Public transportation is the cheapest way to travel to the passenger boat cruise terminals in Copenhagen from the airport, station, or downtown. Self-guided port day excursions are easy and cheap by walking or using buses in Copenhagen.
Getting to the cruise terminals in Copenhagen is cheap and simple on public transportation from the city center, central train station, and the airport. It is also very easy and cheap to use public transportation to explore Copenhagen on cruise port days at a fraction of the price of cruise excursion tours. Taxis are a sensible option when arriving or departing with luggage but luggage transfer services from the airport are worth exploring for a baggage-free day of sightseeing in Copenhagen. From some terminals, it is simple to walk or cycle to the city. Hop On Hop Off buses call at the cruise terminals when passenger ships are in port. Uber and similar ride-share services do not operate in Denmark but private transfers are of course easily booked in advance. Get Your Guide often has tours aimed at cruise boat passengers but at far lower prices than the official shore excursions, while private tours are easy to adapt to the needs of boat passengers.
Public Transportation to Copenhagen Cruise Terminals
Public transportation is fairly simple and cheap to use to the various cruise terminals and ports in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen has four major passenger ship cruise terminals:
- Oceanskaj (Ocean Quay) – the largest cruise terminal, the furthest from the city and the main port used for cruises that start or terminate in Copenhagen.
- Langelinie – just to the north of the city center with walking into the city a possible option.
- Nordre Toldbod – very close to the city with walking a very pleasant option.
- Ferry terminal for Oslo – see Transportation to the DFDS Oslo Ferry Terminal in Copenhagen for details. Ferries to Malmo no longer operate but the Helsingor-Helsingborg ferry remains popular and practical.
There are fairly limited facilities at the various cruise terminals in Copenhagen. It is generally not that pleasant to arrive much too early as there is very little to do, especially when weighed down by luggage.
Public transportation tickets are valid for all forms of Copenhagen transportation – buses, harbor boat buses, trains, and metro trains – and allow for unlimited transfers during the period of validity. A DKK24 (two-zone) ticket is valid for 1h15 and covers transportation from any cruise terminal to central Copenhagen. A DKK36 (three-zone) ticket covers transportation all the way to the airport and is valid for 90 minutes from time of purchase. Single tickets need no further validation but must be shown to bus drivers when boarding buses. Tickets are available from vending machines at stations (cash or credit card) or from bus drivers (cash only).
From Copenhagen Airport to Cruise Terminals
Traveling from Copenhagen Airport to the various cruise terminals on public transportation is fairly simple, fast, and relatively cheap. A three-zone ticket – DKK36 – covers all forms of public transportation from the airport to any of the terminals.
The fastest and simplest option is to take the metro or train from Copenhagen Airport to downtown Copenhagen and then change to the bus or walk. The main transfer stations are Kongs Nytorv (metro lines 3 (red / circle) and 4 (blue) and at Nørreport (regular trains, buses, taxis).
If traveling directly to the terminal with luggage, a taxi may be worth the splurge but expect to pay around DKK500 – the fare is by the meter unless pre-booked and pre-paid. Alternatively, shave around DKK250 off the taxi fare by taking the metro to Nørreport station and continue from there to the boat by taxi. (Taxis wait at the airport, main station, and Nørreport station but at most other stations it would be necessary to call a taxi.)
Cruise shuttle buses are often available for transfers but may not necessarily be cheaper than taxis and never as cheap as public transportation. Prebooked transfers add comfort but like taxis are not cheap in Copenhagen.
See Cheap Transportation to Copenhagen Airport for more details.
Public Transportation to Ocean Quay Cruise Terminal
Most cruises departing or terminating in Copenhagen use the purpose-built Ocean Quay (Oceankaj) cruise terminals to the north of the city. The area is perfectly safe but a bit windswept and desolate with a lot of dusty building activity in the region. Distances are too far to walk to Nordhavn train station and Orientkaj metro station (45 minutes) and cycling here is not particularly pleasant, even if there is a Bycyklen city bike rental station at the terminal.
Fortunately, public bus 164 stops directly at the Oceanskaj terminal. Take metro line 4 (blue on maps) to Orientkaj (final stop) and then continue from here by bus 164. During the cruise high season, there are often further bus services from Oceanskaj to Nørreport Station, which is the best option for walking into the town center, or for transfers to more buses, trains, and the metro.
Preferably, buy tickets at Town Shop or machines in the terminal before boarding the bus at the cruise terminal.
