Denmark travel guide
Consistently ranked in the top three of the world's happiest nations, Denmark is a prosperous country with strong social benefits and low income inequality ratings.
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 pedestrianised city centre of Copenhagen is a breeze to navigate – visitors can feel the pulse of the city in the Meatpacking District, rummage around the antique shops in the multicultural Nørrebro neighbourhood, embrace communal living in Freetown Christiania, and of course there is 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 some of the best-preserved Viking ships ever uncovered and a smattering of pretty cafés, shops and galleries. Since 1971, the city also hosts the annual Roskilde Festival with all proceeds going directly to humanitarian and cultural causes.
Odense on the island of Funen is also a worthy diversion. The birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen (his yellow house on a cobbled street in the centre of Odense is now a poet museum), Odense is a cultural gem where you don’t have to wrestle with throngs of tourists.
To the north, the Jutland west coast stretches for more than 500km (311 miles) from the marshlands of South Jutland to drifting sand dunes and wide sandy beaches of North Jutland. Skagen, Denmark's northernmost town on the east coast of the Skagen Odde peninsula in the far north of Jutland, is a favourite holiday destination among Danish families who come to bask on golden beaches and watch scintillating Scandinavian sunsets. Life is blissful here, it is little wonder that Denmark is one of the world’s happiest countries.
43,098 sq km (16,640 sq miles).
5,773,664 (estimate 2019).
134 per sq km.
Queen Margrethe II since 1972.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen since June 2019.
This travel advice page also covers the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Before you travel
No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:
- advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
- information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers
If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.
This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Denmark set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact Denmark’s embassy in the UK.
There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for passengers entering Denmark, Greenland or the Faroe Islands.
Passport validity requirements
To travel to Denmark, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
To enter Denmark (and all Schengen countries) your passport must:
- have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive. Passports issued after 1 October 2018 are now valid for only 10 years, but for passports issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added if you renewed a passport early
- have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave
Contact Denmark’s embassy in the UK if your passport does not meet both these requirements.
Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document, or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.
Checks at border control
Make sure you get your passport stamped
If you’re a visitor, your passport must be stamped when you enter or leave the Schengen area (which includes Denmark). Border guards will use passport stamps to check you have not overstayed the 90-day visa-free limit for stays in the Schengen area. If your passport was not stamped, border guards will presume you have overstayed the visa-free limit.
If your passport was not stamped, show evidence of when and where you entered or left the Schengen area (for example, boarding passes or tickets) and ask the border guards to add the date and location in your passport.
If you live in Denmark, read the Living in Denmark guide for passport stamping information.
At Danish border control, you may also need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- prove that you have enough money for your stay – the amount varies depending on your accommodation
ID for travel from Denmark to Sweden
If you are travelling from Denmark to Sweden, see information on border control requirements.
You can travel without a visa to the Schengen area (including Denmark) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This applies if you travel:
- as a tourist
- to visit family or friends
- to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events
- for short-term studies or training
If you’re travelling to Denmark and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries in the 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.
To stay longer (to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons), you must meet the Danish government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa or work permit you need with the Danish visa application service.
If you stay in Denmark with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
Applying for a visa
Use the Danish visa application service to apply for a visa.
Visas for Greenland and the Faroe Islands
Greenland and the Faroe Islands are not members of the EU. You do not need a visa to enter for tourism. If you plan to live and work there, you must get a work and residence permit – apply for residence in Greenland or the Faroe Islands.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in:
- TravelHealthPro’s Denmark guide
- TravelHealthPro’s Faroe Islands guide
- TravelHealthPro’s Greenland guide
There are strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of Denmark. You can read more information about customs duties from the Danish government. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty, including large amounts of cash and valuables.
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
It is illegal to import whale products from Greenland or the Faroe islands into the UK or EU. You could be fined up to £5,000 or imprisoned.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.
Terrorism in Denmark
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Denmark.
Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners.
The authorities in Denmark have successfully disrupted a number of planned attacks and made a number of arrests.
Protecting your belongings
Crime levels are generally low, but pickpockets and bag-snatchers operate in crowded areas mainly around Copenhagen.
Thieves can use a variety of methods to distract you, particularly on crowded public transport. They sometimes also operate in hotel lobbies, cafes and restaurants.
Keep your personal belongings, including passports and money, safe. Keep an eye on luggage, including in the overhead baggage compartment, when travelling on trains to and from the airport.
Pickpocketing and bag-snatching is common in the following areas:
- the central station
- Nørreport Station
- the main shopping street, Strøget
- other areas popular with tourists such as Christiania, Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv
- inside Copenhagen Kastrup airport
You should take extra care in Christiania and Nørrebro, particularly late at night. There have been some instances of gang violence in these areas.
Laws and cultural differences
It’s illegal to wear any clothing that conceals your face in a public place in Denmark. There are legal exemptions – for example, face masks for health reasons. If you cover your face in public, you may get a fine of 1,000 krone (around £115). If you do it again, the fine can increase. The law applies to both residents and visitors.
