Is Denmark Expensive? The Cost of Travel in 2022

Copenhagen canal
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The Viking nation in northern Europe is a picture of Scandinavian life and a model society for other countries. From the bustling modern capital to the royal palaces, art, and islands, Denmark is definitely worth visiting, but is it expensive?

The Danes are consistently rated the happiest people in the world. Although governments have prioritized this over the country’s GDP in recent years, the per capita gross national product is among the highest globally, and the standard of living soars. However, Denmark is the fifth most expensive country for living costs and you’ll need a big salary to call it home.

You’re probably here wondering whether you can visit Denmark on a budget. While prices are above the continental average, a holiday to Copenhagen, Aarhus or Odense need not break the bank. From the travel costs to accommodation and our top tips for saving money, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the price of visiting Denmark in 2022. Let’s get into it.  

The Average Cost of a Holiday to Denmark

Danish flag
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The fascinating Nordic nation with its Viking heritage, hundreds of microbreweries, and contemporary fashion deserve a place on your travel bucket list. Especially when it comes to the colorful capital of Copenhagen and all the museums, galleries, statues, and shops there are to explore. But Denmark is notoriously expensive. High salaries and high taxes balance things out for residents, but what does this mean if you have your sights set on Scandinavia for your next foreign jaunt? 

Denmark might be pricier than Southern European hotspots like Spain, Greece, and even Italy and France, but it is actually the cheaper option among its Scandinavian neighbors. If this part of the world is your dream but you don’t have bottomless pockets, Denmark could be the perfect alternative to Norway or Sweden.

According to travelers, you can expect to spend around 3,600 DKK (522 USD) for a three-day trip on a medium budget to Denmark. This comes to around 5,100 DKK (760 USD) for a couple and 9,600 DKK (1,400 USD) for a family of four. A budget of 1,200 DKK (174 USD) per day will see you sightseeing the country comfortably, but we think you can travel around Denmark much cheaper and we’re going to show you how.

But first, let’s take a look at some base costs of daily expenses in Denmark that holidaymakers and residents might encounter: 

Price (DKK)Price (USD)
Inexpensive Meal (restaurant)130.00$19.50
Fast Food Combo Meal78.00$11.50
Takeaway Cappucino (restaurant)37.37$5.50
Coke Bottle (supermarket)24.43$3.64
Water Bottle (supermarket)19$2.83
River Boat Tour (one hour)105.00$15
Copenhagen Culinary Experience (half-day) 916.00$136

Is Denmark Expensive to Visit? Getting There

Denmark bridge
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It might be a Scandinavian nation comprising over 400 islands, but Denmark isn’t located as far north as Sweden, Norway, and Finland, and it even shares a border with Germany. This is great news if you’re coming into the country from western Europe or if you’re interested in alternatives to flying.

You can get a direct train from Hamburg in just under five hours for less than 250 DKK (37 USD). It takes the same amount of time from Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, and you can even travel by railway from London St-Pancras to Copenhagen. This sleeper option takes almost a full day, but it promises an adventure across Europe for as little as 750 DKK (100 USD). There are also a number of ferry routes operating from the UK across the North Sea to reach Denmark by boat. These trips will be treacherous but they’re a great option if you’re not afraid to rough it, or of a little sea sickness. 

Still, if you’re traveling by air, you’re in luck. Denmark has over 21 airports connecting the country and you can find good deals depending on the time of year from any European destination. You can find return flights to Copenhagen from London for 600 DKK (90 USD) to 1,000 DKK (150 USD) and 4,400 DKK (650 USD) on average from New York. Flying to Billund or Aarhus is often even cheaper than flying to Copenhagen if you’re not set on the capital. Denmark is small and you can start on one side of the country and travel across it easily. 

Denmark also has an excellent road network and getting around by private car is your best bet if you want to see a lot of it. You can rent a medium-sized vehicle for as little as 300 DKK (50 USD) a day. Otherwise, most Danish cities, bar the offshore islands, are serviced by trains and you can rent a bicycle for around 30 DKK (5 USD) an hour to get around locally.

Accommodation Prices in Denmark

is Denmark expensive?
Amazing morning view of Hirtshals lighthouse in Denmark. Landscape photography

The accommodation comes in all shapes and sizes in Denmark. It might be an expensive place for living costs, but your lodgings are one thing that doesn’t have to break the bank here. With the country being so well-connected and diverse, moving around and staying in different locations is hassle-free, and it could keep the costs down if you’re willing to escape to somewhere rural. Still, even Copenhagen has its fair share of budget accommodation options. 

You can find hotels, guest houses, and AirBnbs all over Copenhagen. If you’re really wanting to keep costs down, a hostel will be your best bet and you can get a dorm for as little as 160 DKK (24 USD) a night. Double rooms start at around 350 DKK (52 USD) and hotels average between 500 (74 USD) and 2,000 DKK (300 USD) a night. You can also book a vacation rental in the city for as little as 350 DKK (52 USD), with AirBnbs averaging at 1,700 DKK (240 USD) a night. 

The average nightly price for vacation rentals in Denmark, on the whole, is 880 DKK (130 USD). Homestays are also slightly cheaper in Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, at around 700 DKK (100 USD) to 1,400 DKK (200 USD) in the historic town of Kastrup. There is also no shortage of hotels in these cities. Check out some of these options to suit any budget:

Copenhagen Backpackers Hostel ($) – Close to the metro and right in the city center, this laidback hostel offers private doubles for as little as $70 a night. 

