So, you’re on the hunt for the cheapest places in Denmark? That’s not going to be easy. This country isn’t exactly known for its budget-bolstering prices a la Poland or Romania. It’s actually among the priciest places to visit in the world – let alone just Europe! – with cost-of-living metrics that put it up there with Switzerland, the UK, and other Scandinavian nations like Norway. Yikes.
But don’t write off that fairy-tale jaunt to the erstwhile home of Hans Christian Andersen just yet. There are some destinations here that we think let you travel for less, so long as you’re willing to skip the most deluxe hotels and fancy eateries, of course.
And we’re not just talking wildly off-the-beaten-path towns that travelers hardly ever stop by, either. Nope, the cheapest places in Denmark can be big, buzzing cities where the student bars and hostels will help you harness the outgoings. They can also be enticing islands with charming backcountries and quiet beaches. Let’s take a look…
Yes, we know – Copenhagen hardly has a reputation for being the most wallet-friendly city in Europe. In fact, it’s been officially ranked in the top 10 most expensive towns in on the continent, with a cost of living estimation that outstrips both Amsterdam and Luxembourg. On a more anecdotal note, we remember buying a veggie burger and a beer in a local brewpub here only to find that the number on the card machine did indeed read €39. Sadly, it wasn’t a bad dream.
However, we’ve added Copenhagen to our list of the cheapest places in Denmark because we think it is possible to visit this capital without spending the mega bucks. It’s got more hotels, more bars, more eateries than just about anywhere else in the country. That brings competition. And that helps to keep the prices low. At least that’s the theory. The trick is in avoiding the fancy New Nordic gastronomy and dodging the edgy boutique accommodations in the hippest parts of town.
The best way to do that? Escape the Indre By and the Nyhavn districts for less-popular corners of the metropolis. We find that there are more affordable stays to be had up in Nørrebro and Frederiksberg, which are lively, multicultural areas within a short tram ride of the center. Those two districts can also help you cut the cost of food and drink. Nørrebro especially is known for its cheap eats, which come in the form of Middle Eastern falafel kitchens and Asian holes in the wall selling on-the-go noodles.
The other main way to plan a budget trip to Copenhagen is to come in the shoulder seasons. We say shoulder because there’s no real off season here. The summer is, naturally, the peak time, but there’s a bulge in tourist numbers in the midwinter when the Tivoli Christmas markets are in town. Months like April and October tend to be the most affordable of the lot, though the weather might not be the best.
Langeland is a long, thin finger of an island that sits on the southern side of Funen, one of Denmark’s most central provinces. It’s not really in the limelight for international travels, but is a mainstay on the domestic tourism route, known mainly for its wellness hotels and bucolic countryside. We think it’s also up there among the cheapest places in Denmark, largely because it’s not as oversubscribed as destinations like Skagen and Aarhus.
What you get here is pretty cool. The first draw resides inland. Snaking roadways that are perfect for exploring on two wheels weave and wiggle through low ranges known as the Hat Hills (presumably because they look just like hats!). There’s ample hill walking and bird watching to be done there, too, which all hits a zenith in the spring month when the meadows bloom and the wetlands come to life with all manner of migratory species.
The second draw is the coast. It’s a pretty handsome one, too – think high, sheer-cut cliffs topped with tussock grass that drop to slivers of beige sand speckled with salty boulders. A single hiking trail – the 220km The Archipelago Trail – is the holy grail there. It will whisk you through quaint antique towns and coastal forests, to sunset lookout points and fishing hamlets. Oh, and it’s 100% free to do – no permits required.
Again, the key to an affordable holiday in Langeland is timing. The summer months see that perennial boom in domestic travel, so try to avoid dropping in between June and August. It’s generally better to get here before the start of the main holidays (in May) or just after (in September), when it’s still warm but there are far fewer people competing for the top hotels and B&Bs.
