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 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.
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.