Bargaining is not an accepted practice. You are expected to pay advertised rates.
Dangers & Annoyances
Denmark is a very safe country and travelling here presents no unusual dangers. Travellers should nevertheless be careful with their belongings, particularly in busy places such as Copenhagen's central station.
In cities, you'll need to quickly become accustomed to the busy bike lanes that run beside roads (between the vehicle lanes and the pedestrian pavements). These cycle lanes (and fast-moving cyclists) are easy to wander into accidentally.
- Discount cards Seniors and students qualify for discounts on some transport fares and most museum entry fees, but you'll need to show proof of student status or age.
Denmark uses the two-pin continental plug like most other European countries – it has two round pins and operates on 230V (volts) and 50Hz (cycles) AC.
Embassies & Consulates
Emergency & Important Numbers
There are no area codes in Denmark.
|Denmark country code||45|
|International access code||00|
|Emergency (police, fire, ambulance)||112|
|Directory assistance (local)||118|
|Directory assistance (international)||113|
For police, fire and ambulance services in Denmark, dial 112.
Entry & Exit Formalities
- Denmark is part of the Schengen agreement, which eliminated border passport control between Schengen countries in Europe. (Note, however, that Sweden reintroduced passport checks in 2016 in the wake of the refugee crisis.) You must still have your passport with you, however, when travelling in Schengen countries, as a form of identification.
- There is passport control when entering Denmark from a country outside the Schengen area, and some nationalities need a visa to enter Denmark.
- If you’re arriving by ferry, particularly from a neighbouring country, passports are not usually checked.
Details are outlined on the website www.skat.dk.
- Coming from outside the EU, you can bring into Denmark 200 cigarettes and 1L of spirits or 4L of wine or 16L of beer.
- Coming from an EU country, you are allowed to bring in 800 cigarettes and 10L of spirits or 90L of wine or 110L of beer.
- For entry into the Schengen area, you must have a passport valid for three months beyond your proposed departure date.
Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days. Not required for members of EU or Schengen countries.
- No entry visa is needed by citizens of EU and Nordic countries.
- Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand need a valid passport to enter Denmark, but they don’t need a visa for tourist stays of less than 90 days.
- Citizens of many African, South American, Asian and former Soviet bloc countries do require a visa. The Danish Immigration Service publishes a list of countries whose citizens require a visa at its website at www.newtodenmark.dk.
- If you’re in the country and have questions on visa extensions or visas in general, contact the Danish Immigration Service (see details on www.newtodenmark.dk).
- Road Rules If you’ll be driving or cycling, brush up on the rules of the road. Cyclists often have the right of way, and for drivers it’s particularly important to check cycle lanes before turning right.
- Punctuality Trains and tours run on time and aren’t a minute late. Danes operate similarly in social situations.
- Queuing When you go to a Danish bakery, pharmacy or tourist office – just about any place there can be a queue – there’s invariably a machine dispensing numbered tickets. Grab a ticket as you enter.
- Toasts As you raise your glass and say ‘skål’ (cheers!), make eye contact with everyone.
Gay & Lesbian Travellers
- Given Denmark’s high degree of tolerance for alternative lifestyles of all sorts, it’s hardly surprising that Denmark is a popular destination for gay and lesbian travellers.
- Copenhagen in particular has an active, open gay community with a healthy number of venues, but you’ll find gay and lesbian venues in other cities as well (as well as mainstream venues that are welcoming to all).
- For general info, contact Landsforeningen for Bøsser, Lesbiske, Biseksuelle og Transpersoner (www.lgbt.dk), the Danish national association for the LGBTQ community.
- A useful website for travellers with visitor information and listings is www.rainbowbusinessdenmark.dk. Also see www.oaonline.dk.
- The main gay and lesbian festival of the year is Copenhagen Pride (www.copenhagenpride.dk), a week-long queer fest that takes place in August. There’s also the LGBTQ film festival Mix Copenhagen (www.mixcopenhagen.dk), held each October.
- Although Denmark is a very safe place to travel, theft does occasionally happen, and illness and accidents are always a possibility. A travel insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is strongly recommended.
- Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Checking insurance quotes…
- With the proliferation of wi-fi, and most locals and travellers carrying tablets and/or smartphones, the old-fashioned internet cafe is a dying breed in Denmark. There may be a couple catering to gamers and laptop-less travellers in the major cities, but public libraries are your best bet in mid-sized and small towns for free use of computers with internet access.
- Libraries also have free wi-fi (you will generally need a code), as do many cafes and bars, and trains and buses. Wi-fi is ubiquitous in hotels and hostels and is usually free. Some hostels and hotels will offer a computer for guests to use, free or for a small charge.
- Authorities are strict about drink driving, and even a couple of drinks can put you over the legal limit of 0.05% blood-alcohol level. Drivers detected under the influence of alcohol are liable to receive stiff penalties and a possible prison sentence.
- Always treat drugs with a great deal of caution. In Denmark all forms of cannabis are officially illegal.
- Newspapers & Magazines Jyllands-Posten, Politiken and Berlingske are the leading Danish-language newspapers. Danish news in English is available in the CPH Post (www.cphpost.dk), published in print every two to three weeks (website updated daily); and online at The Local (www.thelocal.dk).
- TV Danish TV broadcasts local and international programs, with English-language programs usually presented in English with Danish subtitles. International cable channels such as CNN and BBC World are available in many hotels.
ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
- Hotel and restaurant bills and taxi fares include service charges in the quoted prices.
- Further tipping is unnecessary, although rounding up the bill is not uncommon when service has been especially good.
- Most banks in Denmark have 24-hour ATMs that give cash advances on Visa and MasterCard credit cards as well as Cirrus and Plus bank cards.
- Typically, you’ll get a good rate when withdrawing money directly from a Danish ATM, but keep in mind that your home bank may charge you a fee for international transactions or for using another bank’s ATM – check before you leave.
- A few banks, especially in Copenhagen, have 24-hour cash machines that change major foreign currencies into Danish kroner.
- Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Denmark (American Express and Diners Club less so).
- In many places (hotels, petrol stations, restaurants, shops) a surcharge may be imposed on foreign cards (up to 3.75%). If there is a surcharge, it must be advertised (eg on the menu, at reception).
- Although Denmark is an EU member nation, Denmark’s citizens rejected adopting the euro in a referendum in 2000.
- Denmark’s currency, the krone, is most often written with the symbol DKK in international money markets, and kr within Denmark.
- One krone is divided into 100 øre. There are 50 øre, 1kr, 2kr, 5kr, 10kr and 20kr coins. Notes come in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 kroner.
Opening hours vary throughout the year, especially for sights and activities.
Banks 10am–4pm Monday to Friday
Bars & Clubs 4pm–midnight, to 2am or later Friday and Saturday (on weekends clubs may open until 5am)
Cafes 8am–5pm or midnight
Restaurants noon–10pm (maybe earlier on weekends for brunch)
Shops 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, to 4pm Saturday, some larger stores may open Sunday
Supermarkets 8am–9pm (many with in-store bakeries opening around 7am)
Family-friendly attractions (museums, zoos, funparks) in holiday hotspots will generally open from June to August (possibly May to September), and for the spring and autumn school holidays.
The Danish summer vacation, which generally runs from the final week of June through the first week of August, is a six-week period when opening hours of attractions are longest. Hours generally decrease in the shoulder and low seasons.
Websites are the best place to find comprehensive, current information on opening times.
- The Danish postal service (www.postnord.dk) is reliable and efficient, and rates are comparable to other western European countries.
- There are fewer post offices these days – many have moved to counters within large supermarkets.
- Full list of rates, branches and opening hours are available online.
Many Danes take their main work holiday during the first three weeks of July, but there are numerous other holidays as well.
Banks and most businesses close on public holidays and transport schedules are usually reduced.
