Are you planning on moving or relocating to Copenhagen? Great! Denmark is known for its generally high living standards, rich history, vibrant culture, and friendly locals. Copenhagen is a thriving business hub with great connections to surrounding countries, making it a popular choice for expats in Denmark.
In this short but comprehensive guide, you’ll learn all the basics you need to know before moving to Copenhagen. From finding a home to how to get around the city, we’ll cover how to start your new life in the Danish capital city.
Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know before moving to Copenhagen, including:
Finding a home
Cost of living
Good to know
Please note that this guide is primarily intended for expats who have already undergone the necessary processes to live and work in Denmark. We won’t cover the steps you need to take if you are moving to Denmark for the first time. For more information about this, we recommend you check out our article: “How to move to Denmark: A comprehensive guide.”
Copenhagen is divided into different neighbourhoods, including:
The housing market in Copenhagen can be competitive and expensive — especially in popular neighbourhoods such as Indre By and Vesterbro. You’ll also face different challenges depending on whether you’re looking to rent a place or buy property in Copenhagen.
Renting a place in Copenhagen
Coming by attractive rental apartments in Copenhagen is challenging but possible. It's essential to start your search early and be prepared to pay a significant amount for rent. Many places ask for up to three months’ rent plus a security deposit upfront, so be prepared. It’s also not uncommon to be asked to provide proof of income to secure a lease.
There are a few different ways to go about finding a place to live in Copenhagen:
Do you have the financial resources to purchase a property? In that case, you have many more options to choose from.
Most properties for sale in Copenhagen are listed on popular Danish property websites. Here, you can search for apartments and houses in your preferred neighbourhood, compare prices, and find a house or apartment that fits your dreams and budget.
When buying property in Copenhagen, many buyers consult a buyer’s agent. The agent can help you with various tasks during the process, including overcoming the language barrier, bidding on property on your behalf, and assisting you with legal and mortgage matters.
You can read more about the advantages of hiring a buyer’s agent when purchasing property in Copenhagen here.
Cost of living in Copenhagen
In addition to the rental rates and property prices, everything from food and drinks to transportation tends to cost a lot in Denmark. Copenhagen was recently ranked the 8th most expensive city in Europe.
However, with a median income of around 750,000 DKK (roughly $110,000) per year, the chances are low that you have to turn every penny to make ends meet.
Overall, the cost of living in Copenhagen will depend on your lifestyle and spending habits.
If you don’t want to splurge to have dinner at the world-renowned Copenhagen restaurants, you won’t have to — there are plenty of cheaper alternatives.
There are plenty of ways to get around Copenhagen without spending a fortune on transportation, which we’ll get into next.
Getting around in Copenhagen
Depending on where you’re from, you might be used to needing a car to get around. This isn’t the case in Copenhagen — in fact, it’d likely be less efficient than other modes of transportation.
There are two preferred modes of transportation in Copenhagen: cycling and public transportation.
The most popular way of getting around in Copenhagen is by bike. With its traffic-calmed streets, painted bike lakes, and separated cycle tracks, Copenhagen ranks as the world’s most bike-friendly city, and locals take pride in relying on their bikes to get around the city — come rain, sleet, or snow.
If you don’t already have one, here are a few options for picking up a bike in Copenhagen:
Buy a used bike on dba.dk (the Danish equivalent of eBay). This is likely the cheapest option if you plan to stay in Copenhagen for longer than a few weeks.
You can download the Donkey Republic app and find your nearest bike to rent by the hour.
If cycling isn’t convenient for you (or if you’d like an alternative mode of transportation for rainy days), you’ll be happy to know that Copenhagen’s public transportation system is exceptionally efficient and reliable.
Public transportation in Copenhagen includes the metro, trains, and buses. You can choose from a variety of ticket options:
For buses, you can buy tickets on board (cash only).
For trains, you can buy single-trip tickets and 24-hour tickets at the train stations. Read more on dsb.dk.
24/72-hour City Pass tickets that include transport to Copenhagen from the airport.
Rejsekort – a prepaid, reusable travel card that can be topped up online or at Rejsekort ATMs. While there is an option for short term stays, Rejsekort is aimed primarily at residents of Denmark, as you need to fill out paperwork and provide ID/a Danish CPR number to get one. For more information, see rejsekort.dk.
For residents wanting unlimited travel within a period of minimum 30 days, you can get the DOT Mobilperiodekort app. All you need to do is choose how many zones you need and purchase your travel card in the app.
Finally, we want to leave you with a few resources that can be helpful when you’re moving to Copenhagen.
If you need a temporary Danish phone number, you can buy a SIM card for Lebara in any 7/11 kiosk. When you have a CPR number and a local bank account, you can register with a phone company.
MobilePay is an essential app in Copenhagen, as it allows you to pay in many shops, bars, clubs, taxis, etc. It also lets you transfer money to your friends. (You must be a resident of Denmark to use this app.)
For events, Scandinavia Standard can help you keep up with what’s happening in the city so you don’t miss out on great events and opportunities for getting to know Copenhagen.
Healthcare and emergencies
When you receive a CPR number in Denmark, you’ll receive a yellow health card (sundhedskort) and be allocated a general practitioner (GP — læge). If you need to visit a hospital or specialist, you’ll need a referral from your GP or from out-of-hours medical services.
For out-of-hours medical services in Copenhagen, call 1813.
For accidents, fire, or serious crime, call 112.
For police, call 114.
Settle into your new home in Copenhagen
In this guide, we’ve covered what you need to know when moving to Copenhagen. Once everything is sorted, it’s time to settle into your new life in the Danish capital city.
When buying your first house in Denmark, Bomae is here to help you with every step. Contact us today to learn more about the Danish real estate market and loan options. As a buyer’s agency, we listen to your requirements, advise on ideal locations, and help you find the perfect fit. Contact us today for more information.