travel is good for the soul

Whether you travel for work, pleasure or are a nomad ticking off one country at a time, you’ll be able to relate when I say travel is one of the best remedies for personal growth. It really opens our eyes and changes how we see the world! When I think back to my first solo trip around four years ago, I can’t help but notice how much I’ve changed and how my mind has absorbed dubious amounts of culture, knowledge, opinions, languages and the all important friendships. It would also be fair to say that my liver has taken quite a beating too…

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Feeling pensive

 

One of my favourite things about travelling is definitely the people that I have met. It is the biggest cliche but also one of the truest. It’s crazy how you can spend three days with someone you’ve just met in hostel and feel closer to them than people you spent years with in high school. I’ve shared things with strangers whilst travelling that I’d never imagine sharing with close friends from home. It’s crazy. And I know for sure that when or if I see these people again, we’ll pick up right where we left off (which was most likely at a bar..).

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Cheese and Wine night with a great friend I made this year

 

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Some of the best humans I’ve ever met. When I worked in a hostel in Bratislava, 2016.

 

Travelling is one of the greatest tools for not just understanding other cultures but appreciating them too. I love seeing how locals live, their traditions and how they go about their daily lives. Fascinating stuff. I think of when I was in Serbia and how whenever you enter someones home or sit and chat with a local, they would always offer a shot of Rakia. A traditional homemade alcoholic drink. Super strong but amazing. I sat for hours on the balcony of my hostel in Belgrade with the owner chatting about life whilst sipping away. Those kinds of moments are why I travel.

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The French Basque Country. 

 

People ask me often if I miss home. The honest answer is not really. Of course, I miss my family and friends but I feel that the world has too much to offer for me to be at home right now. I’ll go home in September to finish my degree, but I already know my free weekends will be spent somewhere other than my hometown. I love Glasgow and the people and it will ALWAYS be my favourite city in the world but it’s definitely not the place that I can see my settling down in.

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Home

 

Travel has different meaning for people and that’s okay. For some it’s two weeks at an all inclusive resort once a year, for others it’s city breaks throughout the year and then there are those who can’t get enough and hop on a plane at a moments notice. There is nothing worse than people who judge other styles of travel. Just because you’re comfortable solo travelling around South East Asia for two months doesn’t mean everyone else should be. Let people take as many or as few photos as they’d like. Just enjoy the travelling that suits you!!

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Surfs Up in Biarritz, France

 

I’m not quite sure what the point of this post is but I had some thoughts that I wanted to share and I hadn’t posted for a looongggg time. Below you can find some of my favourite photos from over the past few months and years:

 

Let me know what travel means to you in the comments!

10/10 would Rennes again!

When I think of northen France (and northern to me is anywhere above Tours), I can’t help but imagine depressing, gloomy towns filled with people with funny accents. This was why I’d never gone north before (besides Paris, which isn’t really the north). I tended to stick to the warmer climate down south, but I recently spent four days over the New Year in the amazing city of Rennes and was pleasantly surprised.

After spending a couple of days back home in Scotland for Christmas, I jumped on a flight to Paris and then caught the TGV with a friend and we headed on-wards to Rennes. The next few days were filled with many whiskys and cokes, a bar with a pet parrot and a quick day trip to Le Mont St-Michel.

I hadn’t know much about Rennes before I’d went but it’s safe to say I’m keen on spending a lot more time there (possibly will head there when I’m finished with studies to teach again..) The town is bustling with young students who are ready to hop into a bar at a moments notice. There is a belief that people in the north of France are unfriendly, which I found to be completely untrue (at least in Rennes). We met so many new people just by chatting over a few (way too many) drinks. It’s crazy how your confidence and language skills improve when you’re un peu bourré. Below are some places I think you should visit if you’re in the area, you can probably tell from my recommendations that I’m prone to a good drink..

