Denmark is one of the few countries in Europe that can be really proud of its public transportation system. Copenhagen is no exception. Public transportation in Copenhagen is the best way to get around the city when your feet get tired from exploring the most walkable city in Europe.
The Danish capital offers unlimited travel with the Copenhagen Card, which lets you ride the metro, the S-train, city buses, harbour buses, and boats for free. Besides public transport, you can get around the city by bike, on foot, with taxi and car being the least used means of transport in Copenhagen. Keep reading to find out which is the most convenient way to get around the city, whether you are traveling solo or with a big family.
But before you hit the road, don't forget that you can always drop your bags at one of our Copenhagen luggage storage spots!
Which tickets do I need to get around Copenhagen?
Copenhagen is divided into 9 zones and the price of a ticket depends on how many zones you will pass through. This may be confusing to some, but all you need to remember is that to get around Copenhagen you will need a two zone ticket which costs about $4.00. If your trip includes a stop at Copenhagen airport then you will need to purchase a three zone ticket.
If you don't want to be doing all that math, a Copenhagen Card has you covered. This all-inclusive card is a must for every traveler visiting Copenhagen. Not only does it give you unlimited public transport throughout the city and Copenhagen airport, but you also get free admission to more than 80 top attractions in Copenhagen, including museums, Tivoli Gardens, canal tours, discounts on restaurants and a lot more!
The Copenhagen Card can be used anywhere from 24 to 120 hours. You can order it online and choose whether you want a digital or physical card. A 24-hour Copenhagen Card will cost you $66 for adults and half the price for children. If you are a family of four, this sounds like a great deal, as each adult can take two children under the age of 9 with them for free.
A City Pass, on the other hand, is valid for all public transportation, be it bus, train, metro or harbour buses from zones 1 to 4, but this ticket doesn't let you get into attractions and sights for free. You can buy the City Pass online, for about $12. 85 for adults and half the price for children.
How to get around Copenhagen by train
Getting on the train in Copenhagen is as easy as it gets. The train system in the city is known as S-tog or the S-train, and refers to the main rail transport network. This suburban train network has seven routes, all leaving Copenhagen Central Station and interconnecting with the Metro lines.
For those landing at the Copenhagen Airport and who need to connect to the Copenhagen Central station, you can easily hop on the S-tog. Trains in Copenhagen are very frequent, operating every four to 20 minutes from 5 am to 12.30 am every day. Friday and Saturday night you can ride the S-tog every hour, or every half an hour on the F line.
Here is the good part regarding tickets; you can use the same ticket that you use on the metro and the bus, as long as you are passing through the same zones. You can purchase tickets from ticketing machines in the train and metro station, buy them online, or download the DOT Mobilbilletter app. A trip from Copenhagen City Centre to the Lousiana Museum of Modern art will cost you around $8 each way.
Towns on the outskirts of Copenhagen that are included in the suburb train network are Helsingor and Koge.
How to get around Copenhagen by metro
The Metro system in Copenhagen is one of the best in Europe. Residents and tourists can hop on the metro and get to every neighborhood in the city, including Copenhagen City Centre, the central station and the airport. There are four metro lines: M1, M3, M3 and M4 and all run 24/7. This is very convenient for getting places when exploring Copenhagen at night.
The metro trains link at Nørreport station as it's the transfer station to the S-tog train system. Like the S-tog rail trains, the metro trains run frequently; every 2-3 minutes during rush hour, and 8-20 minutes at night. If you are planning on getting around the city by metro, a two zone ticket has got you covered. It costs about $3.86 for adults, and half price for children under 15.
If you have a valid ticket you get to travel with children 12 and younger for free. Have in mind that a single journey ticket is only valid for two hours. You can purchase metro tickets at all ticket machines that can be found inside the metro stations, or through the DOT Mobilbilletter app online.
How to get around Copenhagen by bus
Riding the bus is one of the best forms of transportation in Denmark. The buses in Copenhagen excel in every field, be it cleanliness, efficiency, cost, or time-keeping. They run 24/7 every 2-4 minutes during peak times and 10-12 minutes during normal hours.
Most buses leave from Rådhuspladsen in the city centre. If you are only planning on traveling within the city and to most popular neighborhoods like Vesterbro, Osterbro or Frederiksberg, you will need a two zone ticket. Expect to pay as little as $3.86 for a single journey ticket and half the price for children 15 and younger.
