Founded by Bishop Absalon in 1160, Denmark’s capital has grown over the centuries into one of the northern Europe’s most charming cities. Packed with historical photo opps like Amalienborg Palace and Tivoli Gardens amusement park as well as feasts for the eyes and palette, Copenhagen can satiate travelers of all varieties. Of course, it's also got a reputation as one of Europe's most expensive destinations -- but just because you have your eye on the good things in life doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank. Here's how to experience the best of Copenhagen on any budget.
$10: Eat Like a Dane
You can’t go to Copenhagen and not delve into some of the region’s most iconic dishes, which include smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), handmade pastries, and flavorful sausages. If you’re short on time, Torvehallerne is the city’s largest food market and offers 60 different stalls of fresh ingredients and prepared foods. Divide and conquer and you and your travel companions can create a personalized “Best Of” Copenhagen feast.
For fast food, Danes love their hot dogs. Døp has numerous stands around the city, where you can get an organic sausage topped with remoulade and served with a side of mash and roasted beets for $6.25. For dessert, scope out one of the local bakeries such as Lagkagehuset (multiple locations), where you can sample freshly baked goods such as the snail-shaped tryksnegl ($3.30) and other assorted sweet treats.
$50: Design Within Reach
Danish architecture began to flourish in the 1950s, with minimalism and functionality as its hallmarks, and the works of famed designers like Georg Jensen, Hans J. Wegner, Finn Juhl, and Arne Jacobsen can be seen in many public spaces. To connect even further with the Danish aesthetic, CPHmade offers more than a dozen tours that highlight local artisans and craftspeople ($27/per person). Consider a furniture tour focusing on traditional carpentry, furniture studio, and interior design shop -- or a ceramics tour that features local producers including Inge Vincents, Tina Marie Bentsen, and Signe Schjøth.
Alternatively, stroll along Copenhagen’s main shopping street, Strøget, to find international brands as well as local favorites like Royal Copenhagen dinnerware and collectibles. Be sure to wander along the side streets for quirkier finds such as Retro Villa Boutique, where you can discover Scandinavia’s largest selection of vintage wallpaper. Purchase a meter’s length for only $18, and you’ll have the perfect accent piece to frame and add a bit of flair to any room.
Strategize: If you’re a Type A vacation planner, consider the Copenhagen Card for easy access to 72 museums and attractions, bundled with free public transportation by bus, Metro, or train. A 48-hour pass costs $89. To gauge the value of your purchase, the website offers a savings calculator where you can select the attractions that you plan on visiting in the first place. It also has a free app with attraction hours, maps, and public transportation guidelines that make navigating the city super easy.
New Nordic Cuisine: Home to Noma, once again named the best restaurant in the world, Copenhagen is the epicenter of new Nordic cuisine. While a meal there would cost you $295, Almanak offers a more informal take on modern, still delicious Danish cuisine. The three-course prix fixe ($64) features local and seasonal ingredients such as salted mackerel, crispy quail, and freshly picked strawberries with burnt white chocolate.