Affording Copenhagen

Travelers on a budget can still enjoy the Danish capital

Glamorous sailboats fill Copenhagen's canal. (Courtesy of Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door)

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If your rambles whet your appetite for history, the excellent and curiously enjoyable National Museum traces the Danish civilization from its ancient beginnings. English explanations make the prehistoric passage graves, mummified Viking bodies with armor and weapons, the rustic yet mysteriously exquisite 2,000 year old Gunderstrup Cauldron, ancient lur horns that still can be played, and mead drinking horns particularly interesting.

Budget travelers eat well in Europe’s most expensive corner with a few tips. Viktualiehandler (small delis) and bagerier (bakeries), found on nearly every corner, sell tasty pastries such as wienerbrod. (These are what the rest of the world calls a "Danish"). Try the drinkable yogurt, caviar in a squirt tube, creamy Havarti, and dense rugbrod (rye bread) make picnics as memorable as they are inexpensive.

Denmark's famous open face sandwiches cost a fortune in restaurants, but many street corner smorrebrod shops sell them for about $4 each. Drop into one of these often no name, family-run alternatives to Yankee fast food, and get several elegant sandwiches to go. There's no more Danish way to picnic. The tradition calls for three sandwich courses: herring first, then meat, then cheese, washed down with a local beer. "Skal!"

Rick Steves ( writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. E-mail him at, or write to him c/o P.O. Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020.

© 2010 Rick Steves

About Rick Steves
Rick Steves

Rick Steves is a travel writer and television personality. He coordinated with Smithsonian magazine to produce a special travel issue Travels with Rick Steves.

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