Two individual islands separated by the Guldborgsund sound in the south of Denmark, Lolland and Falster (often simply called just Lolland-Falster) are an easy cruise down the E47 motorway from Copenhagen – the trip is about 1.5 hours in all, going via the long bridge that links over the Baltic via Farø island.
Flat and wooded, both land masses are charming escapes that are a far cry from the buzz of the Danish capital. We’d say it’s nature that takes center stage here, and the good news is that much of it is totally free. Take the wonderful Maribo Lakes Nature Park. A sprawling patchwork of lakes and wetlands, islets and lake peninsulas in the very heart of Lolland, it’s a place to boat and birdwatch your days away.
There are fantastic family draws in these parts, too. Start at the Crocodile Zoo, where you can meet monstrous pre-historic beasts with chompers longer than your forearm. Entry is 149 DKK (€20) for an adult, but there are reductions for kids and pensioners. Then there’s the Knuthenborg Safaripark, the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. Head there to spy out long-necked giraffes, zebra herds, and even preserved dino skeletons. Entry prices start at €24 per adult but, again, there are good reductions for the little ones.
The main hubs of Lolland-Falster are the medieval town of Sundkøbing, smaller Sakskobing, and Maribo. We’d say try to avoid jostling for the sought-after accommodations in those if you’re keen to save money. There are better options on the south coast near the beaches that cost less but are still within striking distance of the main attractions.
Funen is also sometimes called Fyn. It’s the island that sits smack dab in the middle of the Danish archipelago, bridging the gap between Zealand in the east (the home of Copenhagen) and the Jutland Peninsula in the west (the part of the country that’s linked directly to northern Germany). The whole place has a bit of a reputation for being rustic to the T, apart from its lively student town, Odense, of course.
The good news is that works wonders on the price front. So long as you don’t spend too long mulling over the Hans Christian Andersen museums in the city, you can usually put together a trip here that’s on the cheaper side. The key is to make the most of the lovely Funen countryside, which rolls out for something like 22 miles to the south of Odense before spilling into the waters of the Baltic Sea.
There’s lots to get through in those parts, all of it off the beaten path. Perhaps drop into the quaint harbor town of Faaborg to wander cobbled streets around a medieval marina? Maybe you’d prefer the woodlands of the Svanninge Bakker a touch to the north, where you can hike paths alone between the hemlocks and oaks? There’s also Ringe, a small provincial town of 12,000 people with some charming cafes and bars, not to mention all manner of smaller villages dotting the space in between.
Nope – we’re not talking about Elon Musk’s first child. We’re talking about Ærø; charming, pint-sized Ærø on the Baltic Sea. One of the smallest islands of Denmark, this bijou spot of just 34 square miles makes its home in the sounds between aforementioned Langeland and the mainland reaches of the Jutland Peninsula.
Again, it manages to claim a place amongst the cheapest places in Denmark for the sole reason that it’s very rustic and dominated by countryside. On top of that, it’s a touch trickier to get to than other southern islands in the Baltic (largely because there’s no direct road link to the mainland). That, in turn, helps to thin down the crowds and keep prices relatively stable, even during the peak summer months.
Ærø certainly has some gems up its sleeve. Start with the handsome center of Ærøskøbing. It’s the main town and is all narrow alleys topped by cobbles, charming cottages brimming with potted plants, and cute boutique shops with multi-colored facades. To cap all that off, you’ve got lonely beaches with calm swimming waters for when it’s warm, along with an inland of green forests and crooked barns. Sounds lovely, eh?
The cheapest places in Denmark – our conclusion
The cheapest places in Denmark still aren’t going to be wallet-busting destinations like you get in Eastern Europe or Asia. This is one of the priciest nations in the world, remember? However, there are ways to cut costs when traveling the home of cinnamon-topped pastries. First, try to get yourself bargain hostel stays in lesser-known parts of Copenhagen. Or, better yet, avoid the capital altogether in favor of the quaint, rustic parts of the country, from inland Funen to the beaches of the southern islands.