I’ve wanted to visit Copenhagen for a long time after learning about the alluring concept of ‘hygge’; the danish word that means something like cosiness of the soul, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary and that soothing sense of home. I began researching the culture of Danes and learnt that they are consistently rated as one of the happiest nations on earth. There are a few reason for this, I’ve read, and lots of it relates to health:
1. They cycle.
2. They eat porridge.
3. They cook, eat and live with love and happiness as their main ingredient (as opposed to a sense of what they ‘should’/‘shouldn’t’ be eating, feelings of guilt, nor a rushed ‘grab and go’ meal culture).
The second thing I learned about Denmark is that it’s expensive, very expensive, and as Copenhagen is the capital, it can certainly pull on the purse strings!
However, I did some research and I’ve rounded up a whole host of freebies and money saving tips in the hope that more people can travel to Copenhagen and enjoy every minute without worrying about money.
1. FREE yoga
I taught classes at Urban House which is a hostel/hotel offering yoga, runs and other fun group activities that are free to guests. Pick your accomodation carefully, I would massively recommend Urban House.
Some studios, like Power Yoga Copenhagen, offer your first class free and others offer a full free week, such as Yo Studios and Soul Fitness. These are really lovely centres but just beware that many classes are in Danish so if your new to yoga you may want to check there’s an English class to attend.
2. FREE Fitness Classes
I took a great reformer pilates class at Powerhouse CPH which is a very swanky studio. I’d never tried this style before and again the class was in Danish so was a little tricky to know exactly what was going on but it was great! I’d definitely recommend it, but be sure to book here as it’s a very popular studio. They offer a whole host of other fitness classes like TRX, power Pilates, yoga based movement classes and more – take your pick!
3. (Almost) Free Walking Tours
In most cities there are now free walking tours which highlight the main centres: places with political importance, historical relevance and perhaps food hubs, meeting places, artistic highlights, etc. I say ‘almost’ free because generally there isn’t a price which is why they advertise as free, however this means the tour guide isn’t paid and instead makes money through the tips given by the participants – you decide how much you’d like to pay.
Also, of course, you can lead your own walking tour, discovering the parts of the city most intriguing to you; perhaps colourful Nyhavn, liberal Cristiania, the grand castles or the botanical gardens. This is my favourite way to explore – completely alone.
4. Food For All
Eating out is pricy as the best of times, I’m all for eating in (so always pick accomodation with a kitchen!), although even the supermarkets and markets can be very steep in this capital city. Trondheim market is a beautiful place to visit and great for speciality goods, however when I went to a stall and was told that 5 medjool dates came to the equivalent on £10, I was out of there.
WeFood is an incredible organisation that takes supermarket goods that will be thrown in the bin, deemed unsuitable to be sold in their store the next day; perhaps due to damaged packaging, incorrect labelling, ‘best before’ date, etc. The profits from these sales then go to charity.
WeFood sell items for a fraction of what you’d find in any other food store in Copenhagen: plums & peaches for 1 kroner (about 10p), big bunches of spring onions and coriander for 3kr (about 30p) and I filled a big paper bag full of sweet potatoes (a few kgs) for 10 (just a pound!). There was rocket, tomatoes, crisps, frozen raspberries, bread, pastries and many other good here to fill your boots! My shop made up the most of my next three main meals (with the addition of just chickpeas & tahini).