Copenhagen insider tips

Money may be your big concern when visiting Copenhagen. Denmark isn't a cheap country at the best of times and its capital is doubly bad. There are ways to save money though. For a start you can get better hotel deals these days. Copenhagen has a glut of rooms. Booking ahead at slack times - such as August - will win big discounts. Some of the new budget hotels also offer several beds to a room, which can really cut costs for groups that don't mind sharing.

Eating and drinking

  • If you want to sample fine dining bargains, many places in town, such as the restaurants of the Cofoco group, offer really good set-menu style dinners. Alternatively, make lunch your main meal of the day and you can get some terrific Michelin-star deals.
  • Happy hour is a vital way to save money on drinks, so get the rounds in pre dinner.
  • Pack for picnics - you can buy great deli goodies and surprisingly decent and inexpensive wine as a good way to save money, just remember to bring a few utensils.

Sights and attractions

  • My advice to sightseers is to use the free entry to the big musems and galleries to their full advantage, many are free all week, some one day a week - usually Wednesdays. It's better than buying the Copenhagen Card (229 krone for adults, 115 krone for children for the 24-hour card, or 459/225 krone for the 72-hour card) - which is only really worthwhile if you're going to be doing a lot of exploring and using public transport extensively.
  • Take a harbour tour - it's a great value way to get a feel for the geography, the history and the way the city has developed.
  • Don't forget the city outskirts. A trip to the beach along Amager Strand is only 5kms away. The extended metro system can also take you much further afield for very little money - places like the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and sculpture park are just a train hop away.
  • If you have time, consider popping over to Sweden. Really. I know this is a Copenhagen guide but the lively city of Malmö is just over the impressive Øresund bridge and the train ride is short. You could get two countries for the price of one trip.

Getting around

  • While public transport is very cheap, you really can walk most places, or hire a bike if you want to cover a lot of ground. While most hotels hire bikes by the day, you'll find cheaper deals in the hire shops in the centre. In theory there are free city bikes around but they are few and far between and rather battered these days - a shame for such a brilliantly bike-friendly city. A typical hire day rate from a hotel is around 120 krone a day, but you should be able to find bikes for as little as 80 krone a day if you shop around at some of the city centre rental places.
  • Finally, if you're shopping and you live outside the EU, be sure to claim back the sales tax on any goods you're taking home with you before you fly out.

Other tips

  • Don't worry about language. I should say you should try to learn some basics of the local lingo but honestly the Danes speak excellent English - and will probably answer you in English even if you try to engage them in Danish.
  • Bring sunglasses - it can be surprisingly bright and sunny, but always bring extra layers too - even the summer days can be cool.
  • Bring earplugs - if you're staying in the city centre many hotels occupy heritage buildings and lack decent sound proofing (and in the unlikely event of heatwaves, some also lack air con, which means open windows, which means street noise).
  • Make the effort to chat to the locals. Danes might seem a bit buttoned up on first acquaintance but in reality they are a friendly bunch and have a very British sense of humour. Needless to say, they may also give you some more decent insider tips.