The Jutland peninsula and 400 surrounding islands that form one of Europe’s smallest countries once spawned a seafaring race of people feared throughout northwestern Europe. Today, visitors to Denmark find a country that is peaceful, introspective, neutral and egalitarian. This is the epitome of a modern, civilised society, one especially noted for its progressive policies, widespread tolerance and a liberal social welfare system.
Inland from the 4800km (3000 miles) of white-sand beaches and unspoiled islands, you’ll find a landscape eminently suitable for cycling. Sleepy villages clustered around whitewashed churches occupy a landscape of heather moors, rolling hills and rich farmland dotted with windmills and thatched farmhouses. Ferries ply between the mainland and the islands, competing with awesome bridges like the 16km (10 miles) Øresund link to Sweden.
The nation that produced the great story-teller, Hans Christian Andersen, continues to have as its hallmarks good taste, world-class design and uniformly high standards that apply equally to its cuisine, accommodation and transport. Add to this a people both amiable and helpful, with a facility for languages, and the result is an overwhelming sense of welcome.
From the spirited nightlife and lively cafe and music scene of its capital, Copenhagen, home to world-renowned museums and cultural activities (not least the splendor of the Tivoli Gardens), to a countryside that abounds in Renaissance churches, medieval castles and 18th-century fishing villages, Denmark is a synergy of harmonious relationships.
Normal courtesies should be observed. Guests should refrain from drinking until the host toasts his or her health. Casual dress is suitable for most places but formal wear is required at more exclusive dining rooms and social functions. Smoking is restricted on public transport and in some public buildings.
Hotels and restaurants quote fully inclusive prices and tipping is not necessary. Taxi fares include tips. Railway porters and washroom attendants receive tips.
The national airlines are SAS (SK) and Mærsk Air (DM). The major carriers are SAS and British Airways.
Approximate flight times
From Copenhagen to London is 1 hour 50 minutes (from Århus to London is 1 hour 40 minutes), to Los Angeles is 11 hours 15 minutes, to New York is 7 hours 40 minutes, to Singapore is 15 hours 5 minutes and to Sydney is 22 hours 50 minutes.
Copenhagen (CPH) (Kastrup) is 8km (5 miles) southeast of the city (travel time – 15 to 30 minutes). A new rail link between the airport and main railway station in Copenhagen has facilitated travel to the city (travel time – 12 minutes). There are also high-speed Intercity trains to Funen (travel time – 1 hour) and Jutland (travel time – 2 hours) with additional connections to Malmø (Sweden) on a 30-minute journey via the Øresund link. There are also regular bus services from the airport departing every 10 to 20 minutes (travel time – 20 minutes). Airport facilities include an outgoing duty-free shop, a wide range of car hire firms (Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt), bank/bureau de change, and several restaurants and bars. Direct scheduled flights to Copenhagen operate from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dublin, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle.
Århus (AAR) (Tirstrup) is 44km (27 miles) from the city. Buses connect with flight arrivals; taxis are also available. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, a wide range of car hire firms, bank/bureau de change, a post office and a restaurant. Direct scheduled flights to Århus operate from London Heathrow.
Billund Airport (BLL) (Billund) is approximately 2km (1.3 miles) from Legoland. Direct scheduled flights to Billund operate from London Gatwick and Manchester.
Denmark’s major ports are Copenhagen, Esbjerg, Frederikshavn, Hanstholm and Hirtshals. There are regular ferries to and from the Faroe Islands, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK. DFDS Seaways sail from Harwich to Esbjerg three times a week all year round. They also operate services between Harwich and Cuxhaven, Copenhagen and Oslo and Copenhagen and Gdansk. The major ferry operators from Germany, Norway and Sweden are Color Line, Flyvebådene, Scandlines and Stena Line. North Jutland is connected to the Faroes, Iceland, Norway and Scotland during the summer by ferries sailing once a week. There are no departure taxes when leaving Denmark by sea.
