Destination number one on my Scandinavian specialty coffee & travel tour. Everybody knows Scandinavia is not the cheapest location, so let me show you how I’ve managed to travel on a budget in Copenhagen.
Spending money without thinking and do whatever you want sounds like fun, but for a lot of young travelers like me that’s not reality. You wanna see the world, but after buying the cheapest plane tickets and paying the hostel you realize you won’t have that much budget per day to live from when you’re actually there. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Lot’s of free spirits, digital nomads and backpackers do it like that. You just have to learn how to do it and in the end you get used to it when you know the tricks. I will show you how I did this in Copenhagen.
TIPS & TRICKS
1. Choose between lunch or dinner outside
What I did in Copenhagen is that I had a big late lunch in a nice not too expensive place (like Kalaset or a food market). It’s getting dark here pretty early so I tried to enjoy the daylight as much as possible. As soon it gets dark I was heading back to the hostel and ate a salad from the supermarket or I joined the shared dinner in the hostel which is only 40 DKK (€5,50/$6.50).
2. Eat on food markets
Almost every European city has a food market. I love them and they are perfect for my outside lunch or dinner. First of all when you are traveling alone you won’t feel uncomfortable sitting alone at a table in a restaurant if that’s an issue for you. Next to that I always feel like I have to order a drink. On a food market you can buy as many food as you like, sit down wherever you want and bring your own drink. I am always caring a bottle of water, so I can spend more money on food.
3. Just walk
Copenhagen is pretty small so you can perfectly walk everywhere instead of waisting money on public transport or renting a bike. A single bus ticket here will cost you around 24 DKK (€3,20/$3.80) and you can use this money for having a tiny beer or a Danish pastry somewhere else. Plus you’re being very active and get some exercise and you see things you won’t see from a bike, buss or metro.
4. Bring snacks
This is something I do in every city and it’s a pretty simple trick. I always carry bananas, nuts and energy bars in my bag. Perfect to fill your belly in the morning when waiting till it’s late lunch time.
5. Every city has free things to do
Like in every city there are highlights that ask for an entrance fee. I mostly avoid these places, because there are lot’s of fun things to do and see that are free. Here in Copenhagen it’s the same like the Botanical garden.
After waking up, having a shower and put some make up on my face it was breakfast time. The hostel does have a all you can eat breakfast, but to save some money I bought some crackers and fruits in the supermarket and I brought my jar of peanut butter with me. With a full belly it was time for my morning coffee and I had it at CUB Coffee Bar Boldhusgade, before Copenhagen Coffee Lab. This underground coffee shop gave me the Scandinavian feeling straight away. Industrial and minimalistic combined with plants, pretty furniture and lot’s of wood. The barista guys were really friendly and I enjoyed a fruity and juicy Kenyan espresso. For more extensive specialty coffee information read this article. Caffeinated and warm, it was time to walk to Nyhavn.
I was very excited to see the colorful houses and the boats. I was lucky, because it wasn’t that crowded and full of tourist so I took my time to wander around and take some photos. When I got frozen and hungry it was time for my late lunch and I crossed the bridge to Papirøen, Copenhagen Street Food (permanently closed). Like I said before, I love food markets. I enjoyed some Korean food here for 100 KRR (€13,50/$16). There is a lot of choice on the market, so for everybody there is something. For my afternoon coffee I walked to Democratic Coffee. A spacious place next to the main library of Copenhagen, where I’ve tried a natural Ethiopian espresso and a single shot cappuccino. Had a lovely talk with the head barista and the owner. Then it was time to head back to the hostel, buy some salad in the supermarket, have a beer in the bar and talk with some other travelers. I had a really nice coffee talk with two guys from Munich. They want to open a coffeeshop overthere and are traveling to get some inspiration. How cool is that. I always believe that you attract th energy that you are giving. Went to bed with a smile on my face after this first day exploring Copenhagen.
I’ve started the second day like the first one. Having my breakfast downstairs and then walked to the first coffee stop of thes day: Forloren Espresso. Cosy and comfortable café and using coffee from La Cabra and Has Bean. A cup of natural El Salvador batch brew made me caffeinated and I was ready to walk to the Rosenborg Slot (castle). Didn’t look up before if there is an entrance fee, but you have to pay if you want to see the inside of the castle. So I decided to go straight to the Botanist Have, which is free. You can walk through the garden to enter the beautiful palmhouse. It’s really pretty inside. Hard to take photos, because it’s so humid. Only a few minutes away you find a beautiful lunch place Kalaset. Super cosy with all different kind of furniture, old radios stuck on the wall, lot’s of colors and a great menu with a lot of veggie and vegan options. I choose two side dishes (1 plate 35 DKK / 2 plates 65 DKK / 3 for 90 DKK) from the menu: hummus & falafel and the avocado. Both vegan and served with bread. Together with a cup of chamomile tea. Payed in total 90 DKK (€13/$14.50) and I had a perfect late lunch. Don’t forget to order at the bar here and you can take your own cutlery to the table.
