How to get around Denmark with public transport

Photo: Daniel Rasmussen - Copenhagen Media Center

Public transport in Denmark is easy, fast and convenient. As a small country with hundreds of islands, there are myriad interconnecting transport routes by land, sea and air. Here's all you need to know about how to find your way around Denmark. 

How to get to Copenhagen from the airport

The quickest route from the airport to Copenhagen is via regional train or Metro. It takes under 15 minutes to reach the city centre and you can buy the tickets you need at the airport: you need a 3-zone ticket that costs approximately DKK 36.

The train runs directly to Copenhagen Central Station (Hovedbanegård) in the centre of the city and is ideal if you are staying there or want to take a train onwards to other Danish cities. If you want to reach Nørrebrø, Vesterbrø, Frederiksberg, Osterbrø or other areas of Copenhagen, the metro is the best option.

You can also take bus 5A from the airport to reach the city centre in approximately 35 minutes, and there is a taxi rank outside Arrivals. Typically, taxis cost DKK 250-350 and take 20-30 minutes to reach the city centre.

Tickets and prices

Public transport in Copenhagen is inexpensive and easy to use. You can pay per journey in cash at a machine in a metro or train station, or in person on a bus. Copenhagen is divided into zones and fares depend on how many zones you are travelling through.

The Copenhagen Card gives you unlimited public transport in the capital region of Denmark plus free entry to over 80 museums and attractions. It is available for a 24, 48, 72 and 120 hour period, costing €54-133 for adults, with a version for children 10-15 years old costing less. Parents note: one adult can take two under 10s to museums and attractions for free, and two under 12s on public transport for free.

You can also buy a City Pass, a digital travel ticket for unlimited public transport over a 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120 hour period, costing from DKK 80  for 24 hours for unlimited travel in Copenhagen zones 1-4, including the airport. There is a version for adults and another for children over 12. Buy online and remember to keep your phone charged.

Harbour bus

The harbour bus runs in both directions from Teglholm in the south to Refshaleøen in the north. These boats are operated by the same carrier as normal buses, and all ticket types are valid. It is a great way to see the city from the water and an efficient way to get from Nyhavn to Reffen in the summer. In 2020 they are due to become electric-powered and CO2-neutral.

Bike and electric scooter

Copenhagen's City Bike project, Bycyklen, is a network of electric bikes all over the city that you can rent from the street. Each bike has a touchscreen tablet which can be used for navigation, payment and tourist info. 

It’s also easy to rent a bike from a local bike shop, pick up a Donkey rental bike on the street, or rent an electric scooter via an app. For more about bike rental and the city’s cycling rules, see our bike guide. You can take a bike on the metro, but not during commuter hours (Mondays to Fridays, 7:00-9:00 and 15:30-17:30), and also on a regional train. For both, you must buy a ticket.

Getting around Denmark by public transport

The journey is the destination when you’re travelling around Denmark – if you want to travel car-free, you can choose from a reliable train, bus, ferry and boat network.

Train travel in Denmark

It's easy to travel by train beyond Copenhagen to the rest of Denmark. A train from Copenhagen to Aarhus will take three hours, to Aalborg four hours and to Odense an hour and a half. DSB is the official Danish national rail operator, and you can see train routes, find times and book train tickets on the DSB website or by calling +45 70 13 14 15. Booking in advance, up to two months before travel, is advised – check the section ‘DSB Orange’ for the best value off peak tickets on the train operator’s website. An adult can take two children under 12 on a train for free.

Trains also run from Denmark to Sweden from the main central station in Copenhagen, with Swedish rail company SJ. It takes under 40 minutes to reach Malmö and there are regular overnight trains as well as multiple daily options for the 5.5-hour direct trip to Stockholm. Book online at sj.se or buy a ticket in a station.

European citizens can buy a single country InterRail Denmark Pass offering unlimited train journeys up to 8 days a month; Denmark is also included in the InterRail Global Pass that allows access to train routes in 33 European countries, making a multi-stop Scandinavian trip easy. The Eurail Denmark Pass offers similar options for non-European citizens.

Coach Travel in Denmark

You can also travel by coach using Denmark’s extensive network of long-distance coach routes. Bus connections are operated by providers including Eurolines GermanyFlixBus and Swebus and include routes between Danish towns and cities as well as multiple cities in Europe.

Ferries in Denmark

As you'd expect from a country made up of so many islands, boats and ferries provide an essential service. It's also a refreshing way to travel.

Several major tour operators run ferry and cruise services to Denmark from other major European destinations, including ScandlinesColor LineFjord Line and Stena Line. DFDS operates a two-night cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo with overnight travel to Oslo, a day (6.5 hours) in the city and overnight travel back, among other routes.

Within Denmark, there are numerous ferries and passenger boats that will take you to the many smaller Danish islands. Click here for a full rundown.

Flying in Denmark

There are several daily flights from Copenhagen to cities around Denmark. For example, SAS have direct flights to AarhusAalborg and Billund, while Norwegian flies direct to Aalborg, Billund and Karup.

Airlines such as DAT provides comprehensive domestic and international flight services to smaller airports like Bornholm, Odense, Esbjerg and Sønderborg.

There is also a seaplane connection between Aarhus and Copenhagen with Nordic Seaplanes, taking 45 minutes. Last minute rates can be very reasonable; regular daily flights cost from DKK 1897 one way.