To reach Ocean Quay cruise terminal from the airport, the simplest option is to take the metro from the airport to Kongs Nytowrv, change here to metro line 4 to Orientkaj, from where bus 164 connects to Oceanskaj terminal. Thus bus runs around three times per hour, the metro every few minutes. Total traveling time is around 45 minutes but note that some walking will be required during metro changes.
A taxi from the airport to Oceankaj is by the meter – expect to pay around DKK500. A taxi from Nørreport station to the Oceankaj cruise terminal should be around DKK250.
Public Transportation to Langelinie Cruise Terminal in Copenhagen
From Langelinie quay, it is easy to walk to the Little Mermaid statue and then on to the city center of Copenhagen. It is around 5 minutes walk to the Little Mermaid, another 5 minutes to Nordre Toldbod, and then 10 minutes more to the city center – a pleasant walk along the waterfront or through the Kastellet fort.
The easiest public transportation option is bus 27 from Østerport station but use only buses with Langelinie as the final destination. (Buses with Færgeterminal Søndre Frihavn as final destination follow a different route and do not stop at Langelinie — this is a change from previous practice.)
Three to four buses per hour run on the route with the stops on Langelinie the closest to the boats. Some buses do not run along Langelinie – ask the driver when boarding – in such case use the Indiakaj stop, which is about a block from the start of the Langelinie dock.
Østerport station is around 15 minutes walk from Langelinie – not the most picturesque part of the city but perfectly safe for walking. A taxi from Nørreport station should be around DKK125.
To reach Langelinie from the airport, the simplest option is to take the regular train to Østerport and continue on bus 27. Traveling time is around 40 minutes. A further option that might be a few minutes faster but requires more walking, is the metro to Kongs Nytorv, change to Metro M3 or M4 for Østerport. A taxi from the airport should cost around DKK350 – more in heavy traffic.
Public Transportation to Nordre Toldbod Cruise Terminal in Copenhagen
Nordre Toldbod is the closest to central Copenhagen of all the passenger ship terminals. It is mostly used by smaller and luxurious ship lines that stopover in Copenhagen for day excursions and thus transporting luggage is less of an issue.
Nordre Tolbod is directly next to the Kastellet fort to the immediate north of central Copenhagen. From here, it is a pleasant ten-minute stroll along the waterfront to Amalienborg or Nyhavn, or a few minutes walk northwards to the Little Mermaid statue.
Following the opening of the new metro circle line in September 2019, no buses run in this part of Copenhagen. The closest metro station is Marmorkirke — less than a kilometer away.
To reach Nordre Toldbod from the airport, use the metro to Kongs Nytorv and change to Metro M3 or M4 for Marmorkirke or Østerport station. (Simply walking from Kongs Nytorv is also a good option and passes by the popular Nyhavn area and Amalienborg.)
A taxi from the airport should cost around DKK350 – more in heavy traffic. A taxi from Kongs Nytorv station should be around DKK125.
Cheap Self-Made Shore Excursions in Copenhagen
It is easy and cheap to use local buses and trains for sightseeing in Copenhagen on the day before or after a cruise or on port days.
Bus 26, which used to be ideal for self-made Copenhagen bus tours changed its route following the opening of the new metro circle line. Using the bus to Østerport station and then continue by metro is now the simpler option.
From Østerport, use the metro in the direction of Kongs Nytorv, the following stops are handy for sightseeing:
- Østerport station: SMK National Gallery and Rosenborg Palace.
- Marmorkirke: Marble Church, Design Museum, Amalienborg Royal Palace and Museum, and Medical Museion.
- Kongs Nytorv: Nyhavn, Strøget pedestrian street and the metro to the airport.
- Gammel Strand: Christiansborg, National Museum of Denmark, Thorvaldsens Museum, old town center (Royal Copenhagen shop)
- Rådhuspladsen: Townhall, Copenhagen Museum, Tivoli, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, and Stroget pedestrian street
- Kobenhavn K: Hovedbanegården (central station), Tivoli
- Frederiksberg Allé: Frederiksberg Gardens, Palace, and Zoo.
Hop On Hop Off buses are useful alternatives and call directly at cruise terminals when passenger ships are in port. Private guided tours and group tours are also easy to arrange a great alternative to the more than 30 shore excursion buses that often line up at Langelinie when large boats are in port.
Left Luggage Lockers and Bag Transfers
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 in tourist areas do left-luggage storage for a small fee – look for the left luggage signs or book online in advance. Lockers are also available at the airport and main station. During the main cruise season, further luggage transfer services are often available to allow cruisers a bag-free day pre- and post-cruise.
See Cheap Transportation to Copenhagen Airport for more details.