New Year’s Day (Nytårsdag) 1 January
Maundy Thursday (Skærtorsdag) Thursday before Easter
Good Friday (Langfredag) Friday before Easter
Easter Day (Påskedag) Sunday in March or April
Easter Monday (2. påskedag) Day after Easter
Great Prayer Day (Store Bededag) Fourth Friday after Easter
Ascension Day (Kristi Himmelfartsdag) Sixth Thursday after Easter
Whitsunday (Pinsedag) Seventh Sunday after Easter
Whitmonday (2. pinsedag) Seventh Monday after Easter
Constitution Day (Grundlovsdag) 5 June
Christmas Eve (Juleaften) 24 December (from noon)
Christmas Day (Juledag) 25 December
Boxing Day (2. juledag) 26 December
New Year's Eve (Nytårsaften) 31 December (from noon)
In addition to the public holidays noted above, schools generally close as follows:
Winter holidays A week in February (week seven or eight)
Spring holidays A week around Easter time
Summer holidays Approximately seven weeks, from the last Saturday in June to around 10 August
Autumn holidays A week in mid-October (week 42)
Christmas and New Year Two weeks
- Smoking Danes are surprisingly heavy smokers, but smoking in restaurants, bars and clubs is banned (it is also banned on train platforms). Some hospitality venues have separate smoking rooms. Hotels determine their own smoking rules but most are nonsmoking.
Taxes & Refunds
- The value-added tax (VAT; called MOMS in Danish) on all goods and services in Denmark is 25%.
- Citizens from countries outside the EU can claim a VAT refund on goods as they leave the EU (as long as they spend a minimum of 300kr per shop, and the shop participates in one of the refund schemes).
- Get the shop to fill in a refund form, then present it, together with your passport, receipts and purchases, at the airport upon departure.
Mobile coverage is widespread. Non-EU residents should bring a GSM-compatible phone; local SIM cards are available.
- As of June 2017, the EU has ended roaming surcharges for people who travel periodically within the EU. EU residents can use mobile devices when travelling in the EU, paying the same prices as at home.
- For non-EU folk, the cheapest and most practical way to make calls at local rates is to purchase a European SIM card and pop it into your own mobile phone (tip: bring an old phone from home for that purpose). Before leaving home, make sure that your phone isn't blocked from doing this by your home network.
- If you're coming from outside Europe, also check that your phone will work in Europe's GSM 900/1800 network (US phones work on a different frequency).
- You can buy a prepaid Danish SIM card at supermarkets, kiosks and petrol stations throughout the country. Top-up credit is available from the same outlets.
- The main Danish mobile service providers now work primarily with contract customers. For prepaid SIM-card packages, look for those from Lycamobile (www.lycamobile.dk) and Lebara (www.lebara.dk). Lycamobile is best – SIM cards can be obtained for free (see the website) and you can top up online.
- All telephone numbers in Denmark have eight digits; there are no area codes. This means that all eight digits must be dialled, even when making calls in the same city.
- For local directory assistance dial 118. For overseas enquiries, including for rates and reverse charge (collect) calls, dial 113.
- The country code for Denmark is 45. To call Denmark from another country, dial the international access code for the country you’re in followed by 45 and the local eight-digit number.
- The international access code in Denmark is 00. To make direct international calls from Denmark, dial 00 followed by the country code for the country you’re calling, the area code, then the local number.
- Public phones are elusive in Denmark. There may be a payphone outside the local train or bus station and some bigger attractions, but few others.
- You pay by the minute. Phones accept coins, credit cards or prepaid phonecards (available from kiosks and post offices).
- Time in Denmark is one hour ahead of GMT/UTC, the same as in neighbouring European countries.
- During the northern hemisphere summer, Denmark is one hour ahead of London, six hours ahead of New York, and eight hours behind Sydney.
- Clocks are moved forward one hour for daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
- Denmark uses the 24-hour clock system and all timetables and business hours are posted accordingly.
- Klokken, which means o’clock, is abbreviated as kl (kl 19.30 is 7.30pm).
- The Danes number their weeks and refer to them as such – eg schools break for winter holidays in week 7 or 8; many businesses are closed for summer holidays in weeks 29 and 30. It might be hard to wrap your head around – www.ugenr.dk can help.
In towns and cities, public toilets are generally easy to find. There may be a small fee to use the facilities at shopping centres or large train stations.
