Denmark Tourist Information and Tips
The national currency is the Danish krone (DKK, plural "kroner"). In the more "touristy" shops in Copenhagen, and at the traditional beach resorts along the Jutland West Coast and Bornholm Island it will often be possible to pay in Euro. The Danish krone is pegged to the Euro to an accuracy of 2.25%. In the 12 months from Aug 2005 to Aug 2006 the average exchange rate was 1 EUR = 7.46 DKK. The Kroner comes in 50 ore (? kroner) copper coins, 1, 2 and 5 kroner silver nickel coins with a hole in the centre, and finally solid 10 and 20 kroner bronze coins. Notes comes in nominations of 50 (Purple), 100 (Orange), 200 (Green) 500 (Blue) and 1000 (Red) kroner. Note that the 1997 series of banknotes are being replaced with a new series, starting with the 50 kroner note in 2009 and ending with the 1000 kroner note in 2011, hence you can expect to see two types of bank notes circulating in the coming years, both are legal tender.
Faroese krona and the coming series of Greenlandic bank notes, while of exactly the same face value, are not legal tender in Denmark (and vice-versa), but can by law be exchanged in any bank free of charge at a 1:1 ratio.
Automatic teller machines are widely available even in small towns, but some ATM' s are closed during night time out of security reasons. The Danish word is Dankort-automat , and might be useful to remember as the term ATM is not universally known. Nearly all machines regardless of operator will accept the Danish Dankort , MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron, American Express, JCB og China UnionPay (CUP). While the majority of retailers accept International credit- and debit cards, many still only accept the local Dankort. Virtually everywhere you are required to use a PIN-code with your card, so if this is not common practice in your country, remember to request one from your bank before leaving home. Also beware that many retailers will add a 2%-3% transaction charge (often without warning) if you pay with a credit card.
You should note that almost everything in Denmark is expensive. All consumer sales include a 25% sales tax ( Moms ) but displayed prices are legally required to include this, so they are always exact. If you are from outside the EU/Scandinavia you can have some of your sales tax refunded when leaving the country.
The average price of Hotel accommodation was around 900 DKK (ˆ120) according to the annual 2009 Hotels.com price index, a hostel bed hovers around 200 DKK (ˆ26), but can be found cheaper in Copenhagen. While a three course meal at a standard restaurant will usually set you back around 200 DKK (ˆ26), this can be done cheaper if you eat cafes or pizza joints, 40-70 DKK (ˆ5,50-8,50). Sundries like a ?l bottle of Coca Cola costs 15 DKK (ˆ2), while a beer will cost you 8 DKK (ˆ1) in a supermarket, and 40 DKK (ˆ5,50) in bar. If you are a bit careful about your expenses a daily budget of around 700 DKK (ˆ100) per day is not unrealistic.
In Denmark service charges are automatically included in the bill at restaurants and hotels, and tips for taxi drivers and the like are included in the fare. So tipping is not expected, nor required, but is a matter of choice. Needless to say, tipping for outstanding service is obviously greatly appreciated.
What to buy
Naturally what to buy remains highly subjective, and in an expensive country like Denmark, also largely depends on the size of your pocket, but here are some suggestions:
Apart from the ubiquitous kebab shops and pizza stands, dining in Denmark can be fairly expensive, but a worthwhile cost. Traditional Danish fare includes items as pickled herring, fried plaice, and other assorted seafood items. Hearty meat dishes are also prevalent, as seen in items such as frikadeller (pork only or pork and veal meat balls topped by a brown sauce) and "stegt fl?sk og persillesovs" (thick pork bacon slices topped by a parsley cream sauce). Many meals are also accompanied by a beer, and shots of aquavit or schnapps, though these are mainly enjoyed when guests are over. Drinking along with meals is encouraged as the foods are enhanced by the drinks, and vice versa. If looking for a quick snack to grab on the go, try the traditional Danish hot dog, served in a bun with a variety of fixings, including pickles, fried or raw onions as well as ketchup, mustard and remoulade (a Danish invention in spite of the French name, consisting of mayonnaise with the addition of chopped cabbage and turmeric for color). For dessert, try either "ris a l'amande" (rice pudding with almonds and cherries, again a French name with no relation to French cuisine) or ?bleskiver (ball-shaped cakes similar in texture to American pancakes, served with strawberry jam), both normally only available in November and December. For candy try a bag of "Superpiratos" (hot licorice candy with salmiakki).
Do avoid touristy places where no Danes are to be found, popularity amongst locals is almost always an indicator of quality.
Restaurants offering examples of international cuisine are common, mostly in major cities, especially Italian, Greek and Chinese restaurants, though Japanese, Indian and even Ethiopian restaurants can be found too. Quality is generally high, as the competition is too sharp for low-quality businesses to survive.
