Denmark's national language is Danish, a member of the Germanic branch of the group of Indo-European languages, and within that family, part of the North Germanic, East Norse group. It is, in theory, very similar to Norwegian Bokmål and also to Swedish, and is to some extent intelligible to speakers of those languages, especially in written form. Its sound, however, is more influenced by the guttural German language, though, rather than the lilting languages found to the north and understanding spoken Danish may be a trace more difficult to those who only speak Swedish or Norwegian. It is also more distantly related to Icelandic and Faroese, though spoken Danish is not mutually intelligible with these languages.
English is widely spoken in Denmark, the only partial exception is people older than 65. Many Danes also speak German, and it is widely spoken in areas that attract many tourists from Germany, i.e. mainly the Jutland West Coast, the southern part of Funen and nearby islands (e.g. Langeland and Ærø), and also in Southern Jutland (Sønderjylland / Northern Schleswig).
Bring your own unlocked GSM phone to make calls. Prepaid SIM cards are available at most shops and international calling can be reasonably priced. The prepaid credit generally only work in Denmark, but can be purchased in small amounts to avoid waste when you leave.
The national currency is the Danish krone (DKK, plural "kroner"). In the more "touristy" shops in Copenhagen, and at the traditional beach resorts along the Jutland West Coast and Bornholm Island it will often be possible to pay in Euro. The Danish krone is pegged to the Euro to an accuracy of 2.25%. In the 12 months from Aug 2005 to Aug 2006 the average exchange rate was 1 EUR = 7.46 DKK.
Automatic teller machines are widely available even in small towns. Credit cards are also widely accepted but not universally. Beware that many retailers will add a 2%-3% transaction charge (often without warning) if you pay with a credit card.
You should note that almost everything in Denmark is expensive; particularly if you're not from Northern Europe. All consumer sales include a 25% sales tax but displayed prices are legally required to include this, so they are always exact. If you are from outside the EU/Scandinavia you can have some of your sales tax refunded when leaving the country.
Apart from the kebab shops and pizza stands, dining in Denmark can be fairly expensive, but a worthwhile cost. Traditional Danish fare includes items as pickled herring, fried sanddab, and other assorted seafood items. Hearty meats are also prevalent, as seen in items such as frikadeller (pork only or pork and veal meat balls topped by a brown sauce) and "stegt flæsk og persillesovs" (thick pork bacon slices topped by a parsley cream sauce). Many meals are also accompanied by a beer, and shots of aquavit or schnaps, though these are mainly enjoyed when guests are over. Drinking along with meals is encouraged as the foods are enhanced by the drinks, and vice versa. For dessert, try either "ris à l'amande" (rice pudding with almonds and cherries) or æbleskiver (ball-shaped cakes similar in texture to American pancakes, served with strawberry jam), both normally only available in December. For candy try a bag of "Superpiratos" (hot licorice candy).
The traditional Danish lunch is smørrebrød, open sandwiches usually on rye bread - fish are served on white bread, and many restaurants give you a choice of bread. Smørrebrød served on special occasions, in lunch restaurants, or bought in lunch takeaway stores, are piled higher than the daily fare.
Some of the most popular and traditional choices are:
Danish beer is a treat for a beer enthusiast. The largest brewery, Carlsberg (which also owns the Tuborg brand), offers a few choices, as well as a delicious "Christmas beer" in the 6 weeks leading up to the holidays. Other tasty beverages include the aforementioned aquavit, gløgg, a hot wine drink popular in December. Danish beer is mostly limited to pilseners which are good, but not very diverse. However in the last few years Danes have become interested in a wider range of beers. During the Christmas season, Glögg, a hot spiced red wine with raisins and almonds is popular fare for warming up from the cold with a group of friends.
The Danish Beer Enthusiasts maintain a list of bars and restaurants with a good selection of beers as well as a list of stores with a good selection.
- Billetnet books larger concerts, theater plays, sporting events etc. You can book online or in any post office. If you book online you can have the tickets mailed to you or you can print out a confirmation and exchange it for a ticket at a BilletNet office or at the scene.
- NaturNetLists nature oriented events such as mushroom collection, geology tours, etc. Many of the tours are free.
- Generally: Denmark is very safe. No risk of natural disaster or animal attack. Crime and traffic are only minor risks.
- In the traffic: Danes generally drive by the rules (except for the bicycles) but may not be very helpful to other drivers in ceding right of way, etc. Watch out for the bicycles in the cities, especially when turning across bicycle lanes; they have right of way. On highways, make sure that you only pass on the left, and be aware that Danes like to drive fast. Also, as a special note to North American drivers, it is illegal in Denmark (as in rest of Europe) to turn right on a red light.
