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Danish currency is the krone - or crown - which is divided into 100 øre units. Coins come in denominations of 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 krone, as well as a 50 øre coin - or half a krone - while notes come in 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 krone. Most banks will change foreign currency, but you can also look for bureaux de change at the airport or near the major hotels. For current exchange rates visit www.xe.com.
Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are all widely accepted, but most transactions will come with a fee, and you will need to know your PIN code if your card is not equipped with a smart-chip. Bear in mind that smaller stores and independent retailers don't accept them at all, so it's not recommended to rely solely on your plastic. ATMs are open 24 hours a day, and are found outside banks and near metro stations. If you lose your wallet you can call a local Danish hot-line for free from any phone at 44 89 27 50 to block your cards.
Luckily for most travelers, English is widely spoken in Denmark, as is German, and most Danish people, especially the young, will speak both fluently. Learning a few phrases of Danish will make all your interactions more pleasant, however, and it doesn't hurt to say tak - pronounced tagg - when you are thanking someone for help or service. Other useful words are godmorgen (good morning, pronounced goMORN), goddag (good afternoon, pronounced goDA), and vaersa venlig (please, pronounced verso venli). If you speak Norwegian or Swedish, you will have no problem making yourself understood, as all these languages share a common root.
Together with the Jutland peninsula, which shares a 68-kilometer border with northern Germany, Denmark is composed of many islands scattered on the North and Baltic Seas. The landscape is generally flat and gentle, with its highest point only 560 feet above sea level. Travelers crossing the country will see mostly rolling hills, thatched-roof cottages, beech forests, and coastline, punctuated by the striking whitewashed churches with stepped gables.
The best time of year to visit is between May and August, when the freezing winter temperatures recede and the entire country bursts out to enjoy the all-too-short summer season. Many of the major festivals, including Copenhagen Pride, the Jazz Festival, and Distortion, occur in June, July, or August, and ticket prices and hotel rates will reflect this uptick in activity.
Outside of capital city Copenhagen, popular tourist destinations in Denmark include Odense, the country's third largest city and the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, Ærø, a sleepy island community that's almost completely wind- and solar-powered, and Aarhus, billed as the "World's Smallest Big City."
Bikes can be taken on almost all trains in the Danish rail system, but will require a ticket called a cykelbillet for travel on the inter-regional trains. The price will depend on how far you travel, but is generally very cheap. Bikes ride for free on S-tog, the Copenhagen suburban train system.
The emergency number in Denmark is 112, which can be dialed for free from any phone and will connect you with either the police or an ambulance. If you lose your passport you'll need to call your embassy in Copenhagen. The U.S. Embassy phone number is 33 41 74 00, a full list of Copenhagen embassy contact information can be found here.
Medical care is subsidized by the government in Denmark, and tourists will be treated to free emergency treatment should you get in an accident or come down with an illness. Pharmacies in Denmark tend to be staffed by well-educated professionals, so don't hesitate to stop in and ask them for advice if you're feeling unwell.
Like much of the world, you won't find many public call boxes in Denmark, though there are still some at major travel hubs. The cheapest method for those who need phone service during their stay is to buy a SIM card. For 99 DKK you will get a temporary Danish phone number and forty minutes of talk time. TDC is the most popular network, but you can also use Telemore or Telenor. SIM cards can be topped up at supermarkets, convenience stores, and phone shops.
Visas are not necessary for EU citizens, Americans, Canadians, Australians, and other Nordic countries as long as your stay is under 90 days. A full list of those countries whose citizens will need a visa is listed at Denmark's foreign visitors page here.
The train system in Denmark, run by the Danish State Railway or DSB, is both extremely well-organized and the fastest option for traveling in-country. The tracks reach almost all corners of the nation, with the exception of the southern islands, as well as operating daily service to Sweden and Germany. The major routes will offer hourly service, and almost always operate on time. Most train stations, of which Hovedbanegård in Copenhagen is the largest, are well-equipped travel hubs, with baggage lockers, pay bathrooms, restaurants, tourist offices, and Forex exchange desks.
Trains are divided into four classes: InterCity, InterCityLyn, Regionaltog, and S-tog. The high-speed InterCity and InterCityLyn trains are more expensive, but offer all the modern comforts, including reserved overnight train seats called couchettes. The slower, cheaper local trains of Regionaltog have fewer amenities, and don't accept reservations, but will serve the smaller local stations not reached by high-speed service. S-tog is the suburban railway system serving the greater Copenhagen area, and is a useful way to take day trips from the city.
Railpasses are available, but aren't necessarily the cheapest option; check rates for your trip at the Danish websites dsb.dk or rejseplanen.dk. Some InterCity trains will require seat reservations, but railpass holders can travel on any Danish train without them. Children under the age of 12 travel free with an adult (each adult can take two children), and children under 15 pay half of an adult fare. Seniors over the age of 65 receive a 50% discount every day except Friday and Saturday, which are 25% off. Young adults from the ages of 16 to 25 can purchase a DSB Youth Card for 185 DKK, which allows a 50% discount on most tickets.
Train travel is the recommended method for moving around the country, and the Danish government is firm in its stance against excessive private car use. That being said, rental cars are available at the airport and in most large cities, and can be useful for more individual itineraries. You will need to be over the age of twenty and in possession of a valid driver's license in order to rent a car.The rules of the road are similar to those of the United States and most EU countries, with cars driving on the right side of the road, and only passing on the left. Speed limits are set at 50 kph in cities and towns, and 130 kph on the major four-lane highways, and drivers are expected to yield to bicycles in almost all instances. One distinction of Danish driving is that all cars must keep dipped headlights on during the day, which are useful in the often dusky and foggy road conditions.
Most gas stations will have automatic payment options for use when the station is closed, which accept cash, Visa, and Mastercard. When parking you will need to display a parking token on your dashboard; rental cars will come equipped with this, but those driving a foreign car will need to purchase one from a bank, tourist office, or gas station.
The use of mobile phones is strictly enforced on Danish roads. Those with cars that have a hands-free system built into the car may make and receive calls, but all other mobile phone use, including a headset, is forbidden. Also note that if you're stopped for a driving or traffic offense you may be required to pay your ticket on the spot.
Buses travel throughout the country, and those areas that are not accessible by train will be served by bus. You can also reach Sweden via bus, but the trip is far more time-consuming than by train, and not appreciably cheaper. Within the smaller towns tourists will find a smaller, local bus systems that cover the town center and connect it to outlying areas. Many train passes will also cover fares on bus routes, but fares are cheap, around 20 to 25 DKK. All links between train and bus routes, as well as up-to-date timetables, can be found on www.rejseplanen.dk.
Denmark's major airport, Kastrup (airport code CPH), is one of the most advanced in the world, with a convenient infrastructure that includes banks, a post office, shopping mall, grocery store, bakery, and more. There are three large terminals, but all arrivals funnel through Terminal 3, which has connections to taxis and trains immediately outside the lobby. Both euros and U.S. dollars are accepted in the airport, but change will be given in Danish krone.
Most major international airlines fly to and from Kastrup, and non-stop flights are available from all major European cities as well as New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Bangkok, Beijing, Shangai, Tokyo, Tel Aviv and Cairo. A smaller number of airlines, mostly from other Scandinavian countries and the UK - flying to the smaller regional airports at Aarhus, Aalborg, Billund, Esbjerg and Sønderborg. Most travel within the country will be by train, so few tourists will find the need to visit these smaller airports, with the exception of those traveling to the outer islands.