Adults on public transport who have a valid ticket can travel with two children age 12 and younger for free. The same rule goes for one adult riding the bus. Have in mind that a single journey ticket will only be valid for two hours, but it allows unlimited transfers within the zone where you started your ride. You can either purchase tickets on the bus for which you will need cash, or buy a ticket online via the DOT Mobilbilletter app.
There are 4 types of buses in Copenhagen: A-buses, S-buses, harbour buses and night buses. There are seven A-buses in central Copenhagen operating 24 hours a day, every 3-7 minutes in peak times and every 10 minutes at other times.
The S-buses are suburban buses running every 5-10 minutes during peak times, and every 20 minutes at other times. There are eight S-buses and they all run from 6 am till 1 am. Night buses run between 1 am and 5 am every night.
For those looking for a little different form of travel, the harbour buses (boats) run as the normal buses, but you get to see Copenhagen from the water. These yellow harbor buses make nine stops up and down the main canal, starting at Sluseholmen in the south to Refshaleøen. The harbour bus runs from 6. 25 am to 8.25 pm Monday - Friday and 10 am to 8. 30 pm Saturday and Sunday.
How to get around Copenhagen by car
Traveling by car is not a very popular form of transportation in Copenhagen. Only 9 percent of the residents use cars for commuting every day. Let's say the reason you may need a rental car in Copenhagen is if you want to take day trips outside the city.
But even then, you can get to almost every popular place on the outskirts of the city by train. Unless you are a family of five and looking to drive a car around Copenhagen, or take regular day trips outside the city, renting a car is completely unnecessary, especially with the struggle to find parking which in the end will cost a pretty penny.
Can I use a taxi in Copenhagen?
Using a taxi in Copenhagen is really unnecessary, and quite expensive, especially if you get stuck in rush hour. But in case you need to take a taxi, they are easy to find too. For those traveling in and out of Copenhagen Central Station, there are many taxis available for hire just outside the station. If you need a taxi to get to the city from Copenhagen Airport you will find taxis just outside Terminal 1 and 3.
Taxi ranks can also be found at various points around the city, and you can hail one on the street too. If the yellow sign "taxa" is lit, it means the taxi is available and will stop to pick you up. Also, most hotels offer taxi service at good rates.
Taxi fares are different depending on the company, but it goes without saying that taxis in Copenhagen are the most expensive form of transport in the city.
Can I get around Copenhagen by foot?
Where are you planning to stay in Copenhagen? Maybe choose a walkable area. Although large, Copenhagen is pretty compact, and as such it is best explored on foot, especially central Copenhagen. With most famous landmarks located within walking distance, getting around the city would cost nothing.
There are many pedestrianized areas in Copenhagen, Denmark. From Indre By and Nyhavn to Latin Quarter and Vesterbro, the streets are packed with tourists and locals looking for the best deal or best place to sit down for a coffee.
Stroget street is the largest pedestrianized shopping street in Europe. The 2 miles long street in the city centre is filled with shops, bars, restaurants and you can walk from one end to the other without worrying about cars on the road. There is no doubt that the best way to explore Copenhagen is by foot, so make sure to grab a good pair of shoes before you hit the road.
How to get around Copenhagen by bike
Another great and inexpensive way to get around the city is by bike and electric scooter. After Amsterdam, Copenhagen is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. The reason behind this is the city's extensive networks of cycle lanes and cycle highways which makes cycling in Copenhagen the safest form of transportation.
In fact, cycling in Copenhagen is so popular that over 60 percent of the residents use this form of transportation to commute to work or school daily. Only 9 percent of the population in Copenhagen drive. This means there are more bikes than cars.
If you want to explore Copenhagen on two wheels, get familiar with Bycyklen, Copenhagen's City Bike rental project. This project includes a large network of "Smart Bikes" that can be rented from the docking stations on the streets all over Copenhagen. A touchscreen tablet on the electric bicycle lets you pay for the rental or you can pay via their website.
What's even better is the GPS navigation system and info you can find on each bike, something every tourist will appreciate. The bikes also feature multispeed electric motors and locks. Another option to rent a bike is through Donkey Republic, which allows people to rent a bike online through their mobile app.
If you are traveling a long distance and get tired, you can also take your bicycle on the metro but you need to buy a bicycle ticket for this. Have in mind that bikes are not allowed on the metro Mondays to Fridays from 7 am-9 am and 3.30 pm-5.30 pm.
Final Thoughts on Transportation
You see, with so many means of transportation, getting around Copenhagen can not get any easier. For those traveling on a budget, walking or renting a bicycle is the best solution. But if that is not an option for you, then public transportation is not only easy to use but very affordable too, even if you are traveling with the entire family.