In our Go Local Guides, we’ve teamed up with local insiders from popular travel destinations; giving you their money-saving tips on how to get a taste of the places they call home, without breaking the bank.
Copenhagen photojournalist Charlotte de la Fuente shares her favourite spots to experience design on a budget in the streets of her home city.
Copenhagen is synonymous with good design. And though Copenhagen is one of Europe’s more expensive cities, you can enjoy great value Danish design with just a little exploration.
Designing a city for life starts with providing affordable places to keep fit and stay healthy. Typical of this inspired vision of urban living is Konditaget Lüders. The rooftop of this free recreational space at the top of a multi-story car park has a beautiful view of Copenhagen’s harbour front, where there is an up-close view of some of the city’s newest architectural gems. There are spaces for crossfit and TRX training; there’s a 60 metre sprint course, trampolines as well as a climbing wall. If you’re more in the mood to relax you can simply bring a coffee to go from next-door café Aarstiderne, or try their ‘koldskaal’ for 25 DKK (£3.35). The latter is a local summer dish with buttermilk, fresh berries and crisp biscuits, which a true Dane can eat any time of the day.
People come to Copenhagen from all over the world to order bespoke items of all kinds of design – from furniture and hardware to soft furnishings and objets d’art. But if you don’t have the budget of an oligarch or an international chain of boutique hotels, you can still find some cool stuff. Visiting design shop DORA is a sure-fire way to get hold of contemporary Danish design, as well as vintage interior classics at a great price. The owners pride themselves on sourcing amazing items from all over Denmark and Scandinavia. You can get ‘Royal Copenhagen’ plates, which can be super expensive in the big design centres, from only 75 DKK (£10.06).
Danes Specialise in Bread and Pastries. Wulf & Konstali, in super cool neighbourhood Nørrebro, with its sleek pastel blue tiles and minimalistic design, does some of the best. You can get a taste of Danish classics such as ‘the birkes’ and ‘kanel snegl’ for just 18 DKK (£2.41). You can also design your own brunch menu at W&K from a combination of 22 different components, from 135 DKK (£18.10), which is a little more pricey but sure to set you up for the perfect day of Design.
Another amazing urban space you can experience for free while you are in Nørrebro is the Superkillen park. This design award winning urban square comprising over 30,000 square metres of park, with super smooth transitions and surfaces for all sorts of biking, skating and scootering. It is surrounded by amazing urban design and architecture and typifies the access to cutting edge design accessed for free by anyone who cares to visit. Right next to the square you can buy an organic cup of coffee for 20 DKK (£2.68) at Café Heimdalsgade 22. This local favourite sells an impressive collection of vinyl, as well as exhibiting and selling art prints by Copenhagen artists. Keep an eye out on social media – if you are lucky they will have a jazz concert or art opening during your stay.
Just a few years ago Refshaleøen was nothing more than shipyards and old factories. Now the old industrial island has become the favourite spot for young Copenhageners to hang out in the evening sun. From the inner city you can easily get to the island via the harbour bus service, 50 DKK (£6.70) and enjoy a beautiful ride through Copenhagen’s canal - and avoid paying for pricey official canal tours. At Refshaleøen you can find great antiques, design and art books at Storebælt Antik & Moderne from prices as low as 20 DKK (£2.68). Once ready for a beer break move on over to La Banchina. The popular café and restaurant, located on a refurbished boat, has a great selection of beers from 40 DKK (£5.36). This is a great example of Copenhagen’s way of giving old buildings new purposes. End your stay at the island with a visit at Reffen food market where there is great value food to suite any taste. My own personal favourite in the market is Baobab, which serves West African food with great value for money. Try their Gambian dish ‘domodar’ for 79 DKK (£10.59).
Design Museum Denmark, Best place to get your fix of Danish design history. Prepare for your visit by listening to their podcast ‘Danish design podcast’.
Bredgade 68, 1260 København, Denmark
115 DKK (£15.42)
Mikkeller & Friends, Popular microbrewery
35 DKK (£4.69)
Gasoline Grill, the city’s best burgers served in an old gas tank, which has been redesigned into a burger joint.
Landgreven 10, 1300 København, Denmark
100 DKK (£13.41) for a combo meal
City Pass for 24 hours for buses, trains and harbour buses
80 DKK (£10.73)
Restaurants and Bars
Tipping is not required, but appreciated in Copenhagen, particularly in upmarket restaurants.
Our insider city guides - packed with tips from locals in the know.