In the afternoon I had a specialty coffee meeting with Janis who I’ve met in Berlin at Five Elephant. Now he works here with The Coffee Collective. At the moment there are already four locations in the city. I went to Jægersborggade, where Janis works. The place looks amazing. There are different rooms where you can sit down and enjoy your perfectly brewed coffee. It was great to see a familiar face and have a coffee talk. He explained me how The Coffee Collective works, how the buy their coffee (via direct trade) and that they always pay more than the actual price to stimulate the coffee culture in the country of origin. I’ve enjoyed a beautiful Kenyan filter coffee brewed with the aeropress and I had a sip of an espresso with their fruity more citric blend.
My actual plan was to go to Malmo in Sweden, but because I was missing some content due to the early sunset here in Copenhagen I’ve decided to stay in the city. Copenhagen has a lot to offer and next to that I didn’t feel like traveling these days. So, I had my morning coffee at Democratic Coffee with a freshly baked croissant. I got an insider tip from some locals that this place have the best croissants in town, so I had to try this. I also wrote part one of this blogpost and I’ve made some missing photos of the place. Democratic Coffee is next to the main library of Copenhagen, so if you need to get some work done this is your spot.
After my easy morning I was planning to climb the round tower, because I thought it was free. Unfortunately it wasn’t. I guess it was 25 DKK, so not super expensive but I decided to skip it. Next time when I am not on a budget tour I will climb this tower. I was a bit confused and lost this day, and when you feel like that it’s pizza time. Torvehallerne -an inside food marked- is a great spot to get some lunch. Lot’s of food to choose from, but I already knew what I was looking for and I found my pizza at Gorm’s. Margherita for 90 DKK (€12,10/$14,30).
For my afternoon coffee I went all the way to ROAST Coffee. It was quiet a walk, but after this pizza that was good. You find ROAST just on the other side of the bridge Langerbro. I’ve enjoyed a chemex with beans from Burundi and a nice talk with the baristas. My Dutch roots were very happy here to see a Giesen roaster and a Kees van der Westen espresso machine. Then it was time to go back to the hostel.
One of the coffee places that all the locals were talking about was Prolog. So, on this Saturday morning I’ve walked all the way to the meatpacking district of Copenhagen to try out the coffee. It was nice to see a place with some color. It reminded me a bit of Paris, where most of the places are blue. Prolog was found not so long ago by Jonas and Sebastian. Jonas was working at Democratic Coffee before and now he put all his energy in his own coffeeshop. When I entered the place I found Oliver, the owner of Democratic Coffee sipping an espresso here. He told me that close by is the wholesale store for hospitality. Lot’s of coffee shop owners go shopping there and visit Prolog, like a combined trip. I really like how close and connected the specialty coffee culture is here in Copenhagen. I’ve ordered a natural Ethiopian pour over and Jonas let me try a beautiful espresso from Honduras with a well-balanced acidity and lot’s of fruity flavors.
Then it was about time to stop by and say hi to the little mermaid. It’s not very impressive, but hey if you are in Copenhagen you have to see her. Everybody told me already that she is way smaller than you expect, so I didn’t expect anything. I also passed by Nyhavn again, but it was so crowded that I kind of run away from it. Same as the Food Market on Papiroen. I ate my yummy falafel durum like there was a gun to my head. I couldn’t handle all these people pushing me. Cake was what I needed to fix this day. Unfortunately The Corner 108 run out of their famous cakes. I changed my plan and went to Sonny, a cute place very close to the hostel using Koppi and La Cabra. The owner David was working at Coutume in Paris before and now he has his own place. And thank god there was cake! A cappuccino and a piece of apple cake brought this intensive day to an end.
On my last full day I was planning to take it easy. When you are visiting the capital of Copenhagen you have to go to the roastery of The Coffee Collective, so that was my plan. The roastery is located in Frederiksberg and it’s quiet a walk (+/- 40 min.) from the city centre. But as I said before when you walk you see things you won’t see by buss. Believe me it’s worth the walk. What a beautiful location. One of the baristas showed me the roastery and how they work. It always makes me so happy to see different roasters. The place is spacious, bright and decorated with amazing furniture. I had a perfect Kenyan pour over which made this Sunday morning as it suppose to be. Coffee and relax.
One of the most famous lunch places is Kompa’9. A lovely place, great service and super fresh and delicious food. I enjoyed the avocado sandwich and I had a chai latte with Oatly milk. I’ve paid 105 DKK here (€14,10/$16,70).
Before arriving in Copenhagen I gave myself a daily budget of €30/$35. It was possible for me to spend this amount of money per day, without buying extra things like clothes, cosmetica etc. It was also possible, because I had free dinner in the hostel (because of my collaboration) and I got some free coffees. I think a reasonable daily budget would be between €40 and €50, depending on how much you eat on a day and if you want to give yourself some extras.