Denmark, Europe, Local's Guide to Copenhagen

Ultimate Guide to Copenhagen Airport (By an Ex-Employee)

Copenhagen Airport is the largest airport in the Nordic Countries and serves more than 29 million passengers every year. Located only 8 km south of Copenhagen, Copenhagen Kastrup Airport is the perfect base for exploring the Danish island of Zealand as well as southern Sweden, particularly Scania. As somebody who has worked at this busy airport, I have created this ultimate guide to navigating Copenhagen Airport for you. It includes practical information for all travelers, transport options, a recommendation of the best restaurants, and more.

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Copenhagen Airport Map & Practical Tips

Copenhagen Airport is very easy to navigate whether you are an inexperienced traveler, traveling with children, or traveling with a disability. The facilities at the airport are up-to-date although certainly not as good as other airports I have traveled to. In order to get the most out of your time at the airport, you need to know a bit about it. I hope this guide helps you in doing that.

 

Copenhagen Airport Map

 

Landside vs Airside

In this guide, I may be using the terms landside and airside. These terms simply refer to the location in relation to security control. Landside is before security control (e.g. where you check in), while airside is located after security control (i.e. the transit area).

 

Copenhagen Airport Terminals

Check in at Copenhagen airport is swift and easy.

Copenhagen Airport technically has 3 terminals, although only terminal 2 and terminal 3 are in operations as terminal 1 is permanently closed. Most people will pass through terminal 3 at one point or the other as it is the access point to both metro and trains. At the moment, major renovation works are ongoing in terminal 2 which makes it a bit of a hassle to travel through.

Depending on your airline, you will need to check in either in terminal 2 or terminal 3. Screens will guide you in the right direction. I strongly recommend that you use the self-check-in counters in order to minimize waiting time at the counter.

Security control is located in terminal 3 and is usually swift. If you have forgotten to separate your liquids, clear ziplock bags are provided for you before security control.

 

Luggage Lockers at Copenhagen Airport

The only luggage lockers at the airport are located landside in Parking garage P4. It’s a bit of a hike to get here, so allow ample time. The luggage lockers come in 3 sizes and price categories (see below). The lockers can only be paid for by card. After paying, you will receive a receipt with a code used to open your locker. Please note that if you lose your receipt you will need to pay a 400 DKK fee to have the locker opened. In this case please contact the Information Desk in terminal 3.

 

Smoking at Copenhagen Airport

Smoking at Copenhagen airport: A smoking cabin is available close to the A gates.

Smoking is not allowed at Copenhagen Airport. There are some spots just outside the terminal (close to the train and metro) to smoke a cigarette before security control. After security control (airside) it gets tough. Due to renovations, there is currently only one smoking cabin available at Copenhagen Airport. It is located close to gates A18-A34 and very far (10-15 minutes walk) from anything else. Alternatively, some of the airport lounges also offer smoking cabins to their customers.

 

Currency Exchange & Leftover Change

There are several currency exchange offices at Copenhagen, both, before and after security control. They do not take a commission and are trustworthy. Alternatively, you can also take out Danish kroner from one of the many ATMs around the airport. Some of them also dispense Euros.

If you are traveling out of Denmark and have some Danish kroner leftover, you can donate your change to a variety of causes at the airport. There are several cash collection boxes, supporting organizations such as the Red Cross or the Child Cancer Foundation.

 

Copenhagen Airport with Kids

Copenhagen Airport is well equipped to handle families. It offers facilities such as nursing rooms, play areas, changing rooms, and rental prams. If you are checking in an odd-sized piece of luggage, such as your pram, you will need to do so at the odd-sized baggage counter, located at the far end of terminal 3, close to the taxi stands. Similarly, if you are traveling into Copenhagen, your pram will be delivered at a separate location from your regular luggage at baggage claim. After security control, you can get a rental pram for your child at the assistance center which is located just to the left of the Tax-Free shop.

 

Changing rooms are available in all bathrooms. They may be separate rooms or be part of the washrooms for either men or women. The usually provide a changing table as well as a sink.
Copenhagen Airport also has a dedicated nursing room, although it is a bit difficult to find. It is located in the basement and can be reached by elevator or by following a set of stairs. You can access the nursing room from terminal 2, just next to O’Leary’s. Unfortunately, there is no signage to the nursing room, so I recommend that you follow the signs to the bathrooms. The nursing room also has a microwave where you can heat milk or food.

