Copenhagen on a Shoe String

Copenhagen on a Shoe String
By Ekaterina Larsson

Writer: Madeleine Hyde

The Nordic capitals are notoriously expensive, yet remain high up on many student travellers, backpackers and inter-railer’s travel list. Just how do they get by? Maybe they have already discovered a few of the following four badly-kept secrets…

  1. Go island-hopping (free)

Copenhagen’s island structure sculpts a city whose areas stand alone and unique. None more so than Christiania Freetown, a long-established hippy squat which refuses to play by the rules. On the ‘Green Mile’ you can find plenty of people selling exactly what you’d expect, and in the summer, barbequing the most wonderful-smelling vegan burgers. Cash or MobilePay only, of course. Whatever you purchase, take it onto the benches up on the hill, and wait for a free concert.


Image: The Culture Trip

2. Eat street food, (from around 40 krone/ €5)

It is perhaps when it comes to food that Copenhagen really holds its own. Papirøen (Paper island) – which sits on a tiny island of industrial buildings, standing defiantly opposite the Opera house – is a food hall that does so much more. Its trucks from around the world cook up the most inventive wonders all day long, and then at night the little space there is between them becomes a dance floor. Try weaving your way through salsa dancers with plantain chips, truffle pizza or baked sweet potato with mustard and quinoa. Then take the Latin vibes outside with you, into the Nordic October air: you’ll need it. Wherever the Stockholm equivalent of this is, I’d love to find it.


Image: Visit Copenhagen

3. See some modern art (50 krone with student ID)

Papirøen food hall is neighbors with Copenhagen’s Contemporary Arts gallery, something else that this city surely stands out for. The virtual reality exhibition takes you to places that not even Christiania’s finest would manage. From a dripping, gold crucifix dangling before your eyes to a fluorescent waterfall paradise of dreams, the alternative worlds that these artists have created transport your imagination and perception all at once to places you would never conceive of, let alone think possible to experience. With a student entrance fee that will cost less than your lunch, this is surely time and krone well spent.


Image: Copenhagen Contemporary Art Gallery

4. A place to rest

Bedwood Hostel, located on the very central and beautiful Nyhavn (that colourful harbour you’ve seen in postcards), is Copenhagen’s standout accommodation choice for students. They epitomise “hygge”, the now-famous Danish concept of ‘cosiness’, with their handmade wood-framed beds and huge dining table by the shared kitchen. Every night, by candlelight, you are guaranteed to find someone to share a Danish beer with, no doubt with a story to tell.

It’s also easy on the purse. Pick a random weekday in winter and you can stay for just 99 krone per night (around €13). In summer and especially on weekends, the same bed can cost you four times that, at which point, especially if you’re traveling in a group, AirB&B may prove cheaper.


Image: Bedwoord Hostel

Madelein is an English writer/ philosopher who has her own blog which you can follow here.

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