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.
Last updated: 14 February 2019
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.
As of 1 August 2018, it’s illegal in Denmark to wear in a public place any clothing that conceals the face.
On 4 January 2016, the Danish authorities increased border controls at the land border with Germany and at all crossing points to Sweden. If you’re travelling from Germany using the land border, or by rail, road, or ferry from Sweden you should make sure you have your passport with you. Allow additional time, be vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. Check with local media, your carrier, ferry operator Scanlines and Danish State Railways (DSB) for more information.
When crossing from Denmark to Sweden various forms of ID are accepted, but must include a photograph, the holder’s full name, social security number or date of birth, holders signature, a stated validity and information on the issuing authority. Children under 18 accompanied by an adult with the appropriate ID are not required to carry ID themselves.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Denmark. Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places frequented by foreigners. You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.
There were over 850,000 overnight stays in Denmark by British tourists in 2017. Most visits are trouble-free. However petty crime such as pickpocketing exists, particularly in larger cities.
If you’re living in or moving to Denmark, visit our Living in Denmark guide in addition to this travel advice.
If you need to contact the emergency services call 112.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
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.
Safety and security
Crime levels are generally low, but pickpockets and bag-snatchers operate in crowded areas mainly around Copenhagen.
Be aware that thieves can use a variety of methods to distract you, particularly when getting on and off from crowded public transport. 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. You should also keep an eye on luggage, including in the overhead baggage compartment when travelling on trains to and from the airport.
This kind of crime is more common 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. Pickpockets are also known to operate inside Kastrup airport.
You should take extra care in Christiania and Nørrebro, particularly late at night. There have been a number of disturbances in these areas with instances of violence between gangs and minority groups. These have included stabbings and shootings, although they tend to be localised, and often gang related. 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.
Bicycles are widely used in Denmark and cycle lanes are commonplace. Many accidents occur when pedestrians don’t give the right of way to bicycles. Guides on cycling in Denmark have been published in English on the websites of Visit Copenhagen and Cyklistforbundet (Danish Cyclists’ Federation).
Ferries are available to transport you to Denmark’s many islands.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to be able to drive in Denmark and other EU/EEA countries as a visitor after 29 March 2019.
There are 3 types of IDP. Check that you have the correct permits covering all countries where you will be driving - you may need more than one IDP. For full information, check this guidance page.
You should also check guidance on driving in the EU after Brexit for information on other additional documents you may need to carry.
If you’re living in Denmark, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
Road conditions in Denmark are good and driving standards are fairly high. In 2016 there were 215 road deaths in Denmark (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 3.8 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 2016.
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.
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.
There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Don’t get involved with drugs of any kind. Although Denmark is generally a liberal society, drug use is illegal and laws are enforced. You will not be treated more leniently than residents. Drug dealers can receive heavy sentences. Anyone found in possession of illegal drugs deemed to be for personal consumption will often receive a police fine or a short prison sentence.
As of 1 August 2018, it’s illegal in Denmark to wear in a public place any clothing which conceals the face. Failure to comply with this law is punishable by a fine of DKK1000 (around €135). The fine can increase for repeat offenders. The law applies to both residents and visitors.
Homosexuality is legal and Danish law allows same sex marriages.
Whale meat is available in The Faroe Islands but importing it into the UK/EU is illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Any importation of whale meat to the UK/EU will result in seizure of the goods, possibly a fine of up to £5,000 and a custodial sentence.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
On 4 January 2016, the Danish authorities increased border controls at the land border with Germany. If you’re travelling to Denmark from Germany using the land border, you should make sure you have your passport with you.
The Swedish authorities have announced additional immigration controls when entering Sweden, including when travelling from Denmark to Sweden. This may cause delays to your journey and you should make sure you carry a passport or other valid identity document with you if you plan to travel from Denmark to Sweden.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
However, if the UK leaves the European Union with no deal, the passport validity rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change from 29 March 2019. Some passports with up to 15 months validity remaining may not be valid for travel. Before booking travel, you should check that your passport will meet these new rules and find out whether you need to renew it.