 

  1.  Le P’tit Vélo 

This is a great wee pub with friendly staff and decent prices. There’s plenty of seating outside too if you’re keen to smoke a cheeky clope. You’ll find it in the dead centre of town on Place St-Michel. We returned to this bar a few times over the weekend as the atmosphere was perfect for some pre-drinking!

 

2. Rue de la Soif

Rue de la Soif  or ‘Street of thirst’ in English is a stones throw form Le P’tit Vélo and boasts a fine number of bars for you to spend a whole night here. The street is packed with like-minded youngsters looking for a good time. There’s bound to at least one bar to suit your taste and who and who can complain when ‘happy hour’ prices can get you a pint for as little as 3 €. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or a place to drink into the wee hours of the morning, this is the street for you 😉

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Eric – a testament to the friendliness of Rennes 

 

3. Poutinebros

After all that drinking I’m suggesting, Poutinebros is the perfect spot to meet all your hungry needs. As the name suggests, this place serves poutine but they also do some very decent burgers too! Super friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere make this a great place to grab a quick bite before exploring the city again.

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Poutine, version crise cardiaque

 

4. Le Mont St-Michel

Rennes is situated only a short bus ride from one of the most famous monuments in France and the indeed the world. It would be rude not to check out this little village/ island/ abbey / whatever you would like to call it when you’re so close.. The bus was fairly cheap and entrance to the abbey was free for those under 26 and with EU residency.

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The great northern weather

 

Other than what I’ve already mentioned, take the time to walk around the town and take in the incredible architecture!! Also, bring an umbrella as although the unfriendly stereotype of the north may be untrue, the bad weather certainly is not 😉

 

 

The best spots in Budapest for a drink

I spent almost three months in Budapest this summer, so I think it’s safe to say I found some cool spots over the few months I was there. I tended to avoid the more touristy places because not only were the prices cheaper but also the atmosphere much better.

 

1. Telep

Telep was hands down my favourite spot to grab a beer with friends and guests of the hostel where I worked whilst I was in Budapest. It doubled as an art gallery and a cafe so sometimes I’d grab a coffee (or beer) there during the day. The atmosphere feels very homely and the staff are super friendly. Each night there is a different DJ playing a set in the corner of the tiny bar. Often people spilled out into the street, which was why I liked this place so much. The open-air feel was really nice and due to the set-up of the windows it was possible to still here the music. It was only 500HUF for a standard beer which is around € 1.60 and much less than you would pay a stones throw away on Goszdu Udvar. It’s closed on Sundays but at least they are thinking of your hangover and giving you a day off 😉

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Telep: good crowd, cheap drinks and great atmosphere. 

 

 

2. Dürer Kert

If you’re willing head away from the Jewish Quarter and Old Town then you’ll spend a great night at Durer. This venue is home to some cool decor as well as a chilled out courtyard, trolley-bus-turned-seating area (yes) and various concert halls inside. You won’t find many tourists or even non-locals here which is great if you are looking to get away from the crowds and see a more authentic side of the city. There is always a great line-up of music and festivals going on and more often than not, entry will be free. Again, this is somewhere that you can also chill at during the day. Trolley-bus number 74 leaves from various stops in the centre of town and drops you off right outside which is ideal! A beer will set you back a mere 450HUF (€1.50).

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Perfect venue for drinking, eating and listening to live music.

 

3. Kőleves Kert

Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or looking for somewhere to spend at least a few hours then Kőleves is your place. With a relaxing garden out back and a restaurant inside, this place is ideal. You can find hammocks dotted around the garden which are for chilling with a book and a beer during the day. In the evening, the place is brought to life with cool lighting and large crowds creating a great atmosphere. This place is close to the touristy spots so you might find a few like-minded travelers but for sure still has a local feel to it. Again, like most places in Budapest, you are not going to break the bank here.

