Denmark is one of the best places in the world for cyclists!
Denmark is famous for its cycling culture and Danes cycle all year round, no matter the weather conditions, and let’s be honest, rain and wind are not uncommon here in Denmark. Denmark is one of the best places in the world for cyclists! In fact, it was voted to be “The Best City for Cyclist” and “Worlds Most Liveable City”. You can read more about Denmark’s cycling culture here. Most Danes own a bicycle and Danish children learn to cycle at a young age. In Copenhagen 36% of commuters go to work by bike. Cycling is widely practised across the country due to the many cycle lanes that provide a safe and secure environment for cyclists. You may notice that a large number of cyclists’ wear helmets. Doing so is not compulsory (yet) but it is strongly advised especially for children. You don’t need a bicycle card, but there are certain rules and hand signals, which you should use when biking in Denmark. You can read about the rules and hand signals here. You can find out more about cycling in Denmark here.
Second-hand bikes are very common, since many of the bikers need bikes that can withstand the ever-changing wheather we’re blessed with in Denmark. You can check out these two webpages for good second-hand bikes: secondhandbikes.dk and lauritz.com. If you buy your bike from a less known vendor, you might feel compelled to check if the bike is a stolen bike. You can do so on an app created by the Danish police: Politi. On this app you can type in the frame number and check it out. (The app has many other features too and the same thing can be done with cars for instance.)
Cycling is just one of the many options you have when it comes to transport in Denmark, you can choose to travel with Denmark’s modern, well-developed public transportation system or by car. In this section you can find out all about public transportation, registering your car or converting your driver’s licence.
Denmark has a well-developed, modern and safe public transportation system, that gives you the possibility to get around easily without a car. In most big cities there is a bus and regional train to choose from, and in Copenhagen there is also a metro. You can always find your way and plan your trip using the rejseplan (travel planner) website: rejseplanen.dk
Journey Planner / Rejseplanen
With Rejseplanen (Journey Planner), it is possible to plan your journey on trains and buses, and you can view timetables. The Journey Planner covers all of Denmark. This site is in Danish, English and German.
“Rejsekort” – an electronic ticketing system
Rejsekort is an electronic card on which you have a credit. You can use it for all means of transportation, in every bus, metro station or train station you find a poll with a blue light on which it’s written check ind or check ud. You simply check the card in and out using the poll with the blue light and the system calculates your travel cost. In other words, rejsekort is an electronic ticketing system for travelling by bus, train and metro. Rejsekort unites the different transport operators, travel zones, ticketing systems and discount schemes into a common system, which makes it easier for passengers to use public transport services in Denmark. With a rejsekort you do not need to check the zones, just check in and remember to check out when you end your journey! Read more here.
The Greater Copenhagen area s are divided into different zones. At bus stops and train/metro stations you will find coloured zone maps that inform you of the fare for your journey. The most expensive coloured zone you pass through on your journey from A to B determines the fare you have to pay. You pay for a minimum of two zones and a maximum of nine zones. You can take as many connections as you like on the Metro, the buses and the S-trains as long as your ticket is valid, and if they share the same ticket system. Buying single tickets is very expensive and we recommend that you either buy a monthly card or a rejsekort. You can buy your ticket at the ticket machine, at the station or on your mobile. You can download an app called DOT Mobilbiletter and buy a ticket through your phone. You can read more about the app here. You can read more about the transportation and tickets here.
Trains & Metro
There are several railway companies in Denmark. DSB is the biggest one and is owned by the Danish Ministry of Transport. DSB trains cover the whole country and DSB S-tog covers all suburban rail services in the greater Copenhagen area. DSB Customer Centre: (+45) 70 13 14 15. The welcome message is in English and the staff can speak English. Here you can book or buy tickets, get information about train services or other information about DSB. In the Greater Copenhagen area, you can get around using the S-train (DSB S-tog) and in inner Copenhagen, you can also use the Metro. To travel outside the Greater Copenhagen area, contact the DSB Customer Centre to book or buy tickets or to get information about train services in general. You can also travel around the country using local railways. Find out more here.
There are a lot of different bus companies operating all over Denmark. However, very few of them have an English website. In the city of Copenhagen and in the municipalities of Frederiksberg, Roskilde and Copenhagen, the buses are run by a bus company called Movia.
Fees for Children
A child under the age of 12 travelling alone must pay the child fare (until age 16), which is approximately 50 percent of an adult fare. Up to two children under 12 years old travel free when accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket or card. Up to four children under the age of 12 can travel together (without an adult) on one adult ticket.
Students and the “Ungdomskort”
If you are studying and use public transport to get to your school, it’s a good idea to get an “ungdomskort”. This is a cheaper solution if you use public transport daily, compared to the rejsekort. You can find more information here.