If the UK leaves with a deal, travel to the EU will remain the same as now until at least 31 December 2020. You will not need to apply for a visa to travel or work in the EU during this time.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the rules for travelling or working in Europe will change after 29 March 2019.
The European Commission has proposed that in a no deal situation, if you are a British Citizen, you would not need a visa for short stays in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU. You would be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Visits to the Schengen area within the previous 180 days before your date of travel will count against the 90-day limit.
If you are intending to stay in the Schengen area for longer than 90 days, or your stay would take you over the 90 days in the 180-day limit, you may need to get a visa before you travel.
Travel to EU countries currently outside the Schengen area (Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Cyprus) would not count towards the 90-day total.
On arrival in the Schengen Area, you may be asked to confirm that you have sufficient funds available for the duration of your stay. As non-EEA nationals, different border control checks will apply, and you may also be asked to show a return or onward ticket. UK nationals would not have an ongoing right to use the separate lanes provided for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals.
The 90-day visa-free period does not entitle you to work in the Schengen area. Most countries will require a visa and work permit.
You should check with the Danish Embassy what type of visa, if any, you will need.
Greenland and the Faroes aren’t members of the European Union. You don’t need a visa to enter for tourism, but you should get a work and residence permit before entry if you intend to live and work there.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Denmark. Your ETD must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, access to healthcare for British nationals travelling or living in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is likely to change. More information about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting Denmark is available on the NHS website.
You should still get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. UK-issued EHICs will remain valid until 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Danish nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
The UK government has or is seeking agreements with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after 29 March 2019. The NHS website and this travel advice will be updated with further information on travelling to Denmark as the circumstances change.
Whether you’re travelling before or after 29 March, it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for emergency medical treatment and associated costs. The existing EHIC arrangements are not an alternative to travel insurance, as some health-related costs, including for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment, are not covered. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you’re living in Denmark, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Denmark guide.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
Faroe Islands and Greenland
As non EEA members, the EHIC scheme is not directly applicable for use in Greenland or the Faroe Islands. However, if you travel to Greenland or the Faroe Islands, you should still take your EHIC with you. The UK has reciprocal agreements with Greenland and the Faroe Islands under which British nationals can receive medical treatment equivalent to that which an EHIC would offer. You’ll need to provide proof of identity, including proof of nationality. Like the EHIC, this arrangement isn’t a substitute for travel insurance.
The currency in Denmark is the Danish Krone, not the Euro.
Large numbers of British nationals travel successfully and safely in and around the Arctic each year. The Arctic is, however, a vast region, comprising the northerly areas of Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Alaska (United States). In addition to reading the specific travel advice for each of these countries, prospective visitors to the Arctic should also consider carefully the potential remoteness of certain destinations from search and rescue, evacuation and medical facilities. Independent travellers are particularly advised to develop contingency arrangements for emergency back-up.
The most popular way of visiting the Arctic is by ship. As some areas of the Arctic -specifically the more northerly and remote regions - can be uncharted and ice-covered, you should check the previous operational experience of cruise and other operators offering travel in the region. You should also consider the on-board medical facilities of cruise ships and talk to cruise operators as appropriate, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
The eight Arctic States take their international search and rescue obligations very seriously, and have recently signed a binding agreement on search and rescue co-operation in the Arctic. However, in the highest latitude regions of the Arctic, cruise ships may be operating in relative isolation from other vessels and/or inhabited areas. You should be aware that in these regions, search and rescue response will often need to be despatched from many hundreds of miles away, and assistance to stranded vessels may take several days to arrive, particularly in bad weather. Search and rescue assets are also likely to offer only basic transport and basic medical care, and are unlikely to be capable of advanced life-support. Responsible cruise operators should happily provide additional information relevant to the circumstances of the cruise they are offering, and address any concerns you may have.
Consular assistance and support to British nationals in the Arctic will be affected by the capacity of national and local authorities. You should make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment or potential repatriation.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.