copenhagen budget beer

Copenhagen on a budget 2019 – how to get a cheap pint and other tips

copenhagen budget beer

How to get a cheap pint in Copenhagen and other tips

With Copenhagen The Lonely Planet’s number one destination for 2019 here are my budget tips for visiting Copenhagen.  Copenhagen can be expensive, but there is very good value to be found too in this beautiful city.

How to get a cheap alcohol in Copenhagen

There is a misconception Denmark has the same alcohol pricing as their Scandinavian cousins Norway and Sweden, where alcohol is very expensive. Copenhagen supermarkets sell alcohol at similar or cheaper prices than a British supermarket. Danish supermarkets include Netto, Fakta, Føtex, Brugsen, Aldi and Lidl. There is also a very wide range of prices that a beer can cost from bar to bar.

A seven quid pint

There are bars where a beer can be expensive. A 70 DKK (£7 plus) pint is not unheard of. It will be a half liter (more than a pint), but still a significant price. The places you will find this are Copenhagen Airport, Tivoli, Nyhavn, restaurants and Irish Bars on busy, expensive properties. Much like London, Paris, Rome, capital cities with large volumes of tourists. You go a street behind a main thoroughfare, and you should find a better priced pint, or whatever your tipple.

How to get a cheap pint in Copenhagen airport. Travelling between Aberdeen and Copenhagen one time and a few young (late teen) Celtic supporters were travelling for a match in Norway. Which judging from their attire, they thought was a warm country. Crest fallen at having a four hour wait before their connecting flight (one of them had messed up their flight booking), they’d gotten quite chatty. I pointed out to them in the 7-11 kiosks that are dotted about Copenhagen airport, they could pick up a large cold can of Carlsberg for about £1.50 per can, as opposed to 7 quid plus for a pint in an airport bar. Or a warm can from duty free (same price). Their little faces lit up.

Nyhavn budget tip: Nyhavn is the colourful harbour of most Copenhagen postcards and travel documentaries. On a warm summer’s day, a fantastic experience to sit and enjoy a drink, coffee or something to eat, but not cheap. Notice at the quayside young Danes sitting enjoying the sunshine and a beer with friends. They will have bought  a can or bottle of beer at a kiosk on one of the back streets of Nyhavn. And then pop back for a nice cold replacement when they need it.

Budget travel in Copenhagen

A huge part of central Copenhagen is walkable. It was originally a fortified castle. So the old city is very tightly packed. Depending where your hotel is, you should be able to walk pretty much everywhere. Very obvious tip, but while looking for a hotel, look for one close to a Metro station. The metro runs directly to the airport. About twenty minutes from the centre.

Just to show Danish design is not always cool, sophisticated and expertly planned (but usually), the Metro (or Underground) train, is upstairs at the airport. The mainline train is downstairs. Make sure you are on the correct platform for the mainline train, if you are not, your next stop is Sweden. The super cool Scandinavians just won’t signpost it with a huge ‘THIS PLATFORM FOR SWEDEN ONLY’, as that would lose them Scandinavian cool points. Probably. It is signposted, but could be a lot more significant.

I’m not sure what advice the train ticket office in the airport give tourists for a long weekend. I was once behind tourists being recommended a weekend travel pass, which I suspect was not needed. You really need a ticket to and from the centre from the airport. After that, if you cycle (hire a bike for about £10 per day), or are up for a good walk, you should be fine.

I would recommend to everyone to hire a bike as it’s a fantastic way to get around the city, and the bike lanes being on their own pavement separate from the road and the pedestrian pavement make it very safe.

Copenhagen food tip

Take a look at a Danish baker shop on a Wednesday. Depending on the shop they often have an onsdags snegl. Meaning Wednesday Snail. Snail is the most typical Danish pastry. A cinnamon bun.So named, as it is similar to a snail’s shell in appearance. What is special is that the Wednesday version, is huge and is really lovely. You’re not going to want two.

Cigarettes

Cigarettes are considerably cheaper than the UK. And some bars allow smoking. The rule is that a bar under 40 square metres may allow smoking. Quite a few do. Maybe not so good for your health to be in a tightly packed room filled with smoke but each to their own. You can also wonder at how 40 square metres appears a bit bigger in Copenhagen than everywhere else. The same people who won’t cross the road if the red man is showing, even if there is no traffic, know how to break a rule or three.

