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Travel Info & Tips International train and ferry connections from Denmark
A Danish IC train on an EC service to Denmark at Hamburg Hbf

International train and ferry connections from Denmark

Summaries of how to take journeys by train or train + ferry from Denmark to Germany, Norway and Sweden


When travelling between both Norway and Sweden and continental Europe by train Denmark functions as a rail bridge.
During the day connections are required in Kobenhavn, but there are now direct overnight trains from Sweden to Germany.

When heading south from Denmark by train to Germany and beyond into Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Poland, Switzerland and The Netherlands, the gateway station is Hamburg Hbf.

Hamburg has direct day trains to all other major cities in Germany, as well as trains to Basel, Zurich, Praha/Prague and Budapest; plus overnight trains to Basel, Wien/Vienna and Zurich.

Heading north, thanks to the Oresund Bridge Kobenhavn has direct trains to Stockholm and Goteborg; and it's usually possible to connect in Goteborg for Oslo when heading to Norway from Denmark by train.
Though there is also the option of taking the ferry direct to Norway, thanks to Danish rail links with the ferry ports.

to Germany

Five train services now travel between Padborg in Denmark and Flensburg in Germany, which is now the only rail route between the two countries

(1) Year round there are at least three IC (EC) trains per day which take this route Kobenhavn > Ringsted > Odense > Kolding > Padborg > Hamburg
Though between mid June and towards the end of August the service increases to six daily departures, including a train which is typically scheduled to depart Kobenhavn H station at 23:54 and arrive in Hamburg-Altona station at 06:15; though it does not convey couchettes or sleeping cars.
During this summer period the timings of the morning trains from Kobenhavn to Hanmburg are altered, but at other times, the train which typically departs Kobenhavn at 07:11 usually has connections of under 90mins into trains on from Hamburg to:

  • Karlsruhe via Hannover, Kassel, Marburg and Frankfurt (Main)
  • Erfurt via Berlin and Leipzig
  • Stuttgart via Bremen, Dusseldorf, Koln, Bonn, Koblenz, Mainz and Heidelberg
  • Praha/Prague via Dresden and Decin
  • Munchen/Munich via Wurzburg and Nurnberg
  • Stuttgart via Frankfurt (Main)

The train which typically departs Kobenhavn year round at 11:17 usually has connections of under 90mins into trains on from Hamburg to:

  • Basel via Hannover, Kassel, Frankfurt (Main), Karlsruhe and Freiburg
  • Erfurt via Berlin and Leipzig
  • Mainz via Bremen, Dusseldorf, Koln, Bonn and Koblenz
  • Munchen/Munich via Wurzburg and Nurnberg
  • Stuttgart via Frankfurt (Main) and Heidelberg

Outside of that summer period the train which departs Kobenhavn at 15:26 usually has connections of under 90mins into trains on from Hamburg to:

  • Berlin
  • Koln via Bremen and Dusseldorf
  • Zurich via Freiburg and Basel by Nightjet train
  • Innsbruck and Wien/by Nightjet trains
    Though the advice is to set off from Kobenhavn sooner and make a connection for Hamburg in Fredericia, in order to de-risk making the fairly tightly timed connection into those Nightjet trains.

(2) Two IC trains per day take this route; Aarhus – Frederica – Padborg – Flensburg – Hamburg
Between mid June and the third week in August they operate to a different schedule to the rest of the year.

(3) Up to eight Danish IC trains per day travel between Fredericia and Flensburg and outside of that summer travel period, two of these trains commence their journeys at Aarhus
Some of these trains have good connections in Flensburg with German Regio trains on to Hamburg.

During that peak mid-June to third week in August travel period, users of InterRail and Eurail passes have to reserve seats on the direct trains from Denmark to Hamburg.
If you won't want to pay the reservation fees, or if the limited number of rail pass places have sold out, it's usually possible to travel from Kobenhavn to Hamburg by making connections in Fredericia and Flensburg.

(4) Until late September, an overnight train operated by Snalltaget on a Stockholm - Hamburg - Berlin route calls at Hoje Tastrup station. which is located in the Kobenhavn suburbs, shortly before midnight.
Connecting trains to Hoje Tastrup are available from multiple stations in central Copenhagen.

(5) From September 1st a new overnight train operated by the Swedish national operator SJ will be taking a Stockholm to Hamburg route, and this train will be typically scheduled to depart from the station at Copenhagen airport, Kobehnavn Lufthavn, shortly after midnight.

to Sweden (and Norway)

Two train services cross the spectacular Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden.

(1) Up to six Snabbtag trains per day take this route; Kobenhavn H – Kastrup Airport – Malmo* – Lund – Hassleholm – Alvesta – Nassjo – Mjolby – Norrkoping – Stockholm
*=Tickets are not available for journeys to Malmo on these trains.

(2) Three Oresundtag trains per hour take this route;
Nivaa– Osterport – Norreport – Kobenhavn H – Kastrup Airport – Malmo – Lund.