Cruise lines calling at Copenhagen include CTC, Lauro, Lindblad Travel, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Viking.
Copenhagen is connected by rail to all other major European cities, and typical express journey times from Copenhagen are: to London 26 hours; to Hamburg 4 hours 30 minutes; to Berlin 11 hours 25 minutes. All international trains connect with ferries where applicable.
All the major road networks of Europe connect with ferry services to Copenhagen; it is advisable to book ferries in advance. The completion of the 18km (11 mile-long) toll Great Belt bridge and tunnel, linking Copenhagen (which is situated on the island of Sjælland) with the island of Funen, now provides the first seamless surface connection from the European continent to Copenhagen. It includes the world’s second-longest suspension bridge at 6.5km (4 miles) long. A second bridge and tunnel, the Øresund connection, links Copenhagen with Malmø in Sweden. This consists of an 8km (5 mile) bridge and an 8km (5 mile) tunnel linked by an artificial island. Tolls are applicable for both bridges. Eurolines, departing from Victoria Coach Station in London, serves destinations in Denmark. For further information, contact Eurolines, 4 Cardiff Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU1 1PP, UK (tel: (08705) 143 219; fax: (01582) 400 694;
See Travel – Internal for information on documentation and traffic regulations.
The following goods may be imported into Denmark without incurring customs duty by:
(a) Non-Danish residents arriving from an EU country with duty-paid goods purchased in an EU country:
1.5l of spirits or 20l of wine (over 22 per cent); 90l of table wine; 300 cigarettes or 150 cigarillos or 75 cigars or 400g of tobacco; other commodities, including beer: no limit.
(b) Residents of non-EU countries entering from outside the EU (excluding Greenland) with goods purchased in non-EU countries:
1l of spirits or 2l of sparkling wine (maximum 22 per cent); 2l of table wine; 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extracts; 100g of tea or 40g of tea extracts; 50g of perfume; 250ml of eau de toilette; other articles, including beer: up to DKr700.
Alcohol and tobacco allowances are for those aged 17 or over only, coffee and coffee extracts allowances are for those aged 15 or over. It is forbidden to import fresh foods into Denmark unless vacuum packed.
Abolition of duty free goods within the EU
On 30 June 1999, the sale of duty free alcohol and tobacco at airports and at sea was abolished in all of the original 15 EU member states. Of the 10 new member states that joined the EU on May 1 2004, these rules already apply to Cyprus and Malta. There are transitional rules in place for visitors returning to one of the original 15 EU countries from one of the other new EU countries. But for the original 15, plus Cyprus and Malta, there are now no limits imposed on importing tobacco and alcohol products from one EU country to another (with the exceptions of Denmark, Finland and Sweden, where limits are imposed). Travelers should note that they may be required to prove at customs that the goods purchased are for personal use only.
The network of scheduled services radiates from Copenhagen (Kastrup). Other airports well served by domestic airlines include Ålborg, Århus, Billund, Esbjerg, Karup, Rønne, Skrydstrup, Sønderborg and Thisted. Domestic airports are generally situated between two or more cities which are within easy reach of each other. Domestic flights are usually of no more than 30 minutes’ duration. Limousines are often available. Discounts are available on certain tickets bought inside Denmark. Family, children and young person’s discounts are also available.
There are frequent ferry sailings from Kalundborg to Århus, Ebeltoft to Sjællands Odde and Rønne to Copenhagen. The larger ferries usually have restaurants or cafes and may have TV, video and cinema lounges, shops, play areas for children and sleeping rooms. Local car ferries link most islands to the road network.