The traditional Danish lunch is smorrebrod , open sandwiches usually on rye bread - fish except herring, plaice and mackerel are served on white bread, and many restaurants give you a choice of breads. Smorrebrod served on special occasions, in lunch restaurants, or bought in lunch takeaway stores, are piled higher than the daily fare. The Danish rye bread ( rugbrod ) is dark, slightly sourish and often wholegrain. It is a must for all visitors to try.
Danes are rightly famous for their good looks, but unlike most other places, their lucky draw at the gene pool hasn't translated into the self assertion and confidence you normally see. And the Danes have become infamous for being closed and tight lipped, bordering the outright rude. So while it is by no means impossible, you will still be hard pressed to find a Dane readily engaging in casual conversations with strangers. That is, until you hit the country's bars and nightclubs .
As any foreigner who has spend time observing the Danes will tell you, alcohol is the fabric that holds Danish society together. And when they are off their face in the dead of night, they suddenly let their guard down, loosen up, and while a bit pitiful, they somehow transmorph into one of the most likable bunch of people on Earth. Rather than the violence associated with binge drinking elsewhere, because it seems to serve a very important social purpose, the natives get very open, friendly and loving instead. It takes some time getting used to, but if you want to form bonds with the Danes, this is how you do it - God help you if you are abstinent. This also means Danes have a very high tolerance for drunk behavior, provided it takes place in the weekends. Drink a glass or two of wine for dinner during the week, and you can be mistaken for an alcoholic, but down 20 pints on a Saturday night, and puke all over the place, and everything will be in order.
There is no legal drinking age in Denmark, although a legal purchase age of 16 is in effect in shops and supermarkets, and 18 in bars, discos and restaurants. The enforcement of this limitation is somewhat lax in shops and supermarkets, but quite strict in bars and discos, as fines of up to 10,000 kroner and annulment of the license can incur on the vendor. The purchaser is never punished, although some discos enforce a voluntary zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking, where you can get kicked out if caught with no ID and an alcoholic beverage in your hand. Some would claim that the famous Danish tolerance towards underage drinking is waning in light of recent health campaigns targeting the consumption of alcoholic beverages amongst Danes. As adult Danes do not approve of the government interfering with their own drinking habits, the blame is shifted towards adolescents instead, and proposals of increasing the legal purchase age to 18 overall have been drafted, but have yet to pass Parliament, neither is it likely too in the foreseeable future.
Due to the compact size and dense population, unlike the other Scandinavian countries, Danes and visitors does not enjoy the Right to access in Denmark, visitors who want to enjoy the outdoors can overnight in one of the more than 500 camping grounds, most are well equipped with up to date facilities. The Danish Camping Board maintains a list of official camping grounds on their website. It is also possible to do wildlife camping in forests or other untouched sights, but only in designated areas (there is about 800 of them). Unfortunately the digitalized information of the locations are in Danish only, but it can be found at the Danish Forest and Nature Agency , another option to find these sights are to buy a printed guide book which costs DKK 98, and is available from many tourist informations desks or the Danish Cyclist Union
For Budget accommodation, Danhostel is the national accredited Hostelling International network, and operate 95 hotels throughout the country. Only the country's two largest cities - Copenhagen and Arhus, have a few independent youth hostels. It is worth noting that the Danish word for hostel is Vandrerhjem , which also what hostels in Denmark are usually signposted as. Another option is one of the Hospitality exchangenetworks, which is enjoying growing popularity among the Danes, with couchsurfing reporting a doubling of available hosts every year.
Generally: Denmark is a very safe country, with almost no risk of natural disasters or animal attacks (there is one rare poisonous snake, the European viper, but its bite is not lethal). Compared to most other countries crime and traffic are only minor risks, and most crime visitors are likely to encounter is non violent pickpocketing.
In an emergency dial 112 (medical help/fire brigade/police). This is toll free, and will work even from cell phones even if they have no SIM card. For the police in not-emergencies call 114 .
Health services in Denmark are of a high standard, although waiting times at emergency rooms can be quite long for non emergencies, since visitors are prioritized according to their situation. Except for surgical procedures there are no private healthcare system to speak of, all is taken care off by the public healthcare system and general practitioners. All visitors are provided with free emergency care , until you are deemed healthy enough to be transported back to your home country. Citizens from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and certain British dependencies are all entitled to additional basic medical services during their stay, other nationalities should have a valid travel insurance for transportation home and any additional medical care needed after any emergency is dealt with, as this is not provided free of charge. As in the rest of the country, English speakers should not have any trouble communicating with staff in English.