free things you can do in Copenhagen. From museums, to a fortress, and even free festivals, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a list of free activities.
Transportation: 0-20 USD per day
Copenhagen is a very compact, walkable city. If you stay in the city center, you can easily (and quickly) reach all attractions on foot. And if you purchase the Copenhagen Card, your transportation will be included. In this case, you don’t need to budget anything for transportation.
Another great option to get around town is by bike. Renting a bicycle from your hotel/ hostel will cost you around 17 USD per day. Personally, I’d say that’s a bit expensive. However it may be worth it once during your trip for the experience, or if you want to go somewhere further like the Amager Strandpark.
If you’re opting to walk and not purchase the Copenhagen Card, you will need to budget for getting in and out of the city from the airport. Taking the metro to and from the airport costs just under 5 USD each way.
Shopping: 0-25 USD per day
Copenhagen is an amazing city for shopping. I don’t think there’s anything you cannot find here. From high end designer clothes to affordable trinkets, there’s something for everyone.
When it comes to how much money you can spend, sky’s the limit. But if your funds are limited and looking for a reasonable sum to budget, I’d say up to 25 USD per day. You can buy both souvenirs for loved ones and some little things for you.
You can expect to spend around 5 USD for a little fridge magnet, under 10 USD for a cute toy from Tiger, 20+ USD for a tiny Hoptimist, and 5-20 USD for specialty chocolates. If you’re interested in learning more about where to buy souvenirs in Copenhagen, check out this article.
Practical Tips for your Budget Trip to Copenhagen:
- Bring a credit (or debit) card. Not only are cards accepted everywhere, but there are many establishments that do not accept cash at all; not even Danish cash!
- In Copenhagen you pay for public transit based on zones. Always make sure you’re buying the right ticket because fines are gigantic. Buy your ticket based on the zone you’re traveling to, not the zones you cover. For example going from the city center to the airport by metro takes you from zone 1 straight to zone 3. If you think you’re only going through 2 zones and you need a 2 zone ticket, you’re wrong. You need a 3 zone ticket since your journey ends in zone 3.
Please note that in calculating the costs for a budget trip to Copenhagen, I did not include the costs of getting to Copenhagen. This will vary greatly depending on the mode of transportation and where you’re coming from.
Additionally, I also did not consider the costs of health insurance. Again, this varies depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re from the EU/ EEA, just sign up for the European Health Insurance Card and you don’t have to worry about a thing. But if you’re from outside this region, you need to purchase health insurance. The price of which will depend on many factors like your age and health status.
You will need 67-225 USD per person per day for a budget trip to Copenhagen. Additionally, if you travel in the off-season, you can spend just under 500 USD for a 7 day trip when you stay in a dormitory at a hostel. What do you think? Is it more or less affordable than you imagined?
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