The main cities on all islands are connected to the rail network: Ålborg, Copenhagen, Esbjerg, Herning, Horsens, Odense and Randers. Danish State Railways (DSB) (tel: 7013 1418; operates a number of express trains called Lyntogs which provide long-distance, non-stop travel; it is often possible to purchase newspapers, magazines and snacks onboard these trains. Payphones are also available. There is also a new type of intercity train called the IC3 , which is even faster and more direct. Seat reservations are compulsory. Children under 10 years old travel free. There are also price reductions for persons over 65 and groups of eight people or more. The Englænderen boat-train runs between Esbjerg and Copenhagen and connects with ferries from the UK. DSB passenger fares are based on a zonal system. The cost depends on the distance traveled; the cost per kilometer is reduced the longer the journey. The Scanrail Pass allows unlimited travel within Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. First-class prices for adults are approximately £297 for 21 days and £167 for five days out of 15. As elsewhere in Europe, Inter-Rail passes are valid in Denmark. Bus and ferry and, of course, rail tickets may be purchased at all railway stations.
The road system in the Danish archipelago makes frequent use of ferries. Country buses operate where there are no railways, but there are few private long-distance coaches. Motorways are not subject to toll duty. Emergency telephones are available on motorways and there is a national breakdown network similar to the AA in Britain called Falck, which can be called out 24 hours a day. There are petrol stations on motorways, generally with other services such as restaurants. Many petrol stations are automatic. A maximum of 10 liters of petrol is allowed to be kept as a reserve in suitably safe containers. The Danish Motoring Organization is Forenede Danske Motorejere (FDM), Firskovvej 32, PO Box 500, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby (tel: 7013 3040; fax: 4527 0993. Speed limits are 110kph (66mph) on motorways, 80kph (48mph) on other roads and 50kph (30mph) in built-up areas (signified by white plates with town silhouettes). Speed laws are strictly enforced, and heavy fines are levied on the spot; the car is impounded if payment is not made. Cycling: There are cycle lanes along many roads and, in the countryside, many miles of scenic cycle track. Bikes can easily be taken on ferries, trains, buses and domestic air services. Car hire: Available to drivers over the age of 20, and can be reserved through travel agents or airlines. However, many car rental firms will only hire vehicles out to drivers over 25 years of age. Regulations: Traffic drives on the right. The wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Motorcyclists must wear helmets and drive with dipped headlights at all times. Headlamps on all vehicles should be adjusted for right-hand driving. All driving signs are international. Documentation: A national driving license is acceptable. EU nationals taking their own cars to Denmark are strongly advised to obtain a Green Card. Without it, insurance cover is limited to the minimum legal cover in Denmark; the Green Card tops this up to the level of cover provided by the car owner’s domestic policy.
Car repair is often available at petrol stations; costs include 25 per cent VAT on labor and materials, which is not refunded when you leave the country. Parking: Parking in cities is largely governed by parking discs, available from petrol stations, post offices, tourist offices, banks and some police stations. These allow up to three hours parking in car parks. Kerbside parking is allowed for one hour Mon-Fri 0900-1700, Sat 0900-1300 unless stated otherwise. The hand of the disc should point to the quarter hour following time of arrival. The disc is to be placed on the side of the screen nearest the kerb. Where discs do not apply, parking meters regulate parking. Parking on a metered space is limited to three hours Mon-Fri 0900-1800, Sat 0900-1300. Meter charges differ according to the area of the city.
The following chart gives approximate travel times from Copenhagen (in hours and minutes) to other major cities/towns in Denmark.
Denmark is the smallest Scandinavian country, consisting of the Jutland peninsula, north of Germany, and over 400 islands of various sizes, some inhabited and linked to the mainland by ferry or bridge. The landscape consists mainly of low-lying, fertile countryside broken by beech woods, small lakes and fjords. Greenland and the Faroe Islands are also under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark, although both have home rule. The Faroe Islands are a group of 18 islands in the North Atlantic inhabited by a population of 47,120 (2001), whose history dates back to the Viking period. Fishing and sheep farming are the two most important occupations. Tórshavn (population 18,812 (2001)), the capital of the Faroes, is served by direct flights from Copenhagen. During the summer months, there are direct flights from Aberdeen and Glasgow.