My wife and I are going to Denmark soon. The original plan was to fly out and return by train. We booked a flight with SAS from Birmingham to Copenhagen but it was cancelled. Now we have a booking with BA from Heathrow to Copenhagen but, considering the news of strikes and cancellations, I would like to make a contingency plan. If I am going to do this then I'd like something a bit different. My first step was to check the Harwich to Esbjerg ferry which I have used in the past. Unfortunately, this no longer operates.

What are my options? No vehicle, just two adults.

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    I was going to recommend the Newcastle-Bergen ferry but sadly that's now only a fond memory. Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 15:54
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    seat61 (seat61.com/Denmark.htm) gives an overview of the possibilities, both all-train and train+ferry. Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 19:41
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica According to google NY - Chicago is more than 5 hours shorter Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 7:17
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    I am not considering driving. I have done it in the past. Depending on the requirements, it can make sense but less often these days than it used to be. In this case, 2 people with little luggage and wanting a relaxing trip, driving does not qualify.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 10:46
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    Some suggestions from Seat 61
    – Berend
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 15:37

5 Answers 5


I live in Denmark but am from the UK. My usual route is to fly Ryanair from Stanstead to Aalborg. The bonus is it's often very cheap (less than £10 for a single-way ticket!) If you want to get to Copenhagen after that you can book tickets on Flixbus or DSB trains (about 5 hours in either case)

Of course, it's still flying. But not with SAS, and to a different destination. The DSB train goes through all of the Danish countryside and has some lovely views from the two rail bridges between the Danish islands (some of the bridges are mind-bogglingly long!)

  • That will be a good back up plan. I have been to that side of Denmark but my wife has not.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 16:06
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    @StrangerToKindness Manchester-Billund used to be interesting in that the British Airways-branded service was operated by a 32-seat Dornier 328JET, which would make a change from the typical 737 or A320. It's still listed as such on flightmapper.net but there are no flights under the listed codes on flightradar24 in the next or last week, so I guess it's not currently running.
    – nekomatic
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 8:39
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    @FreeMan The other day BA announced the cancellation of a further 1500 flights. SAS is heavily hit by strikes. Ryanair isn't doing any of that, Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 18:03
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    @StrangerToKindnesss The extra distance is not a problem as it will be extra distance in a new (to my wife) area. This is pretty much what I hoped for. A bit slower and more complex than a direct flight to Copenhagen but not ridiculously so. Also interstingly different.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 19:24
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    @Freeman This is a backup plan, if BA don't cancel then we will use them but, as StrangerToKindness says, it is not inconceivable that BA will cancel maybe with little notice.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 19:27

Bicycle along the Eurovelo 12 route.

This long distance cycle route is called the North Sea route. It starts in Scotland, goes down the East cost of the UK, then along the French, Belgian, Dutch, German, Danish and Norwegian coastlines.

If you could get to Calais or Dunkirk there is a remarkably easy and pleasant journey ahead of you. The route is well marked, flat, and almost exclusively on purpose built, vehicle free cycle tracks.

The distance is around 900km from Calais to Denmark, so it will take you a few days but the journey is the adventure.

Eurovelo 12 route

  • 1
    My brother-in-law is doing that one. I need to get fit again before I attempt it.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 8:39
  • What if the OP has luggage? Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 9:39
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    A warning from someone who has done long bike trips in the past: 900km for someone who is not used to long biking will be more than "a few days". This needs a certain level of preparation and equipment.
    – Voo
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 12:00
  • One brother-in-law did this many years ago and another is about to try. He is preparing carefully.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 5:54

This would be different:

  • train from Birmingham (or wherever) > Newcastle
  • DFDS Ferry from Newcastle > Amsterdam
  • train from Amsterdam > Copenhagen

This will require bus or taxi at each end of the ferry trip, but the ferry itself is overnight.

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    There are buses between the train stations and the ferry ports, taxis will be rather expensive, the Dutch taxi ride may cost as much as your train ticket from Amsterdam to Denmark.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 4:04
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    Thanks. That looks worth considering. As I said to Hilmar, my wife won't want a long distance bus but local buses are fine.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 8:08
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    From Birmingham, I'd have thought it'd be much more convenient/faster to get the train to Harwich for the ferry to Hoek van Holland?
    – Muzer
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 9:39
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    For both Harwich-Hook and Newcastle-Amsterdam overnight journies are the most likely or only options. The day ferry from Harwich is early enough that getting there by train on that day is unlikely. Just look at the overal cost and timings.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 10:14
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    Note that the ferry to Amsterdam doesn't actually go to Amsterdam. It goes to Ijmuiden. From the ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station, you either take two busses, or walk + bus to either Haarlem station or Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, from which you take a train to Amsterdam Centraal. (See 9292.nl).
    – Abigail
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 17:34

Try https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Birmingham-England/Copenhagen

This will give you multiple options with only trains and/or busses. Trains will be expensive and he quickest one is 17 hours. Busses may be cheaper but also substantially longer and in general less comfortable.

You may have to stitch individual legs together but looking at a 30 hour bus route you probably want to break it up anyway.

  • I am very happy to rough it. My wife is not overly fussy but she won't like a long distance bus. The site looks useful though, thanks.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 8:06
  • (+1) Not worth a separate answer but for trains, especially to and from the UK, you could add seat61.com/Denmark.htm
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 19:44

You can do the entire trip by train. This site gives a travel time of 17h45m using five different trains:

  • Birmingham - London
  • London - Brussels
  • Brussels - Cologne
  • Cologne - Hamburg
  • Hamburg - Copenhagen

Alternative train options via Paris and Amsterdam exist as well.

  • That, in reverse, is approximately our trip home. We plan to take our time with breaks in Hamburg etc.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 18:10

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