Visiting Christiania

The freetown of Christiania is a very nice place to visit. A society within a society. Lots of arty workshops, galleries, music venues and alternative restaurants and bars. There are also soft drugs on sale, quite openly depending on how busy Copenhagen’s police are with other stuff at that time.

Top tip. If you were to buy a ready made joint, and were to think, probably not that strong, at that price, just £2, I’ll be fine, do I look like I can’t handle a little … oh that’s nice, ooh that was stronger than I expected. Holy shit, I’m flying. This is amazing. Just the greatest ever. I want to get off. Want to stop. Don’t feel well. I feel the need to march to Sweden.

An entire evening’s drama and entertainment in one £2 joint. I heard from a friend.

So take it easy with that first joint. No matter how hard core you are.

And if you are considering moving to Copenhagen, here’s my tips on learning Danish.

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Do you need to learn Danish to live in Denmark?

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Do you need to learn Danish to live in Denmark? The answer is No, and Yes.

You can work, live and study in Denmark without learning Danish. I know a number of British, American and French people that have lived here years without learning the language. There are companies who use English as their first language, and a few who will allow you to work in a Danish speaking office without Danish. However after eighteen twenty two years (this article is getting old) in Copenhagen my advice would be learn it, and learn it as quickly as possible. No matter how difficult, annoying or time consuming it feels, and stick with it until you are fluent. Also don’t be tempted to drop out of a course with a view to returning, as you won’t and you will regret it.

The Danes are speaking the English very good

Pretty much everyone in Denmark, old and young speak and or understand English. But as polite and helpful as Danes generally are in speaking English, it can be wearing for them. And you are in their country.

Do you want to sit at a meeting or meal with five Danes, and everyone speaks English because of you? Do you want to be doing that five or ten years after you have lived in Copenhagen? No you don’t, so learn their language.

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It’s a long hard struggle to learn Danish

It is difficult learning Danish. As you start taking tentative steps to speak Danish you meet the frustration of speaking Danish only to be answered in English, by someone with a smug grin on their face, who appears to be rubbing your nose in it. They are in fact just trying to be helpful. That one happens a lot at the beginning, but it eases off as you improve.

Is it a waste of time learning Danish?

One of the arguments for not learning Danish is ‘what’s the point, only 5 and a half million people speak the language’. I’ve heard this a few times. Well unless you generally talk with a couple of million people per year, I really don’t think that argument is anything other than an excuse for laziness.

Some people have a natural ear for language, and a have a memory that suits language learning. For others like me, it’s just hard painful work. It took me five months on a part time course (at Studieskolen in Copenhagen) to get enough Danish to blag my way through a job interview in Danish. This involved quite a bit of nodding along, and occasionally repeating the last word they said in a vague attempt to look like I understood what they were talking about. It takes a little time to build up the fluency, but you will only pick it up after first doing a course. The idea that you will pick up Danish through osmosis, aint gonna happen, just as, ‘I will learn Danish later’ isn’t going to happen. Do it now.

copenhagen budget

And if you are interested on some budget tips for visiting Copenhagen click here.

Some of the Danish language schools

www.kbh-sprogcenter.dk Copenhagen Language Center
www.studieskolen.dk Studieskole (Is the one I went to)
www.iasprog.dk/en/

www.kiss.dk KISS – Københavns Intensive Sprogskole – Copenhagen’s Intensive language school. (Always wondered if Gene Simmons teaches there. In full make-up)

Iain Cameron is a Copenhagen based freelance graphic designer, web designer and illustrator. Here is my About page.

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The joy of Brønshøj’s Utterslev Mose in the Spring

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I am incredibly lucky to live in such close proximity to Utterslev Mose, near my home in Brønshøj on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Every day I take a walk or cycle around to clear the design cob webs, have a nice think, get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature at her finest. Come Spring it becomes a feast for the eyes at Utterslev Mosen.

As a cyclist you need your wits about you as you manoeuvre around some very precious obstacles.

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The Design Museum Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Design Museum offers a rich and varied guide around Danish design. From furniture, products, fashion and graphic design, the classic Scandinavian influences and the icons of Danish Design like Arne Jacobsen, Børge Mortensen and Verner Panton feature.