There is a play area for kids, although it looks a little bit sad at the moment. I hope it will be spruced up once renovations in terminal 2 are complete. It consists of a small slide and a Lego play table. You can find the kids’ play area in terminal 2, close to gates B6 and B7.

 

Copenhagen Airport Accessibility

Copenhagen Airport is fully accessible and equipped with ramps and lifts as necessary. If you need assistance during your visit to Copenhagen Airport, you need to inform your airline directly. If you are a person with reduced mobility, the Assistance Center is responsible for coordinating your stay at the airport. Their facilities include an accessible toilet as well as a shower and a bench.

 

What to Do at Copenhagen Airport

I must say that Copenhagen Airport is probably one of the dullest airports I have ever seen. Apart from shopping and eating there really isn’t anything to do at the airport. I recommend that you use your time to either just relax and people-watch or to work.

 

Relaxing & People-Watching

There are few seating possibilities in the shopping areas of terminals 2 and 3. You can opt to either sit at a cafe or walk a little further away from the crowds. It gets very quiet very soon if you walk towards the A-gates, particularly A18 onwards.

If you are traveling outside the Schengen area, I recommend that you sit after passport control as it is much quieter (please note that you cannot return once you have passed passport control). There are some sofas upstairs above 7-Eleven which are nice for plane watching as well.

There are massage chairs available throughout the airport if you are in need of some deep relaxation. 10 minutes cost 20 DKK or 3 EUR. You can pay either in coins or by card.

Relax at Copenhagen airport: Massage chairs are available at several locations in the airport.

 

Power Outlets at Copenhagen Airport

If you need to get some work done, I recommend that you head to the B-gates. It is the only area at the airport which provides chairs, tables, and ample power outlets for your electronics. It’s also quiet enough to get some work done, although not particularly comfortable.

Other than that, power outlets are surprisingly difficult to come by at the airport. You may need to resort to sitting on the floor next to one of the few random outlets after security control. It’s my biggest pet-peeve with Copenhagen Airport and I really hope that it will improve soon. In the meantime, if you are really in a pickle, I recommend that you buy a day pass to one of the airport lounges as they provide adequate seating and power outlets.

 

Lounges at Copenhagen Airport

Copenhagen airport lounges: The SAS lounge is one of the biggest lounges at Copenhagen airport.

If you can swing it, I recommend that you get yourself access to one of the lounges at Copenhagen Airport in order to get away from the bustling crowds. Most lounges offer comfortable seating spaces, complimentary coffee, and newspapers. There may also be a selection of cold foods, snacks, and drinks. Eventyr Lounge and the SAS Lounge are the only places at Copenhagen Airport where you can take a shower, albeit Eventyr Lounge is located after passport control.

In total, there are 8 lounges at Copenhagen Airport. If you are not sure whether you have access to the lounges, it is very well worth asking. Often, lounge access is only free for business class or first class travelers, although you may be offered lounge access if your flight is delayed (in any case, just ask the staff at your gate!). Almost all lounges can also be accessed with a day pass. The lounges at Copenhagen Airport are as follows:

 

LoungeAssociated withDay Pass
Aviator Lounge155 DKK
Aspire Loungee.g. Finnair, Qatar Airways, Aeroflot, Diners Club160 DKK
Atelier LoungeAirFrance, KLM, Finnair189 DKK
Eventyr LoungeBritish Airways, Emirates, Delta Airlines, Norwegian250 DKK
Primeclass210 DKK
SAS LoungeSAS, Star Alliance210-230 DKK
SAS Gold LoungeSAS, Star AllianceNo access

 

Copenhagen Airport Food & Drink

Let me start by saying that food at Copenhagen Airport is expensive. That being said, you can get freshly prepared food such as a real oven-baked pizza after security control. If you are looking for a cheap yet filling meal, I do recommend that you eat before you go through security control. Burger King is the only fast food option at Copenhagen Airport; there is no McDonald’s. A Whopper meal costs about 80 DKK and includes unlimited refills on soda.

