If you have seen Copenhagen on one of those international spy movies like James Bond, then you know that it is a beautiful city. What you do not know about the capital of Denmark is that the cost of living in Copenhagen will rid you of a substantial sum. Granted, Copenhagen is not as expensive as other capitals in Europe like Paris, but we’ll get to that later. You will love living in Copenhagen and the experience is worth paying for. The national currency is the Danish Krone but many places accept Euros.
What is the cost of living in Copenhagen? The taxes in Denmark are very high but the services you get for high taxation in Copenhagen include free healthcare, free higher education and a dream city for tourists. You will need at least €1,500 a month to live here.
Copenhagen is widely considered an expensive city and has often received credit in the past for having one of the 30 highest costs of living among cities in the world. You will be glad to know that wages are really good in Copenhagen. The minimum wage is 15-17 Euros an hour. If that is not enough, you also get gracious spans of leave time. On the contrary, the tax rate will feel like you are being strangled. Hopefully, the city’s beauty and sense of adventure will be enough to make you join the huge expat community in Copenhagen.
Monthly Living costs in Copenhagen for a family
The average living costs for a four-person family in Copenhagen is €3303.
Cost of Housing in Copenhagen for a family
The highest contributor to Copenhagen’s high cost of living is the high cost of housing. It is hard enough to find good apartments and when you do find them you have to pay an arm and a leg to inhabit them.
A one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you €1271 a month in charge while one on the outskirts of the city will cost you€ 926 a month. A three-bedroom apartment, which most four-person families prefer, will cost you €2281 every month.
Be prepared to pay at least 3 months’ housing fees in advance for an apartment in Copenhagen. Also, be prepared for small bathrooms. You will hardly find a bathtub in Copenhagen.
School fees in Copenhagen can be steep especially for quality institutions. If you have a young family who has children to go to childcare or kindergarten, you will have to fork over about €423 per child every month. If you decide to take your children to an international school in Copenhagen, it will cost you about €7,000 a year for each child. Lucky are the parents whose children are in university as their degree and masters programs are free.
Food and Groceries for a family
The cost of groceries in Copenhagen is cheap which is a happy surprise for expats curious about the cost of living in Denmark. A 500g loaf of bread will set you back €2.68, a 12 pack of eggs costs €3.08 and a liter of milk €1.19.
A cup of coffee will hurt every time you pay €6 for it. Eating out is not that expensive with a meal at a normal restaurant setting you back €16.07 and a combo meal at McDonalds or equivalent costing €0.04. If you want to eat at an expensive restaurant you will really need to pay up. A three-course meal in Copenhagen costs €80.00.
Fruits in Copenhagen are surprisingly expensive just like meats and fish. Personal care products are also expensive so stock up during sale time.
Partying in Copenhagen is not expensive. Domestic beer is €1.62 and an imported one €2.22. You should expect to spend about €50 Euros on a night out in Copenhagen. Most Copenhagen residents love theatre and a ticket will cost about €13.
Basic utilities like electricity, ventilation, water and garbage services for an 85m2 apartment in Copenhagen will set you back around €190 a month. You will get good Wi-Fi in Copenhagen for €30 a month.
It is also cheap to move around Copenhagen as regular price monthly pass costs €54. More luxurious forms of transport like taxis and personal cars will cost you €1.5 per liter of gas.
You should consider paying €35 a month to a gym for your health since you do not have to pay for health care in Copenhagen. You can get quite lazy if you don’t.
Monthly Living costs in Copenhagen for a Single Person
The average monthly living costs of a single person is between €900 and €1200 in Copenhagen.
Cost of Housing
As a single person in Copenhagen, you have a variety of housing options. You can decide to go for the cheapest option and stay in a dorm room which will cost you about €535 per month. If you live in a one-bedroom near the city you should expect to pay no less than €1250 per month. One-bedroom apartments outside the city center are cheaper and will set you back at least €900 per month. Unless you are in the high-income bracket, it would be ill-advised to buy a house no matter how good a mortgage deal you can find.
Transport around the city of Copenhagen is also significantly cheap for a single person especially if you decide to use public transport. A monthly pass for the metro, bus or train will cost only €63. Public transport in Denmark is quick and efficient.
More expensive avenues of transport such as taxis will cost you significantly more if you can afford it. It is a better option to buy a car which you can drive anywhere. A car in Copenhagen costs an average of €30,000. Maintenance and fuel will cost you an average of €500 a month.
Copenhagen deserves credit as a great city for cycling and a substantial degree of single persons ride bicycles around the city. You can hire a bicycle for about €5 a day in many places around the city. However, after an initial purchase of a bike for as low €67, you will no longer have any transportation fees.
Utilities as a single person should not exceed €200 a month unless you are involved in energy-consuming projects such as crypto-mining.
