101 Copenhagen Denmark

Copenhagen 101: Arriving & Getting Around

Nyhavn @ Copenhagen, Denmark
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The Danish capital is made up of the Jutland peninsula and an archipelago of 443 islands. Its origins go back as far back as the 11th century, when it was a Viking fishing village. Nowadays, it’s the center of Denmark’s cultural, political, and economic life and famous for being the happiest city in the world.

Here’s what you need to know for planning a hassle-free trip to Copenhagen:

CURRENCY

Danish krone = DKK = kr.

Although Denmark is an EU country, it is not part of the Euro-zone. The exchange rate varies, but to make it simple, you can consider that DKK 8 is roughly equivalent to EUR 1. Many establishments do accept Euros, but unless you want to get ripped off with their exchange rates, get yourself some kroner.

ARRIVING in Copenhagen

Realistically, on a short trip, you’ll arrive in Copenhagen by plane or train. But you could certainly also reach it by bus, ferry, cruise or car.

THE AIRPORT

Copenhagen is mainly served by Københavns Lufthavn, Kastrup (CPH). Keep in mind that if you need an alternative to CPH, Malmö, in neighboring Sweden, is closer than most other Danish airports. 

Arriving at Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup (CPH)

CPH is located 9km from the city center and it’s undoubtedly the easiest option to visit the Danish capital. For this article, we are settling on Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square) as the city center.

Apart from being close, it’s also extremely well-connected. The airport is located on Zone 4 (not in a “ring” style) and you need to cross 3 zones to reach the city center.

But making things easy to us travelers, the airport is included in the basic versions of time-based transport passes! In practical terms, zones 1-4 are included in the City Pass Small, and that’s the easiest way to cover your transportation during your visit. Since the same ticket is valid for all means of public transport, you just need to choose the duration of your visit. See more details on the ‘Getting Around‘ section below.

You can buy tickets from automatic vending machines at the airport, metro, and rail stations, as well as online [here] or through the app [iOS/Android].

The most practical option is the subway, which runs at 4-6 minutes intervals during the day/evening and 15-20 minutes during the night, with a journey time of 25 minutes to Rådhuspladsen. From the station located at the airport’s Terminal 3, take the M2 to Kongens Nytorv, and then change onto M3/M4 for two more stations until the homonymous Rådhuspladsen station.

Alternatively, there’s also the suburban train. It departs every 20 minutes and takes approx. 15 minutes to København H (Central Station). From there, it’s just one more subway stop to Rådhuspladsen station.

However, if you want just a one-way ticket, it is possible too, and you can purchase it online [here] or on machines. Type in the directions below on the Travel Planner and it will show you the best and most economical options, including possible off-peak discounts and the subway surcharge, when applicable.

There are also regular bus lines. But with such good and affordable subway and train connections into the center, there’s really no reason to catch a bus ????

Finally, there are the taxis, which are not prohibitively expensive due to the short distance. But unless you are carrying loads of weight, it would still be money wasted. In any case, there are no fixed prices and you can expect to pay around 250 kr, with a journey time of approx. 20 minutes.

Arriving at Malmö (MMX)

Make sure to properly do the math before choosing this option. Although it is not far, if you need to take a taxi, it could easily offset any lower prices you found for your flight ticket.

Neptunbus is WizzAir’s partner for the transfer between Malmö airport and Copenhagen. The bus departures are based on their flight arrivals and departures, but you must book in advance! Places are limited, so I highly suggest checking availability before finalizing your flight purchase and book immediately. See [price list] and pay attention to extra charges.

RAIL

Copenhagen’s main rail station is called Københavns Hovedbanegård, abbreviated København H. It’s just a 1km walk or 1 metro stop away from the Rådhuspladsen. It has several connections, sometimes a combination of rail + ferry, to domestic and international destinations.

FERRY/CRUISES

Cruise @ Copenhagen, Denmark

Although it doesn’t really fit with the idea of fast travel from most departure points, it can be practical if your journey starts at select cities in neighboring countries.

When you reach Copenhagen by sea, you’ll arrive at one of its 3 cruise port terminals:

  • Oceanskaj (Ocean Quay): local bus no. 27 to Østerport station, then S-train to Rådhuspladsen;
  • Nordre Tolbod: walk approx. 1km to Marmorkirken, then M3/M4 to Rådhuspladsen;
  • Langelinie: local bus no. 26 to Østerport station, then S-train to Rådhuspladsen.

BUS

There are several bus international routes connecting Copenhagen to Europe. The main coach station is Ingerslevsgade, located behind København H, with rail and metro connections. You can easily walk to Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square), or take the M3/M4 for 1 stop only.


GETTING AROUND Copenhagen

The public transport system is integrated, although operated by different organizations. That means the same ticket is valid on the metro, S-trains, bus, and harbor bus within the covered zones.

Although the historic center is very walkable, you will want to use the transport to cover other parts of the archipelago too. For short-term visitors, the best cost/benefit is the City Pass Small, although you may want to consider the City Pass Large if you plan to venture frequently beyond Zones 1-4.

DurationCity Pass SmallCity Pass Large
24h80 kr160 kr
48h150 kr300 kr
72h200 kr400 kr
96h (4 days)250 kr500 kr
120h (5 days)300 kr600 kr

Notice that:

  • A City Pass Adult allows free travel for up to 2 accompanying children under 12 years old; and
  • A City Pass Child, which costs half of the adult fare, is directed at individuals under 16 years old.

You can buy tickets from automatic vending machines, as well as online [here] or through the app [iOS/Android].

However, if this is too much for your needs, a single ticket costs 12 kr per zone. It’s easier to use the app to know exactly what ticket you’ll need.

You don’t need to validate single tickets, but keep it at hand to show it to the bus drivers upon boarding.

citypass-map-small-and-large

See also:

Berlin 101: Arriving & Getting Around

How to Choose Your Hotel on Short Trips: 4 Simple Rules

10 Simple Ways to Make Frequent-Flying Easier

Trains in Europe: Get The Best Deals


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