If you want to eat after security control, some of the best food is served at Gorm’s. Their pizzas, salads, and pasta are fantastic. They are, however, also expensive. A pizza will cost you 150 DKK which is definitely pricey. You could grab some Danish food, such as a Danish hot dog or traditional Danish smorrebrod from Aamann’s.

Where to eat at Copenhagen airport: Eat traditional Danish food such as smorrebrod before your flight.

 

The cheapest option is, of course, to bring food from outside or buy a sandwich from WHSmith. Personally, I’m not a big fan and prefer to get something a bit more substantial.

 

Where to eat at Copenhagen airport: This selection of vegetarian food only costs 85 kr at YoSushi.

My tip would be to pick up a sushi box from YoSushi in order to resist the temptation of the conveyor belt. If you are strong-willed, sit down and order something off the menu rather than eating off the belt as the little dishes can add up VERY quickly (some of them are 89 DKK, mind you). My personal go-to is the vegetable chahan because it’s warm and really well seasoned as well as filling. Along with it, get 2 servings of cucumber or avocado maki. That makes a reasonable lunch and only costs 85 DKK in total for a semi-warm meal.

If you are flying out of Schengen, pick up your snacks from 7-Eleven after passport control. I find they have some of the healthiest food for some of the best prices in Denmark in general. Also, their prices aren’t hiked up at the airport.

After security control, most restaurants at the airport open at around 10:00 while cafes and bakeries tend to open earlier. Even if your flight is at 6:00, you will still be able to pick up a cup of coffee 😉 The only restaurant open 24/7 is Burger King (landside).

 

Where to Buy Coffee, Snacks & Water

Working at the airport into the late hours, I have staked out the best and cheapest places to get my caffeine kick. Coffee is easy to get by at Copenhagen Airport, but prices between the different cafes differ drastically. For example, a cappuccino from Joe & The Juice cost 28 DKK, while the same size costs 42 DKK at Starbucks. The cheapest coffee is to be had at 7-Eleven but is only available for those traveling outside Schengen (after passport control).

My favorite place to buy snacks is also 7-Eleven, although WHSmith is also ok. If you are fine with eating the same snack for a while, buy some nuts or chocolate at the Tax-Free Shop. It’s your best option if you don’t have access to 7-Eleven.

Just as with coffee, the price of bottled water varies significantly between shops. You can get it for as cheap as 10 DKK at the Tax-Free shop or as expensive as 28 DKK at Starbucks. The only drawback is that the water at the Tax-Free shop is not chilled. Your next best option is WHSmith where you can get chilled water for 18 DKK.

Personally, I recommend that you carry your own reusable water bottle. Not only is it better for the environment, it will also save you a lot of money. Most bathrooms at the airport have cold water tabs where you can refill your bottles with tap water for free. Check out one of my favorite water bottles for traveling!

 

Copenhagen Airport Shops: How to Get the Best Deals

As a mid-range traveler, I sometimes wonder whether anybody actually shops at the airport. If you have ever wondered the same thing, let me tell you: they do! However, it is important to note that shopping at the airport or in the Tax-Free shop doesn’t automatically mean that you will get the best deal.

First of all, don’t think that all the shops at the airport are duty-free. The only real duty-free shop is the Tax-Free shop. You are paying the regular 25% VAT at all other stores at Copenhagen Airport. Also, many shops hike up their prices for selected products at the airport, particularly those that sell well.

That being said, many shops also offer products which are not available in their other outlets or offer special deals for travelers (e.g. 3 for 2 offers). It is paramount that you have a firm idea of what you want to buy before you get to the airport. Do a quick google search and see how much items cost in their online shops. Keeping these prices in mind, compare them to the prices at the airport. It’s also a good idea to have your phone on you to compare prices while you are shopping in order to get the best deal.

Once you have found something, you may save even more if you are traveling outside the EU and Schengen in the form of a VAT return.

 

VAT Refund

Tax refunds at Copenhagen airport: Global Blue has desks before and after security control.

If you are traveling outside of Denmark and the Schengen zone and are not a resident of Schengen, you may be eligible for a VAT refund. VAT refunds at Copenhagen airport are handled by Global Blue. Global Blue have two desks, one landside and one airside. I recommend that you come a little early if you plan on doing a VAT refund before security as lines tend to get long during the high season. If you do some shopping that’s eligible for a VAT return (i.e. 300+ DKK in a single purchase at a partner store) after security control, there is a Global Blue desk at Nytorv, just outside the Tax-Free shop. Please note that you will have to present the filled forms by the seller as well as the actual products in order to receive a VAT refund at Copenhagen Airport.