After Lund the train services splits and the trains continue 1 x per hour on these three routes:

  • Lund - Hassleholm - Alvesta - Kalmar
  • Lund - Kristianstad – Karlskrona
  • Lund - Helsingborg – Goteborg
    Goteborg/Gothenburg therefore has an hourly train service from Koebenhavn.

Trains which depart at Kobenhavn H at 05:27 on Monday to Friday and both 09:27 and 13:27 typically connect in Goteborg with trains heading to Oslo.

If you will using an InterRail or Eurail pass you can avoid paying the rail pass reservations fees charged on the Snabbtag trains, by travelling to Stockholm via Goteborg on SJ Regional trains.

to Norway by train and ferry

Kobenhavn/Copenhagen to Oslo

A ferry operated by DFDS to Oslo, will depart København at 16:15 and arrive in the Norwegian capital at 09:00 the following morning.

To access the DFDS ferry terminal from København H station take these steps:

  1. Take a local S-Tog train (line A to Hillerod, line B to Farum or line E to Holte) to Nordhavn station
  2. Turn left on exiting the station and walk for around 5 mins along the street until you can turn left into a subway/passage under the railway lines, it has a mural of past transport around its entrance.
  3. When exiting the subway/passage go straight ahead across a multi-lane road, when you're at the other side, turn right and you will see the DFDS terminal ahead of you, the total walking time be around 8 - 15 mins.

To Kristiansand

Hirsthals is a ferry port in northern Denmark and Kristiansand is on the railway route between Oslo and Stavanger and two ferry companies operate on this route; Color Line and Fjordline.

The crossing by Fjordline is 45 minutes faster because it uses catamarans, but the disadvantage of using Fjordline is that its terminal in Hirsthals is some distance from the town's railway station.
The Fjordline website suggests walking from Lilleheden st, the station before Hirtshals, but it's a 20-30min trek through an industrial area.

In contrast the transfer between the trains and the Color Line terminal and couldn't be simpler, because an elevated covered walkway connects Hirtshals railway station to its ferry dock.

The schedules below are the typical timetable, but they can be impacted by works on the railway line, particularly at weekends.

Until June 17th and from Aug 22nd:

  • Aarhus at 15:50 → Aalborg
  • Aalborg at 18:09 → Hjoerring st (the train will be heading to Skagen)
  • Hjoerring st at 19:02 → Hirtshals st, arriving at 19:24.

The ferry to Kristiansand operated by Color Line is typically scheduled to depart from Hirtshals at 20:45.
In Hirtshals station, a walkway by the rear of the trains, links the station to the Color Line ferry terminal.

The ferry is scheduled to arrive in Kristiansand at 23:59, and the overnight train to Oslo is typically scheduled to depart from Kristiansand station, a 10 min walk from the ferry terminal, at 02:22 and arrive in Oslo S station at 07:26.

June 18th to August 21st::

  • Aarhus at 15:52 → Aalborg
  • Aalborg at 18:14 → Hjoerring st (the train will be heading to Skagen)
  • Hjoerring st at 19:02 → Hirtshals st, arriving at 19:24.
    From Hirtshals the same connections as on other dates.

To Stavanger and Bergen

The ferry to Stavanger operated by Fjordline is typically due to depart from Hirtshals a ferry port in northern Denmark at 20:00 and arrive in Stavanger the next morning at 06:30; before travelling on to Bergen where it is due to arrive at 12:30.
In Stavanger the Fjordline terminal is some distance from the railway station, but it is connected to the city centre every 30 mins by local bus route/line 2 which stops by the railway station.

Though a complication of this route is that the Fjordline terminal in Hirtshals is some distance from the town's railway station.
In Hirtshals it seems as though a local bus service will depart Hirtshals station at 18:30 and arrive at the ferry terminal at 18:45, but this should be confirmed in advance.
Another option will be to book a local taxi prior to arrival in Hirtshals.
The Fjordline website suggests leaving the train at Lilleheden st, the stop before Hirtshals, to walk to the ferry terminal, but it is a 1km hike through an industrial area.

Until June 17th and from Aug 22nd:

  • Aarhus at 14:51 → Aalborg
  • Aalborg at 16:39 → to Hirtshals st, arriving at 17:50.
    The usual transfer time in Aalborg will be 6 mins, so if need be, take the following train which will be heading to Skagen and connect in Hjoerring st for Hirtshals with an arrival there at 18:19.
    On Saturdays and Sundays the direct train from Aalborg to Hirtshals won't be available, but by taking a train to Hjoerring st and connecting there, the arrival time in Hirtshals st will be between 18:20 and 18:30.

June 18th to August 21st

  • Aarhus at 13:52 → Aalborg
  • Aalborg at 16:14 → Hjoerring st (the train will be heading to Skagen)
  • Hjoerring st at 16:55 → Hirtshals st, arriving at 17:19.

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