Denmark travel guide
It might not have the azure fjords and soaring peaks of Sweden and Norway, but Denmark, the smallest of the four Scandinavian countries, has a unique charm that is all its own.
A land of flat farmland pockmarked with Viking burial mounds, the peace of the Danish countryside belies a historical reputation for terror and a modern one for producing some of the finest murder mysteries on television.
Copenhagen, the capital, is a cool, cosmopolitan city whose debonair inhabitants foster an affable atmosphere more typical of a small town than capital city. Synonymous with bold architecture and cutting-edge design, Copenhagen is also a culinary pioneer. The city’s cobbled streets and windswept squares harbour some of the best restaurants in the world, most notably Noma, the brilliant brainchild of Rene Redzepi.
The suburbs also sparkle. There’s Vesterbro, made famous by the hit television show, The Killing, and Nyhavn, best known for its quaint harbour, colourful merchants’ houses and throbbing nightlife.
But there’s more to Denmark than its cool capital. Zealand, the island on which Copenhagen sits, is also home to Roskilde – once the Viking capital of Denmark. Along with a soaring UNESCO-listed cathedral, there’s a museum housing one of the best-preserved Viking ships ever uncovered and a smattering of pretty cafés, shops and galleries.
To the north, on the main Jutland peninsular, there’s more Viking fun to be had; from visiting the mighty runestones at Jelling to tucking into a Viking supper at Lindholm Høje.
Smaller rural towns such as Vejle and Aarhus offer have a lot to offer in the form of art galleries and adventure activities such as kayaking, hiking or horse riding.
Of all Denmark’s towns, though, none is lovelier than Skagen. A seaside settlement at the tip of the Jutland peninsular, it is a favourite amongst Danish families, who come to bask on golden beaches and watch scintillating Scandinavian sunsets.
43,098 sq km (16,640 sq miles).
5,699,715 (UN estimate 2016).
129.5 per sq km.
Queen Margrethe II since 1972.
Prime Lars Løkke Rasmussen since 2015.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are used, sometimes with a third grounding pin.
Last updated: 13 March 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Crime levels are generally low, but pickpockets and bag-snatchers operate in crowded areas around Copenhagen, especially at the central station, Nørreport Station and on the main shopping street called Strøget and other areas popular with tourists such as Christiania, Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv. Thieves are also known to operate opportunistically around hotel lobby areas and in cafes and restaurants. Keep your personal belongings, including passports and money secure.
Thieves will sometimes use distraction techniques when getting on and off from crowded public transport. Be aware of your surroundings to help prevent this.
You should also keep an eye on luggage, including in the overhead baggage compartment when travelling on trains to and from the airport. There has been an increase in incidents where belongings have been stolen. Pickpockets are also known to operate in Kastrup airport.
The areas of Christiania and Nørrebro in Copenhagen are generally trouble-free, but there have been occasional disturbances and confrontations with the authorities. In both areas there have been a number of instances of violence between biker gangs and minority groups, which have included stabbings and shootings. While these incidents are mainly gang related and localised you should take extra care in these areas, particularly late at night.
Public transport is generally of a very high standard. You can buy bus, train and metro tickets at train station kiosks and some supermarkets.
There are outlets across many Danish cities that hire out quality bicycles for a reasonable fee.
Ferries are available to transport you to Denmark’s many islands.
Road conditions in Denmark are good and driving standards are fairly high. In 2015 there were 188 road deaths in Denmark (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 3.2 road deaths per 100,000 of the population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2015.
Always wear seatbelts. You must drive with dipped headlights at all times and they should be masked with special European opaque material available from most garages in the UK and Ireland. It is now law in Denmark to indicate before changing lanes on a motorway. You should carry a warning triangle in case of breakdowns.
Driving offences committed in Denmark may be reported to the UK authorities. Sanctions for speeding have become tougher. Those caught driving 100 kmh in a 50 kmh zone or past road works with a 50 kmh restriction may immediately lose their licence.
You must give due consideration to the many cyclists present in Danish cities. Cyclists often have the right of way. It is particularly important that you check cycle lanes before turning right. See the European Commission,AA and RAC guides on driving in Denmark.
You should check carefully whether any offers of employment for asphalting or seasonal work are genuine, as there have been examples of people being misled.