4. A38

A38 is one of the most unique places I’ve been to. It’s essentially a bar, restaurant and music venue all-in-one but not only that, it’s an old Soviet barge which rests on the banks of the Danube. I was lucky enough to see some great shows here. They always have a great programme going every month both during the day and at night so there is definitely something for everyone. Many people will spend some time on the banks just beside the venue before shows drinking their own beers which is a cool way to start the evening (not sure how fun this would be in winter though). You can get a beer here for a little as 590HUF (€1.90). Many of the shows are free and even if you’re not there for the music, the bar and restaurant are good too.

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A38: A unique experience

 

 

5. ELLÁTÓház

Now I did say that I tended to avoid the touristy spots – which is true for the most part – but we all have our guilty pleasures and ELLÁTÓház was definitely mine. Situated in the courtyard of a party hostel this is a great place to grab drinks until the early hours of the morning. Whether you’re looking for a party, open-mic or just somewhere to enjoy a few beers with friends, this is your place. Different events each night means that there’s never a boring night to be had here. It’s located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and is easily accessible from most parts of the city. You’ll pay a little bit more for your drinks here but it’s to be expected given it’s location.

Shoestring Paris

So, it turns out keeping up with a blog is harder than I thought – especially with all the Uni work I’ve being doing (or should have been doing). Anyway, I’m finally getting round to writing about my few days in Paris as part of my Eurotrip last Summer!

The first thing I always get asked about Paris is how did I ever afford 4 nights in one of Europe’s most expensive cities – especially for backpackers. Well, the truth is that Paris can be expensive, however there are bargains to be sought!

Accommodation

As with most places, accommodation will yet again be your biggest expense but that doesn’t mean spending hundreds of Euros on a room with a view of the Tour Eiffel. Paris is crawling with hostels and with airbnb now at our fingertips, finding affordable accommodation is easier than ever. Now, I won’t lie and say that hostels in Paris are cheap as chips because they’re not but if you’re travelling solo and want to meet like minded traveler’s then staying at a hostel may be your best bet! I traveled solo and stayed at St Christopher’s Inn Canal. For 4 nights I paid around 98€ which doesn’t seem that cheap but remember that Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world and I arrived in peak summer season! The hostel itself was good, nothing spectacular. But the staff were friendly and it was easy enough to meet other backpackers!

Another great option could be to couchsurf which is totally free and you get local knowledge of the place you are visiting!

Also, if there are a group of you airbnb could be your cheapest option – however if you’re looking for a great atmosphere and new friends it might be worth it to pay the extra money to stay in a hostel.

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Chill by the Canal with a beer or 2 at St Christopher’s Inn. 

Food and Drink

It’s no secret that the French capital is home to some of the world’s finest eateries, however I was on a very tight budget seeing as Paris was at the tail end of my trip and so fine dining was not an option!!

The hostel I stayed at offered food starting at around 5/6 euros – there was unfortunately no kitchen in my hostel but many other Parisian hostels do offer a kitchen to keep spending to a minimum. Using airbnb is also a great way to save money on eating out.

It is very possible to eat out and still have money left over for a beer to wash it down. A great place I found was Creperie Genia  – a stone’s throw from the famous Notre Dame. Here you can you get a crepe, a panini and a drink all for 4€!! Paris is filled with cheap Pizzerias and there are street food stands in many places – it won’t be hard to find some form of cheap food.

Bars and Clubs

My absolute favourite place in Paris was Rue de Lappe located in the heart of the trendy Bastille area. This place is the perfect spot for bar hopping and for those wanting a few quiet drinks – the street is packed with loads of great places. Many of the places do “happy hour” specials from around 6.pm until around 10.pm (some places even 11.pm) and you’ll be sure to grab a good few deals during these hours! However, even outside of happy hours the prices are kind to your wallet.

My favourite bar on this street was called Bar des Ferrailleurs mainly due to the rustic feel of the place and the real mix of locals, students and travelers like myself. The staff here are so friendly and very happy to help.

