Copenhagen on a Budget: A Student's Guide

Explore Copenhagen's living costs for students, from budget-friendly dorms and food expenses to transportation and entertainment options, with tips to manage finances effectively.

Copenhagen on a Budget: A Student's Guide
Photo from TripAdvisor

Copenhagen, with its vibrant culture and world-renowned education institutions, is an attractive destination for students from around the globe. In fact, over 94,000 students flock to this scenic city every year, drawn by its high-quality universities and the promise of an enriching international experience. But amidst the allure of Danish pastries and picturesque bike rides lies the reality of Copenhagen’s cost of living—which can be quite high, especially for students managing their finances independently.

In this blog, we'll dive into the nuances of what it costs to live, study, and play in Copenhagen. Whether you're considering a semester abroad or planning to pursue a full degree here, understanding how to navigate your expenses will help you make the most out of your time in this beautiful city. From rent to groceries, transportation to entertainment, we’ll cover all the essentials. Join us as we explore how to thrive financially in Copenhagen as a student!

Cost of Accommodation in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen, students have several housing options, each varying in cost, amenities, and location.

University Dormitories (Kollegium)

These are typically the most budget-friendly choice, with rents ranging from 2,500 to 4,500 DKK per month. Dormitories often come furnished and include utilities and sometimes internet, making them convenient and economical. However, privacy can be limited, and facilities like kitchens and bathrooms may be shared with many students, which might not suit everyone's preferences.

Shared Apartments

Sharing an apartment with roommates is a popular option among students, costing about 3,500 to 6,000 DKK per month for a room. This option can strike a balance between cost and independence, offering a more homelike environment than dorms. The downside is the variability in roommate situations and shared responsibilities for maintenance and bills, which can lead to conflicts if not well-managed.

Private Apartments

For those preferring complete privacy, renting a private apartment is available, though it's the most costly option—ranging from 6,500 to 12,000 DKK per month. The main advantages are privacy and the freedom to set your own rules, but the high cost can be a significant burden for students without substantial financial resources.

Family Homestay

Participating in a homestay can provide an immersive cultural experience and typically includes meals, costing between 3,000 to 5,000 DKK per month. Homestays can offer a supportive family environment and often help with language learning. The cons include less independence and having to adapt to the family’s lifestyle and rules.

Youth Housing

This subsidized option offers lower rents (2,000 to 4,000 DKK per month) and is designed to help young people, including students. The affordability is a huge plus, but these options often have long waiting lists and limited availability.

Cost of Utilities in Copenhagen

The cost of utilities in Copenhagen can vary depending on the size of the living space and the level of consumption, as well as individual usage, the specific area of Copenhagen, and changes in rates by utility providers.

  • Basic Utilities for a Flat: For a standard 85 sqm apartment, the combined cost for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage is around 1,700 DKK per month. If you're living alone in a smaller studio apartment (about 45 sqm), you can expect to pay about 1,050 DKK per month for these services​.
  • Internet: Internet is often considered separate from other utilities. High-speed internet costs vary, but on average, you can expect to pay about 257 DKK per month for a plan with 60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, and cable/ADSL connection.

Cost of Food in Copenhagen

The cost of food for a student in Copenhagen can vary significantly based on lifestyle choices, particularly whether you choose to eat out frequently or cook meals at home. On average, students might expect to spend between 2,000 to 2,500 DKK per month on groceries if mostly cooking at home. This budget can cover a variety of basic food items. For example, the cost of beef can range from 30 to 91 DKK per pound, while everyday items like apples, bananas, and tomatoes cost around 10 to 14 DKK per pound respectively. Eating out, however, will increase your expenses considerably, with a typical meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around 150 DKK and a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant averaging about 500 DKK per person.

If you're aiming to manage your expenses, shopping at local markets and discount supermarkets can be more economical. Also, utilizing student discounts where available and eating at university canteens can help keep costs lower. Planning your meals and buying in bulk can be cost-effective strategies as well.

Cost of Transportation in Copenhagen

For students in Copenhagen, transportation options are varied and affordable, especially with the use of digital transportation passes like the Commuter Card. This card is essential for unlimited travel within specified zones on all public transportation including metro, S-tog (urban train), regional trains, buses, and harbor buses. This can be particularly advantageous for students who live far from their educational institutions or the city center.

A practical option is the CityPass, which offers unlimited travel for 24 hours across all of Copenhagen's public transport for approximately $12. This is cost-effective if you plan on using public transport frequently in a single day, as a single ride typically costs around $4. Additionally, public transportation in Copenhagen is known for being reliable and efficient, with frequent services during rush hours and adequate services during off-peak times.

For those who prefer cycling, Copenhagen is exceptionally bike-friendly, with extensive bike lanes and favorable traffic lights for cyclists. Renting a bike can be an economical and convenient way to get around, with rates around $5 for an hour and cheaper rates for longer periods.

Cost of Leisure and Entertainment in Copenhagen

The cost of leisure and entertainment in Copenhagen can vary widely, offering both high-end and budget-friendly options for students. For a taste of local culture and arts, museums such as the Hirschsprung Museum and the Thorvaldsens Museum offer discounted rates for students, and free admissions on certain days, providing an affordable way to enjoy Danish art and history.

Cinematic experiences in Copenhagen are on the pricier side, with movie tickets averaging around $20 each, which is notably higher than the average of the region​. For those interested in live performances, venues like Huset KBH offer screenings of cult classics like the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" for about 90 DKK, making it an affordable option for a fun night out.

Sports and fitness activities also tend to be more expensive compared to other countries. For instance, renting a tennis court can cost around $32 per hour. However, there are cheaper leisure activities, such as exploring the city by bike, which not only provides a healthy option but is also cost-effective, with bike rentals available for around 100 DKK for up to six hours​.

In addition to these activities, Copenhagen hosts a variety of events and markets throughout the year, such as the Grønt Market where you can engage with local farmers and enjoy fresh produce. This provides a great opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the local culture without spending a lot​.


Copenhagen, a city celebrated for its vibrant culture and esteemed educational institutions, draws over 94,000 students annually who are eager to experience its enriching academic and cultural offerings. Despite its charm and the allure of Danish pastries and scenic bicycle paths, Copenhagen's high cost of living presents a significant challenge, especially for students managing their finances independently. Understanding these facets of living in Copenhagen allows students to not only prepare financially but also to make informed decisions that enhance their study abroad experience while managing costs effectively.

Platforms like Hemavi make your journey easier by providing a secure and straightforward way to find shared accommodation in Copenhagen, cutting down your biggest expense and enhancing your student life in this vibrant city. So, plan your budget, use our tips, and get ready for an exciting and economical student life in Uppsala.