Food and Groceries
Statistics show that single persons eat out a lot more often than people with families. Since eating out is expensive, especially in Copenhagen, a single person will spend more than €2,000 a month if they always eat out.
You can buy your own groceries and cook which will lower your monthly food expenses to between €300 and €400 a month. If you are single, buying groceries at discount stores will save you much money.
Fruit and vegetables are the most expensive foods in Copenhagen. Single people should shop at farmer’s markets or discount stores for their fruits and vegetables.
Entertainment as a single person in Copenhagen will involve a good internet connection and nights out during the weekend. A good Wi-Fi connection is about €30 per month for a single person. You should have plenty of entertainment during the weekdays. During the weekends, expect to spend at least €60 on a night out so a single person should set aside at least €250 a month for entertainment. How much you spend on entertainment will depend on what you enjoy and how often you go out. Gym membership in Copenhagen costs around €35 a month.
Monthly Living costs in Copenhagen for Students and International Students
The living costs in Copenhagen as a student is between €900 and €1200 a month.
Higher education in Denmark is free for Bachelors and Masters degree programs which significantly lowers the cost of living in Denmark for all students. However, the university is free for only permanent and temporary residents of Denmark, the EU, and EEA. You will also study for free if you are an international exchange student.
If you do not meet the above qualifications meaning you are an international student, you will be required to fork over between €6,000 per academic year for the cheapest courses and €35,000 per academic year for highly specialized courses. Most students work and study at the same time.
Housing for International students
An assessment of students in Copenhagen revealed that housing on average amounts to 36% of their total expenses. Student rent in Copenhagen is expensive compared to the rest of Denmark and can rise as high as €800 a month. Students should start looking for houses on the city’s outskirts months before they move in for cheaper deals.
The most common forms of housing arrangements for students in Copenhagen include living alone which will cost you around €450 a month. Living with a spouse or a partner will costs around €500 a month while living in the school’s halls of residence will cost around €250 to €300 a month.
Food and Groceries
The average monthly food expenses for a student in Copenhagen is between €200 and €270 a month. Eating out in the city will cost you around €30 a meal.
Most students save money by buying groceries at discount stores in Copenhagen such as Bilka, Aldi, and Netto. Buying groceries and cooking is usually a cheaper option in the long run since monthly utilities in Copenhagen are around €190 a month.
Eating at school is also a good idea for students since the Danish government usually sells gives huge food subsidies to the universities. You can find a meal at the university for as low as €2.
Public transport for students
You will not many students in Copenhagen forking over €31,735 for a brand new Volkswagen Golf. The city is very well designed for cycling and a majority of students take advantage of that.
50% of university students in Denmark cycle to school while 30% use public transport. Students can buy the regular price monthly pass for €54. The pass can either be for the metro, bus or train.
As a student, you will love the nightlife of Copenhagen. The techno/electronic music scene in the city is really thriving. On the contrary, if you like a more laidback night out on the town you can try the many pubs in the city. Domestic beer in Copenhagen costs €1.62 while an imported beer costs €2.22. Therefore, don’t carry less than €50 if you plan to spend a night out in Copenhagen.
Average Monthly Costs of Living in Copenhagen – Apartments
Living in Indre By
Indre By is largely considered the historic center of Copenhagen. It is home to traditional city squares and intriguing museums. You will also hear Indre By being referred to as Copenhagen’s inner city. The cobblestone streets are always bustling with activity and the squares with tourists.
Moreover, the area includes two palaces one of which is the Royal residence, Amalienborg Castle and the other, Christiansborg Palace. You can see royalty every day if you live here.
Indre By has the cheapest bars in Copenhagen and restaurants that offer some of the best traditional Danish cuisines. You will find hostels, dorm rooms, and apartments for hire in Indre By priced as follows:
Living in Nørrebro
If you were to describe the neighborhood of Nørrebro, it would be fun and flavorful. Definitely, one of the better places to live in Copenhagen. Despite the area being lively and youthful, there are great housing deals to be found very rare in Copenhagen.
The population in Nørrebro is quite diversified and you will find that the people are well connected and part of a large community. The food you find here will be Danish, cheap and full of flavor.
You can shop at one of the vintage shops in the area for clothes or at the trendy Nørrebrogade.
The rental rates in Nørrebro are as follows:
Living in Vesterbro
Vesterbro is probably the coolest neighborhood in Copenhagen especially for an expat moving to Denmark. The restaurant, music spots, and underground clubs all contribute to the neighborhood’s hip personality.
It is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Copenhagen mainly because it is the most popular nightlife spot in the city. Vesterbro is home to Copenhagen’s red-light district which gives you an idea of the area.
There are great bars and nightclubs with incredible offers and parties all year round. You can expect to find world-class DJs playing at some of the clubs on most weekends.
