I Spent Under $1000 in Copenhagen
When it comes to my European weekenders, I am often asked: how much do I spend? I spontaneously booked these flights to Copenhagen a month prior to my trip. From what I was reading, Copenhagen was notorious for being an expensive European city.
I found a cheap flight from BOS to CPH with a layover in Toronto round-trip for $315, and then I started doing research on what to do and where to go - and estimated price ranges.
Let’s just preface that I was on the waitlist to go to Noma, and in the instance that I somehow got a table to Noma, I was willing (and budgeted to) spend minimum $700 (USD) on a single meal to hopefully see if this was worth the hype. Spoiler alert: this did not happen - maybe one day, I will finally experience Noma. It just didn’t happen on Valentine’s Day weekend when everyone is trying to celebrate love with their S/O and I’m just hanging out in a new city alone.
So here we go, the money diaries and what I did during my four amazing days in Copenhagen. If you are more of a visual person, you can find a visual synopsis of Copenhagen on IGTV here (best viewed on phone), or my Instagram story real-time uploaded during my travels here.
Day 1: Thursday - Travel Day
I had a flight to Toronto from Logan Airport (BOS) that departed 2:15 pm, and would land in Toronto 4:15 pm. Fortunately, I live about 15 minutes away from the airport, and taking a Lyft Line (not sponsored) to the airport was $4.17 at 1 pm
I packed some sandwiches for myself, both for lunch from Boston to Toronto and for dinner before my Toronto to Copenhagen flight. I had my work laptop with me, and my manager approved me working remotely in between my travels this day. I am very fortunate to have a manager who trusts me and knows that I am working even when I am not physically on-site. *thankful*
My flight to Copenhagen left Toronto at 9 pm. This was a red-eye flight, and there were airline meals and airline snacks (thanks to Air Canada - also not sponsored). I slept most of my flight.
Day 2: Friday - Day 1 in CPH
My flight landed in Copenhagen 10:45 am local-time. Not too long after my flight landed, the electricity went out at the airport, and this caused a huge back-up to get people through passport control. Woof. In the airport before heading to the metro, I decided to pull some cash out just in case (I should have done this before traveling, but hindsight is 20/20). I took out 310 USD, which converted to 1900 DKK. I felt a little silly after I did this since now I was stuck with all of these large bills and groaned. I was determined to use all of my cash so I wouldn’t have to do any additional conversions in the future. Note: CPH is very card-friendly when it comes to transactions (this is actually preferred).
I got to the metro by 1:15 PM, and was feeling pretty exhausted. I purchased a two-zone metro ticket, which was 24 DKK, and then walked about 10-15 minutes (with a few additional stops in between to take photos) to the hostel. I stayed at Downtown Copenhagen Hostel (booked through Hostelworld). This hostel came per the recommendation of a friend from London I had met during my Barcelona trip in 2017 (thanks Kirk!), and since I met him at a hostel, and also have met with him when he was in DC, I had a feeling he understood my travel vibe and trusted his opinion. Upon arrival on Friday to the hostel, I owed 495 DKK.
It was 2 pm, and they let me check into my room early. Fortunately, I had the room to myself for a bit (I was in a six person mixed room), and took that time to unpack, relax, and nap. I woke up at 4 pm, showered, and by 5 pm I was out the door.
First stop was Ruby to grab a cocktail. I was on the upstairs portion of Ruby since a seat was available at the bar. I got a “Nordic Aunt Emily” with Oslo gin, Danish apple brandy, and Masculinum from Cold Hand Winery. It was fairly early in the evening, and I wish I had an opportunity to head to the downstairs portion of Ruby, but I didn’t want to trap myself in spending all of my money at this one location. I paid my tab (130 DKK), and walked over to my next destination: KBar.
