Whenever I recommend Copenhagen as a city break, I always get asked the same question – ‘is Copenhagen expensive to visit?’.
Packed with fascinating history, world-class design, and delicious food, Denmark’s capital makes the perfect weekend getaway.
However, like it’s Scandi neighbours, Denmark (and Copenhagen specifically) gets a bad rep for being a costly destination. A number of people I know have put off visiting altogether because of the price. But how expensive is Copenhagen, really?
In this guide, I’m breaking down:
- Whether Copenhagen is really as expensive as people say
- What you can expect to pay for accommodation, food, alcohol, attractions, and transportation
- What to budget per day in Copenhagen
- How you can save money when visiting Copenhagen
- The Copenhagen Card
- If visiting Copenhagen is worth the expense
By the end of this guide, you should have a pretty good idea of exactly how much your trip to Copenhagen should cost you and whether or not this fits into your travel budget.
You’ll see that it is 100% possible to visit this city on a budget (I even did it in my university days on a shoestring!).
So let’s find out, once and for all – is Copenhagen expensive?
Is Copenhagen Expensive?
To summarise this guide – yes, Copenhagen is expensive. You will pay higher prices here than other areas of Western Europe (such as Portugal, Spain, France or Germany) and significantly more than countries in Eastern Europe (such as Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary).
You can expect to pay more in Copenhagen than you would in other popular capital cities such as:
- New York City
How Expensive is Copenhagen?
If you’ve travelled to other Scandinavian cities, such as Reykjavik in Iceland, Stockholm in Sweden, or Oslo in Norway, you can expect prices to be similar in Copenhagen.
Why Is Copenhagen so Expensive?
There are a few reasons why Copenhagen is so expensive to travel in. Here are the main ones:
1) High Salaries – people tend to make more money here so they have more money to spend, as a result the cost of living is higher
2) High Standards of Living – people in Copenhagen expect quality and with that quality comes a higher price point
3) High Taxes – taxes in Denmark are very high as they contribute to creating a better society. Taxes go towards things like free university education, free healthcare, and free childcare. They prioritise the wellbeing of their people here. Their 25% sales tax is the 5th highest in the world!
If you want to learn more about Denmark’s taxes and how they’re spent to create a healthier, happier country, I would highly recommend reading this book:
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
Helen moves to Denmark as a freelance journalist and explores all the reasons why they’re considered the happiest nation in the world. It’s an easy read that’s also very interesting. I can’t recommend it highly enough. That audiobook version is also superb!
How Much is Accommodation in Copenhagen?
The prices of accommodation in Copenhagen varies dramatically depending on the quality of the establishment. You can expect to pay upwards of $100USD (707 DKK or £82) per night for a nice hotel room.
However, there is a range of accommodation to suit different budgets. The prices for all of these will vary on the time of year, with prices being higher during peak season:
If you’re really wanting to visit Copenhagen on a budget, you can stay in a hostel dorm. This is how I managed to visit Copenhagen while still in University.
Many of the hostels can be found in the centre of Copenhagen, so you’ll be able to save on the cost of transport. They’re also a great way to meet other travellers if you’re planning a solo trip.
I’ve also found that the quality of hostels in Copenhagen is pretty high compared to some other European destinations.
The average cost of a hostel in Copenhagen is around $15USD (106 DKK or £12) per night.
The second option for accommodation is Airbnbs.
If you choose an Airbnb with a kitchen, you’ll also be able to save on the cost of eating out in Copenhagen by cooking some meals at your accommodation.
Last but not least, we have hotels. This may be a nicer experience but you will need to pay a bit more, as a result.
You can expect to pay at least $100USD (707 DKK or£82) per night in a hotel in Copenhagen, though this will depend on the quality and location of the hotel.
How Expensive are Tourist Attractions in Copenhagen?
Tourist attractions in Copenhagen are pretty expensive. Below are the prices for the most popular ones:
- Tivoli Gardens Entrance – 155 DKK ($22 USD or £18)
- Tivoli Gardens Ride Pass – 169 DKK ($24 USD or £20)
- Rosenborg Castle – 130 DKK ($18 USD or £15)
- Christiansborg Palace – 175 DKK ($25 USD or £20)
- Copenhagen Zoo – 239 DKK ($34 USD or £28)
- Canal tour – 109 DKK ($15 USD or £13)
- National Museum of Denmark – 120 DKK ($17 USD or £14)
I highly recommend getting the Copenhagen Card. This gives you free entry to most of the main tourist attractions and also grants you unlimited use of the public transport.
Even if you plan on visiting just a couple of attractions, you will save so much money by purchasing a Copenhagen Card!
How Expensive is Food in Copenhagen?
There’s no two ways around it – food in Copenhagen is expensive.
