Getting to downtown København from Copenhagen Airport (CPH) is easiest, fastest, and cheapest by metro or train. Buses are less convenient transportation options and taxis are relatively expensive.
Copenhagen Airport (CPH) / Københavns Lufthavn is conveniently located only around 20 minutes by public transportation from central Copenhagen. The metro is usually the easiest and fastest way to travel from Copenhagen Airport to downtown. Frequent trains are also available with many onward connections available at Copenhagen Central Station (København H) and Nørreport station. The three-zone ticket price is DKK36 and valid for 90 minutes of travel on all trains, metros, and buses from the airport to the city center. (For metro stops from and including Frederiksberg or Poul Henningensens Plads on the metro require four-zone tickets at DKK48.) Taxis are by the meter but expect to pay around DKK300 from the airport to central Copenhagen. Uber and similar ride-sharing services are not operating in Copenhagen but private transfers are easily booked online.
The new Circle Line on Copenhagen metro (M3 / red on maps) opened end September 2019 and M4 (blue) to Orientkaj in early 2020. Transfers to the airport metro line (M2 — yellow) are possible at Kongs Nytorv and Frederiksberg stations. Many previous bus routes in downtown Copenhagen have been canceled or routes changed.
Public Transportation to Copenhagen Airport
The cheapest and fastest way to travel from Copenhagen Airport to downtown is usually by either metro or regular train. The cost for both options is exactly the same (DKK36 to central Copenhagen) and the best choice depends on the final destination. At the airport, the metro station is on a higher level while the train station is in the basement.
Traveling by Metro from Copenhagen Airport
Copenhagen’s efficient and driverless metro trains are often the simplest way to travel to and from the airport. The metro runs 24 hours per day – as frequently as every four minutes during the day and at least three times per hour between midnight and around 6 am.
The metro has the advantage of being flat-floored – it is never necessary to lift heavy luggage at any stage at the airport. However, at several metro stations in Copenhagen, the escalators do not go all the way to street level so use the elevators if necessary.
The metro is particularly useful when traveling to Christianshavn (11 minutes), Kongs Nytorv (13), Nørreport (15) and Frederiksberg (20).
Only one metro line departs from the airport but on the return be sure to use only metro trains heading for Københavns Lufthavn / Copenhagen Airport M2 (yellow on current maps). The metro line splits at Christianshavn with trains alternatively traveling to the airport (M2) or to Vestamager (M1 / green on maps).
When traveling from the airport, change at Christianshavn to use the metro to Islands Brygge, DR Byen and Bella Center.
The new M3 circle line (red) and M4 (Nordhavn and Orientkaj) make the Metro even more convenient to more parts of Copenhagen. Transfers to the M1 (green) and M2 (yellow) lines are possible at Frederiksberg and Kongs Nytorv.
Traveling by Train from Copenhagen Airport
Trains connect Copenhagen Airport with Copenhagen Central Station (København H or Hovedbanegården) up to seven times per hour in less than 15 minutes. Some trains stop en route at Tårnby, Ørestad, and Niva stations. Most of these stops are not of use to tourists, although changing at Ørestad to the metro is a quick way to travel to the Bella Center (alternatively use the metro and transfer at Christianshavn, which frankly is simpler).
All trains stopping at Track 2 at Copenhagen Airport go to Copenhagen central station. Trains at Track 1 go to Malmö in Sweden.
Copenhagen Central station is to the immediate west of the city center across the road from Tivoli and a block from the Rådhus (town hall). Many hotels are within easy walking distance but the station also offers excellent further train, metro and bus connections. Taxis are easily available too but still pricey.
Many of the trains from the airport continue past the main station but on different routings and final destinations. For tourists, the Øresund regional express trains to Helsingør is particularly useful – it travels up to three times per hour in just over an hour to within sight of the Kronborg – Hamlet’s castle in Elsinore.
When traveling to the north of Copenhagen, many travelers prefer to change to other regional and S-Tog trains at Nørreport station rather than at the bigger København H. (Locals shave a few minutes off the journey time by using the metro between Nørreport and the airport.)
Although bus 5C travels from the airport through the heart of Copenhagen to Herlev in the far the northwest of the city, it is rarely a sensible option. Almost always, changing from the bus to the metro will be a much faster option.
Public Transportation at Copenhagen Airport
All public transportation options at Copenhagen Airport depart and arrive at Terminal 3, which is directly next to Terminal 2 where most airlines have check-in desks.