At KBar, they barely had a seat available, and made me feel a bit uncomfortable about sitting at a stool against the wall alone. Eventually, the server came by, got my order, and I had an incredibly delicious drink - Under Pressure: cedar ridge rye whiskey, vanilla, pineapple, lemon, koriander, mezcal. Someone please recreate this drink for me, because I could not get enough of it. I wanted to order another, but no - the evening must go on, and I was getting hungry. (110 DKK)
I walked over to Llama, and they sat me at a wall with two seats, and I was isolated from the rest of the dining area seated alone! It was a bit uncomfortable at first, so of course, to keep myself company, I started recording videos for my Instagram story poking fun at how I was dining alone in an isolated area on Valentine’s Day weekend. The tabletop I had even had romantic candles to myself. At Llama, I got four dishes and one drink for 450 DKK (including carnitas, tuna tostada, yuca fries with garlic mayo, and ceviche). By the time I finished my meal, it was 11:45 pm. I was fairly exhausted, and considered going out somewhere, but decided to walk back to the hostel and call it a night. After this day, I stopped using my camera and only made content with my phone. I wanted to test out the capabilities of the Moment lenses I was using.
End Day 1 in CPH: 1314 DKK ($197.90 USD) + Hostel 495 DKK ($74.55 USD)
Day 3: Saturday - Day 2 in CPH
My first full day in Copenhagen. I didn’t pressure myself to wake up early during this trip. I actually made a point to turn off all of my alarms to allow myself to wake up naturally. This was my time off of work after all, I wanted to make sure I was giving myself the proper time to decompress so I could go back to work following my return flight and not feel exhausted. I woke up around 9:30 am (and anyone who knows me knows that this is late), showered, and then attempted to use a bike. The city was so bike friendly, I wanted to partake! One thing I should have understood is that:
The average height in CPH for women is 5’11” - I am 5’1”
Bikes are likely made for the height of the average person
I rented the bike well-knowing that it was no refunds for the day, but immediately fell off the bike when trying to get on (because the bike was too tall for me, even with the seat adjusted at its lowest), and I hurt my ankle. Begrudgingly, I returned the bike 5 minutes later, to which the team felt so bad for me that they gave me a refund.
I walked over to Torvehallerne. This is a market comprised of several shops, local vendors, bites and eats, and an outdoor produce/floral market.
I walked around Torvehallerne, taking it all in. It was charming, and amazing to see all of the seafood on display. I began my day with a delicious cappuccino from The Coffee Collective - this was 40 DKK, and I gave him 50 DKK, but they didn’t give me 10 DKK back, and honestly, I didn’t fight him for it. I continued to walk around, and eventually decided to get one of the open-faced sandwiches (fiskefilet) at Hallernes. Everyone I kept meeting consistently told me to get one of these sandwiches. “The higher they’re stacked, the better the sandwich,” a couple told me at a bar later that night (100 DKK for sandwich + water).
I continued to look at all that Torvehallerne had to offer, and considered getting something else to eat, but decided to go for a walk. The weather when I was in Denmark was surprisingly warm (mid-50s in February)! I was leaving a snowy weekend in Boston for this weather in Copenhagen - I was quite fortunate. I stayed outside and soaked up the sunshine, as many others - locals and visitors alike - were doing. Eventually, I began walking, and found myself stumbling upon a sign, questioning why I’d risk not getting coffee. I wouldn’t! I walked into Café Det Vide Hus. The interior was simple, but had a gorgeous spiral staircase and chalk posters of classic movies. I got a two shot caffe latte (35 DKK) and hung out by the window, people watching some more. Eventually, I walked over to Palads Teatret and was enamored by how pink the building was!
Soon after, I crossed the street and into Tivoli, the local amusement park and food hall. I got the all-day entrance (120 DKK) so I could leave and come back in the evening. It was the Festival of Lights while I was visiting, so there were installations everywhere once the sun had set. I didn’t end up going on any rides, but my Moment fisheye lens ended up capturing some amazing photos that I am incredibly proud of. I walked through the food hall and debated on getting food again, but instead went back to the hostel to lay down. It was nearly 6 pm, and I wanted to take a breather.
