For those of you who don't already have Copenhagen ranked highly on your to-dos, I strongly urge you to reconsider.
With a population that places high importance on a good party and streets that buzz into the wee hours (even on a school night) the Danish capital has certainly earned its stripes as the "coolest kid on the Nordic block."
If the cocktail culture and promise of long-limbed Scandinavians pedaling chic bicycles through cobblestoned streets isn't enough to lure you in - (seriously, how could it not be?) - perhaps the iconic cuisine and picturesque canals lined with pastel-hued townhouses might do the trick.
True to form as one of the finer things in life, Copenhagen can be rather costly. However, like most worthwhile feats, where there is a will (and as it happened in my case, a very low bank balance - thank you, London) there is a wallet-friendly way.
Below is the not-so-secret system that allowed me to survive and thrive during my three-day venture. If you can master these you might just manage to come back with more in your pockets than low value donut-shaped coins (as lovely as they are)...
1. Choose your accommodation wisely
Location, location - you know the drill. Do the research, read the forums and shop around; the right place to rest your head can save you loads in transport costs alone. I was recommended the gem that is Copenhagen Downtown Hostel and couldn't have been happier. As the name might suggest, the hostel is situated in the heart of Copenhagen with the likes of Nyhavn and Paper Island within comfortable walking (or cycling) distance. An easy one-leg Metro journey from the airport, they also offer free dinner from 6:30pm and free walking tours (see point 3) that leave from the lobby daily.
2. Get comfortable with Carlsberg
No doubt this would be more of a pleasure than forced adjustment for most, but for anyone like me who hasn't quite acquired the taste for a bottom-fermented lager (yes, I had to look that up) now is the time. Born and brewed in Denmark, the Carlsberg Headquarters stand proudly in Copenhagen and you'll earn some serious brownie points with the locals (not to mention, save some serious Krones) if you walk around with one in hand - which, by the way, you can legally do for as little as 20DKK (approx 2GBP) a pop. Make it rain, you say?
3. Invest in decent footwear
Because you can essentially walk or cycle everywhere in this impossibly quaint city (especially if you follow point 1) and let's face it, would rather spend cab fare on Carlsberg (see above). Not to mention, walking is the best way to orientate yourself with an otherwise unfamiliar area. I spent my first morning on a Copenhagen Free Walking Tour and would highly recommend it. The Grand Tour leaves every day from the City Town Hall steps at 11am and 3pm but there are various routes to choose from. One of which takes you through the self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood or, as they call it, 'Green Light District' Christiania, which is definitely worth a wander in itself provided you keep the camera away... seriously.
4. Make the most of mealtime
This may seem like an obvious one but finance-friendly food can go a very long way. Fortunately, the Danish are big on their rye bread ("Rugbrød") and it is both available and affordable for wholesome and hearty sandwiches (or to toast and smear with jam and butter, if so preferred) from the many bakeries and corner stores. For a cultural Copenhagen bite, a Ristet Hotdog with the lot from any street food van will set you back as little as 25DKK (approx 2.5GBP) and most likely make your day. To treat yourself (because, let's be honest, after all of that walking and beer-drinking you deserve it) a double-scoop waffle cone from Rajissimo is well worth the line you'll have to wait in to get it AND both of the donut-shaped coins it costs... trust me.
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