 

Where to Buy Souvenirs at Copenhagen Airport

If you forgot to pick up some souvenirs for your friends and family or your suitcase was simply full, you still have the chance to pick up some souvenirs at Copenhagen Airport. If you are looking for magnets, keychains, or Little Mermaid figurines, head to one of the Scandinavian Souvenirs shops.

Personally, I prefer to bring Danish sweets as souvenirs for friends and family. You can buy giant boxes of Anthon Berg marzipan or Danish butter cookies at the Tax-Free shop. In my opinion, they are fairly priced. For the more adventurous, buy traditional Danish licorice from Johan Bulow. Or, buy some organic chocolate by the Danish brand Summerbird. Summerbird products can be found at the Delicious by Nordic shops, although the selection is a bit small. For a wider range of Danish chocolates, head to Danish chocolatier Peter Beier in terminal 2.

 

Copenhagen airport shops: A Day bag is one of the best souvenirs to buy at Copenhagen airport.

In case you want to buy something non-perishable, I recommend that you check out Illums Bolighus. Danes are obsessed with this store. They have a wide selection of Danish design objects, such as the Hoptimist products or Royal Copenhagen porcelain. Another option is to buy a bag by Day. I’m not sure there is a Danish woman without a Day bag. They can be found at the Birger et Mikkelsen shops. They are a steal if they are on sale!

 

Copenhagen Airport Hotel

Copenhagen airport hotel: Clarion Hotel is only a few steps from terminal 3 and offers day passes to the spa.

There is only one Copenhagen Airport hotel, namely Clarion Hotel. If you happen to have an overnight layover in Copenhagen, I recommend that you book yourself a room at this hotel. It’s located right next to terminal 3 and is only a few steps from the arrival hall. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, a spa, a gym, and more.

Book your stay at Clarion Airport Hotel now!

 

What to Do on a Short Layover in Copenhagen

If you have a couple of hours at Copenhagen Airport but don’t feel like you have enough time to visit the city, there are still a few things you can do. You can either opt to stay at the airport and chill in one of the lounges, treat yourself to a spa day, or leave the airport altogether.

Treating yourself to a spa day is easy, although you will have to leave the transit area. Proceed through baggage claim and head to Clarion Airport Hotel. The hotel is also the home of an excellent spa. Access to the spa for non-residents costs 250 DKK and is worth every penny.

 

What to do during a layover at Copenhagen airport: Visit the medieval village of Dragor.

Even if your layover is short, you can leave the airport and stretch your legs a bit. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend heading into Copenhagen city center unless you have more than 8 hours. Anything less than that, spend your time exploring the island of Amager. Public transport can take you to the beautiful medieval town of Dragør in only 35 minutes. If you are visiting in the summer, you can dip your toes into the Baltic Sea at Amager Strandbad (a favorite among Copenhageners). Amager Strandbad is only a 5-minute metro ride from the airport and beautiful also during the winter (although freezing cold).

 

* Got more time to kill? Check out our self-guided walking tour of Copenhagen! *

 

How to Get from Copenhagen Airport to the City Center

Getting from Copenhagen Airport to the city center by public transport is super easy and much cheaper than taking a taxi. You have the choice of taking the train, which will take you to Copenhagen Central Station and all major transport hubs, or the Metro which will take you into the heart of the city. Both have advantages and disadvantages. You can plan your journey with the Rejseplanen App.

The train is one of the options of getting from Copenhagen airport to the city center.

 

Personally, I find the trains significantly more comfortable than the metro. There are plenty of seats, sometimes even power outlets and the trains are usually air-conditioned during the summer. On the flip side, trains running to and from the airport are notorious for being late or even canceled.
The metro, on the other hand, is one of the worst places to be in Copenhagen in the summer and only has very few seats. It does, however, run 24/7 without any delays which makes it the safer choice for traveling to and from the airport.