In fact, this is probably where a lot of your budget will go!
Here are some example prices for what you can expect to spend on food in Copenhagen
- Pastry & a coffe – 80 DKK ($11 USD or £9)
- Bottle of water – 20 DKK ($3 USD or £2.50)
- Sandwich – 70 DKK ($10 USD or £8)
- Fast food meal – 85 DKK ($12 USD or £10)
- Dinner – 180 DKK ($25 USD or £21)
As you can see, Copenhagen is very expensive when it comes to food and drink.
Cooking meals in your Airbnb or choosing restaurants further out of the city centre will help to bring prices down somewhat, if you’re travelling on a budget.
How Expensive is Alcohol in Copenhagen?
Like food, alcohol in Copenhagen is expensive. A bottle of beer will cost around 55-70 DKK ($8-$10 USD or £6-£8) and a glass of wine will set you back around 85 DKK ($12 USD or £10).
If you want to save money on your trip to Copenhagen, I’d recommend skipping the alcohol altogether, as you can easily blow a lot of your budget here.
How Much is Public Transport in Copenhagen?
Public transport in Copenhagen is surprisingly not too expensive. This being said, you can still expect to pay slightly higher prices than you would across other major European cities.
The train from Copenhagen Airport to Copenhagen Central Station costs 36 DKK ($5 USD or £4)
And the Metro from Copenhagen Airport to the city centre also costs 36 DKK ($5 USD or £4)
Public transport is also very reliable, so worth those slightly higher prices. The metro is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you’re going to be using public transport a lot or plan to visit any tourist attractions, I’d recommend purchasing a Copenhagen Card in advance. This gives you unlimited use of public transport and free entry to the main attractions.
Once you reach the city centre, you’ll probably find that you can walk to most of your desired destinations. Copenhagen is very flat and quite small, making it a very walkable city.
Taxis are very expensive in Copenhagen, so I would advise avoiding using them as much as possible if you’re worried about budget.
How to Save Money in Copenhagen
Really want to visit Copenhagen but concerned about the cost? Here are my top tips for saving money in Copenhagen:
1) Purchase a Copenhagen Card – yes, this is an expense up front but it will save you money in the long run with unlimited travel on public transport and free entry to the most popular tourist attractions in Copenhagen. It’s well worth buying a Copenhagen Card.
2) Stay in a hostel instead of a hotel – this will bring your accommodation costs right down, leaving you more money for attractions and food.
3) Explore by foot – Copenhagen is a very walkable city, so pack some comfortable shoes and explore by foot. You can even download some Rick Steves audio guides for free and listen to them as you walk!
4) Take a shorter trip – Copenhagen is not a large city, so it won’t take you too long to explore it. You won’t need a full week here. Why not visit for 2-3 days instead? This will really cut down your costs and you’ll still be able to visit this fantastic city?
5) Make your own meals – If your hostel or Airbnb has a kitchen, why not cook some of your own meals? This will really save on food costs, which can be one of the most expensive parts of visiting Copenhagen. There’s also something so fun about visiting supermarkets in foreign countries!
6) Enjoy free tourist attractions – there are a number of things you can do for free in Copenhagen. Check out the Little Mermaid statue, check out the colourful buildings of Nyhavn, or visit Freetown Christiania.
7) Don’t drink alcohol – spend your trip sober to cut down on the amount of money you would be spending on alcohol.
Save Money with the Copenhagen Card
Is Copenhagen Worth Visiting?
With a pricier destination, like Copenhagen, it can be easy to ask yourself – is it worth it? Especially when there are plenty of cheaper destinations on offer!
I’ve created a whole blog post about whether I think Copenhagen is worth visiting or not, breaking down all the pros and cons of this city.
I also include things that could make or break your time there!
Is Copenhagen Expensive FAQs
Eating out in Copenhagen is expensive. You can expect to pay 85 DKK ($12 USD or £10)for a fast food meal, or around 180 DKK ($25 USD or £21) for a regular dinner.
A bottle of beer will cost around 55-70 DKK ($8-$10 USD or £6-£8) in Copenhagen
A glass of wine will set you back around 85 DKK ($12 USD or £10) in Copenhagen
If you’re staying in a hostel and choosing free activities, you can expect to spend around $50 per day in Copenhagen. When staying in a hotel, eating out for meals, and enjoying the main tourist attractions, you’ll need closer to $170 USD per day.
Is Copenhagen Expensive: Conclusion
To conclude yes, Copenhagen is expensive, particularly when it comes to food and eating out at restaurants. That being said, you can still visit cheaply, if you make smart choices during your visit.
The Copenhagen Card is a must if you want to make your trip more affordable, as you’ll get free entry all the main tourist attractions, as well as unlimited use of public transport.