While the world renowned furniture, products and fashion design quite rightly feature strongly, the rich tradition of Danish poster design and logo design is also well represented. Web design is also featured which is great to see the world of the web entering into design history and gaining recognition.

The collection is stunning, with new exhibitions changing regularly. Highly recommended.

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Finding the Design Museum in Copenhagen

Bredgade is just off Kongens Nytorv, the square that contains Magasin and Nyhavn harbour. About ten minutes walk, just past Amalienborg, the Royal Family’s winter residence and the very beautiful Marmor Kirk. If you carry on past the design museum you will eventually come to the Little Mermaid. So no excuse for not visiting.

 

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Brønshøj BK football illustrations

bronshoj-bk-floodlightMy local football club are Brønshøj BK. They have been in the top Danish league, and are more often than not in the second tier. Currently in the third tier of Danish football, but will hopefully get through their play off group.

Their stadium is Tingbjerg Stadium (Idrætspark), about 10 minutes from my flat, so if Aberdeen don’t have a game at the same time I try and head over there. It is a 3000 capacity stadium with 600 seats, and has a wonderful charm. The combination of passionate local supporters and nice compact stadium with recently added floodlights, and beer and hotdogs and snaps , make for a great experience.

Brønshøj BK play in yellow and black, and are known as The Wasps (Hvepsene).

Bus 2a from Copenhagen Central Station (Hovedbanegården) going towards Nørrebro, will get you there.

I have been working on the illustrations as I also experiment with my Aberdeen FC work, and will be adding more shortly.

 

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The time I cycled into a Danish policeman and knocked him over

On moving to Denmark, one of the first things I had to do on my arrival in Copenhagen was to purchase a bicycle. My then girlfriend found one in a newspaper. A price was agreed and borrowing my girlfriend’s bike, I just had to go and get it.

The time I got on a plane and I didn’t know where it was going

It had begun with a series of delays on my journey from my flat to Copenhagen Airport. Followed by a series of delays in the airport from queuing for, well it’s Copenhagen Airport, so everything then.

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Still life illustration work in progress

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This is a work in progress for my portfolio. It is based on a meal in The Nørrebro Bryghus restaurant in Nørrebro in Copenhagen.

I had a very enjoyable meal with my good friend Pedro.

As an illustrator the advice given is always to stick to one style. This is with regard to selling as an illustrator, to be memorable for art directors. I have always had difficulty following this advice, and when younger the constraints stopped me being able to work at times.

So there’s the cartoon work that is the majority my iain.dk website, the still life like the above image, portraiture (new ones coming soon) and more detailed character design.

I justify my switching of styles by pointing out Sir Paul McCartney wrote Helter Skelter, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, and Hey Jude. So if the great man can switch style as he pleases so can I.

I appreciate putting myself in the same sentence as Sir Paul is an act of laughable egoism, but if no one else will do it…

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Top 3 tips for visiting Copenhagen

I get asked from time to time for tips on visiting the city of Copenhagen. There is of course lots of information available online, but here are my top three.

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  1. If you are even remotely physically capable of cycling, hire a bike. The centre of Copenhagen is relatively small and you will be able to get around far more comfortably than with public transport. There is an enormous amount of building work going on in Copenhagen due to the Metro being extended, making taxi and bus journeys much longer.
  2. If you are on a budget and the price of alcohol is an issue, you might be interested to know, unlike Norway or Sweden, purchasing alcohol from a Danish supermarket is as easy as in the UK, US or Germany, and a similar price.
  3. Try and get to Louisiana Art Gallery if you can. 40 minutes on the train to Humlebæk, and a 2 minute walk. A stunning art gallery with glorious views. www.en.louisiana.dk
roskilde-festival

Roskilde Festival Art

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It’s not all sex, drugs and rock n roll at Roskilde Festival, but it is mainly…

Whether staying for the whole week, camping on site, or a short visit with a one day ticket, The Roskilde Festival is a fantastic experience not to be missed.

The 2016 Roskilde Festival is from the 25th of June to the 2nd of July. Details on the official website. To be honest it doesn’t really matter who is playing, it is the experience that is magical. Go see for yourself.

The art of Roskilde Festival

There are lots of places to read about and see images from the Roskilde Festival. Here is some of the excellent graffiti art that is on display.

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