The Essential Transport Website
For travelling around Denmark, the essential website is www.rejseplanen.dk.
This excellent resource allows you to enter your start and end point, date and preferred time of travel, and will then give you the best travel option, which may involve walking or taking a bus, train or ferry. Bus routes are linked, travel times are given and fares listed. You can’t travel without it! Download the app for easy mobile access.
Denmark’s small size and efficient train network mean that domestic air traffic is limited, usually to business travellers and people connecting from international flights through Copenhagen, from where there are frequent services to a few of the more distant corners of the country.
Internal flights are usually of no more than 30 minutes' duration. SAS (www.flysas.com) is the main domestic carrier and internal flights from Copenhagen include Aarhus, Aalborg and Billund.
Summer flights to Bornholm are popular; these are operated by Danish Airport Transport (DAT; www.dat.dk).
- Denmark is the most cycle-friendly country in the EU and cyclists are well catered for with excellent cycling routes throughout the country.
- It’s easy to travel with a bike anywhere in Denmark, even when you’re not riding it, as bicycles can be taken on ferries and trains for a modest fee.
- You need to buy a ticket (cykelbillet) for your bike when travelling on regional and intercity trains (price varies with distance travelled, but is generally quite cheap; you may also need to reserve a place, called the cykelpladsbillet). It's free to take a bike on the S-tog, Copenhagen's suburban train network. You need a bike ticket to ride the metro in the capital, and bikes are not permitted on the metro during weekday peak hours (summer excepted).
- Rest assured, you’ll be able to hire a bike in almost every Danish town and village. Some tourist offices, hostels and campgrounds rent them out and some bike shops provide a hire service. A few upmarket hotels have free bikes for guest use, while the larger cities (Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg) have some form of bycykler (town bike) scheme.
- Bike-rental prices average around 100/400kr per day/week for something basic. Note that helmets are generally not included with hired bicycles (they are not compulsory in Denmark).
Boats link virtually all of Denmark’s populated islands. These range from large, high-speed car ferries sailing several times daily year-round between Aarhus and Odden in north Zealand, to small summertime boats ferrying day trippers to minor islands in the South Funen Archipelago.
A number of islands can only be reached by ferry; expect there to be a year-round service. Popular routes include Køge–Bornholm, Svendborg–Ærø, Frederikshavn–Læsø and Esbjerg–Fanø, but this list is far from exhaustive. It's a good idea to book car passage in advance at any time of year (but especially in summer).
- Long-distance buses run a distant second to trains. Still, some cross-country bus routes work out to about 25% cheaper than trains.
- Check out services from bus lines FlixBus (www.flixbus.dk) and Thinggaard Express (www.expressbus.dk), and search online at www.rejseplanen.dk for regional and long-distance bus options (including journey length and price comparisons). FlixBus has dynamic pricing, so you can snare some good deals if you book ahead or travel at quieter times.
- Daily FlixBus bus routes include Copenhagen–Aarhus (from 129kr, 3½ to 4½ hours) and Copenhagen–Aalborg (from 159kr, 5½ to six hours), stopping at a number of Jutland towns en route.
- Copenhagen to Jutland buses generally drive through Funen, stopping in Odense, but some buses use the ferry service from Odden in northwest Zealand to Aarhus.
Car & Motorcycle
- Denmark is an excellent destination for a driving holiday. Roads are high quality and usually well signposted. Except during rush hour, traffic is quite light, even in major cities.
- One thing to be aware of is the large number of cyclists – they often have the right of way. It is particularly important that you check cycle lanes before turning right.
- Access to and from Danish motorways is straightforward: roads leading out of town centres are named after the main city that they lead to (eg the road heading out of Odense to Faaborg is called Faaborgvej).
- Petrol stations, with toilets, baby-changing facilities and minimarkets, are at 50km intervals on motorways. They also generally sell hot dogs and sandwiches.
- Denmark’s extensive ferry network carries vehicles at reasonable rates. Fares for cars average three times the passenger rate. It’s wise to make ferry reservations in advance, even if it’s only a couple of hours ahead of time. On weekends and holidays, ferries on prime crossings can be completely booked.
Short-term visitors may hire a car with only their home country’s driving licence (so long as the licence is written in Roman script; if not, an international driving licence is necessary).
- Unleaded petrol and diesel fuel are available. Although prices fluctuate somewhat, per-litre prices at the time of research were around 12kr.
- In towns, petrol stations may be open until 10pm or midnight, but there are some 24-hour services. Some have unstaffed 24-hour automatic pumps operated with credit cards.
- Rental cars are relatively expensive in Denmark, but a little research can mean big savings. Walk-in rates start at about 600kr per day for a small car, although naturally the per-day rates drop the longer you rent.
- You may get the best deal on a car rental by booking with an international rental agency before you arrive. Be sure to ask about promotional rates, prepay schemes etc. Ensure you get a deal covering unlimited kilometres.
- Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz are among the largest operators in Denmark, with offices in major cities, airports and other ports of entry. There are very few local budget operators. If you’ll be using a rental car for a while, you might consider hiring your car in cheaper Germany and either returning it there afterwards, or negotiating a slightly more expensive one-way deal.
- Rental companies’ weekend rates, when available, offer real savings. For about 1000kr, you can hire a small car from Friday to Monday, including VAT and insurance. These deals may have restrictions on the amount of kilometres included (often around 300km) – request a plan that includes unlimited kilometres if you’ll need it.
- Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- Cars and motorcycles must have dipped headlights on at all times.
- Drivers are required to carry a warning triangle in case of breakdown.
- Seat belt use is mandatory. Children under 135cm must be secured with approved child restraint appropriate to the child’s age, size and weight.
- Motorcycle riders (but not cyclists) must wear helmets.
