Getting around Copenhagen | ESC Reporter
Trains, boats, subways, zones, chip cards, klippekort – how does it all work?
The Copenhagen transit system can be rather confusing and complicated. Here, we give you an overview of how it all works so you can travel like a native!
Means of public transportation
The public transportation system of Copenhagen uses 5 means of transportation:
- Bus – With frequent departures as often as every 5 minutes, the yellow busses can a lot of times be the fastest way around Copenhagen.
- Harbor bus – These yellow boats serve as an extension of the bus network and sail the inner harbor. They will be very relevant in transportation to and from Eurovision Island.
- S-tog – Recognizable by their chubby shape and red color, the S-trains serve both the inner city and the suburbs of Copenhagen. All S-train lines travel through Copenhagen Central Station, except the F-line.
- Metro – One of the newest subways in the world, the Metro network with its driverless trains is still rather limited but serve some stations around Copenhagen exclusively, such as the station built directly into the landmark Copenhagen department store Magasin, at the end of the Eurovision Fan Mile.
- Regional trains – Trains to the rest of Denmark and across Øresund to Sweden if you stay in Malmö.
Metro and S-trains cross each other at Nørreport Station in the center of the city, as well as at Flintholm and Vanløse stations, just outside the city.
But! If you want to travel the most authentic way, you can rent a bike in many places around the city. Copenhagen is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world and was voted “Best city for cyclists.” Click here for a list of rentals.
The zone system
To calculate fares, a zone system is used. The inner city is zone 1. The fare is calculated by how many zones you travel through, though most will probably not stay more than 1 zone away from Eurovision Island and the inner city. It is worth noting, however, that the airport is located in zone 4, called “Lufthavnen.”
The minimum charge of zones is 2, even if you travel within the same zone. You can use several transportation methods on the same ticket within the zone limit you purchased if necessary, with the exception of trains to Sweden.
A full map of the zones of the Capital Region can be found here.
Depending on how you choose to pay for transportation, the fares can vary quite a lot. The below examples are based on a trip from the Copenhagen Central Station to Eurovision Island. The island is called Refshaleøen in the system.
- Single ticket, 24 kr. – Though the most traditional, the single ticket is by far the most expensive way to go. The trip will cost you 24 kroner, one way, and is valid for the specified trip, using the relevant methods of transportation.
- Klippekort, 15 kr. – Meaning “cut card,” the Klippekort has been used in Denmark for over 30 years. It is a piece of paper that can be used for 10 trips. For every trip, you stick your card in a machine that cuts off a trip point, which is valid for an hour. The card comes in 7 versions, depending on how many zones you travel, from 2 to All zones. The 15 kroner price is the price of a single cut on a 2 zone Klippekort. Thus, it costs 150 kroner to get a 2 zone Klippekort with 10 trips.
- Rejsekort, 12 kr. – The Rejsekort is the new way of paying for public transportation in Denmark, fully replacing the Klippekort in June 2014. With a built-in NFC chip, you check in and out at your points of departure and arrival. The advantage over the Klippekort is that you will not have to carry several different Klippekort if you travel different zone distances, the Rejsekort calculates the fare by itself. Like a debit card, you deposit money into a balance on the card, which is then used when you travel. But it requires you to stay focused; you have to remember to check in when you start your journey, check in again, but not out, if you change method of transportation, and finally to check out when you are done. Failing to check out can ultimately shut down your card. One of its biggest downsides and subject of heavy criticism, however, is its seemingly hostile policy towards tourists. While the card is free to Danish citizens, tourists must buy the anonymous “Rejsekort Anonym” version, with an 80 kroner non-refundable start up fee. Additionally, the balance on the card cannot go below 75 kr for travel, even if your last trip will cost you less, meaning tourists will leave with an unused balance on their cards. Also, the anonymous version can be tricky to get a hold of. Very few of the Rejsekort machines actually sell them, leaving only very random convenience stores as points of sale. It is recommended to ask the DSB information desk in the airport or central station about where to obtain a card.
- 7-day FlexCard, unlimited – The FlexCard will give you unlimited travel on all methods of transportation within the zones you purchase it for. The FlexCard valid for zones 1 and 2 costs 240 kroner.
- Copenhagen Card – If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing in Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Card may be for you. Available in 24, 48, 72, and 124 hour versions, the card will let you travel in the Copenhagen region unlimited and give you access to 75 attractions.
Points to remember for each fare method:
Tickets can be purchased at platform vending machines, DSB ticket stores, 7 Eleven stores, and from the DSB Mobilbilletter app.
Only valid for the determined trip.
Can be purchased at DSB ticket stores and 7 Eleven stores.
Do not forget to cut your card in the yellow machine prior to boarding.
Remember the cut is valid for at least an hour after you cut it. The stamp on the card will tell you when the cut expires and can be used for any travel within the zones in that period.
Remember how many zones your card is valid for and how far you travel.
Check with DSB information desk at the airport or central station about where to get a Rejsekort Anonym card. They are usually available at vending machines at the airport metro station and Copenhagen Central Station. Look for the silver machine with the pulsating blue light.
Always remember to check in and to check out. Do not check out if you are continuing your journey on another method of transportation, like going from a bus to a train, just check in again at the new method. Do not check out until you are done with your journey.
Do not let the balance get below 75 kroner or you will not be able to travel!
- Can be purchased in DSB ticket stores, 7 Eleven stores, and through the DSB Mobilbilletter app.
Getting to Eurovision Island
Ultimately, it can all be very confusing. It is even to the Danes.
This is where the website and app called Rejseplanen becomes your friend. Available in English, you simply type in your location and where you would like to go, and a list of future departures with departure times, transportation methods, fare prices, departure track numbers, stops along the way, and much more will be presented.
The website is Rejseplanen.dk and the app is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.