Denmark is generally well served by helpful tourist offices and multilingual staff. Each town and region publishes a glossy annual brochure that covers most of the things travellers need to know, and has a website full of sights, accommodation options and practical info. Many now offer a downloadable app and have installed touchscreens around town (at train and bus stations, for example).
The trend in recent times is for information to be obtained online, with shorter staffed hours at tourist offices (though these offices may be open for self-service pick-up of brochures or use of a touchscreen). A few larger towns have done away with physical tourist offices.
Important websites for visitors to Denmark include www.denmark.dk and www.visitdenmark.com. Other official websites covering local areas include the following:
East Jutland (www.visitaarhus.com, www.visitdjursland.com)
North Jutland (www.visitnordjylland.com, www.toppenafdanmark.com)
West Jutland (www.sydvestjylland.com, www.visitnordvestjylland.com)
Zealand (www.visitnorthsealand.com, www.cphcoastandcountryside.com)
Travel With Children
Denmark is prime family holiday territory, especially in high season when family-filled camper vans hit the road to celebrate the summer break. Theme parks, amusement parks, zoos and child-friendly beaches are just part of the story – businesses go out of their way to woo families, and children are rarely made to feel unwelcome.
Best Regions for Kids
- Møn, Falster & Lolland
- Central Jutland
- Northern Jutland
Endless sandy strands and shifting sand dunes that will put your sandcastles to shame, plus a mega-aquarium that reveals just what lies beneath.
Denmark for Kids
Entry to most museums is free for kids, and you won’t have to minimise your time in cultural attractions lest your offspring start climbing the walls – almost everywhere has displays and activities designed especially to keep kids entertained.
Travellers with children should enquire at local tourist offices – all regions have places where kids are king, from huge indoor swim centres to play centres and petting farms.
The larger theme parks and animal parks aren't particularly cheap, but most attractions have family passes and packages. Free entertainment can come in the form of long sandy beaches, parks and playgrounds.
Zealand The superb Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde displays five Viking ships; there’s also Viking shipbuilding and the chance to go on a longboat cruise. M/S Museet for Søfart, the national maritime museum in Helsingør, has vivid interactive exhibitions.
Funen At Fyrtøjet, in Odense, kids get to explore the world of Hans Christian Andersen through storytelling and music. Egeskov Slot is a must – the summer program includes evening concerts, ghost hunts and fireworks.
Funparks & Theme Parks
Copenhagen Tivoli is a charming combination of amusement rides, flower gardens, food pavilions, carnival games and open-air stage shows. Bakken is its poorer relation but still provides loads of old-fashioned fun.
Møn, Falster & Lolland Lalandia on Lolland undersells itself with the label ‘water park’.
Central Jutland Legoland is the big daddy of Danish theme parks, joined by Lalandia as its neighbour. Aarhus has Tivoli Friheden for rides and games, and Djurs Sommerland has the blockbuster combo of water park and amusement park in one super-popular attraction.
Northern Jutland Djurs Sommerland’s northern sister is Fårup Sommerland, equally popular and home to a water park and amusement rides.
Copenhagen The zoo houses a multitude of critters, and some lovely architect-designed homes for them – including a polar bear enclosure with glass tunnel. Den Blå Planet takes its fishy business seriously.
Møn, Falster & Lolland Knuthenborg Safari Park on Lolland has a drive-through savannah area for a taste of Africa (but with lousier weather).
Bornholm The Sommerfuglepark showcases jungle climates and has more than 1000 butterflies.
Funen Odense Zoo has an African area for junior explorers.
Central Jutland Randers Regnskov is a sultry, dome-enclosed tropical zoo taking you to Africa, Asia and South America. At Skandinavisk Dyrepark you can assess a full collection of Scandi species, including polar bears and brown bears. Silkeborg’s Aqua has an abundance of fish and cute otters.
The Danes have a seemingly limitless enthusiasm for dressing up and recreating history, and they do it well in countless open-air museums and recreated Viking camps and medieval villages, all with activities for youngsters.
Zealand The experimental archaeology centre of Sagnlandet Lejre, ‘Land of Legends’, is fascinating. Danmarks Borgcenter in Vordingborg lets kids explore medieval castle life and the world of kings using iPad technology.