The accommodation in Vesterbro is clean and affordable. Hostels, hotels, and apartments are all ideally located and you don’t have to go far for anything especially a drink.
The rental rates you will pay in Vesterbro is as follows:
The monthly cost for an internet (broadband) connection
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Denmark do not have great deals for expats. They are mostly concerned about local customers. To that end, the ISPs require their customers to have CPR (Danish personal identification number) before they can purchase a monthly internet subscription.
Before choosing an ISP in Denmark, especially if you want mobile broadband, you should evaluate the providers’ internet coverage maps, speeds, prices, and terms & conditions. Only then should you make the decision to buy one.
(Min price: €14.60)
(Telia/Telenor incl. 4G)
(Telia/Telenor incl. 4G)
(Min price: €36.16)
(TDC incl. 4G)
(Min price: €17.28)
The monthly cost for a mobile phone provider
The four main network providers in Denmark are Telia, TDC, 3 (known as Hi3G or Hutchison 3) and Telenor. All other mobile service providers either ‘piggyback’ on the services of the four networks or are owned by them.
You need to decide whether you want a prepaid SIM or a contract before deciding on a mobile phone provider. The disadvantage of using a prepaid SIM card is that you cannot use it outside the country.
If you are to sign a phone service contract, a CPR number and a physical Danish address are mandatory.
|Telia||30 GB||6 month||26.65|
|TDC||50 GB||6 months||33.35|
|3 (Hi3G)||6 GB||6 months||7.60|
|Telenor||8 GB||6 months||13.26|
The monthly cost for health care
Denmark has an excellent healthcare system that offers access to medical services and facilities equally to every Danish citizen. The health services in Denmark are run by the cities’ municipalities while hospitals are regionally managed.
All you need to access medical services in Copenhagen is a CPR and the yellow national health insurance card which you need to carry every time you go to the doctors.
The public health service does not completely cover dental care so you will have to get separate dental insurance. The partial payment by the government is about 40% while you pay 60% for dental service.
The amount you pay monthly for private health services depends on your health risk factor. If you have a higher risk factor, for example, you are obese or work a dangerous job, you pay higher than a fit person or one working an office job.
The monthly cost for groceries (list of 10 main products with prices)
Food and groceries in Copenhagen are more expensive than in most cities around the world. Denmark is a small and cold country so they import a lot of food, one reason why food is so expensive.
Most food prices fluctuate according to monthly inflation but the prices quoted below are as of July 2019. The average prices of groceries in Copenhagen are as follows:
|500g loaf of bread||2.81|
|1 liter of milk||1.19|
|12 pack of eggs||3.15|
|1 kg of local cheese||10.50|
|1 kg beef||11.21|
|1 kg onions||1.31|
|Water 1.5L bottle||1.12|
|1 kg of potatoes||1.65|
|1 kg of apples||2.56|
|1 kg rice||1.86|
The monthly cost for eating out
Eating out in Copenhagen and the entertainment activities that follow it are incredibly expensive. You will be hard-pressed to find higher prices for fancy meals and tickets than those you will find in Copenhagen. Outings to nightclubs and concerts are especially expensive. The current prices of some of the activities are as follows:
|Meal at a cheap restaurant||16|
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant||80|
|Combo meal at a fast-food restaurant like |
McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
|Dinner for two at a neighborhood pub||50|
|Basic ticket to the cinema international release||13.50|
|Premium ticket to the cinema international release||114|
|A cocktail drink at a club downtown||13|
|Monthly gym membership in CBD||35|
The monthly cost of public transport
There is public transport in Copenhagen 24 hours a day, every day. The quickest mode of public transport is the train. The main train station in Copenhagen is Copenhagen Central station where you can buy tickets for the trip or the month.
You can also use buses or the driverless metro as public transportation in Copenhagen. The metro has trains running every 5 minutes during rush hour and every 20 minutes during the rest of the day. Buses are also a quick way to travel around Copenhagen.
Copenhagen’s public transport system runs on the same ticketing system. There is a blanket cost for a monthly public transportation pass. The regular price for the pass is €54 per month. You can pay less if you pay for the whole year. A taxi in Copenhagen will charge you €2 so depending on how far you travel you can spend €100 a day and up to €3,000 a month.
Living costs in Copenhagen compared to London
London is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. The overall cost of living in London is 15% higher than the living costs in Copenhagen.
Food is one of the few things that are more expensive in Copenhagen than they are in London. The price of almost all groceries is cheaper in London than in Copenhagen. Even eating out is dearer in Copenhagen than in London. Only beer and wine are cheaper in Copenhagen than in London.
