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Copenhagen on a Budget

As expensive as Copenhagen can be to visit, it is possible to have a champagne vacation on lemonade money, with a little insider know-how and planning.

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Here are some handy tips on how to get more bang for your buck in this hip European city.

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Eat Like a King

Eat Like a King

Café Sebastapol is just one of the many restaurants to choose from in Nørrebro, Copenhagen’s most ethnically diverse neigbourhood.

There are plenty of options for great dining experiences in this foodie paradise. You can get a decadent four-course Nordic feast at Madklubben, which was recently featured in Bon Appetit Magazine, for 250 Krone (about $45). Head over to Nørrebro, Copenhagen’s most ethnically diverse neigbourhood, for all manner of cheap restaurants-you can get everything from Greek to Arabic to Indian to Thai and whatever else you crave.

Don’t forget to try a Danish hot dog, called a pølser, available at stands throughout the city for about 20 Krone ($4); or a traditional open-faced Danish sandwich, known as smørrebrød, for around 50 Krone ($9). There are plenty of supermarkets throughout the city, where you can pick up great cheeses and deli meats to build a picnic with.

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High-End Hotels for Shallow Pockets

High-End Hotels for Shallow Pockets

The Danhostel Copenhagen City is an affordable option for budget travellers, and is also considered one of the best-designed hotels in the city.

Budget hotels in Copenhagen tend to still be really nice. For approximately 600 Krone ($100) a night, two people can stay at the Hotel Cabb-Inn Metro, and then from around 800 Krone ($140) there are a range of other hotels including the Wakeup Copenhagen and Hotel Danmark. There are a number of youth hostels in the city, and the Danhostel is counted as one of the best-designed hotels in the city (and a bed in a shared room is 165 Krone, less than $30 a night).

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 Getting Around Town

Getting Around Town

Make your way around Copenhagen and take in the sights by using one of the free city bikes.

Fortunately, the airport is just a short train ride from the downtown core and the transit system in Copenhagen is superb. Your first purchase needs to be a cOPENhagen Card, which gives you unlimited use of public transit throughout Greater Copenhagen. The card is valid for 24 hours and costs 239 Krone ($42); or pick up a 72-hour card for 469 Krone ($83). You can buy the card as an iPhone app, online before you arrive or at the train station. As a bonus, the cOPENhagen Card gives you free entry to more than 60 city attractions, which makes it an incredible bargain.

The attractions covered in the cOPENhagen Card are pretty much every museum, gallery and palace in the Greater Copenhagen area (except Kronborg Castle, which is the castle Shakespeare set Hamlet in, up on the north coast), including Tivoli Gardens, the amusement park in the centre of Copenhagen. Going on rides in Tivoli Gardens is extra, and a little pricey, but thrill junkies can buy unlimited ride passes and a variety of different tickets to save money.  

Even without buying the cOPENhagen Card, you can score free entry to many galleries and museums on certain days (mostly on Wednesdays)-check each museum’s website to be sure of the free day. The National Museum, the Resistance Museum and the National Gallery are always free.

If you want to join the bicycling masses, you can use one of the 2,000 City Bikes for free, if you can find one (they are very popular). All you need to do is put a 20 Krone ($4) piece into the deposit slot (there are 110 designated bike stations around the city) and the bike is released for you to ride away. If you can’t get your hands on one, many hotels offer cheap bike rental.

Fortunately, Copenhagen is a fairly small and easy-to-navigate city that it is fun to walk around and get lost in-you may find little need to take transit. To get a feel for the city, take a guided canal tour. There are expensive canal tours you can take, but the Netto boats cost just 20 Krone ($4) and show you the exact same sights.

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