Public transportation: Understanding the Copenhagen zone map without losing your mind and cool
But despair not. Keep reading, and you’ll know how to decode the Copenhagen zone map in no time.
The Copenhagen zone map
The zones are the coloured areas on the map. They’re divided by white lines, and all the stations are written in black. The same-coloured areas on the map are referred to as zone rings.
Central Copenhagen is zone 1, Sundbyerne zone 3 and the airport (Lufthavnen) zone 4. That means you have to buy a ticket for three zones if you want to take the bus, metro or train to Copenhagen from the airport. Within the Copenhagen public transportation system, tickets are transferable no matter what mode of transportation you prefer – bus, metro or train.
The zone numbers on the Copenhagen zone map get higher the further away from the city centre you get, but you shouldn’t pay much attention to the zone numbers as they’ll only confuse you. What you should do, is pay attention to the number of zone rings you pass through on your journey, including the zone you started in. That’s what you have to pay for. For example: If you go from Roskilde, zone 8, to Vallensbæk, zone 55, you only pay for 4 zones even though the bus might take you through zone 8, 87, 88, 77, 67 and 55. It’s not the number of zones that matter but the number of zone rings you pass through. Capisce!!?
Tickets start at 2 zones. Even if you only travel in one zone, you need to buy a 2-zone ticket. And you can’t split a 2-zone ticket (or any ticket) with your friend even if both of you only travel in one zone. Remember that. If you don’t and get caught, you’ll both have to pay 750 DKK. That’s the general price for trying to cheat when using public transportation in Denmark.
What about children – are they cheaper? Yes, they are. Up to two children under the age of 13 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. Children travelling alone pay a child fare until they reach the age of 16. Two children under the age of 16 can travel together on one adult ticket.
Buying a ticket for public transportation in Copenhagen
But let’s leave the zone-gymnastics behind us. You don’t need it when you buy a ticket from a ticket machine. The machine will ask you where you want to go and figure out how much you have to pay.
You can buy tickets from ticket machines on all metro and train stations, and if you go by bus, you just ask the driver for a ticket. You might even be gutsy and try the Danish word for ticket: billet. You pay cash on the bus.
Bikes on trains
It’s possible to bring a bike on the S-train (S-Tog) and metro. Due to the morning and afternoon rush, it’s not allowed to bring a bike on the metro Monday-Friday from 7:00-9:00 and 15:30-17:30 hours.
You have to buy an additional ‘bicycle ticket’ at a ticket machine at the station if you want to bring your bike on the metro. A ‘bicycle ticket’ is not needed for the S-train.
The Copenhagen train map
Copenhagen City Pass
If you don’t want the hassle of buying tickets all the time and plan to move around a lot while visiting Copenhagen, you should consider buying a Copenhagen City Pass. With a Copenhagen City Pass, you get unlimited travel on buses, trains and on the metro in central Copenhagen. You can use the pass in zones 1-4 (check out the Copenhagen zone map) and to/from Copenhagen Airport and the city centre. A Copenhagen City Pass can last 24, 48, 72 or 120.
You can buy the 24 and 72 hours City Pass tickets from the ticket machines at the train stations, in DSB Salg & Service at Copenhagen Central Train Station or on the website dinoffentligetransport.dk. The 48 and 120 hours City Pass tickets can be bought from the ticket machines at the metro stations.
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