- On foot in cities: As mentioned above, Danes drive by the rules, and they have every expectation that pedestrians do the same. Therefore, it is important to obey Walk/Don't Walk signals and avoid jaywalking in cities, simply because cars will not slow down since you're not supposed to be there. Also, take good notice of the dedicated bike lanes when crossing any street to avoid dangerous situations as bikers tend to drive fast and have right of way on these lanes.
- On the beach: Don't bathe alone. Don't get too far away from land. Don't jump head first in shallow water. Swim along the coast rather than away from it. In some areas undertow is a danger, but will mostly be signed at the beach. On many beaches, flags inform of water quality. A blue flag means excellent water quality, green flag means good water quality, red flag means that bathing is not advised. A sign with the text "Badning forbudt" means that bathing is forbidden. Obey these signs, as it often means that the water is polluted with poisonous algae, bacteria, or chemicals, or that there is a dangerous undertow.
- In the city: A few districts in major cities should be avoided at night by the unwary, or by lone women.
In an emergency dial 112 (medical help/fire brigade) or 114 (police). This is toll free, and will work even from cell phones even without a SIM card.
Tap water is potable unless indicated. Restaurants and other places selling food are visited regularly by health inspectors and are awarded points on a 1-4 "smiley scale". The ratings must be prominently displayed, so look out for the happy face when in doubt. While pollution in the major cities can be annoying it doesn't pose any risk to non-residents. Nearly all beaches are fine for bathing - even parts of the Copenhagen harbor recently opened for bathing (read the Stay safe section).
As of 15 August 2007 it is not legal to smoke in any public space in Denmark. This includes government buildings with public access (hospitals, universities, etc), all restaurants and bars larger than 40 sq m and all public transport. Also be aware that you have to be at least 18 years old to buy cigarettes in Denmark.
Denmark is a country in Northern Europe. The main part of it is Jutland, a peninsula north of Germany, while a number of islands, including two major ones, Zealand and Funen, are the two main islands in Østersøen Sea between Jutland and Sweden.
Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the general political and economic integration of Europe. However, the country has opted out of European Union's Maastricht Treaty, the European monetary system (EMU), and issues concerning certain internal affairs.
Denmark is also the birthplace of one of the world's most popular toys - Lego. There is no other better place in the world where one can buy Lego bricks than at the Legoland theme park in Billund.
These days the Danish Vikings have parked their ships in the garage, and put the horned helmets on the shelves. And along with the other Scandinavian nations forged a society that is seen as a benchmark of civilization, with progressive social policies, a commitment to free speech so entrenched in Danish society, that it put the nation at odds with most of the world during the Mohamed cartoon controversy, and a liberal social-welfare system, that's not only the most equal in the world, according to the Economist, it is also the most competitive. Top it of with rich well preserved cultural heritage, and the Danes legendary sense of design and architecture, and you have one intriguing holiday destination.
Denmark is home to the 'lowest-highest' point in Europe; but what that exactly entails is somewhat uncertain. Ejer Baunehøj, in the Lake District region south-west of Aarhus (Århus), seems to be the highest natural point (171m with a large tower built on top to commemorate the fact), although Yding Skovhøj, some 3km away stands 2m higher owing to an ancient burial mound. Either way, the 213m tall Søsterhøj Transmission Tower (1956), with its top 315 m above sea level is technically the highest point in Denmark!
In Denmark service charges are automatically included in the bill at restaurants and hotels, and tips for taxi drivers and the like are included in the fare. So tipping is not expected, nor required, but is a matter of choice. Needless to say, tipping for outstanding service is obviously greatly appreciated.
These are the nine regional centers in Denmark:
- Copenhagen (da. København)
- Aarhus (da. Århus)
- Nykøbing Falster
The European mainland
Homeland of the world famous author H.C. Andersen, and his childhood house in Odense as well as the picturesque island sea.
Denmarks largest island, and seat of the capital Copenhagen
The vacation island, also known as the "rock" island, home of the fabled roundhouse churches connected to the crusades, and some excellent beaches.
- Elsinore (Helsingør) - famous for Kronborg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet, located north of Copenhagen. Within the castle there's a museum about Shakespeare.
- Humlebæk - 12 km. south of Helsingør (Elsinore) Location of the world famous Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art .
- Rungsted Estate of author Baronesse Karen Blixen is located between Copenhagen and Helsingør along the coast of Øresund Strait.