- Speed limits: 50km/h in towns and built-up areas, 80km/h on major roads, up to 130km/h on motorways. Maximum speed for vehicles with trailers: 80km/h. Speeding fines can be severe.
- Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal; hands-free use is permitted.
- It’s illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05% or more.
- Motorways have emergency telephones at 2km intervals, indicated by arrows on marker posts. From other telephones, dial 112 for emergencies.
There are two toll routes in Denmark:
- The 18km motorway bridge across the Storebælt (Great Belt) linking Funen and Zealand (www.storebaelt.dk). Casual one-way passage for a regular car/motorcycle is 240/125kr.
- The 16km motorway bridge/tunnel across the Øresund between Denmark and Sweden (www.oresundsbron.com). Casual one-way passage for a regular car/motorcycle is 375/205kr.
Note that you can't travel on either of these toll routes on foot or by bicycle – you'll need to travel by bus or train if you don't have your own car.
Look out for parking rules and restrictions in the centre of towns and cities.
Parking forbidden Indicated by Parkering forbudt, generally accompanied by a round sign with a red diagonal slash.
Paid parking This is indicated by P-billet. Parking ticket machines (billetautomat) will generally have information available in a few languages, and accept credit cards.
Time-restricted parking Indicated by P-skive followed by a number of hours (eg 2 timer = two hours). In many areas parking is free of charge but time restricted (and these restrictions are enforced). Use of a parking disc is required – this is a device that looks like a clock, which you place on the dashboard of your car to indicate the time you arrived at a car-parking space. Discs come standard with rental cars, and are often available from petrol stations and tourist offices.
Hitching is never entirely safe anywhere in the world and we don’t recommend it.
At any rate, hitching is not a common practice in Denmark and generally not a very rewarding one. It’s also illegal on motorways.
Local transport in Denmark is of a high standard. There are excellent train, metro and bus options within Copenhagen; outside the capital, larger towns have local bus networks and most small towns have bus connections to their regional hub.
Nearly every town in Denmark supports a network of local buses, which circulate around the town centre and also connect it with outlying areas. In smaller towns, the local bus terminal is often adjacent to the train station and/or long-distance bus terminal. Cash fares are around 20kr to 25kr per local ride, but daily travel passes may be useful.
Taxis are generally readily available for hire in city centres, near major shopping centres and at train stations. If you see a taxi with a lit fri sign (or a green light), you can wave it down, or you can phone for a taxi instead – hotels and tourist offices have numbers for local companies.
You can pay by cash or credit card and a tip is included in the fare.
- Denmark uses an electronic ticketing system for travelling by bus, train and metro. You load up your card with money, then 'check in' at card-reading devices as you enter and exit transport and reload your card as your funds run low. Denmark's card is known as the Rejsekort – see www.rejsekort.dk for information.
- Rejsekorts are designed for local users, so nonresidents may find them a hassle to obtain and use. The good news is that there are still kontantbilleter (cash tickets) available for most journeys (no Rejsekort required) and there is also the option to buy a one-, two-, three- or five-day travel pass covering Copenhagen city transport, for example. For short-stay visitors, these are generally a simpler option. We quote cash ticket prices.
- If you are visiting Denmark for a lengthy period, you can buy a Rejsekort Anonymous. The card costs 80kr, and you must then add 170kr to the card to cover the cost of travel (which you then top-up as needed). You can buy a Rejsekort Anonymous at vending machines placed at every metro station, at Copenhagen airport and at Copenhagen Central Station.
Denmark has a reliable train system with reasonable fares and frequent services. The network extends to most corners of the country, with the exception of the southern islands and a pocket of northwestern Jutland. In these areas, a network of local buses connects towns (and there are frequent services to the nearest train station).
Most long-distance trains on major routes operate at least hourly throughout the day. DSB runs virtually all trains in Denmark. Types of DSB trains include the following:
InterCity (IC) Modern comforts.
InterCityLyn (ICL) On certain well-travelled routes. Same facilities as InterCity, but with fewer stops.
Regionaltog Regional trains; reservations generally not accepted.
S-tog The combined urban and suburban rail network of Greater Copenhagen.
Fares & Discounts
Standard train fares work out to be a fraction over 1kr per kilometre, with the highest fare possible between any two points in Denmark topping out at around 500kr (Copenhagen to Skagen, a road distance of 525km).
- The reservation fee for a seat (pladsbillet) is 30kr. It's recommended on IC and ICL services to guarantee your seat.
- Note that the Stillezone on trains is a quiet zone.
- Bikes can be taken on many trains, but you need to buy a ticket (cykelbillet) for them on intercity and regional trains (price varies with distance travelled, but is generally quite cheap). From May to August bike space must be booked in advance for IC and ICL trains (cykelpladsbillet). It's free to take a bike on the S-tog.
- A DSB 1 (1st-class ticket) generally costs about 50% more than the standard fare. DSB 1 tickets give an automatic seat guarantee on IC or ICL services.
Discounts include the following:
Children (under 12) Travel free if they are with an adult travelling on a standard ticket (each adult can take two children free).
Children (aged under 15) Pay half the adult fare.
Youth (aged 16 to 25) Receive a 25% discount on the adult fare.
Group Gruppebillet rebates are available for eight or more adults travelling together (contact DSB to access these).
Orange Orange-billetter are discounted tickets (as low as 99kr for lengthy IC and ICL journeys – Copenhagen to Aarhus, for example) – although the number of tickets available at that price is limited. To find the cheapest fares, buy your ticket well in advance (up to two months before your travel date), travel outside peak hours and travel Monday to Thursday or on a Saturday.
Some rail passes, including Eurail and InterRail passes, should be bought before you arrive in the country.
Many Danish train stations have left-luggage lockers (from 20kr for 24 hours).