Yay! You made it! Velkommen til Danmark 🙂
In this post, I’ll discuss:
- converting currency and credit cards in Copenhagen
- transportation from the airport to your hotel
- public transportation and bike lanes
Arriving in Copenhagen: Cash or Card?
Are you hungry or thirsty from your long flight? Do you have a bankcard with an electronic chip? Or maybe you’d like to change your cash into Danish kroner (DKK)? Here’s the info on cash and card in Denmark:
- most everywhere takes card, and everyone has chip cards. When you use a foreign card, you’ll usually have to sign a paper receipt when you use your debit or credit card. I always make sure to have a pen with me in my purse, because there aren’t the electronic things to sign like we usually do in the States, and also because some places aren’t used to having people sign, so they don’t keep pens by the cash register.
- In the inner city (indre by), there are ATMs for tourists up and down the pedestrian shopping street (which is called Strøget. On a map, you may see Strøget, and some blocks are on streets called østergade, Amagertorv, Vimmelskaftet, Nygade, or Frederiksberggade. It stretches from Magasin du Nord by the Kongens Nytorv metro station to the town square, called Rådhusplads). You can get money out in Danish kroner, sometimes up to 1500 DKK. When I was a student at DIS, I paid for most things in cash to avoid small international transaction fees each time I used my card.
- If you’d like to change currency at the airport, there is a currency exchange right in the baggage claim (unsure if they take a commission) and one near the information desk (on your left after you exit the baggage claim and go into the arrivals hall). The one outside of baggage claim in the arrivals hall says it doesn’t take a commission, but I haven’t ever used it, so I can’t say how it is for certain. There are also currency exchanges up and down Strøget, if you’d like to change currency while you’re out (but I’m pretty sure they do take a commission).
Other notes on money in Copenhagen: coins are worth a lot! The 20kr coin is about $3 USD! Save your coins! And also, tips are not expected when you go out to restaurants. Going out may seem more expensive (some places you have to pay for water), but you can think of it as having the tip built-in. If you do want to tip, 10% at a nice place is more than sufficient (according to many Danes).
Arriving in Copenhagen: How do I get to my Hotel?
After you get your bags from baggage claim at the Copenhagen airport and walk through the ‘nothing to declare’ doors, you’ll come into a large arrivals hall. (If I’m available and can take off work, I’ll try to meet you there!). It’s a big airport, and people line up right outside the arrivals door–it can be a bit much after a long flight and little sleep! Fortunately, Copenhagen Airport (in Dansk, it’s called ‘lufthavn’ which is literally ‘air port/harbor) has you covered. On the floor there are red stickers leading you to the metro, train, and taxi stand, and there is an information desk with helpful, English-speaking staff. After you leave the ‘nothing to declare doors,’ take a left to find the information desk 🙂
**there’s also a Danish bakery called Lagkagehuset right by the information desk, if you’re looking for a coffee and a pastry, or there’s a Starbucks to your right after you exit baggage claim, if you want something more familiar.
Depending on where you’re staying in the city and your budget, you could take either taxi, s-tog, or metro to your hotel.
Many places are within a five to ten minute walk of a metro station (for example:
- AC Hotel Bella Sky by Marriott in København S is right by the Bella Center station
- Kongens Nytorv drops you off about a five to ten minute walk to The Strand, Best Western, Scandic Front, Wakeup Copenhagen, Phoenix Copenhagen, Hotel Sankt Annæ, Hotel Maritime, in København K
- Nørreport station will put you very close to Hotel Kong Arthur, Hotel Windsor, and Hotel Jørgensen
You can take the train directly to Copenhagen Central Station, or København H (which happens to be right across the street from Tivoli!). It’s in Vesterbro, which used to be a more sketchy part of town, but is now becoming a hip arts area. If you’d like to avoid walking past strip clubs to get to your hotel, take a different route than down Istegade. **Note–you’re really never in danger in Copenhagen. It’s still safe to be there, but you might be approached by a prostitute, or offered to buy cocaine! Vesterbro is really a nice neighborhood though, it’s just this one stretch of street. Anton lives at Gasværksvej, which is just a couple of streets over, in a great location near the meatpacking district (kødbyen), the lakes, and some beautiful parks. Read more about things to do and places to go here.
Taxis are probably the least amount of hassle. At the airport you can get in line at the taxi stand, and once you’re at your hotel, they can call a taxi. You may be able to hail one on the street, or if you have an international phone plan or a SIM card you can call 4×27 (27 27 27 27) for a cab. More on international phone plans and SIM cards in the next section. Also, so sorry, but Uber is illegal in Europe, and so your app won’t work here.
Bikes, bike lanes, and pedestrians
In the city, be sure to really be on the lookout for bicycles! Bikes get their own lanes between the sidewalks and the streets. Try not to step into them on accident, or else you might hear an angry bike bell and a biker skidding to a stop!
General transportation info:
If you’re coming to visit Copenhagen and looking for a fast and efficient way to explore the city, consider using public transportation–it’s a totally different experience from regularly tardy trains and sketchy busses in the US, and the subways are much cleaner than the ones in NYC (sorry NYC! <3) Actually, most Danes primarily use public transportation (and bikes) to get around. For example, Anton’s mom uses the train to commute into the city, Anton takes the bus forty-five minutes to school, and most everyone can bike or walk everywhere they need to go too.
Really be prepared to walk everywhere! When I studied here, I was shocked to find that places that seem far apart on a map are actually SO close. Plan for lots of walking, but also know that there are tons of cafes, bakeries, and small bars where you can have a quick drink and a rest. Also, the public bathrooms are really quite nice. Honestly, I recommend checking out the public bathrooms at Nyhavn! They’re clean, well-lit, and staffed 🙂
Click here to access the interactive version of the map you see below:
Enjoy your stay in Copenhagen! 🙂