Did you know that Copenhagen has a one of a kind city layout? In fact, Copenhagen was the first city in the world to use this special layout, the fingerplan. Yes, there is an actual city plan called the finger plan, you can wiki it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_Plan.
Many major cities use some variant of a grid layout, from which the city eventually grows. The advantage of the finger plan is that rather than to grow around a square grid Copenhagen has grown from 5 “highways” which is supported by public transport. This means that transport is much faster and straight forward from the city center to the suburbs.
This also makes it easier to determine where to find cheap housing. The further out the “fingers” the cheaper rent and housing becomes. Keep this in mind as a rule of thumb.
Normally in a capitol you want to stay as close to the city center as possible, transportation to and from work, school and events take a long time. But in Copenhagen the “core” is smaller since a larger part of the residential areas are placed along the fingers. Getting to and from the suburbs is fast and convenient, you don’t need to live in the middle of everything since it’s so easy and fast to get there.
The images below are from google maps, it shows the “fingers”. The yellow are the roads while the green lines are the train tracks. If you an on a tight budget a real possible is to look further away from the city center than you would at first. This is an option many Danes use ourselves, many people live in the suburbs in order to save on rent and cheaper home prices.
The second image is from the DSB train service where you can see all the train stations along the routes. Check www.rejseplanen.dk to see how long it’ll take to get from a specific train station to the city center. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can get back and forth.
Where to live, work and play?
Many people, including myself live outside the city Centre, but we work in the city and often go there to shop, meet up and attend various activities. This also means that the suburbs are mainly residential, don’t expect the same range of opportunities along the “fingers” even if you think it’s somewhat close to Copenhagen. With that being said here is my practical advice.
- If you need to feel the beating heart of the city and be surrounded by people, then find an apartment in the city center and pay the price it costs.
- If you are fine with living in a quieter area and commuting 20 minutes to get to the city center, then give some serious thought about this option.
- If you look for an apartment outside the Copenhagen city center you can actually find decent apartment very close to the train station. You save on rent and get the convenience of mass transit.
Where to look?
Depending on your wallet you can look at either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd tier. You can also look further away which of course becomes cheaper still but i suspect most would find that too far away. The first tier is the city center itself along with the immediate city district such as Nørrebro, Østerbro, Vesterbro, Nordvest etc. The second tier are the suburbs of Copenhagen and the 3rd tier are cities just outside Copenhagen Municipality.
1st Tier – City center
2nd tier – Sydhavn, Valby, Vanløse, Ryparken
3rd tier – Ny Ellebjerg, Friheden, Glostrup, Husum, Herlev, Buddinge, Gentofte, Lyngby
So here are my personal evaluation of the rent levels in the wider Copenhagen area. Red are the most expensive, blue is the cheapest. This is not based on any specific rent levels, it’s just a from cheapest to most expensive, what rent level you can afford varies from person to person.