The largest difference in the cost of living in London and that of living in Copenhagen is caused by housing. Housing on average is 18% cheaper in Copenhagen than in London. Utilities and rent all cost more in London than in Copenhagen. Mortgage interest rates in London are almost double those in Copenhagen.
Transport in Copenhagen is 38% cheaper than transport in London. A monthly public transport pass in London will cost you about three times what it costs in Copenhagen. A liter of gasoline costs about the same but car prices in London are lower than those of Copenhagen.
Childcare in London is twice as expensive as childcare in Copenhagen especially when it comes to school fees.
Moving to Copenhagen – Things worth knowing
Living costs in Copenhagen vs Amsterdam
The difference in the cost of living between Copenhagen and Denmark is only about 4%. However, there are significant price differences in certain elements of the cost of living.
For starters, food and groceries in Amsterdam are 20% cheaper than food and groceries in Copenhagen. Buying food is dearer in Copenhagen than in Amsterdam including eating out except for a few foods like potatoes and tomatoes.
Housing in Amsterdam is also 6% cheaper than housing in Copenhagen. The monthly rental rates in Copenhagen and Amsterdam are almost equal so the slight difference in housing costs is caused by utilities. The prices of all utilities except internet are cheaper in Amsterdam than in Copenhagen.
Transport costs in Copenhagen are 20% cheaper than those in Amsterdam. Buying a vehicle in Copenhagen is more expensive than buying one in Amsterdam. On the contrary, the price of gasoline, monthly public transport tickets, and taxi fares are all more expensive in Amsterdam than in Copenhagen.
Entertainment in Amsterdam costs 9% cheaper than entertainment in Copenhagen. You will pay for more to eat out, go to the theatre, to see a movie, for alcoholic drinks and for Wi-Fi in Copenhagen than you will in Amsterdam.
Living costs in Copenhagen vs New York
If you live in New York City you better be prepared to pay for it and a comparison between the cost of living in New York and that of living in Copenhagen proves just that. The difference in the cost of living between Copenhagen and New York is 20%.
The prices of food in the American financial capital and the Danish capital are about the same with only a 3% difference. Eating out in New York is cheaper than in Copenhagen due to the numerous fast food options in the former. Groceries are priced almost equally with minuscule differences between them.
The difference in the cost of living between the two cities is mainly caused by New York’s high real estate rates. Rent for the same sized property is about 40% more expensive in New York than it is in Copenhagen. Utilities are also more expensive in New York than in Copenhagen.
Transportation in Copenhagen is 14% cheaper than transportation in New York. Despite the price of vehicles being 71% higher on average in New York and a liter of gasoline being half that of Copenhagen, transport remains cheaper in the latter. The high price of public transportation is what causes the difference.
Living costs in Copenhagen vs Paris
The overall difference in the cost of living in the two capitals is only 5% with Copenhagen being the cheaper city. The comparison of the cost of living in Paris and that of Copenhagen shows just how an expensive city Copenhagen is
Astoundingly, food in Paris is 11% cheaper than food in Copenhagen. The price of eating out at a standard restaurant, at McDonald’s or a three-course meal at a fancy restaurant is more expensive in Copenhagen than in Paris. The prices of groceries differ with certain groceries being dearer in one city the other with the opposite being true for other groceries.
Housing in Paris is only 7% more expensive than housing in Copenhagen. Monthly rental rates and property prices are especially high in Paris. On the contrary, utilities are cheaper in Paris than in Copenhagen including the internet. You will pay more for cleaning services in Copenhagen than in Paris.
Clothing and personal care all more expensive in Copenhagen than they are in Paris. You have to pay more for medicine, private doctors and grooming services in Copenhagen than in Paris.
The difference in the costs of transport and entertainment between the two cities is 2% and 12% respectively.
Living costs in Copenhagen vs Stockholm
The overall living costs in Copenhagen is 14% higher than the cost of living in Stockholm.
Food is especially expensive in Copenhagen as compared to Stockholm with a 30% difference. The price of eating out and the price of groceries in Stockholm are lower than in Copenhagen. Even eating the same McMeal at McDonald’s costs more in Copenhagen than in Stockholm.
Housing in Copenhagen is only 6% more expensive than housing in Stockholm. The rental prices are almost equivalent to the difference in housing costs significantly affected by the high cost of utilities in Copenhagen.
Transportation is 3% higher in Stockholm than in Copenhagen with the difference coming manly from expensive public transportation in Stockholm. It is also substantially cheaper to buy the same vehicle in Stockholm than in Copenhagen hence more people use private transportation.
Personal care is 43% more expensive in Copenhagen than in Denmark. The largest difference comes at the price of private doctors in Copenhagen which is almost 4 times the price in Stockholm.
It is 18% more expensive to entertain yourself in Copenhagen than in Stockholm. The price of eating at restaurants is higher and so are the prices of tickets to local events.
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About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.