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Anteing Up in Copenhagen

Scott Vogel

Or rather, to be completely truthful, I've just returned this morning from a trip I took there for an upcoming Travel piece. Everyone knows that Europe's expensive -- which may be why I saw a rather startling lack of Americans in Denmark -- but just how out-of-reach is it?

The answer, as usual, depends on your idea of a vacation. I found it almost impossible to locate hotels charging less than about $150 a night (although deals do often crop up on Priceline and Expedia, where it's not unusual to find properties for less than $100, especially when they're not in the center of town).

Food-wise, be prepared for some shocking revelations. I know no one goes to Copenhagen for its plethora of McDonald's, but for comparison's sake, consider this: A Big Mac meal on the Radhuspladsen in the center of town goes for 49.50 kroner. At today's exchange rate, that burger, fries and drink would cost...


A pint of the city's beloved beer, Carlsberg? $9.79.
One small cup of hot tea, to go? $3.40.
Admission at the Dansk Design Center? $10.60.
Tivoli Garden? $18.10.

In short, expect a certain amount of sticker shock wherever you look. But in the end the prices are more shocking than prohibitive (not exactly a ringing endorsement for a European vacation, I admit). As long as you stay away from those Big Mac meals, that is.

Anyone else out there been to Europe of late? How much did you find things cost?

By Scott Vogel |  July 17, 2008; 11:23 AM ET  | Category:  Europe , Scott Vogel
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Next time try Prague -- the beer is $1.90, not $9.70.

Posted by: Tom | July 17, 2008 6:52 PM

Try staying in hostels and buying food in supermarkets. There are also lots of local people who rent out rooms in their homes. You can find them by stopping at the tourist office.

That $3.40 for a cup of tea is not much more than you pay at a lot of coffee houses in the U.S. and Tivoli Gardens looks like a bargain compared to Disney. Event he Dansk Design Center is a lot less expensive than many of the newer D.C. museums, e.g. the Newseum or the Museum of Crime and Punishment, both of which cost 20 bucks.

Yeah, the beer is pricy, but I paid $7.25 for a Bud at Fenway Park last weekend.

I find it hard to be outraged.

Posted by: xenophilia | July 18, 2008 9:09 AM

Sticking with hostels makes accommodations the least of your concerns. It may mean communal living, but I got by paying around $50 a night in Ireland and Austria in early June. Nice, clean places they were, too.

Transportation is where the exchange rate hits your wallet hardest. Our gas price complaints pale in comparison to what Ireland pays per liter. I actually got the best deals on trains on mainland Europe. $300 for five days of unlimited travel between any of three countries. Check into Eurail.

As for beer, stick to the glam-less joints away from the main squares and plazas. More color and they charge much less, about $4-5 a pint. With this hops shortage, we aren't paying much less per pint here in Montana.

Posted by: Alex | July 18, 2008 1:53 PM

Europe is expensive? Shocker. What has happened to this blog??? Lame.

Posted by: Xavier123 | July 18, 2008 3:06 PM

I second the 'bed and breakfast' / eat food from the supermarket option. Last summer my small family found a beautiful room in a great Copenhagen location with kitchenette, private bath, and access to the neighborhood's private garden/playground for 73 Euros per night. bedandbreakfast dot dk is one place to look for listings.. Having the kitchenette went a long way towards saving money - we could make our own breakfasts and lunches, drink cold beer from our mini-fridge, and splurge on attractions.

Posted by: Jennifer Mosher | July 18, 2008 10:00 PM

I disagree with Tom above. We actually just got back from Prague and were shocked at the prices there! Everyone always says how cheap it is... but everything was ridiculously expensive, even compared to the other European cities we went to! I remember one particular evening when I ordered water with my dinner. Of course, I received a bottle of water and imagine my surprise when I looked at the receipt and saw that it cost 10 US dollars!!

Posted by: Emily | July 19, 2008 2:37 PM

We were in Paris recently, and, while it's always expensive there, the least expensive beer we had (a small 25cl beer in a residential area) was, I think, 4 euros (about $6.33). Restaurants were also expensive, but if you stick to pastries/espresso for breakfast and crepes/sandwiches for lunch, you still have money left for dinner.

Last time I was in Paris I was in college, and the exchange rate was much better then. If I was on the same budget this time as I was then, I would have only been able to stay half the time and only have one restaurant meal the whole trip.

Posted by: E | July 21, 2008 9:20 AM

$17.50 for a BLT in London. Yikes.

Posted by: Karen | July 21, 2008 11:29 AM

Been to Romania one month back. Prices are 1/10th of that.


Posted by: Mircea | July 22, 2008 1:33 AM

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