- Fanø - cosy holiday island located in Vadehavet near Esbjerg.
- Bornholm - famous sites include Hammershus, one of Denmarks best-kept castle ruins.
- Egeskov Castle - The castle is known as the best-preserved Renaissance moat castle in Europe. It is located 35 Km from Odense.
- Lyngby - suburb 20 minutes north of Copenhagen.
- Kolding - An old historic city with the great castle of Koldinghus as well as many interesting gardens including the Trapholt Museum of Modern Arts, Applied Art, Design and Furniture
There are several remarkable bridges connecting Danish islands with each other, Jutland and Sweden.
- Farø Bridges
- Great Belt Bridge (Storebæltsbroen). Fixed link, road and rail between Fyn and Sjælland.
- Little Belt Bridge (Lillebæltbroen) Old. Fixed link, (road/rail) between Jylland and Fyn.
- Little Belt Bridge (Lillebæltbroen) New. Fixed link, (road) between Jylland and Fyn.
- Øresund Bridge. Sea Link of Tunnel-Bridge combining road and rail between Copenhagen and Malmø, Sweden.
- Storstrøm Bridge (Storstrømsbroen) connecting islands of Falster and Lolland with Sjælland. Main road to Rødby Ferry-Germany.
Denmark is served by two major and several minor airports.
Copenhagen Airport is the largest airport in Scandinavia. The airport is located at the town Kastrup on the island Amager, 8 km from central Copenhagen. The airport is connected by train to Copenhagen Central Station and beyond as well as Malmo and other towns in Sweden. One way fare to Copenhagen Central station is 27 Danish kr. and the train leaves every 10 minutes. Buses and taxis are also available.
Billund Airport in South-Central Jutland is Denmark's 2nd largest airport, and fields flights to major European hubs; Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam, as well as most western European capitals. Located in the town Billund, 29 km from Vejle, 65 km from Esbjerg, 104 km from Odense, 100 km from Aarhus, 210 km from Aalborg, and 262 km from Copenhagen. The airport is connected by buses to major cities and towns in the region. Taxis are also available.
Aarhus Airport is located on the Djursland peninsula 44 km north east of Aarhus, 50 km from Randers, 90 km from Silkeborg, 99 km fra Horsens, 98 km from Viborg and 138 km from Aalborg. An airport shuttlebus connects the airport to Aarhus Central Station from where you can reach the rest of Jutland by Train.
- Ryanair offers connection to London Stansted Airport and Barcelona (Girona).
- SAS Scandinavian offers frequent domestic service to its Copenhagen hub .
- British Airways offers regional services to Oslo, Gothenburg and Stockholm.
- Rejseplanen travel planner
There are five direct trains per day from Hamburg to Copenhagen, approximately every two to three hours. These trains are loaded onto a ferry for the sea passage from Puttgarten to Rødby, and the total journey time is around 4.5 hours. There are also two train lines to Jutland from Hamburg, one via Padborg and the other via Tønder.
Trains run every twenty minutes from Malmö to Copenhagen. The total journey time is 35 minutes.
Graahundbus , Eurolines , and Abildskou  run buses between european and danish destinations.
Special Bus route E55 Berlin – CopenhagenBerolina .
Berlin DKK 200 (7 hours).
Scandlines  runs ferries from Puttgarden to Rødby on Lolland and from Rostock to Gedser on Falster, as well as a ferry from Sassnitz to Rønne on Bornholm.
Smyril Line  runs a ferry from Seyðisfjörður (Iceland) via Tórshavn (Faroe Islands), Lerwick (Shetland Islands) and Bergen (Norway) to Hanstholm in Northern Jutland.
Color Line  runs ferries from Oslo and Kristiansand to Hirtshals and from Larvik to Fredrikshavn in Northern Jutland.
DFDS Seaways  runs a ferry from Oslo via Helsingborg (Sweden) to Copenhagen on Zealand.
Fjordline  runs a ferry from Bergen via Haugesund and Egersund to Hanstholm in Northern Jutland.
Stena Line  runs a ferry from Oslo to Frederikshavn.
Bornholmstrafikken  runs a ferry from Ystad to Rønne on Bornholm.
Scandlines and HH-Ferries  both run ferries from Helsingborg to Elsinore (Helsingør) on Eastern Zealand.
Stena Line runs a ferry from Varberg to Grenaa in Eastern Jutland.
DFDS Seaways runs a ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg in South-Western Jutland.
