Tips for Visiting Denmark if You Don’t Speak Danish

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Copenhagen is a wonderful destination for families because it is so easy to navigate, even if you don’t speak Danish. Not speaking the language doesn’t have to be a challenge, as TravelingMom founder Kim Orlando discovered. Check out these tips for visiting Denmark, even if you don’t speak Danish.

Tips for Visiting Denmark Even if You Don’t Speak Danish
Navigating Denmark is easy, even if you don’t know the language – Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Visiting Denmark Without Speaking Danish

Taking a vacation in Denmark without knowing the native language isn’t a problem. That’s because it so easy to find a Dane who speaks English and is happy to help. English is taught in schools beginning in 2nd grade so most everyone under the age of 30 speaks fluently.

However “fluent” doesn’t mean perfect so be prepared that some challenges may arise. For us, that often resulted in rights meaning lefts and lack of necessary detail. For example, we were given written directions to a restaurant that listed the streets and timing but not where to turn. Another time, we asked at the information booth at Central Station for the track we needed, and she said you have to go outside, up a level, then down a level. No problem. What she left out was that it was a 15 minute walk! We almost missed our train.

Danish Trains Decoded

Driving is an option, but it’s not necessary in Copenhagen. We took public transportation 100% of the time and were not inconvenienced in the least. I think finding parking would have been much more challenging.

Tips for Visiting Denmark Even if You Don’t Speak Danish
Public transportation is the way to go in Denmark – Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Central Station or Hovedbanegård (sounds like hoe-ban-gourd) is the hub for all trains and buses. We used 3 types of trains:

  • S Train. The S Train is similar to a New York subway, except that in bike-friendly Denmark, the trains have special cars for bikes and strollers.
  • Metro, a driverless shuttle that goes to the airport or Lufthavn trains
  • The regional train, which includes the high-speed Swedish SJ train
  • SJ Train: Regional train that starts in Denmark and goes to Sweden, offering high speed and other options.

The information booth at Central Station is your friend. Workers there have all the answers. Unfortunately, the booth is not open 24/7 so if you are getting an early start, you have to decipher the screens, which can be a challenge. For example, if you are going to a small station between two larger stations, your stop may not be listed in an obvious place. Or, if you are like us, you may not know which destination you need to head towards to find your stop. Best bet: just ask someone; every person we asked was helpful.

Tips for Visiting Denmark Even if You Don’t Speak Danish
Don’t be afraid to ask locals for help in Denmark – Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Getting Around on Foot

Before deciding on which area of Denmark to stay in, consider the accessibility to public transportation or being able to simply set out on foot. We stayed in both central Copenhagen and Nørreport. I preferred Nørreport because it is close to the main street, Fredriksborggade. Fredriksborggade
is thriving with shops, markets, a major train artery and it’s also a short walk to the center of the city.

All of the neighborhoods in the Copenhagen area are accessible by train from the airport, making it easy to get around. See my suggestions on where to stay in Copenhagen.

Tips for Visiting Denmark Even if You Don’t Speak Danish
Little Mermaid Statue – Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

For More Tips about Denmark

Be sure to check out my list of 27 travel tips for Copenhagen.

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About The Author

Kim Orlando
After years of traveling every week for business, Kim sought out other moms who traveled to understand how they dealt with the guilt, the scheduling and their family relationships. Advice from the trenches made travel–and life–much easier and often much more fun. Kim realized that other traveling moms would appreciate these insights, too, and was born. Just a few years later, TravelingMom is among the best known family travel web communities with the leading travel writer network. The advice and insight of this community is sought out by national news networks, travel companies and traveling moms who need to know.

She has been selected as the travel expert for Wyndham’s Women on Their Way, Mom Talk Radio and has been featured in Good HouseKeeping, NY Times Travel,, Hannah Storm’s CBS News Blog, JuJu Chang’s Moms Get Real and The Montel Williams Show.

Follow her on Twitter @KimOrlando

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