Illegal drugs and prison sentences
Do not get involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Although Denmark is generally a liberal society, drug use is illegal and the Danish authorities enforce the law. You will not be treated more leniently than residents. Drug dealers can receive heavy sentences. If you are found with illegal drugs thought to be for personal consumption, you may get a fine or prison sentence.
Same-sex relationships and marriage are legal in Denmark.
Within Copenhagen you can use the same ticket on the metro, bus, train and harbour bus. If you travel without a ticket, you may get a fine of up to 1,000 krone (around £115).
You need a 1968 international driving permit (IDP) or a UK driving licence to drive in Denmark. The 1949 IDP is not accepted any more. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel. You can buy an IDP in person from some UK post offices – find your nearest post office branch that offers this service.
Be aware of the many cyclists present in Danish cities. Cyclists often have the right of way. Always check cycle lanes before turning right. Pedestrians also often have right of way to cross ahead of you if you are turning at traffic lights.
Driving a British car abroad
You may need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. Since 2021, UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check the government guidance on displaying number plates for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.
Bicycles and scooters
Many bicycle accidents occur when pedestrians do not give the right of way to bicycles. There are online guides in English on cycling in Denmark at Visit Copenhagen and the Danish Cyclists’ Federation (’Cyklistforbundet’).
Electric scooters are subject to road traffic rules. If you hire and use a scooter under the influence of alcohol, you could be prosecuted for drink-driving and you may be fined.
Consular assistance and support to British nationals in the Arctic is limited by the capacity of national and local authorities. Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment or potential repatriation.
Before you visit:
- consider the remote nature of certain destinations and access to medical facilities, search and rescue and evacuation options
- have emergency plans in place, particularly if you are an independent traveller
Sea travel in the Arctic
Most people visit the Arctic by ship. Some areas of the Arctic are uncharted and ice-covered. Before you travel:
- check the experience and credentials of operators offering travel in the region
- consider the on-board medical facilities and discuss any pre-existing medical conditions with the cruise operator
Search and rescue
In the highest latitude regions of the Arctic, cruise ships may be isolated from other vessels or populated areas. Be aware that:
- search and rescue response may be very far away
- assistance to stranded vessels may take several days to arrive, particularly in bad weather
- search and rescue teams will only offer basic transport and medical care; they are unlikely to be able to offer advanced life support
Travel between towns is by air, sea or dog-sled only. Arctic weather can, and does, affect travel, and you should be prepared for delays and cancellations.
There is limited tourist accommodation around the international airport in Kangerlussuaq. During busy periods or when there is travel disruption, there may be no beds available unless you have booked ahead.
Supply chains are limited and travel times are long. You should ensure you travel with sufficient prescription medication for all of your time in Greenland.
The Faroe Islands
Smaller roads may be unpaved and winding.
The weather can change quickly, and you should prepare appropriately for the activity you are planning.
Before you travel check that:
- your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
- you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation
This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.
Emergency medical number
Dial 112 and ask for an ambulance.
Contact your insurance or medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
For more information read guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe.
Vaccinations and health risks
At least 8 weeks before your trip check:
- the latest information on vaccinations and health risks in TravelHealthPro’s Denmark guide, Greenland guide or Faroe Islands guide
- where to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.
The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.
Denmark does not recognise UK prescriptions. If you need medication, you should speak to a local pharmacist (‘Apotek’), who will be able to tell you if you need a prescription from a local GP.
Healthcare facilities in Denmark
FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Denmark.
COVID-19 healthcare in Denmark
Health insurance cards
Apply for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC, it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.
The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state-provided medical treatment necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Danish nationals. If you do not have your card with you or you’ve lost it, contact the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team.
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. A GHIC or EHIC does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
GHIC and EHIC cover state healthcare only, not private treatment. You will be responsible for the cost of any treatment provided by a private doctor or private clinic.
If you’re living in Denmark, read more information on healthcare for residents.
No treatment will be refused, but an EHIC or GHIC will not cover the costs unless you are resident of a Nordic country, under the reciprocal agreement, or a resident of Denmark. You can find more details about medical assistance available during a temporary stay in Greenland.
You may also be required to cover the cost of medical evacuation.
You cannot use a GHIC or EHIC in the Faroe Islands because they are not EEA members. The UK has reciprocal agreements with the Faroe Islands, so British nationals can get the same medical treatment they would with a GHIC or EHIC. This arrangement is not a substitute for travel insurance.
If you travel to the Faroe Islands, you should still take your GHIC or EHIC with you. You’ll need to provide proof of identity and nationality, such as your UK passport.
Travel and mental health
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.
Emergency services in Denmark
Telephone: 112 (ambulance, fire, police).
Contact your travel provider and insurer
Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.
Refunds and changes to travel
For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.
Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:
- where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
- how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim
Support from FCDO
FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:
- finding English-speaking lawyers, funeral directors and translators and interpreters in Denmark
- dealing with a death in Denmark
- being arrested in Denmark
- getting help if you’re a victim of crime
- what to do if you’re in hospital
- if you’re affected by a crisis, such as a terrorist attack
You can also contact FCDO online.
Help abroad in an emergency
If you are in Denmark and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British embassy in Copenhagen.
FCDO in London
You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.
Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)
Risk information for British companies
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.