Dogs, Bicycles and Strollers
Note that you need special tickets to take public transport with dogs. You can take a stroller for free on public transport but make sure to place it in the designated stroller area. To take them on buses, you have to signal to the driver first and then enter through the middle exit with the stroller. If the bus is packed or if there are already two strollers on the bus, the driver is allowed to refuse another one.
If you are new in Denmark, you might not know that you can bring your bike for free in the S-trains – however it is not free on the metro! This is a great service, but it can also be a bit of challenge when you are doing so during rush-hours! This picture is from one of my tours a normal morning:
On my way this morning, I also met a Spanish mom and her son. He was counting the bikes; one, two, tre, fire, cinco, seis, syv, eight, ni, ti! – I am so impressed with these kids that has to learn two or more languages. Might be difficult at first, however such an advantage later on in life!
You can see the timetables at the bus stops, at the S-stations and online: S-trains: http://www.dsb.dk Buses: http://www.moviatra k.dk/Pages/home.aspx. Enter the bus number under ”Find din køreplan” (Find your timetable). Note that there are different timetables for weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays/Holidays.
Cars, Motorcycles and Driving in Denmark
If you are bringing a vehicle to Denmark, you need to register it within 30 days. Read about the rules here. You also need to get your vehicle inspected and approved. You can read more about the vehicles approval and inspection here.
Driving in Denmark – rules you need to know before driving a car or a motorcycle in Denmark
Always carry a valid driver’s license, the certificate of registration and proof of third party insurance.
Drive on the right, overtake on the left and make room for traffic coming from the right.
A warning/hazard triangle is obligatory in the car.
Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants.
Children less than 135 cm tall must use approved safety seating devices (child seat or booster seat) adapted to their height and weight.
If the car has been approved without seat belts, children under the age of 3 are not allowed in the car. Children over 3 years old but less than 135 cm tall must be seated in the back seat.
If the car has been approved with seat belts in the front seats, one child under 135 cm may be placed on the front seat in an approved safety seating devices (child seat or booster seat), adapted to their height and weight.
A safety helmet is compulsory.
Motorcycles are allowed to tow a trailer or trailer device, whereas mopeds are not.
For vehicles and motorcycles
Vehicles and motorcycles must use dipped headlamps even in the daytime and in clear weather. Fog lamps must only be used in foggy weather or heavy rain, and not in built-up areas.
The depth of the treads in the tyre must be at least 1.6 mm.
Studded tyres are not compulsory in Denmark. If fitted, they are only to be used between 1 November and 15 April, and only if fitted on all 4 wheels.
It is not permitted to drive a vehicle in Denmark while using a handheld mobile phone.
Indicator lights must be used when changing lanes on motorways, prior to and after overtaking. Violation amounts to a fine.
In case of sudden danger on motorways, such as sudden queues, warning lights must be activated in order to warn fellow-road users.
The minimum age for driving, provided you hold a driver’s licence, is 18 for both a car and a motorcycle.
Give way to buses that signal to pull out from bus stops.
As a rule, pedestrian crossings are zebra crossings.
Speed must be adjusted so as not to endanger pedestrians who are already in the crossing or those stepping into it.
At junctions and roundabouts, give way to pedestrians crossing the lane you are entering, and give way to cyclists and mopeds that are going straight when you want to turn.
When turning right, pay special attention to cyclists and mopeds as they have right of way.
It is forbidden to drive under the influence of alcohol or medication.
Click here for more information about driving in Denmark including speed limits, motorways, toll roads, tyres, lights, mobile phones, alcohol limits, lay-bys, seat belts, special signs, duty to give way and accidents.
Stopping and Parking
Stopping and parking is as a rule permitted on the right side of the road but prohibited on main roads and motorways.
Private cars may park two wheels on the pavement only if pedestrians are not inconvenienced. It is not legal to park in the bicycle lanes. Please note that in cities, stopping on the side of the street for more than 3 minutes is prohibited in several places. Unlawfully parked cars get a fine of approx. DKK 510. The fee may have to be paid on the spot. The police are further authorised to tow away any unlawfully parked car, the charges in connection herewith are added to the amount of the fee.
Limited-time parking is always indicated on signs. Hours (timer) in black or white refer to workdays except Saturdays, hours in brackets refer to Saturdays, and hours in red refer to Sundays and holidays. Parking discs must be used wherever limited parking is allowed. Set the disc to show your time of arrival at the parking spot. Parking discs are available from gas stations, banks, etc.
Converting Your Driver’s Licence
If you want to drive a vehicle in Denmark, it may be necessary to have your foreign driver’s licence exchanged to a Danish one.
In most cases, drivers licence issued in one of the EU countries or Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland or the Faeroe Islands, do not need to be exchanged it for a Danish one. However, EU driver’s licenses issued before 2013 might need to be changed.
For further information about foreign driver’s license, exchange and Visitor’s Driving Licence, please click here.
Please contact your local Citizen Service Centre (Borgerservicecenter) for further information.
You can also find all the relevant information here.
Written by Anette Pilmark and Anna Wolthers