Both cost the same. You can buy tickets for the public transport in Copenhagen from any of the DSB vending machines in the arrival hall. Single tickets cost approximately 36 DKK. The ticket machines only accept cards. From the ticket machines, the trains depart downstairs from platform 2 while the metro departs from upstairs at the very end of the arrival hall.

 

Taxi from Copenhagen Airport to City Center

If you are traveling with a lot of luggage, children, or your mobility is impaired, it may be more convenient to take the taxi. Taxis depart outside terminal 3. The taxi stand is on the right-hand side when you enter the arrival hall. A taxi from Copenhagen Airport to the city center will cost about 250-300 DKK.

 

Car Rentals at Copenhagen Airport & Parking at Copenhagen Airport

In general, it is hardly necessary to rent a car in Copenhagen. If you are planning to explore more of Denmark, however, a car may come in handy. Car rental services are available at Copenhagen Airport along with plenty of parking spaces.

 

Car Rental at Copenhagen Airport

If you are planning to rent a car, the car rental center at Copenhagen Airport is open between 6:00 and 23:00. However, some of the car rental agencies may have different opening hours. The car rental center at Copenhagen Airport is located beyond the parking garages after terminal 2. In order to get here, you will need to take the free shuttle bus which departs every 10 minutes from terminals 2 and 3.

Compare prices of car rentals in Copenhagen now!

 

Copenhagen Airport Parking

Plenty of parking spaces are available at Copenhagen Airport. Of course, you can just drive to the airport and park at any of the 11 parking lots, but in general, it’s a good idea to pre-book your parking. Online booking is the cheapest option, but the parking spots may be located a bit far from the terminals. The standard parking is more expensive but located closer to departure and arrival halls. It’s well worth checking your parking options ahead of time in order to avoid expensive surprises. You can find all information about parking on the CPH Website.

If you are driving an electric car, you can charge it at the airport. There are five electric vehicle charging stations at P8 -2. However, please be aware that they are old-style sockets. They are being replaced by newer sockets as soon as possible.

 

Copenhagen Airport to Cruise Terminal

If you are continuing your journey on a cruise and need to get from Copenhagen Airport to your cruise terminal, it is essential that you know which port you are going to. Copenhagen has 3 cruise ports; Ocean Quay, Langelinie, and Nordre Toldbod.

 

Copenhagen Airport to Ocean Quay Terminal

Take metro M2 and get off after 8 stops at Nørreport St. From here, catch bus 25 in the direction of Oceankaj and get off at the last stop. Alternatively, you can take the Cruise Shuttle from Copenhagen Airport directly to the cruise port. Tickets cost about 115 DKK per person and the transfer time is 40 minutes.

 

Copenhagen Airport to Langelinie/Freeport Terminal

The easiest way to get from Copenhagen Airport to Langelinie Terminal by public transport is to take a train until Østerport St. From here, get on bus 27 in the direction of Oceankaj and get off at Baltikavej.

 

Copenhagen Airport to Nordre Toldbod Terminal

Nordre Toldbod Terminal is located closer to the city center of Copenhagen and easier to get to. Take metro M2 until Kongens Nytorv St. Then change to bus 1A in the direction of Hellerup St. Get off at Esplanaden. From here it’s only a 10-minute walk to the cruise terminal.

 

Copenhagen Airport to Malmö by Train

Trains run directly from Copenhagen Airport to Malmö Central Station. You can buy your tickets from any of the DSB vending machines at the airport. Tickets cost approximately 90 DKK one-way per person. Please note that if you want to carry on your journey beyond Malmö, you will need to buy your ticket from one of the Swedish SJ vending machines. They are green in color and can be found in the arrival hall.

Once you have your ticket, trains to Malmo depart every 20 minutes from platform 1. Please note that you need to present a valid picture ID (e.g. passport) when crossing into Sweden, as well as your EU residence permit (if applicable).

 


Now, what do you think? Have you traveled through Copenhagen Airport before? What was your impression? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! Let’s stay in touch!

Insider's guide to Copenhagen airport. Learn where to get the best coffee, the cheapest food, and how to get the best deals at the stores. Includes plenty of practical tips as well as a map. #travel #copenhagen #denmark
Insider's guide to Copenhagen airport. Learn where to get the best coffee, the cheapest food, and how to get the best deals at the stores. Includes plenty of practical tips as well as a map. #travel #copenhagen #denmark

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