Inexpensive awesome in Copenhagen?
August 14, 2008 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Inexpensive awesome in Copenhagen?

I'm headed to Copenhagen for two weeks, and I have heard that the city can be quite expensive. To that end I was looking for recommendations of things to do, see, eat and drink that won't break the bank. Any recommendations of can't-miss spots that are easy on the pocketbook and might not be in the guidebooks?
posted by jrb223 to Travel & Transportation around Copenhagen, Denmark (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The little merrimaid is free (but in the guidebooks). It was also really, realy little and I was underwhlemed. Right across the street is a park (Churchillpark) which is free and was quite beautiful. If you eat hot dogs get a hot dog on the Strogett.
posted by fixedgear at 10:49 AM on August 14, 2008

It's a great museum city. They're in all the guidebooks, yeah, but I think the guidebooks underestimate the awesome. Good free-or-cheap museums include:

The City Museum -- there's a model out front of 17th-century Copenhagen that even has a gallows.

The Museum of the Danish Resistance.

The National Museum.
posted by grimmelm at 10:55 AM on August 14, 2008

Yeah, those red hot dogs in a baguette are pretty awesome, and cheap. Also, just strolling up and down the streets looking at all the beautiful people is pretty cool, and free! (and wow, are there are lot of them!) Not sure if they do this for the Olympics, but for World Cup they put up a big screen in one of the main public squares, and it's free to go watch the games, if they do it for the Olympics that might be fun, too. I think it was the one right near Tivoli and the train station....also a great pedestrian street off there (might be strogget). Oh, I think this is it. And I'll be hoping along with you that the dollar keeps gaining! Enjoy your trip!
posted by Grither at 11:17 AM on August 14, 2008

Best answer: Please skip the mermaid, go no further than Kastellet or any of the other near-by parks. Even this cemetery is much more interesting.

Don't ever eat anything in Tivoli as it's very expensive and not that good. It's nice for strolling, but don't buy anything. A stroll in Christiania (map) is mandatory for young people.

You get much cheaper food by going to parts of the city where tourist seldom visit, e.g. Nørrebrogade, Vesterbrogade.
Kebabs are twice as expensive in tourist areas as at Nørrebro. The two areas are named Vesterbro and Nørrebro. The main street in each area is named Nørrebrogade, Vesterbrogade. Danish for "street" is "gade" or "vej", and "findvej" means "find street" or "find way".

Another option is to go to the bakers (skip those on Nørrebro as they are lower quality with the exception of this one which is very good). The bakers have food suitable for breakfast and lunch, and the quality is very different from the "Danish Pastry" sold in US. In Denmark, the pastry is made the same morning and never sold the next day.

The National Museum has free admission. Thorvaldsens Museum and Glyptoteket are interesting too.

If you like to bike, there's a couple of places to rent bikes. Copenhagen is very suited for biking as it is flat as a pancake and has many bike paths which are separate from the cars. A lot of people use bikes for going to work, including our former prime minister.
posted by flif at 12:30 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I forgot: don't eat any licorice unless you have a really great sense of humor.
posted by fixedgear at 12:41 PM on August 14, 2008

Best answer: I'm thrilled you asked this question as we will be heading out to Copenhagen in 14 days and 19 hours. I've never been, so I don't have very reliable advice, but I have been doing a lot of research. One thing that we've put on our list of free and interesting are six walking tours on MP3. They are sponsored by the Copenhagen City Museum and are personalized by six different local artists. I've been told that they are quite worthwhile by my local contact there. You can read more about them on

Another frequent suggestion I get is to indulge in some smørrebrød which is an open face sandwich. Ida Davidsen gets consistently high marks from everyone I talk to, but probably fails the inexpensive test (although everything is relative, I guess).

Can't wait to read more suggestions from people more clued in than I.
posted by Lame_username at 12:55 PM on August 14, 2008

posted by ga$money at 1:09 PM on August 14, 2008

I forgot: for some reason bakers doesn't accept credit cards. You'll need cash, but there's plenty of places buy currency. Previously about renting bikes in cph.

For transport besides walking/biking: get either a 24-hour ticket (115 kr) or a 10-ticket card ("klippekort", 125 kr). Each of the latter "tickets" are valid for 90 minutes, so you can use it for several buses/subway/metro trips. Paying cash in buses are twice the price. Taxis are quite expensive.
posted by flif at 1:28 PM on August 14, 2008

Best answer: Istedgade from here to here have a lot of non-expensive ethnic restaurants. The first part of Istedgade is the red light district (Skelbækgade if you're in car), but is completely safe.