Another cool place on Rue de Lappe is Yellow Mad Monkey. This bar is decorated like a jungle and there’s a really buzzing atmosphere. A pint here cost around 5 euros which is pretty reasonable for Paris.

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The Yellow Mad Monkey – the place is as mad as its name suggests…

If you’re looking for more than a few chilled drinks then head to concrete, a nightclub situated on a barge! This place was pretty casual and was a lot fun. For full details on prices on specific nights and deals then check out their website.

Things to do

Paris has heaps of attractions that will keep you busy for a good while. The obvious places such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and L’Arc de Triomphe are easily accessible by metro. There’s loads and loads of information out there on these places so I’d rather not go into too much detail!

A great way to get a local’s perspective of the city is to take a free (tip-based) walking tour with Discover Walks. All tour guides are from Paris themselves and therefore know the city inside out. There are a number of walks ranging from Montmarte to Notre Dame. These tours are often much better than the over-priced bus tours.

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Notre Dame Free Walking Tour – a great way to see the city 

Another very cool place in Paris that’s likely to get you a ton of “insta likes” is Rue Crémieux – the most colourful street in Paris. This place is not very well known and is a hidden gem not far from Gare de Lyon sation.

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Take a stroll down Paris’ most colourful street 

One last activity is to visit Parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. The park is great for everything from quiet walks to picnics to outdoor cinemas. There are heaps of events here throughout the year and you can check them out on the park’s website.

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An outdoor cinema in Parc de la Villette I went to with some friends I made at my hostel. This is seasonal but there are plenty of other events throughout the year.

There you have it  – Paris on a shoestring!! If you liked this post then please like this post and give my blog a follow for more travel tips and stories!!

Follow me on Instagram @euroboyontour

 

Hamburg on a budget.

So, during my recent trip around Europe, I decided to stop in Hamburg – mainly because it was the cheapest place to travel to from Copenhagen. But, aside from that, Hamburg is a really awesome city that is somewhat different from the rest of Germany. I’m going to try and break down all the things that I think you should see and do in Hamburg – and how to do it on a budget!!

Accommodation

Accommodation can sometimes be your biggest expense, but there are plenty of cheap options in Hamburg. If you’re on a really really small budget – use couchsurfing and live like a local. However, if you’re like me and like to have a very social atmosphere then stay at a hostel. I stayed at Generator hostel, which is literally thirty seconds from the main station. This hostel is cool and has a really nice atmosphere with something for everyone. Generator has some great happy hour deals and drinks are pretty cheap even outside these hours. You can find rooms for as cheap as €15 a night. Don’t book too far in advance though, book around 2 weeks before you’re trip and prices will be a lot lower than say 2 months in advance! The staff are friendly and are always happy to help – what more can you ask for?

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Generator’s social and bar area. Plenty to do for all kinds of travellers.

Food

Fooooood. Everyone’s favourite thing. Now, I was on a tiny budget and couldn’t afford to eat out in nice restaurants – not sure if my flip flop and shorts would’ve been appropriate attire anyways. Not to worry though as Hamburg has plenty of cheap eateries worth checking out! If you decide to stay at Generator there is a HUGE food court across the road in the Hauptbahnhof. There’s everything from Thai to Chinese and of course, German. You can grab a meal for as little as €3. What a steal!!! There’s also a handful of street vendors to get a quick bite.

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Who knew that a train station could offer such fine dining?

Places to drink (and party)

Hamburg is crawling with nightclubs and bars. It’s famous for its nightlife and I now know why. Start your night at the hostel, drinking all the happy hour cocktails you can manage and then head to the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli district for a night you will not forget! Pubs, pubs and more pubs. I can guarantee there will be at least one place hear that you enjoy. Yes, it can at times feel a little seedy but genuinely isn’t. There are sex clubs and prostitutes to be seen but you have to remember prostitution is a legitimate trade in Germany. People won’t make you do anything you don’t want to. A simple “no” will do the trick. Now, you must go to the 99cents bar, where unsurprisingly everything is 99cents, from vodka to beer to shots. Spirits may be a little watered down but it’s cheap, so who cares? The Reeperbahn is the best place in Hamburg for a night out, make your way there and an unforgettable night will be had.

