Frugal City Guide: Copenhagen

Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell

We had such a great weekend in Copenhagen, if you’ve not been then you must add to your list. The food, the shopping, the cobbled streets. And I love that for a European city, there’s lots to see, but at the same time you don’t feel any pressure to see all of it (unlike Paris or Rome – too many sights, too many must-dos!). We spent most of our time travelling between restaurants to shops and it was just perfect.




We didn’t rent a bike until day 3, and this was a mistake – we were exhausted. Copenhagen’s not huge but it does take a while to do it by foot.  We cycled home from dinner in under 6 minutes when the previous night it had taken 30 mins. The city is totally set up for it, a bit like Amsterdam and it’s not as dangerous for traffic like London. Literally, everyone cycles. And you can seemingly dump the bikes anywhere (as long as they’re locked), and pop in for a coffee, a quick shopping spree etc.




We particularly loved cycling through the area of Norrebro, tons of cool bars, shops and restaurants (this is where the Acne Archive store is!). If we were to book again, we would probably book an Air BnB in this area as you’re close to all the best dinner and breakfast spots.


One of the many cool corners of Norrebro

A great street is Jægersborggade – home to Manfred’s restaurant (known for its vegetable dishes AND steak tartare – what a wonderful contradiction), Coffee Collective and lots of cool cafes.




And Vaernedamsvej is a great street for breakfast spots (and flower stalls). We loved the charm of Granola – like stepping back into a 1930s Milkbar.




The real tourist part of the city, but still you must visit (but maybe don’t sit in the touristy cafes outside). When we walked through these gorgeous pastel buildings, brass bands were playing and it was such a wonderful atmosphere.




Just across the water from Nyhavn (you can grab a boat over, or it’s a short cycle journey – to walk was quite long-winded as we found out!), it’s the old home of the Danish Press (hence its name: Paper Island), a real industrial area which has the sun on it pretty much all day long. It’s now home to tons of amazing street food stalls, people sunbathing outside whilst enjoying the views over the city. We loved it here, all the food looked (and tasted) amazing and so reasonable.








If you love foliage, you’ll love it here. A tranquil spot in the centre of Copenhagen. Just don’t go up the stairs inside the conservatory if it’s warm outside!






If there’s one thing to notice about the Danish, it’s that they enjoy the outdoors. Especially in the summer, nights are light and pretty much any outside space is filled with people drinking and hanging out (but in a good way!). We bought some ciders and took a pedalo out on one of the lakes and it was glorious.



It will come to no surprise to you that we basically based our entire trip around restaurants. Copenhagen has a real foodie scene, and we embraced it. The key is to eat more street food in the day, thus saving money for the fab (and always) atmospheric restaurants at night. Here were a few favourites:

Torvehallerne Market

This was close to our hotel, so we ended up stopping by a few times – it’s basically Papiroen on a smaller scale. Great coffee, juice bars, queue-worthy bao and well, everything.





I can’t tell you how good these Bao tasted – roughly £10 for both of us for lunch



If you only go to one expensive restaurant (roughly £85 for 2 with drinks), make it this one in the trendy meatpacking district (to be honest, pretty much all the restaurants here are worth trying) in Vesterbro. Amazing atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff and the food was so fresh, so tasty and made me eat things I never would have picked. We went for the sharing plates (the burrata and the cured salmon were out of this world), but saw other couples sharing the chicken and chips which we were also jealous of.



The meatpacking district
Meatpacking District by night


Without doubt the best pizza I’ve had. Ever. Sourdough, super fresh produce and not frightened of seasoning, my mushroom pizza was perfection. A really affordable place too, with dinner for two at roughly £35 (and the bar opposite does a v spicy Bloody Mary).






Looking for the chicest avocado on toast in town? This cool cafe is the fashionista’s favourite, does great iced coffees too, and is right by the cool shopping streets. Need I say more?





Where not to shop, really? All the Scandi brands we love: Ganni, DAY Birger et Mikelsen, By Malene Birger, Acne. They’re all here, and mostly around Gothersgade. But I was more interested in the interiors stores. Sadly I didn’t get to do as many as I expected as the day we had planned for shopping was Constitution Day so everything was closed (maybe a sign?!), so we had to make a rather rushed dash to the shops on the morning before our flight (and still managed to buy a few things!).
Other streets near Gothersgade worth mentioning are Ostergaard with Hope, Illum, DAY Birger, Acne and Maria Black. Store Regnegade had fab interiors stores, cafes and Ganni.
2 floors of absolute beauty. I wanted everything. And what I loved was that there were plenty of items to buy on a budget, too. We bought a small cushion for £35 (about £10 cheaper than in the UK), some matches (which I adore) and a pointless pink pot which I will love forever.




One of the many stores along Gothersgade. I love the mix of interiors and fashion here, and it stocks one of my fave Danish brands Mads Norgaard.



This store, right by Tivoli was one we just stumbled upon but I wish I had more time. Stocking brands such as Normann Copenhagen, Antoni posters, Kortkartellet (fab map prints) and Nord by Thomsen (gorgeous jewellery).


Another tiny little store we just happened to stumble upon, but everything was so beautiful and minimal, you almost didn’t want to touch anything!


When you walk into a store and their use of colour makes you question everything. The best range of prints, pottery and furniture, all curated beautifully. We couldn’t leave without buying a print (and then framing it via Ikea when we got home).




I hope you found this City Guide useful, as always I love to hear your thoughts (or if you have any recommendations!) @thefrugality.




  1. Loved this review 🙂 I went to Copenhagen last year with friends and I am DYING to go back with my bf, so I'm happy to have you're recommendations. We stayed in Norrebro and it was such a cool area. I'm definitely pinning this post to my travel board x

  2. A great piece Alex – I’m off to Copenhagen in March so will try and find some of these places. Thanks for including some interiors stores as well, I can’t wait to see that famous Scandi style in action!

  3. Thanks for helpful post
    Any Airbnb’s or hotels at ~ £100 a night for a friend and I that anyone would recommend please? Would love a personal recommendation.

    1. Oh sorry! I think I just assumed as it was a more recent post – baby brain! We stayed at Ibsens – it was just okay to be honest – bit Travelodge-y really. My parents have just booked the Absalom which looks a great location (near meatpacking district) but a few friends have stayed in Air Bnb and loved it xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!