All of the area from Halmtorvet and Istedgade to Gammel Kongevej (old Kings-Road) is nice for eating out at restaurants when being on a budget.
posted by flif at 1:56 PM on August 14, 2008

Best answer: CPH is not a cheap city, but there are some deals. Food: Buy some yogurt and muesli for breakfast (your hostel or hotel might even let you keep it in a fridge.) Buying a nice loaf of bread and some sort of filler is usually a great way to have a cheap lunch. However, the danish bread selection is a bit odd. You'll find the danish røgbrød, which is dark, almost black, and similar to pumpernickel. Really crumbly and hard to make a sandwidch with. And you'll find the smørrebrød in bakeries which are little rock-hard, dinner rolls that basically turn to dust when you try to eat them. (I have no idea what the appeal is.) If you can find a good organic bakery (look for "øko") they have a few more options. Muesli rolls and more whole grain varieties of bread that will actually fill you up. If you like paté, then pick up a leverposti. You can get a huge amount for a few bucks.

The Netto supermarkets (the yellow ones) are the cheapest place to buy groceries.

Also, buy beer in kiosks and drink it in parks. (You can buy it in the supermarket for less, but then it's warm.) AFAIK, totally legal to drink in public and much, much cheaper than the bars.

Stroget (the main walking street) is an expensive tourist trap. You'll find you have to walk on it occasionally, just don't buy anything.

As mentioned, christania is an interesting place to check out.

Chat with the locals - there are often free events: outdoor movies, concerts in parks, street festivals, etc.

Oh, and the swimming pool in the harbour is excellent, and I believe free.
posted by kamelhoecker at 2:22 PM on August 14, 2008

Best answer: Eating out in Copenhagen is relatively expensive so you'll be able to save a lot of money if you can do a bit of cooking or sandwich-making yourself. As suggested above, Netto supermarkets are the best value for money.

Try to avoid taxis if you can as they are very expensive as well. If you do end up in a taxi remember that Danes don't tip cab drivers (or, rather, the tip is included in the taximeter rate). You also don't need to tip hairdressers, waiters (except at really fancy places for some reason) or pretty much anyone else. You can do it if you want to, of course, I'm just saying that it isn't expected like it is in much of the rest of the world.

Bring your student ID if you have one and always ask at museums etc. if they have a student discount. Usually they do.

If you let us know when you're going and/or which part of town you're staying in I'll probably be able to think of something interesting for you to see. Other than that I suggest you check out the ArtRebels Blog and Actionygge where you can often find flyers for interesting events, a lot of them cheap or free.

A few things to check out:
- U-TURN Quadrennial for Contemporary Art, two months from September 5th
- DAC and Copenhagen X if you're into architecture
- Visit Copenhagen, the official tourist information outlet, suggests 10 alternative things to do in Copenhagen, all free or cheap
- Louisiana is a great museum, bring a picnic basket and enjoy your lunch in the lovely garden
- This is Google's attempt to translate the Recommended Events page at Copenhagen social network
posted by sveskemus at 5:56 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, this is a lot of great suggestions, I am especially excited to try those soundwalks Lame_username suggests, and to spend the day today digging through sveskemus's links looking for fun stuff to do. Also, one of my fellow travelers was impressed that the first recommendation in this thread was for a hot dog (which he appreciated)

If you let us know when you're going and/or which part of town you're staying in I'll probably be able to think of something interesting for you to see.

I will be leaving for Denmark this Sunday, returning at the end of the month, and I believe I am staying around here.

thanks again, and if you have any further suggestions please send them my way.
posted by jrb223 at 6:36 AM on August 15, 2008

You'll love Copenhagen, we lived there for 2 years and miss it still.

Seconding the Louisiana as a must see, the deer park on the way (up the coast road) is reachable on a bike and is lovely. Walk the parks and the lakes, during the summer it's an excellent way to spend the afternoon.

There are tour boats that go from Nyhavn around the harbour, over to the opera house and past the black diamond library for about 30 DKK IIRC. Relatively cheap way to see the city and spend an hour.

The Carlsberg Glyptotek is also good, and the Carlsberg brewery museum is free and good, with 2 free beers at the end in the bar. Walking there, there are plenty of cheap kebab shops on the way up from Stroget. It was here, after befriending the bar manageress that I definitively proved that I can organise a piss-up in a brewery ;o)

Hamlet's Castle is also worth the trip out to Helsingor. There's a viking village on the west of Zeeland, that was quite good too, but I forget it's name.

The trains in Denmark are great and very reliable for getting around. If you're there for 2 weeks, then Roskilde and the viking museum are worth the hike.
posted by arcticseal at 6:22 PM on August 15, 2008

Forgot to add the Ordrupgaard collection. An often overlooked gem of a collection just north of Copenhagen, they have a little orchard garden around the side that isn't really part of the museum, but is great for a picnic!
posted by arcticseal at 6:27 PM on August 15, 2008

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