Splurge vs. Save: Copenhagen
No matter your budget, the bold design and fabulous flavors of Copenhagen will still shine. But in a city known for high price tags, it helps to know where to look to find the best steals. So we put together a list of both prime steals and splurge-worthy options for hotels, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and transport in Copenhagen.
Splurge: The 14-room Nimb Hotel (pictured) is a white palace located in central Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park that dates back to 1843.Rooms are individually decorated and all but one have a fireplace stocked with fragrant birch wood. This upscale property is home to 9 suites, an impressive wine cellar, and a sunny terrace where you can dine while peacocks strut by. Rooms start at 2000 kroner ($330)/night.
Steal: Just opened in April 2012, the Anderson Hotel is a boutique hotel with 73 rooms and suites on a pretty corner in Vesterbro. Only a few minutes walk from the main train station, the Anderson has a fun design with pops of bright color including turquoise and lime. Free Wi-Fi and a generous free breakfast provide value, along with "Concept 24," a commitment to allowing guests 24 hours in their room, whether they check in morning or night. Rooms start at 925 kroner ($155)/night.
Splurge: Superstar Danish chef Bo Bech showcases his skills with local ingredients at the centrally located Geist. Step inside this slick restaurant with its chiseled servers and choose between a spacious booth and a seat at the L-shaped bar to watch the chef in action. Geist doesn't have appetizers or entrees, just dishes listed by their main ingredient. From simple grilled green asparagus to North Sea turbot with fennel ravioli in cheese, the dishes are as much about the color, aroma, and presentation as the flavor. Dinner for two from 900 kroner ($150).
Steal: The fringes of Copenhagen are now home to some of the best bites in town. Venture past the Assistens Cemetery in the Norrebro neighborhood to reach Jaegersborgadde, a once crime-ridden street that now offers restaurants, cafes, and galleries. At Manfreds & Vin (pictured)—Copenhagen's first natural wine bar—small dishes are served continuously to share. Sip on a glass of natural wine while tucking into whatever the chef whips up from local ingredients. Dinner 230 kroner (or $38) a head. Natural wines from 45 kroner ($7.50) a glass.
Splurge: Step inside Stig P on Ravnsborgadde to browse a thoughtful collection of local Danish brands, Swedish Acne jeans, and familiar American brands like Theory. This boutique stocks everything from shoes to jewelry to handbags to the perfect trenchcoat—all worth their price tags.
Steal: The same street in the Norrebro neighborhood is home to a flea market on most Sundays during the warmer months from March through November. Bargain hunters can browse antiques, crafts, and retro furnishings along Ravnsborgadde. If you aren't visiting Copenhagen during one of the scheduled flea markets, Ravnsborgadde is also home to some great antique shops.
Splurge: A stylish place to sample cocktails is the Oak Room, a bar in the Norrebro neighborhood. Sip a concoction from the "Oak Room's Most Wanted" list that include local ingredients like rhubarb or sample Oak Room's spin on classics such as the "Slutty Mary," a local take on a Bloody Mary. With 25 cocktails on the list, there is a match for every palate. Cocktails range from 75–100 kroner ($13-$17).
Steal: Sample local beer where it's made at the Norrebro Brew House. Here you can taste beneath the stainless steel tanks where the beer got its life. Up to 10 freshly brewed beers are on the menu every day. Raise your glass with different options such as the Stuykman Wit (inspired by Belgian wheat beers) or the Ceske Bohmer (a Bohemian style Pilsner). Beer tasting menus available for 156 kroner ($26) for 3 glasses or 208 kroner ($35) for 4 glasses.
Splurge: One of the most classic ways to see Copenhagen is from the seat of a boat during a canal tour. Start out in picturesque Nyhavn and continue out into the harbor to see the opera house, the royal yacht, and the famous Little Mermaid statue. Tickets cost 70 kroner ($12) per person for a 60-minute tour.
Steal: Copenhagen has 1,300 free bikes available at over 100 racks throughout the center of the city. These bikes are only available from May through November. Alternatively, many hotels also offer free bike rentals as an enticing amenity.
Insider Tip: More than half of Copenhagen's residents cycle every day. With dedicated bike lanes, this city is one of the safest places in Europe to cycle. Just remember to think of yourself as a "vehicle" and obey all traffic laws the same way you would behind the wheel of a car.
Thinking of a trip to Copenhagen?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, as well as the best planning advice, check out our Copenhagen Travel Guide.
Freelance writer Jessica Colley covers cuisine, culture, the arts, and experiential travel. She is currently based in New York City and called Dublin, Ireland home for several years. You can follow her on Twitter @jessicacolley or check out her "Writer in the Kitchen" series on her blog The Great American Travel Dream.
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