Six Insider Tips for Keeping Costs Low in Copenhagen

It's a city as well known for its sky-blue canals, stylish locals and laid-back café culture as it is for being gut-wrenchingly expensive. But we've done our research and think the city's priciest attractions aren't necessarily the best way to get a true taste of Scandi living. Here are six ways to squeeze the most value out of a trip to the European capital of cool.

How to keep costs low in Copenhagen

Grab a bike

And don't be duped into using one of those gleaming white Bycyklen e-bikes docked in stations around the city. Not only are they hefty, but it's easy to unwittingly rack up extortionate costs and the stations themselves can be tricky to find for non-locals. Instead, rent a bicycle from Ekspres Klassisk Cykler in Norrebro. When you're not pedalling from A to B, carve out time to cycle the BIG bike tour - a soaring 22km route past some of the city's most architecturally impressive Bjarke Ingels constructions.

Take the plunge

Copenhagen is all about swimming in outdoor baths for those brave enough to take the plunge. They're totally free and each pulls a different crowd. There's the Kastrup Sea Bath, a wood-panelled architectural marvel just out of the city, which reaches out into the Baltic Sea; the Fisketorvet baths (or "Copencabana" to some); and the protected pools of Islands Brygge whose concrete banks are beset with divers, dippers and the hydrophobic long into the evening come summer.

Get moving

The city's teeming with the most exquisitely clipped gardens and redeveloped urban spaces. A lap of The Lakes in the city centre is 12km in length, while a B2B jog through the parks of Søndermarken and Frederiksberg Gardens is a more manageable 5km. As urban sprawls go, Copenhagen's is delightfully contained which means it's possible to tick off a few major landmarks in one fell swoop by passing through them at speed (or not, as the case may be).

Give Nyhavn a wide berth

Yes, we mean that over-Instagrammed heart of the capital where a mosaic of primary-coloured fishing houses jostle for space in a crowded harbour. Every purchase made at the knick-knack stalls and restaurants here comes with an unofficial but weighty tourist tax. To see a more radical side to the city, make your way down to the meatpacking district where former fish factories have become colonised by concept restaurants, galleries and cocktail bars. We recommend swinging by V1 Gallery and Gallery Poulsen before dinner at Warpigs Brewpub.

Shop like a local

It's no secret that Copenhagen is home to some of the world's most stylish flâneurs. If you want a slice of their wardrobes at a fraction of the price, make sure to catch the Sunday morning flea market in Norrebro. You won't need to do much trawling. As well as one-off, unlabelled pieces, Prada, Ganni and Comme des Garçons are just some of the names you're likely to find on the racks of this DIY, pop-up market each week. Hit up porridge café Grod for some healthy, all-natural fuel before getting elbows-deep in the stylish morass.

Hit the beach

We should say, we recommend doing this only in summer - not only is it warmer but days are longer up there in the northernmost part of the hemisphere, meaning you can pick at a smorrebrod picnic for dinner and still cycle back to the city before the sun sets. Amager Beach Park is a local favourite. Set up camp among the whispering long grass of the artificial island; those who get easily bored can rent kayaks or paddleboards.

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