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Visiting Copenhagen on a Budget

Visiting Copenhagen on a budget - Nyhavn Canal views

This post was written in collaboration with WeSwap.

Copenhagen was such a cheap holiday! Said no-one, ever. However, travelling to the home of hygge can be done on a budget. It just takes some planning, prioritisation, and of course getting your holiday funds in order to start with.

For this trip I collaborated with WeSwap and can't sing this little card's praises enough. Read on to find out why I recommend the card to save money before you travel, and of course all of my top budget tips for your trip to Copenhagen.

If you are interested in ordering a card yourself, you can get a free £10 when you top up £50 using this link. Just enter the code MEL10 when topping up - the code is valid from 8th March 2019 for week.

Budget trip to Copenhagen - We Swap card

Organising your currency before you go

As a fairly well-seasoned traveller, you'd think I'd have my holiday finances down to a tee by now. I'm embarrassed to say that prior to discovering WeSwap, I would usually withdraw cash on arrival at the airport at whatever cash machine was closest to me in the arrivals lounge... never again! 

The WeSwap card is easy to order online, and allows you to swap 18 different currencies for your trip. The card supports card payments and ATM withdrawals in 150 countries. I actually didn't spend any cash at all in Copenhagen as I found the card was accepted everywhere. 

Rather than swapping money with the bank, your funds are actually swapped directly with other travellers, meaning fees can be kept really low (up to 90% lower than the bank)! If you are able to swap a week in advance, the fees are only 1%, or 2% for an immediate swap.

Budget trip to Copenhagen - WeSwap card

The card helped us stick to a budget as we could load exactly how much we wanted to spend and easily keep track of it via the app. We did run out of funds at one point and found we could top up the card and carry out a swap in literally a few seconds, ready to pay for our meal.

We used the card for everything, from metro tickets, to meals out and even to pay for tourist attractions like our canal tour. It is so easy to use as it just functions the same way as a Mastercard. Read the full terms and conditions here prior to ordering for a full explanation of how the card works.

Budget trip to Copenhagen - WeSwap card

Now you have got off to a good start with your holiday money, read on for my top tips for visiting Copenhagen on a budget!

Maximise Free Activities

There are actually some really great activities to be found in Copenhagen at literally no cost. We thought the views from the tower in the Christiansborg Palace were actually better than those from the Round Tower, and it is free to enter. Expect to queue for a little while but it's definitely worth it. We went up just before sunset and it was so nice to get panoramic views of the city.

Copenhagen - free tower views

There are some museums which are free on certain days of week, for example, the Glyptoteket is free to enter on a Tuesday and has an incredible indoor garden which is worth checking out.

My favourite part of Copenhagen was just wandering the beautiful streets, taking everything in. You can easily while away an afternoon just discovering all the different colourful buildings spread across the city, without spending a penny. It is a fairly compact city and we walked everywhere, which had the dual purpose of helping us stick to a budget and also helped us to work up an appetite for all the delicious danish pastries!

Colourful houses in Copenhagen

My favourite memory is wandering down a random street and coming across a library cafe, Paludan Bog Cafe, pictured below. It had so much atmosphere and reasonable prices for food and drink.

The best part was that I witnessed a 'meet cute' which left me feeling all fuzzy and romantic. If you've seen the film The Holiday you'll know this is the name for the moment when two characters meet in a film and I felt like I was witnessing this. A man from Denmark and a girl from Paris met in the queue for food, got on very well and arranged to sit together with their friends, I then saw her with the biggest smile on her face texting her friend to say she'd met someone - ahh, I'd love to know if they got together!

Budget trip to Copenhagen

Another nice way to spend an afternoon for free is a trip to see the iconic mermaid statue. This famous statue was created in 1913 and is a little walk from the centre of the city. 

There are some nice statues and buildings to spot along the way, so the walk is a great free activity to take up an afternoon. Just wandering the canals, snapping photos and people watching is certainly an ideal way to spend your time in Copenhagen on a budget.

It is perfectly acceptable to buy drinks from one of the local supermarkets to drink sitting on the edge of the canal. Ideal on a sunny day! We spotted quite a few Netto stores dotted around the city which had affordable prices.

Nyhaven - take a public boat for a budget visit to Copenhagen

Eat street food at lunch time

There are some excellent restaurants to be found in Copenhagen. In fact it is one of the 'foodiest' destinations I have ever been to. However, some of the nicest food we had was the most affordable.

A street hot dog was perfect one lunch time to break up our day of exploring; this one was found at a stall near the Round Tower. We were able to pay for things like this with our WeSwap card so didn't have to worry about carrying cash at all.

Budget Copenhagen - street food - hot dog

The burgers are fantastic in Copenhagen and the Hungry Dane is a great choice in the city centre with reasonably priced lunches. Although described as a burger, this was more like pulled beef and very different to the kind of burgers we would find at home. It is a chain so look out for the orange sign with a picture of a dog!

Cheap lunch time burger - Copenhagen on a budget

Use Public Transport

We enjoyed a canal tour, but we were told on the tour that there is also a public canal boat which can be taken up and down a similar route to the organised tours. Tickets were around £3 compared to the £10+ we paid for the canal tour, and I wish we had known about this hack sooner as it is perfect for anyone visiting Copenhagen on a budget.

We took the metro from the airport to the city, and found this one of the most straightforward transfers we have ever had. Using our WeSwap card, we used the machine to get our tickets and found the metro very easily. It took 13 minutes to get to the city and meant we had more DKK to spend on sightseeing rather than splashing out on a taxi!

Copenhagen canal - Nyhavn

Pick up free postcards

We always like to buy some local art when we are on holiday, but found the prices in Copenhagen were quite high, so we couldn't really justify splashing out on souvenirs. I quickly noticed that most places had a display of free postcards, with really nice designs and often featuring famous landmarks so I gathered a collection of those and plan to display them in a frame at home. I was really happy to find these free souvenirs, perfect for those travelling to Copenhagen on a tight budget!

Consider buying a Copenhagen Card

We actually didn't buy a card ourselves, mainly because we knew there were only a select few museums and attractions we wanted to visit. However, if you are keen on fitting in lots of attractions whilst visiting Copenhagen on a budget then I would highly recommend checking out the Copenhagen card as savings could be huge. 

There are different price points for 1, 2 or 3 days, with the 3 day pass saving you the most money. It also includes your travel all around the city, including from the airport to your hotel. I would advise purchasing the card online before you travel so that you can pick it up in the airport ready to use for your metro to the city.

Rosenborg palace, Copenhagen

I hope this guide has given you a taster of some of the great things we did on our first visit to Denmark, and how you can visit Copenhagen on a budget. I certainly can't wait to return with my WeSwap card in tow.

Whilst it is never going to be the cheapest holiday in the world, I hope I have highlighted how it is do-able on a budget and to give the city credit, they do try and make some things free and accessible to all. If you enjoyed this post, please pin it for later. Happy travels!

Colourful Copenhagen on a budget


  1. I love this! The buildings look absolutely amazing and everything looks so Instagram-worthy. This weswap card seems like the way to go. Next time I'm somewhere that isn't Euros/pounds I'm definitely finding this post again to get myself one!

    Really useful post!

    Jess xx

    1. Thanks Jess! It really is an amazing city break destination. I just wish we could fly directly from Newcastle but Edinburgh or Manchester isn't too far. I loved the We Swap card and will always use it when I go abroad from now on. Thanks for your lovely comment, Melis x


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