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The famous Reeperbahn in St. Pauli district of Hamburg. Shots. Shots. Shots.

If the Reeperbahn doesn’t seem like your kinda place (although trust me, there is something for everyone) then head to StrandPauli, an awesome beach bar not far from the Reeperbahn but with a much more relaxed atmosphere. Watch the boats dock as you drink an ice cold beer…or two. This place is amazing, really. There are nice beach chairs to chill on and there’s even sand – how cool is that? Go here and you will not be disappointed!

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Hamburg or Hawaii??? Could’ve fooled me.

Things to do and see

Hamburg is bursting with culture and history and this can all be seen by taking a free walking tour. SANDEMANS do amazing free (tip based) walking tours across Europe and I’m glad Hamburg is one of the cities they operate in. There are different tours to choose from such as a Beatles tour and even tours in different languages. I chose to do the standard tour, which was great. I learned and saw so much of the city that you just wouldn’t see on your own. Another great thing is that it picks up from the hostel before the main meeting point at the town hall. If you’re in Hamburg, I highly suggest you do at least one of these tours.

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My group on the walking tour. We’re trying to do some German hand gesture…

I’d also recommend chilling by Alster lake in the centre of the city. It’s really nice on a sunny day and you can even walk around it. Of course it’s free so you’ll be saving some cash too.

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Take a break from all the sightseeing and chill by Alster lake.

One other place I’d definitely check out is HaffenCity. It’s a new development in the city and a real contrast to the traditional and historical parts of town. Nonetheless, a must see.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If so, don’t forget to like this post and follow my blog for more of my travel advice.
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Copenhagen on a budget.

Copenhagen is known for ridiculously high prices and being an expensive city to visit. However, this isn’t entirely true. I recently visited Copenhagen for 3 nights and was surprised at how exaggerated these claims are. This post aims to breakdown how to spend time in Copenhagen on a small backpackers budget!

Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, 9 times out of 10, I would recommend staying in a hostel. And for Copenhagen, I would recommend doing so. Others might say if there’s a group of you, use airbnb or a similar site. However, Copenhagen has so many good hostels and half the things I experienced would never have happened if I didn’t stay in a hostel.

Now, hostels in Copenhagen aren’t cheap, but they are cheaper than hotels! I stayed at Generator Hostel and paid around 250 Kroner (£25) a night for my stay. The hostel was amazing, it had a nice terrace outside to sit and have drinks, and there was cool chill out areas for when you’d had one too many. Be sure to catch happy hour too as you can grab a litre of beer for only 50 kr! I met some of the coolest people at this hostel, some who I know will be friends for life.

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The bar and social area at Generator Hostel. A great spot to meet like-minded travellers!

Drinks and clubbing.

This is always a big question as it can sometimes be your biggest expenditure. However, there are some cheap and really cool bars and clubs in Copenhagen. Gothersgade is a stone’s throw from Generator and is packed with cheap bars and eateries. I would definitely recommend Mini Bar, here you’ll find a beer for as cheap as 30kr some nights and never more than 45kr which is so cheap for Copenhagen. There’s a good atmosphere in this bar and there’s even a PlayStation if you need some time out from drinking!
Right next door to Mini Bar, you’ll find Andy’s Bar, which is really rustic and has a real local feel to it. Drinks are around the same price as Mini Bar and there is a slightly more relaxed atmosphere.