Other times I have stayed in hostels, I tend to socialize with my bunk mates. This time, I kept to myself. I did not want to join the bar crawls because I wanted to go to bars on my own agenda, and seeing the places I had researched was higher on my priority than socializing. I took an evening nap, and then I was out the door by 8 pm to go to Gasoline Grill 2 per the recommendation of one of my friends. The original location was closed for construction, and this one closed at 9 pm, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the butter burger!
I got the butter burger and asked for lettuce, and the team seemed appalled I’d even ask? They told me no, and made me feel so uncomfortable for asking, but then the person who rang me out at the register said she “slipped in some lettuce for me.” Okay. Thanks? What was the point of making me feel like a pariah for asking for lettuce. Note: do not ask for revisions on the burgers, take them as they come. The butter burger was literally dripping in butter, and naturally I dipped my fries in mayo. It was quite a delicious burger, but admittedly I could not finish the burger-fries combo (135 DKK). It was just too much heavy food for me.
I tried to go to The Jane post-butter-burger, but turns out, this was closed for renovations. Bummer. I went to my other option around the corner, Balderdash. There was one seat at the bar I managed to snag next to a couple while a sea of people waited for seats. What a score, seating for one. At first, I was doing my own thing, but the gentleman next to me noticed I was editing photos on my phone and was commenting how I was chatting to the bartenders about capturing them in action. Eventually, this couple started chatting with me and asking me about my time in Copenhagen, giving me recommendations on where to go. We then began discussing healthcare policies in CPH and politics in America, and it was so amazing for us to discuss our cultural differences between standard living necessities. I ended up staying for two drinks to chat with them longer, as opposed to leaving and heading to a new destination. In this moment, I understood what Hygge meant - this couple sure made me feel it, the warmth and coziness of feeling welcomed amongst a sea of strangers. There is no price on a good conversation, so I didn’t mind having this be my only destination of the evening. After this bar, I walked back to Tivoli and grabbed some night-time photos, walked back to the hostel, and called it a night. (220 DKK)
End Day 2 in CPH: 660 DKK ($99.40 USD)
Day 4: Sunday - Day 3 in CPH
I was determined to ride the bike. When I was In Amsterdam a few months back, I saw a woman who was significantly shorter than me riding a bike significantly larger than the bike I attempted to ride. It was possible to ride the bike, and I was going to do it!
I got the bike (110 DKK) and looked on the map to see how far my next destination was - 2.5 miles, a six minute bike ride? No problem! I tried to practice in an alley, and eventually realized the curbs were quite high off the sidewalk, and could use the curbs to kick myself off and start riding the bike. This worked, and I was riding - until I realized I was heading the wrong direction ten minutes later. So I turned around and kicked myself off the curb again - and then I was off!
Until I had to take a left turn and there was a stop sign. I was in the middle of the lane between vehicles trying to slow down for the red light, when I realized that I couldn’t stop the bike and tried to rest my foot on the ground, but the whole bike slipped from under me and I toppled over. My phone almost got annihilated by a car, and I watched all of my belongings slide across the street out of the bike’s basket. Horrified, I quickly got up and tried to grab my belongings before the light turned green. Everyone was watching me, and I was incredibly flustered. But now I was too far away to return the bike, and too committed to stop riding the bike - so I compromised with the scenario and rode the bike straight and right, and would cross the street walking the bike to turn left. This six minute bike ride turned into an hour (?), but I made it to my destination: Hija de Sanchez.
I managed to grab a seat and was overwhelmed and flustered by my bike experience that I couldn’t wrap my head around what to order, so I ordered all three of the tacos: pastor, carne, and cabbage, alongside a mango Jarritos (135 DKK). The cabbage taco was surprisingly spicy, and me being weak sauce and not enjoying spicy could feel myself sweat. Or maybe I was still traumatized from my bike ride?
After tacos, the lot Hija de Sanchez was in was pretty empty, so I attempted to ride around on the bike to practice. I have to admit, I seldom ride a bike. The only bikes I find myself on consistently are when I go to spin classes. Somehow, I’ve been on more bikes when traveling abroad than in Boston. This should probably change and is likely a part of the problem.
