Denmark is a beautiful, clean, and fascinating country. Denmark has a long history dating back to the vikings, and the cities here are beautiful with their medieval charm. I can never get enough of Denmark. Besides history, the people here are friendly, they love to have a good time (Danes frequently stay out until dawn), and they are very welcoming to tourists. Throw in some clean cities and a high quality of life and I’m sold. You probably will be too. Everyone who comes to visit wants to go back. Most tourists only spend a few days in Copenhagen before high costs force them to move on. However, though the country is expensive to visit, the countryside (especially Jutland) is beautiful and worth extending your stay for.
Accommodation – Hostel dorms begin at 200 DDK per night and that usually gets you a 12 person or more dorm room. Smaller dorms are around 240 DDK. Hotels in Denmark aren’t, cheap and expect to pay around 685 DDK per night or more for a hotel. Hotels outside major cities start around 480 DDK. You can also stay at camping sites cost from 55-95 DDK per night. To stay at the any camp site, you will need the Camping Card Scandinavia. The card costs around 135 DDK. If you only plan to camp one night, you can get a transit card, for 80 DDK.
Average cost of food – Food in Denmark is pretty expensive. If you are going to eat out in a restaurant, be prepared to pay around 75-115 DDK for a cheap meal during lunch time. Dinner time meals will be closer to 135-205 DDK, which adds up quickly. You can find cheap hot dog vendors for around 25-35 DDK. Groceries will cost around 240 DDK per week.
Transportation costs – Train travel across Denmark (Jutland to Copenhagen) costs around 445 DDK. Buses start around 308 DDK. The closer you get to the travel date the higher the cost. The train from the airport to Copenhagen center is 40 DDK. Local trains and buses are around 30 DDK for a two-zone ticket.
Activities – Museums typically cost 68 DDK. There are a number of full day activities to do in this region and most involve going out and exploring the beautiful countryside. Most day trips cost 342 DDK or more.
Money Saving Tips
Go Orange – The Danish rail system offers cheap tickets via their online website called “Orange tickets.” They are only available online, and you have to print out the ticket before you board the train. These tickets though are a third of the cost of what you can buy at the railway station.
Book in advance – Booking train and bus tickets a month in advance can save you up to 50%.
Cook your food – Eating out in Denmark is not cheap, and since Danish food isn’t going to win any great culinary awards, you won’t miss much by cooking your own food. Groceries cost about 240 DDK per week, which is cheaper than a few meals out combined. If you must eat out, do so during lunch when specials and buffet deals make restaurants reasonably priced.
Eat on the street – Street stalls, such as hot dogs, sausages, and sandwiches cost only 27-34 DDK and can save you a lot of money on food if you choose not to cook. In fact, they are your best bet at saving money on food outside of kebabs and pizza.
Get a city tourism card – If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing and visit a lot of attractions then I highly recommend you get one of the city passes that offer discounts and free admission to museums and attractions. They also come with free transportation, a great bonus.
Stay with a local – If you truly want to save the most money you can and don’t mind where you sleep, you have to Couchsurf because free accommodation is the only way to save big. Accommodation is super expensive in Denmark. Couchsurfing is very popular amount locals and you’ll find a lot of hosts, even in small rural communities up near the Arctic. However, travelers rely heavily on couchsurfing (or other hospitality exchanges) as a consequence, I would advise you to send out your requests far in advance of your actual arrival date.
Top Things to See and Do in Denmark
Copenhagen – This is one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s beautiful; the architecture is amazing; I love the canals; there is great night life; and the locals are friendly. It may be expensive, but it is worth every penny. I can’t sing its praises enough. I’ve never heard anyone walking away without falling in love. Make sure you cruise on the harbor and visit the Tivoli amusement park.
Roskilde – Known as the ancient city of Denmark, Roskilde was Denmark’s capital from 960 to 1536. This is an amazing city to view the country’s history, whether it be at the various churches, brick building lined streets, or the Viking-influenced museums. This small city is close to Copenhagen so it’s easy to get to. The Roskilde Cathedral is the most famous in the country. It is also host to Europe’s largest music festival every June.
Aarhus – Denmark’s second largest city is known for its art and culture. Beyond the many museums and galleries are unique amusement parks, such as Legoland and the Tivoli Friheden. Check out the Aarhus Festival at the end of August for international entertainment. Additionally, this is a major college town and has an active nightlife and good budget restaurants.
Dyrehaven – Known commonly as ‘The Deer Park’, this park is located just outside Copenhagen in a city called Klampenborg. Both locals and tourists enjoy cycling, trekking, and horseback riding throughout the park. Be sure to check out the Bakken amusement park also within the park.
Randers – A small town located in the harbor of the Kolding fjord, this is a quaint place to enjoy some time hiking, bird watching, or cycling. The cobbled streets and crooked alleys will charm you and the Clausholm Castle is one of the country’s last remaining castles.
Skagen Museum – This is the Skagen artists’ museum, featuring the culmination of the artistic inspiration of the area. Transformed into an artist colony during the 1880s, many paintings from the time are on permanent display here.
Borreby Castle – The oldest renaissance-style construction in Denmark, this castle is a stunning sight located outside of Zealand. It often appears in fairytale movies. As a fan of castles, I love this one.
Tivoli Garden – Just adjacent from Copenhagen Central Station, the Tivoli Garden is a beautiful amusement park. It’s tons of fun, even if you aren’t a little kid. (There’s a beer garden here too!) Complete with a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, the Peacock Theatre, and a concert hall, this is an awesome place to spend an afternoon. It’s not cheap but it’s certainly fun. Avoid the weekend and school holidays when the place is overflowing with families.
North Zeeland – Just a train ride away from Copenhagen, North Zeeland features an idyllic coastline, the beautiful landscapes, and the Shakespearean setting of Kronborg Castle. If you are looking to get away from the city for a day or maybe more, this is an awesome place to heard to and one not often visited by tourists.
The Hans Christian Andersen Parade – Famous for his fairytales, this parade is a performance featuring over 30 characters from Hans C. Andersen’s literary works. Held every day during the summer, behind Anderson Museum in Funen, this is a neat event to check out, especially for children.
Den Japanske Have – This beautiful and sophisticated Japanese garden includes a tea house, shop, café, several sub-gardens, and a Japanese house. It is particularly beautiful during summer and autumn.
Visit Svendborg – Located on the island of Funen in southern Denmark, Svendborg is a town entrenched in history. Visit Vlademars Slot, a palace that was constructed by King Christian IV for his son, Vlademar. His son died before ever living in the place, but the palace turned manor is still inhabited. Some parts of the grounds, including three museums and a lovely cafe, are open to the public. Also, you should spend some time wandering around Svendborg and taking in the historical architecture.
Attend a music festival – Roskilde is the Danish music festival with the biggest international reputation (more than 80,000 tickets sold at this annual rock music event), but it only offers a taste of the music scene in Denmark. Other big events include the Skanderborg Festival (August – rock music), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (July), Tønder Festival(August – folk and country), and the Skive Festival (Danish music).