Living the Expat Life in Copenhagen: A Comprehensive Guide to Costs and Conditions

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Learn about the cost of living, entertainment, and housing in Copenhagen to make your expat experience a breeze!

Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is widely recognized for its picturesque canals, vibrant cycling culture, and rich history. The city’s high quality of life and emphasis on sustainability make it an attractive destination for expats from around the world. However, as with any new city, understanding the cost of living and lifestyle is essential for making informed decisions. This in-depth guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of living in Copenhagen as an expat, focusing on housing, food, entertainment, and more.

Housing in Copenhagen

  1. Renting Apartments

Renting an apartment in Copenhagen can be challenging due to high demand and limited availability. The city is divided into several districts, each with its own distinct character and price range. Generally, the closer you get to the city center, the higher the rent.

  • Inner City (Indre By): As the historical heart of Copenhagen, this area boasts beautiful architecture and proximity to major attractions. A one-bedroom apartment costs around DKK 10,000-15,000 per month, while a two-bedroom apartment can range from DKK 15,000-25,000. (Source: Boligportal)
  • Vesterbro: Known for its hipster vibe, Vesterbro is popular among young professionals. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment varies between DKK 9,000-14,000 per month, and a two-bedroom apartment costs around DKK 14,000-20,000. (Source: Boligportal)
  • Østerbro: This upscale residential area is perfect for families. A one-bedroom apartment will set you back DKK 8,000-12,000 per month, while a two-bedroom apartment ranges from DKK 12,000-18,000. (Source: Boligportal)

For more information on renting in Copenhagen, visit the Danish Rental Association, which provides resources and advice for expats.

  1. Utilities and Internet

Utility costs in Copenhagen can be quite high, especially during the winter months. Expect to pay around DKK 1,500-2,500 per month for electricity, heating, and water for a one-bedroom apartment. High-speed internet is widely available and costs about DKK 250-400 per month. (Source: Numbeo)

Cost of Food and Groceries

Grocery shopping in Copenhagen can be relatively expensive compared to other European cities. Here are some average prices for common items:

  • 1 liter of milk: DKK 8-10
  • Loaf of bread: DKK 15-25
  • 12 eggs: DKK 20-30
  • 1 kg of chicken breasts: DKK 60-80
  • 1 kg of apples: DKK 15-25
  • 1 kg of potatoes: DKK 10-15

(Source: Numbeo)

Discount supermarkets like Netto, Fakta, and Lidl offer more affordable options, while Irma and SuperBrugsen cater to a higher-end clientele.

Dining and Entertainment

  1. Restaurants and Cafés

Copenhagen has a thriving food scene, with options ranging from traditional Danish cuisine to international flavors. Here’s a breakdown of the average prices for various types of dining experiences:

  • Budget-friendly meals: You can find smørrebrød, a classic Danish open-faced sandwich, at affordable prices (around DKK 50-70) in cafés and bakeries. Other inexpensive options include shawarma or pizza, costing around DKK 60-100.
  • Mid-range restaurants: A three-course meal for two at a mid-tier restaurant will set you back approximately DKK 500-800.
  • High-end dining: Copenhagen is home to several Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Noma and Geranium. Expect to pay DKK 1,500-2,500 per person for a tasting menu.

Cafés are popular spots to socialize and relax in Copenhagen. A cup of coffee will typically cost you DKK 30-50, while a pastry or sandwich ranges from DKK 40-70.

  1. Entertainment

Copenhagen offers a wide range of entertainment options, catering to various interests and budgets:

  • Cinemas: Movie tickets cost around DKK 90-130, with discounts available for students and children.
  • Theaters and concerts: Depending on the venue and show, tickets for plays, musicals, and concerts can range from DKK 100 to over DKK 1,000.
  • Museums: Many museums in Copenhagen offer free admission or discounted rates for students, seniors, and children. The popular National Museum of Denmark (Nationalmuseet) offers free entry, while a visit to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art costs DKK 175 for adults.
  • Nightlife: Copenhagen has a vibrant nightlife scene, with bars, clubs, and live music venues. Expect to pay around DKK 50-80 for a beer and DKK 70-120 for a cocktail.

For more information on entertainment options in Copenhagen, visit the official tourism website, Visit Copenhagen.


Public transportation in Copenhagen is efficient, clean, and reliable. A monthly pass for unlimited travel on buses, trains, and the metro costs around DKK 780 for adults. Alternatively, you can purchase a 10-trip ticket for DKK 150, or single tickets for DKK 24-48 depending on the number of zones traveled. Cycling is also a popular and cost-effective way to get around the city, with bike rentals available for around DKK 100 per day or DKK 300-600 per month. (Source: Rejsekort, DOT)

Copenhagen is a vibrant, welcoming city that offers expats a high quality of life. However, living in this Scandinavian gem comes with a higher price tag compared to other European cities. Understanding the costs of housing, food, and entertainment will help you plan your move and make the most of your time in Copenhagen. Explore the city’s neighborhoods, indulge in its culinary delights, and embrace the local culture to fully immerse yourself in the Copenhagen experience.