After biking in a circle in an empty lot for about an hour, I went to the other side of the lot to this one hot dog place everyone kept telling me to go to. Why I decided to fall for this tourist trap? I don’t know. I don’t even eat hot dogs in Boston, but there I was at John’s Hotdog, sitting outside, eating a hotdog, and listening to the men at the table in front of me talk about their hotdogs. (110 DKK)
I successfully biked back to the hostel and called it a night with the bike - the sun was starting to set, and there was no way ya girl was going to be riding in the dark. I went up to the room, and laid in bed for a second, but three of the girls in my room were all on the floor eating bread, and it was kind of weird, so I left and got milk tea and boba (44 DKK) next door at Taste of Taiwan. Totally satisfied my craving.
After my evening nap, I called a taxi because the bar I wanted to go to was a bit further away, and I get nervous walking too far for too long at night when I’m traveling solo. Even when traveling on a budget, I don’t want to compromise safety. What’s the point in saving money if I get abducted! I wouldn’t be able to use that money anyway then! I had my taxi (120 DKK) drop me off at Lidkoeb, but instead I got dropped off in some alley. Okay… My friends (who recommended Gasoline Grill) told me they were locked in an alley when they tried to go to Lidkoeb, too. Turns out, the GPS is not Lidkoeb friendly.
I finally found the bar, and went inside to learn that the Lidkoeb menu was out, and it was a menu specifically to feature Four Pillars Gin. Gah, coming in on a brand rep night! I was a bit bummed I couldn’t have the original menu, so I got a negroni (90 DKK) and left to Duck and Cover.
I almost walked by the bar, until I realized the door is a lower door within the sidewalk, and it is incredibly easy to miss. I got a drink called the “Mexican American” which is a variation of a Manhattan using two styles of vermouth and dry cherry liqueur. The drink was 120 DKK, but the bartender broke my very large 1000 DKK bill, so I paid 150 DKK since that was the closest I had for bills.
I looked for 1656 next, but the map kept sending me down more scary, dark alleys. I know Copenhagen is notorious for being a safe city, especially for female travelers, but it is still scary walking around at 11 pm not knowing where I am and with minimal people around. I got one quick, last drink at 1656 because the bartender’s girlfriend was there, and I felt like I was intruding on them, so I paid for my drink (125 DKK) for “The General,” called a taxi (it was 112 DKK, but gave 120 DKK because of coins), and went to get shawarma.
My friend who recommended Gasoline Grill also recommended Shawarma Grill House, and since this was only five minutes away from my hostel, an 11 pm visit made sense. I deserved this after a night of walking through several scary alleys (50 DKK).
End Day 3 in CPH: 1054 DKK ($158.74 USD)
Day 5: Monday - Day 4 in CPH
My last full day in Copenhagen. My hostel room had cleared out, each bed had been turned over at least once, and I was the last person standing heading into the new week. I decided to spend the morning using an electronic scooter since I had never used one before. It seemed pretty straight forward, until I had difficulty starting the engine (I didn’t realize you had to begin moving first), and suddenly the scooter flew from underneath me and I landed backwards onto my bag on the sidewalk. Ouch.
I took the scoot back (50 DKK) to Torvehallerne to enjoy GRØD, and a bowl of barley risotto and sparkling water (90 DKK). Afterwards, I got myself another metro ticket (24 DKK) and took the metro to the stop closest to Freetown Christiania. Everyone kept telling me I needed to go there because of all of the art and marijuana around.
Freetown Christiania is an anarchist community with roughly 1000 residents “squatting” in a military area since 1971. The area is not vehicle accessible. There are three rules in Freetown Christiania:
Don’t run - this causes panic and alarm to everyone around. People running makes the assumption that the cops have arrived and everyone will attempt to shut down their operation and run also to avoid getting arrested
No cameras - they literally paint into their graffitis cameras being smashed, and emphasize this rule. They don’t want anybody to be caught in action of a possible drug deal.
