From the moment you arrive in Denmark, you’ll start to understand the Danish national pride. In addition to appearing on Christmas trees and as birthday decorations, the Danish flag (known as the Dannebrog) is traditionally used to welcome arriving passengers. A warm hello from the proud people of one of the world’s happiest countries.
As Scandinavia's main international airport, Copenhagen Airport welcomes just over 30 million visitors each year, including many direct flights from major hubs in the U.S. But even on its busiest days, the foot traffic at the airport tops out at 100,000 people. Coupled with the airport’s mostly self-service approach to checking in, going through security, boarding the plane, or even getting a Starbucks, navigating the two terminals of this Scandi hub is actually pretty enjoyable. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your trip.
Copenhagen Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
Formally known as Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup (CPH), the main airport in Denmark is five miles southeast of the city center. There is a smaller airport, known as Copenhagen Airport, Roskilde, which has four to five domestic routes but mostly acts as a hub for private airplanes and the Danish Air Force.
Know Before You Go
When you arrive at the airport, there are more than 130 check-in machines that service all airlines. This is where you’ll print bag tags, select or change seats, and print your boarding pass. If you’re checking a bag, head to your assigned counter to drop it off. Otherwise, head up the escalator to security.
Before security, there are spots to repack bags, recycle things like newspapers, and pick up a clear plastic bag for your liquids. The Danish security expects you to have liquids in one of these bags and they’re generally stricter than American airports on having the correct bag.
Remember you’re in the home of LEGO, so there are cute, kid-sized recreations of airport screenings made from the iconic plastic bricks and family security lanes with Lego characters leading the way.
Next, scan your boarding pass and enter the security line. There will be a TV monitor sorting passengers into specific screening lanes to optimize efficiency. The security lines spill out into the main duty-free shopping section of the airport. Unless you need a pair of sunglasses, a bottle of booze, or cosmetics, you’re better off saving your shopping money for local Danish brands (more on that below).
The airport has two terminals that are connected by foot: Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. (Terminal 1 is no longer used for passenger flights.) The airport is compact, clean, and safe with wonderful food options and so-so lounges, even for business class travelers.
Passengers departing Europe or the Schengen Area will have the option to eat and shop before getting their passport stamped. Take advantage of this because there are very few options beyond a small duty-free and 7-Eleven once you clear customs.
You can find a map of the airport here with locations of gates, shops, restaurants, and more.
There are easy-to-access parking lots that are covered and not, including spots for charging electric vehicles. But Copenhagen is famously a biking city, and few locals, let alone visitors have a car. However, if you’re traveling by car, here’s all the information you need to know.
Prices (as of 2020):
- 0-15 minutes: free
- 15-60 minutes: 50 Danish krone ($7.95)
- Every additional hour: 50 Danish krone ($7.95)
Max daily rates range from 100 Danish krone ($15.91) to 320 Danish krone ($50.90), depending on how close you park to the airport; there are four levels of pricing. For the cheapest rates, book online in advance.
If you think you’ll want a car for short trips when you’re in town, it’s smart to download an app-based car-share program, like SHARE NOW (formally known as DriveNow) and Green Mobility, where rates are around 2 Danish krone ($0.32) a minute for electric cars, including BMWs. There are dedicated parking spots at the airport for SHARE NOW and Green Mobility, which makes it a handy choice for departing and arriving passengers. Pro tip: these apps will need around three working days to verify your ID and information, so you’ll need to plan in advance. When airports are busy, cars available for pick-up can be a hot commodity, making planning on being able to pick-up a car from the airport spotty.
Take highway E20 towards Malmo/Lufthavn and follow exit 17, Lufthavn V toward Lufthavn Terminaler. Keep left at the fork and follow signs for Lufthavn. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Terminalgade and turn right onto Vestvej.
Public Transportation and Taxis
The city’s driverless Metro is by far the most efficient and economical way to travel to and from the airport. The Metro runs 24-hours and as frequently as every four minutes during peak hours and at least three times an hour between midnight and 5:45 a.m.
Only one metro line departs from the airport (M2) but on the return, be sure to use only M2 Metro trains heading for Kobenhavns Lufthavn. If you’re looking at a Metro map, this is the yellow line. The three-zone ticket price is 36 Danish krone ($5.75) and valid for 90 minutes of travel on all trains, metros, and buses from the airport to the city center; tickets are purchased with card, cash, or coins from vending machines. Two children under the age of 12 may travel for free per paying adult. The Metro operates on an honor system, and if you’re caught without a ticket or without the correct ticket, there is a 750 Danish krone ($119.30) fine.
Buses to and from the airport cost the same as the Metro, but they’re much slower and rarely as useful for visitors as the Metro. Bus drivers will accept coins and small bills.
Metered taxis wait outside terminal 3, and passengers can expect to pay 300 Danish krone ($47.75) for the 20-30 minute ride to the city center. The driver will accept cash or credit card and will not expect a tip. Uber and other ride-sharing apps are illegal in Denmark.
Where to Eat and Drink
In 2019 (the last year the award was given out), Copenhagen Airport won the award for Airport Food & Beverage Offer of the Year in Europe from the FAB awards (the Oscars of the F&B world). Here are the food options worth arriving early for.
If you need something quick, try cold-pressed juice and paninis from Joe & The Juice (between gates B and C; by C gates), fresh pastries from Lagkagehuset (between gates B and C; by C gates), Danish-style hot dogs with local lagers are available at Steff’s Place (by C10), 7-Eleven (by D gates and F gates) for wraps, licorice, and juices, and Starbucks (between gates A and B and various self-serve stations around the airport).
Ready to linger over a meal? Gorm’s (by gate C2 and B2) has Italian-style pizza, including a fabulous potato option. Aamanns (between B and C gates) is perfect for one last open-faced Danish sandwich, while Caviar House & Prunier (by C gates) has a range of fine caviars, champagne, and fresh Nordic fish. Paté Paté (by C gates) serves tapas and more than 100 varieties of wine. For snacks and beer, no place is better than Denmark’s famous Mikkeller brewery (near the end of terminal 2).
Where to Shop
Lots of big international brands have shops here, like Marc Jacobs, Hermès, and Burberry, but a majority of the shops are Nordic brands. Danish designer Julie Sanllau makes gorgeous jewelry, Ole Mathiesen makes sleek watches, the department store Illums Bolighus is great for gifts, and Georg Jensen sells polished home goods. For last-minute fashion gifts for men and women, check out SAND, Wood Wood, Tiger of Sweden, Marimekko, and By Malene Birger.
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
There is free Wi-Fi available for departing and arriving passengers. Charging stations aren’t abundantly available.