Møn, Falster & Lolland Falster’s Middelaldercentret recreates an early-15th-century medieval village.
Bornholm Oh look, it’s another ye-olde village: Bornholms Middelaldercenter recreates a medieval fort and village.
Funen Den Fynske Landsby is a recreated olden-days country village with the requisite costumes and farmyard animals.
Copenhagen Amager Strandpark is a sand-sational artificial lagoon, with acres of sandy beach. Playground facilities and shallow water make it ideal for children. Plus, you can’t visit Copenhagen and not take a canal boat trip.
Zealand Roskilde's Viking Ship Museum runs sailing trips on the fjord. The beautiful beaches of northern Zealand are great for summertime fun.
Bornholm The calm and shallow waters of the sweeping beach at Dueodde suit families to a T.
Central Jutland Canoeing and camping in the picturesque Lake District make for undeniably wholesome family fun.
When to Go
The best time for families to visit Denmark is the best time for any traveller – between May and September. Local school holidays run from late June to mid-August. On the plus side, at this time, good weather is likely (though never assured), all attractions and activities are in full swing, and your kids are likely to meet other kids. On the downside, beaches and attractions are busy, and camping grounds and hostels are heavily in demand (and also charge peak prices).
Where to Stay
In high season (mid-June to mid-August) camping grounds are hives of activity, and many put on entertainment and activity programs for junior guests.
Hostels are exceedingly well set up for, and welcoming to, families. Rooms often sleep up to six (usually in bunks); there will invariably be a guest kitchen and lounge facilities. Farm stays may offer a rural idyll and/or the chance to get your hands dirty.
In resorts, summer houses are available at a reasonable price (usually by the week). In cities that are emptier due to the summer exodus, business hotels may drop their rates and add bunks to rooms to woo family business.
Where to Eat
On the whole, Danish restaurants welcome children with open arms. Virtually all offer high chairs, many have a børnemenu (children’s menu) or will at least provide children’s portions, and some have play areas. Two family-focused chains to look for are the steak chain Jensen’s Bøfhus (www.jensens.com) and the US-influenced Bone’s (www.bones.dk), with a menu of spare ribs, burgers and barbecued chicken. Both chains offer extensive kids menus and all-you-can-eat ice-cream bars – bonus! Food halls are a good choice, too, as they cater to all diners.
Self-catering will be a breeze if you are staying somewhere with kitchen facilities – larger supermarkets will stock all you’ll need (including baby items). There are oodles of prime picnic spots.
- Having your own set of wheels will make life easier, but public transport shouldn’t be dismissed – on trains, children under 12 years travel free if they are with an adult travelling on a standard ticket (each adult can take two children free).
- A cycling holiday may be doable with slightly older kids, as the terrain is flat and distances between towns are not vast. Larger bicycle-rental outfits have kids trailers and kids bikes for rent.
The official websites visitdenmark.com and visitcopenhagen.com have pages dedicated to family holidays – lists of kid-approved attractions, child-friendly restaurants, ace playgrounds in the capital and much more.
Travellers with Disabilities
- Denmark is improving access to buildings, transport and even forestry areas and beaches all the time, although accessibility is still not ubiquitous.
- The official www.visitdenmark.com website has a few links for travellers with disabilities – see www.visitdenmark.com/a-z/6244.
- A useful resource is God Adgang (Good Access; www.godadgang.dk), which lists service providers who have had their facilities registered and labelled for accessibility.
Weights & Measures
- Weights and measures Denmark uses the metric system. Fruit is often sold by the piece (stykke or ‘stk’).
- Denmark has a very strong tradition of volunteer organisations and a high percentage of Danes do volunteer work.
- There is less opportunity for people without knowledge of Danish, but a good place to check is www.volunteering.dk, which tries to bring organisations and volunteers with an international background together.
- For EU nationals and EEA citizens, it's relatively easy to relocate to Denmark for work. For non-EU nationals, things aren't so easy. Full details are outlined on www.nyidanmark.dk.
- An extremely helpful website is www.workindenmark.dk.