Long distance train travel is done with DSB, the Danish State Rail system. A number of long distance bus companies also operate. Each region in Denmark has its own local public transportation company. For public transportation (trains, buses and ferries) use the online travel planner Rejseplanen . There are two ways to buy tickets. For local trips you can buy a ticket from the regional transportation company based on a zone system. This ticket is valid on all public transportation including DSB trains for one to two hours (depending on the number of zones you travel). Most public transportation companies offer a number of passes which can save you a substantial amount on transportation. In the greater Copenhagen region, the zone system is complemented by a system of “klippekort”, punch cards. These cards come in a variety of colors where the color signifies the total number of zones one can travel through for each punch. So a two zone card punched once allows one an hour of travel throughout two zones. A two zone card punched twice in the same machine is valid for travel in four zones or from the airport at Kastrup to the main train station in Copenhagen. DSB also uses a similar system of klippekort/punch cards for travel in the Oresund region. To use a klippekort/punch card, you insert the card, face up, into the yellow machine on the train platform. You will hear a clunk as a punch discard is removed from card. Repeat to add zones. The machine will also have a zone map and a guide to explain how many punches it takes to travel from where you are to where you want to go. Most regions have their own klippekort but they do not work between regions. Some of the long distance bus companies offer klippekort that are valid for a specific route across regions but these are probably of little use for travelers as they have to be bought on cards of 10 punches(trips).
Long distance bus-service between Jutland and Copenhagen is possible with the companies Abildskou (line 888) and Søndergaards Busser. An Århus-Copenhagen ticket is DKK 270 One way for adults with Abildskou.
The primary Danish train company is Danish State Railways or DSB . Many feeder lines for the principal train line in eastern Jutland are now operated by british company Arriva. Other small rail lines are operated by other companies. DSB also operates the S-Tog commuter rail system around the greater Copenhagen area. Eurail passes are valid on all DSB trains. Danish trains are very comfortable, very modern and very expensive. Tickets can be purchased in stations, from vending machines in the stations and via DSB's website. In addition to a ticket, some trains require a seat assignment. Most trains have 230V power outlets.
Due to worn out rails the trains are often late and will be so for the next few years. The S-Tog will probably also continue to be somewhat unreliable (use a 20 minute buffer if planning trips longer than, say, 20 minutes).
All trips with trains and local buses can be scheduled electronically through rejseplanen.dk .
The only way get to most of the smaller islands, is by ferry.
Ferries are the best way to get to Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, although it also can be reached by plane. Since the opening of the bridge to Sweden, the easiest route from Copenhagen to Bornholm is by train and then ferry from Ystad. Through tickets are available from Copenhagen and Ronne - booking is mandatory. There is also a bus that serves this route - Gråhund Bus 886 from Copenhagen to Ystad, where it links with the ferry to Bornholm
By car or bicycle
There are no toll-roads except the two big bridges: Storebæltbroen  between Zealand and Funen (DKK 200 one way), and Øresundbroen  between Copenhagen and Malmo (DKK 235 one way).
Margueritruten is one 3500 Km long connected route of small scenic roads passing 100 important Danish attractions. It is marked by brown signs with the white Marguerite Daisy flower. It is marked on most roadmaps.
Biking in Denmark is, in general, safe and easy. Drivers are used to bikes everywhere, and all major cities have biketrails along most roads. Denmark is quite flat, but can be windy, cold or wet on a bike. Bikes are generally allowed on trains (separate ticket is needed).
Note that biking on the highways (Da: motorvej) is prohibited, and that this also includes the Great Belt Bridge and the Øresund Bridge. Trains can be used between Nyborg and Korsør and between Copenhagen and Malmö if you need to cross the bridges.
Official marked routes across the country can be found in the guides on this page:
It's quite easy to hitchhike in Denmark. People who pick up hitchhikers usually speak English. Destination boards are recommended. It's illegal to hitchhike on the highways, so it is better to use highway-entrances and gas stations. When crossing by ferry, try to get into a car that already paid for the ticket.
If you hitchhike from the southern part of Denmark (direction from Hamburg or Kiel, Germany), and continue in direction to Copenhagen, make sure the driver doesn't stop in Kolding. If he does, ask him to stop at the last gas station before Kolding. On the Kolding highway crossing there is no place to hitchhike and it's one of the worst places in Europe for hitchhikers.
Check out the Tips for hitchhiking article here on wikitravel if you are new to hitchhiking.
Scandinavian Airlines , Danish Air Transport and Cimber Air all operate domestic routes. If you are not in a hurry, however, trains will often get you where you want to go a lot cheaper. The exception being the Island of Bornholm where air travel is often both fast and inexpensive.