There are no shortage of nightclubs in Copenhagen, so here are a few of my favourites:  

Zen is a little on the pricey side, however, I only stopped here for around 30 mins. The atmosphere is great and it’s free entry, so do what I did and get drunk beforehand and you won’t need to buy a drink inside. Now, when I say expensive I mean 50kr for a beer which isn’t actually that expensive, but after a few the total does add up! The reason I didn’t stay long is because we were meeting friends at another place and had to leave, but I would recommend checking it out.

Hive is known to some as the best night out in Copenhagen. Although I don’t entirely agree, the place is pretty good. The crowd is young, the tunes are good and the alcohol is relatively cheap for CPH. The club has numerous floors and some of the best DJs. There is an entrance fee which can differ from night to night, so do check beforehand.

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Party right through the night at one of CPH’s best clubs.

REMEMBER: It’s LEGAL to smoke inside pubs and clubs in Denmark!

Food in CPH.

Eating out in Copenhagen can be expensive and being a backpacker meant that I decided to get my food from street vendors and bistros serving traditional Danish food.

Rita’s Smørrebrød is somewhere you have to check out. It’s a small deli that sells traditional Danish smørrebrød and it’s delicious! It’s cheap and filling too which is always great when you’re on a budget. I got two slices of smørrebrød and a coke for 40kr – a steal in the Danish capital!! You’ll find Rita’s at Fælledvej 11, 2200 KØBENHAVN.

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Traditional Smørrebrød, it tastes better than it looks!

If smørrebrød doesn’t seem like your thing then go to one of the many, many street vendors. You can easily find a hot dog with hundreds of fillings for 20kr. There are also loads of creperies and kebab places in the city. Bagels also seem to be popular!? Not sure why, but I got a HUGE bagel for like 50kr and I could only eat like 1/4 of it. So yeah, for food go to smaller bistros and street vendors!!

What to do and see

Copenhagen is bursting with attractions. From Tivoli to Christiana, there’s something for everyone. Now, there’s simply too many things to mention so I’ll cut it down to a few of my favourites.

Nyhavn or New Harbour is amazing and if you stay at Generator, you’re a five minute walk from here. It’s full of culture and picturesque buildings and you can even buy a beer for 40kr in most of the bars. Or head to the supermarket and buy beer of your own and sit on the banks!

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Nyhavn on a glorious summer’s day. The hub of CPH in my opinion.

So, if you’re one of those people who can’t get enough of museums, statues and the like then CPH is great for you. Check out Christiansborg Palace which is now the home of the Danish parliament. Once you’ve seen this, head to Rosenborg Castle, again a great piece of architecture where you can even spot some cool changing of the guards ceremonies! I’m sure you’ve all heard of The Little Mermaid statue in CPH but seriously, it’s so underwhelming. The place is swarmed with tourists and you’ve seen every aspect of the statue in 30 seconds…

One of my favourite places in CPH was Christiania, a free town that has its own laws and rules. It’s like a commune filled with really cool art and amazing people. If you’re into weed, here is where you can buy it. A pre-rolled joint will cost you 50kr. This place is packed at night and has some really cool bars. You can take photos of the entrance but inside the community it’s a no-no. Nonetheless, a must see.

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Welcome to Christiana!!

Hej KBH

Hej KBH is an organization that hosts events across the city. I was lucky enough to attend a beach party they held at AmagerStrand Park during my stay. It’s fair to say the beach party made my trip. I went with a few mates from my hostel and had such a good time. Entry is free and alcohol can be bought for 30-40kr per beer. However, I’d recommend buying your own and saving yourself some pennies. The atmosphere was amazing and the locals were so friendly towards us. If you’re in Copenhagen, check out their Facebook page for events they are hosting and if there’s none whilst you’re there, then definitely still check out Amager Beach. I was in Copenhagen during summer so it was really warm but I’ve heard it can get cold, so be sure to take a blanket to keep you warm.

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Beach party hosted by Hej KBH at AmagerStrand Park.

Well, there you have it, Copenhagen on a budget. Follow my blog for more posts and be sure to follow me on social media!

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