Go Hotel City ($$) – A modern and convenient hotel for on-the-go stays in the heart of the capital. Double rooms start at $90.

BB-Hotel Aarhus Havnehotellet ($$) – A quaint riverside B&B with harbor view rooms from $100. 

Nordsjællands Ferieboliger ($$) – Bag an apartment in the quaint fishing village of Frederiksværk for $110 a night. 

Hotel GuestApart ($$) – Save money on food by cooking your own meals in these compact, self-contained apartments in Aarhus. Prices start at $220 a night with breakfast included. 

Is Denmark Expensive for Food and Drink?

Copenhagen
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Accommodation might be a surprisingly midrange expense in Denmark, but food and drink is where things can get seriously pricey. Denmark is one of the most expensive countries in Europe for eating out, and even daily groceries can cost an arm and a leg. Still, there are ways you can save. 

Based on other travelers’ spending habits, you should budget around 350 DKK (52 USD) for food per day, which can include a mix of restaurant meals, on-the-go snacks, and home-cooked dishes. A three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant will set you back around 300 DKK (40 USD) per person, without alcohol, while domestic beer costs an average of 50 DKK (7.50 USD) and wine around 60 DKK (9 USD) in restaurants.

Most Danes spend between 1,400 DKK (200 USD) and 2,000 DKK (300 USD) per month on food from supermarkets like Bilka, Aldi, Lidl, Netto, and Fakta. So you should expect to spend around 370 DKK (55 USD) for one week of groceries if you plan to cook your meals yourself.  

There is a big drinking culture in Denmark and you’ll likely be familiar with names like Carlsberg and Tuborg in the beer world, which are actually native to Denmark. Beer drinking has been a tradition in the country since the Vikings ruled the northern seas, allegedly finding more uses for it than water. Today, there are over 200 microbreweries in the country and any good night out is accompanied by pints of the hop-brewed drink. Still, because of the cultural importance of Denmark’s own brews, you’ll actually find imported beer to be slightly cheaper in most establishments and as little as 17 DKK (2.50 USD) in supermarkets. 

Imported lager averages at 40 DKK (6 USD) and local craft or IPA bottles will set you back 60 DKK in a bar or nightclub. Expect to spend upwards of 100 DKK (15 USD) for a cocktail and around 52 DKK (8 USD) for a glass of wine in the same place. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Denmark?

Denmark countryside
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Denmark has a characteristically coastal climate. The winters are damp and mild, with short daylight hours while the summers are cool and breezy. Winter temperatures average at 35 degrees Fahrenheit while summer hovers in the low sixties. 

As a maritime country, the weather is affected by the proximity to the sea with inland areas experiencing distinctly less extreme fluctuations in weather conditions. If hiking across the green landscape, strolling the capital’s cobbled streets, or even swimming in the vast lakes is on your agenda, June, July, and August are the best times to visit Denmark. However, this promises the highest prices with school holiday crowds flocking in their thousands to all the top attractions.

If you can tolerate the cold and some unpredictable weather, the winter months, especially November, January, and February can guarantee the best low season discounts. But Denmark is also magical at Christmas. The Copenhagen market draws international tourists and you shouldn’t expect the same sort of discounts across the festive season. Still, it can be cheaper than in the summer, especially outside the capital. 

Experience the Winter solstice and Denmark’s shortest day which falls around December 24th if you’re visiting at this time. Just seven hours of daylight might be a shock to some, but a magical Christmas experience for others. 

Denmark on a Budget: Our Top Money-Saving Tips

Denmark is pricey, but that shouldn’t scare you off. Here’s a round-up of our top tips for saving money on your next trip:

Visit in the low season – Our number one piece of advice for saving money abroad is to visit outside of peak holiday seasons. For Denmark, this means avoiding the alluring summer months and festive period if you want to snap up a good deal.

Rent a bike – Cycling is the easiest and most common mode of transport in Denmark. With extensive cycling routes in all major cities, there’s no need to rent a car if you’re planning a cosmopolitan break. Bike lanes even connect all rural areas. So if you’re adventurous and on a budget, consider a cross-country cycling adventure. 

Live local – Not only does the native cuisine give you a real taste of the culture of a country, but local food like fresh fish and hearty staples can be much cheaper than gourmet restaurants. Drinking culture is huge in Denmark too, drink, eat, and be merry with the locals and they’ll let you in on their secrets.  

Shop around – You can find budget groceries in Denmark if you look around. Check out Aldi, Bilka, and Lidl for the best deals and cook meals at your accommodation if you have a kitchen to avoid high restaurant prices.

Venture beyond Copenhagen – The capital is the most popular destination and for good reason. But Denmark is more than Copenhagen and heading to the spectacular rural villages or even quieter cities like Aarhus, Odense, or Aalborg could really save you a penny or two.  

Is Denmark Expensive? Our Verdict

Denmark is an undoubtedly expensive holiday destination, but budget travelers shouldn’t be scared off its Nordic shores. It is the most accessible Scandinavian country when it comes to price and you can still get a sense of the Nordic way of life without breaking the bank. Remember that Denmark stretches further beyond its bustling capital where cheap deals might be far and few. You can also still enjoy the city sights, great architecture, vibrant drinking culture, and spectacular scenery in Denmark during the low season when prices dip.   

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Esmé is an English literature graduate and freelance writer. Originally from London, Esmé is lucky enough to call Bali home. Her travels have taken her from the far corners of the East to the islands of the Caribbean. When she's not writing, you'll find her lying on a beach somewhere, lost in a crime novel.