All passengers arriving by air at Copenhagen Airport exit customs at Terminal 3. Keep walking straight on – the metro is one level up while regular trains depart from the basement.
Traveling from Copenhagen Airport to downtown requires a 3-zone ticket – it is valid for onward travel on buses and trains for 90 minutes after the time of purchase. It is currently DKK36 – buy from the vending machines. (Four-zones tickets for DKK48 is necessary if traveling past downtown, e.g. on the metro from and including Frederiksberg and Poul Henningensens Plads.)
Tickets, other than the plastic Rejsekort smart card, need no further validation before travel or at the end of the journey. The period of validity is the moment of purchase.
In Copenhagen, buy tickets from the vending machines at stations (cash or credit card) or from the bus driver (cash only and only small notes and coins accepted).
Mobile phone tickets are available through the DOT Mobilbilletter app but it is a bit of a hassle to set up when only buying a few tickets.)
Traveling on a Rejsekort is cheaper but it is complicated to sort out and make work on a short visit, as a hard-to-claim back deposit is required (but worth exploring if visiting for a long period or frequently.)
Tickets are frequently checked on the airport route, as the metro trains cross tariff zones en route. The fine for no ticket, or having the wrong zone ticket, is around DKK750. (The ticket inspectors have no discretion in the decision to issue a fine but a written appeal is always possible.)
Various day travel cards and transportation passes are valid for travel from Copenhagen Airport. Some of the more useful passes are:
- City Pass – valid for unlimited travel in the four central Copenhagen tariff zones. The pass covers travel to the airport and as far north as Hellerup. It is available as a 24-hour card (DKK80) and 72-hour card (DKK200). Buy from the vending machine.
- 24-Hour Ticket (DKK150) – valid for travel in zones 1 – 99 of the Greater Copenhagen region (including for example Helsingør, Hillerød and Roskilde). Buy from the vending machine.
- Copenhagen Card – covers transportation and sightseeing in the Greater Copenhagen region. In contrast to the other transportation tickets, the children rule is limited to two children younger than 10 per paying adult. See Save with the Copenhagen Card for more details – buy online, from tourist information or many hotels.
Child Fares on Copenhagen Public Transportation
Discount fares and free travel are available to children on the public transportation system of Copenhagen:
- Two children under the age of 12 may accompany any paying adult for free.
- Children aged 12 to 15 years pay half the adult fare. (It is no longer permissible for two children to share an adult ticket.)
The child rules are valid for almost all kinds of tickets but note that on the Copenhagen Card the age limit for free travel is under 10.
By Taxi and Airport Shuttle Services from Copenhagen Airport
Taxis are of course available from Copenhagen Airport and popular for destinations not close to the metro and train stations. The fare is per meter – expect to pay around DKK300 to downtown Copenhagen and around DKK450 to the Oceankaj passenger boat terminal to the north of the city.
Discounts are sometimes available for pre-booked taxis but this works better en route to the airport than for travel from the airport.
Taxis depart from near the exit from customs at Terminal 3. Note three different queues: regular taxis, taxis to Sweden, and pre-booked taxis.
Private airport shuttle vans and transfer services are available but not very common in Denmark so prices may be even higher than regular taxis. It is popular for small groups or traveling to the passenger boat terminals with luggage but do compare prices before booking.
Uber and similar ride-sharing services are illegal in Denmark and not available for travel in Copenhagen.
Left Luggage Storage, Lockers and Bag Forwarding Services
Left luggage lockers are available at Copenhagen Airport at Parking 4 from 4 hours to 7 days and at the main train station for up to 10 days. However, in many cases, one of the baggage forwarding services at the airport may offer a better deal to get a luggage-free day on arrival or departure from Copenhagen:
Copenhagen Luggage Service makes it possible to check luggage in at the airport for transfers to accommodation or even cruise ships and enjoy the day in Copenhagen without luggage. This service is also available for luggage delivery to the airport. Combining this service with public transportation is often cheaper than using a taxi plus the advantage of being able to spend the day in the city without having to drag luggage along.
Many shops and hotels in Copenhagen also do baggage storage for a small fee – look for the left luggage signs in areas popular with tourists or book in advance.
See also Easy Transfers to Copenhagen Passenger Ship Cruise Terminals for cheap public transportation to Baltic Sea cruise boat terminals.