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Copenhagen: Keep it cheap with the Copenhagen Card

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Tivoli Gardens
The Copenhagen Card includes entry to Tivoli Gardens. Photo: Paula Funnell

Budget travelers get understandably nervous when visiting Copenhagen. As is the case with many other northern European capitals, prices for food, lodging and shopping can be stunningly steep.

But Cheapos should not steer clear of this city of Danish design, busy bicyclists and curvacious canals. We enjoyed several days in Copenhagen last week on a tight budget, made much easier by the credit card-sized Copenhagen Card (or, as it’s formally written, the “cOPENhagen CARD”), the city’s tourism card. We clutched ours at all times, which allowed us to stroll about town, into museums, and onto trains.

But is the Copenh… er, “cOPENhagen CARD” a good fit for your trip? Read on…

The Copenhagen Card offers admission to museums and attractions, and covers public transportation. Photo © Kim Bjaerre.

The card

The Copenhagen Card makes sense if you plan to keep busy with the city’s (and area’s) museums and attractions. If you’re the type of traveler who wants to hit all the sights, dash through art museums and castles, and climb high towers overlooking town, the card is clearly a good investment. If, however, you’re content to wander the streets and canals, hang out in coffee shops, and watch the tourists bustle by, it may not be worth all those Kroner.

The pass is available in three types: 24-hours (DKK 249 — about $42), 72-hours (DKK 479 — about $82) and 120-hour (DKK 699 — about $120). Prices for children aged 10-15 are significantly lower: DKK 119/239/349.

While the price might initially seem steep, consider what it offers: free access to more than 70 museums and attractions in and around Copenhagen, discounts at restaurants and other activities, and free transportation on the area’s network of buses, trains and the Metro.

When calculating whether or not you should buy a Copenhagen Card, don’t forget to include the savings in transportation costs—or the peace of mind it affords, as you’re free to simply hop on and off buses and trains at will. (Do note that you should always carry the card with you on the city’s transportation, as inspectors do pass frequently and will ask to see your “ticket.”)

Museums and attractions covered

The 70 sights covered by the Copenhagen Card include most of the city’s most famous and visited attractions. They include:

Amalienborg Palace (DKK 65, without pass)
Arken Museum of Modern Art (DKK 95)
Dansk Design Center (DKK 55)
Designmuseum Danmark (DKK 75)
Hans Christian Andersen’s Museum (DKK 85)
Statens Museum for Kunst (DKK 95)
Copenhagen Zoo (DKK 140)
Tivoli Gardens (DKK 95)

…and about 60 more. See the Copenhagen Card’s Web site for a full list of attractions covered by the card.

Out of town, too.

The card offers admission to attractions outside the city’s limits, as well, which is especially attractive for those purchasing a three- or five-day pass. For example, you can take a day to explore the celebrated castles (including Kronborg, famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”) in the Kongernes Nordsjaelland area. And again, don’t forget that transportation is covered by the card!

Purchasing the card

For further information about the card’s benefits and to purchase it online, visit the Copenhagen Card’s Web site. Buying your card before arrival is convenient for those arriving by plane, as the card covers transportation into town from the airport. (If you haven’t bought it ahead of time, you can always purchase it at the service center in Terminal Three of Copenhagen Airport.) Note that there is a postage and handling charge of DKK 25 (about $4) for each card bought online.

You can also buy the card at Central Station (the main train station), at large hotels, and at the Visitor Centre (located across from the entrance to Tivoli Gardens).

Also in our guide

Aside from the admission charges to the city’s top attractions, your hotel bill is going to be a huge part of your trip budget, and accommodation prices can be strikingly high in Copenhagen. Fortunately, our editors have hunted down plenty of one- and two-star central hotels for our Copenhagen hotel guide, many with rates under DKK 650 (about $110 a night).

Flying to Copenhagen

Our trip to Copenhagen was sponsored by airberlin, who flew us to Copenhagen from Dusseldorf. The airline offers short, low-cost flights around Europe and from the United States to Europe. Read more on airberlin.com.

About the author

Tom Meyers

About the author: Tom Meyers created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys. Email Tom. [Find Tom on Google Plus]

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