On our moms trip to Europe, I fell in love with Berlin. It is one of the more affordable cities in Germany and has a uniqueness that is second to none. Even several months after the trip, I am still raving about Belin to friends and coworkers. My mother, however, is a different story. Berlin is a bit too rough around the edges for her. But however much I loved berlin, my mom loved Copenhagen. Despite staying in a Hostel, my mom felt something special in Copenhagen. Honestly what is there not to like? The people are friendly, the city is beautiful, there are nones of parks, and there is an undeniable charm to Nyhavn. It is like the polar opposite of the rougher areas of Berlin. My only qualm with Copenhagen is that is so damn expensive. However, while there we found some ways to save money on food.
Restaurants are Extremely Expensive in Copenhagen
Copenhagen has one of the fastest growing food scenes in the world. Currently Copenhagen has 17 restaurants with Michelin Stars, including Geranium which has 3 stars (ranked 19th best in the world). Another 49 restaurants have also received either Bib Gourmand or Michelin Plate distinctions for their great food. The problem is with all of this great food… it is so damn expensive to eat in Copenhagen. Generally a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in copenhagen will run you about $18 a person. A meal at a mid-range restaurant can run you about $90 per person. Given this, it is really hard for the average traveler to indulge themselves in Copenhagen’s food scene.
As a point of reference, I currently live in the Seattle Area. To me Seattle is an extremely expensive place to eat out on a budget. While there are some hidden gems, which can provide some insanely good food for the price, we find it hard not to push the budget when we choose to treat ourselves. Restaurants in Copenhagen are 25% more expensive than Seattle Proper and 45% higher than the Seattle Suburbs.
Previously one way I recommended to get a good taste of Copenhagen on a budget was a food tour, but you won’t save money by going on a food tour for every meal.
Save Money on Breakfast Food by Eating like a Local
In a city with an extremely high cost of living and a country with some of the highest taxes in the world, the locals seem to get by. They seem to get by and are extremely happy about it. Obviously, they are clearly doing something right. While in Copenhagen, we talked with tour guides about their daily routines. Including how they saved money living in a city which is so expensive.
Save money on Food by Grabbing Breakfast a Grocery Stores or Coffee Shops
While these tips and tricks are not Copenhagen specific (grocery stores are always cheaper the restaurants), they become more important in Copenhagen. Staying in a Hostel, we did not have a kitchen to cook breakfast. Nor did I want to spend the time doing so. However, our hostel was right next to Aldi, a chain of grocery stores my parents love. While we were in Copenhagen we found ourselves going to Aldi for Breakfasts or snacks throughout the day. The reason being this grocery store, and most grocery stores in Denmark (really Europe) offer a wide variety of extremely good pastries at great prices. This is something we really don’t see in the states. Our grocery stores really focus more on selling desserts pastries by the dozen, rather than individual. But in copenhagen for $2 a person we were able to each get a few pastries for a good breakfast.
While in Copenhagen, we also found that you can grab a quick cheaper breakfast at a Coffee Shop. Stephanie and My mom are both coffee addicts. Trying to get them to start their day without a cup of coffee is next to impossible. Personally, I never had a cup of coffee so I really don’t understand. So I didn’t have to deal with a grumpy wife or mom we had to stop for coffee in the morning. One morning we stopped at Espresso House. Stephanie absolutely raved about their coffee, but what caught my eye is they had gorgeous pastries and fresh-looking sandwiches only slightly higher than what you would find at a convenience store. For less than $5 I was able to get 2 pigs in a blanket that were among the best I have tried.
Save money on Food by grabbing a quick by from food stands/carts
The hot dog stand is king in Copenhagen. By far, hot hogs are the #1 quick eat in Copenhagen, and there is a reason why. Copenhageners know how to do a hotdog right. They literally put American hot dogs to shame. As I mentioned in our food tour review, we had one of the best dogs we ever tried while in Copenhagen. Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is the only one dog that may compete with it. Our food tour hot dog was no fluke. Stephanie and I grabbed another dog off the street and it was just as delectable. While the hot dog is king in Copenhagen, other quick east such as mediterranean are on the rise. Grabbing a quick hot dog on the go may be one of the most delicious ways I saved money in Denmark.
While we were not in Copenhagen long and did not get to try out everything I wanted. Food trucks and stalls are really growing in Copenhagen. These are another great way to save money, not needings the same footprint as a restaurant, these stalls and trucks are able to offer restaurant quality food at prices significantly less than a restaurant in the city. Groups of food trucks/stalls seems to pop up all the time in copenhagen, but right now Reffen and the Rebel Food are extremely popular.
Save Money on Food by Eating at a Buffet
I wish my dad was able to come to Copenhagen. No one loves a buffet more than my dad, and buffets are extremely popular in Copenhagen. Most people we talked to recommended buffets. Buffets are some of the cheaper sit-down restaurants Copenhagen, and offer an extremely wide variety of dishes. I am not sure how buffets can be cheaper, as there generally is a lot of food waste on a buffet, but they make it work in Copenhagen, and the locals rave about the quality of food. Among the buffets recommended to us were Ankara, Dalle Valle, Riz Raz, and Samos. On our final night we checked out Dalle Valle, we got a coupon with our canal tour, and the food was surprisingly good and fresh. It was an extremely crowded restaurant, so much so that food did not sit long before new pans had to be brought out.
Copenhagen is not a cheap place to visit, but it is not a city to miss. So when in Copenhagen you have to find every opportunity to save a few bucks. You can do so by being smart with how/where you eat.