I began walking around, went to some of the shops, and attempted to take photos on my phone in stealth. After a while, I got scared because someone called me out for my phone and I pretended not to hear. Then I watched one of the locals take someone else’s camera and smash it to the ground because no cameras. Woof. I decided to go deep into the city and up on the hill to do some more people watching. The artwork in Freetown Christiania and the architecture are amazing. I wish I could show you more, but this is something you’ll just have to experience yourself.
It was late into the afternoon - time had escaped me on this last day in Copenhagen. From Freetown Christiania, I walked over the bridge and saw the original location of Noma and Gasoline Grill, and went to the infamous Nyhavn canal. There were so many visitors everywhere, and I took photos for many couples and families - none of them offered to take photos of me in return!
I took some photos around the canal, and then the smell of something sweet in the air caught my attention: churros. Lots of churros. I waited in line at Rajissimo and they were all out of soft serve! They let me order gelato with my churros (72 DKK) to make up for the lack of soft serve, and this was definitely more than I could handle since I like minimal amount of sweets. This was actually so sweet for me that I decided to go get dinner at one spot my friend told me I absolutely had to check out since he knows I love noodles.
I went to Ramen to Bíiru, ordering the spicy miso with iced green tea (150 DKK). This was a satisfying bowl of noodles.
The night prior, I didn’t have the opportunity to try Lidkoeb’s full menu, so I was determined to go there before I left. It was dark out, and I wanted to go back to the hostel early to pack my bags and sleep, so I took a taxi go Lidkoeb (100 DKK)… only to realized I messed up and it was a Monday so the schedule was a bit off, and Lidkoeb wasn’t open yet. OH NO, rookie mistake. This is what happens when I lose all sense of time and every day feels like a weekend because I turned off all of my alarms in the morning.
I stopped into Kaffestuen Vesterbro and got a dirty chai (50 DKK) and edited photos while I waited for an hour and a half for Lidkoeb to open. They normally open at 16h, but of course when I was trying to go they weren’t open until 20h. It’s okay, this is why it’s important to be flexible!
It’s finally 20h, and I’m the first person walking into Lidkoeb. The bartender immediately recognizes me from the night prior and welcomes me back. He and I begin chatting, and Milol let me take photos and videos of him making drinks. As people began coming in, Milol would (of course) step away to help, but we continued chatting in between him helping others. It was quite lovely, and I’m so appreciative for his insight and making me one of the drinks Ruby is most known for since I didn’t have a chance to try it there. I’d go back to Copenhagen and Lidkoeb just to hang out with Milol again at the bar.
Two drinks at Lidkoeb (250 DKK) and it was time to go back to the hostel (80 DKK taxi) to pack up my belongings. I was flying home the next day.
End Day 4 in CPH: 716 DKK ($107.84 USD)
Day 6: Tuesday - Travel Day
I set an alarm to wake up around 8 am - I had already packed my Tortuga backpack ready to go, and quickly showered and put away the rest of my belongings. I went downstairs to the hostel bar area since they did an all you can eat breakfast every day for 70 DKK. I never took advantage of this my entire time there - mostly because I would wake up and not even think about breakfast or food until I was already out and about. After breakfast, I got in a taxi to the airport because I was getting close on time (it was 10 am, and my flight was at 12:15 pm), so I said goodbye to Copenhagen, and chatted with the driver. He told me I should have done a canal tour, and that I need to do this next time. Noted - I will add this to my list for when I return to eat at Noma. The taxi ride was 200 DKK.
I was on my way home. My flight landed in Toronto around 2:55 pm, but my flight to Boston was delayed, and I didn’t leave Toronto until 6:25. I got back to Boston around 7:45 pm, and was back in my bed by 9 pm and off to work on Wednesday, like just another day in the life.
End Travel Day: 270 DKK ($40.66 USD)
Total Spend: $994.09 USD
Roundtrip Flights on Air Canada: $315
Downtown Copenhagen Hostel: $74.55
Day 1-4 Spend: $604.54