Although it’s a bit of a slog and involves an international border crossing, the 315km journey from Gothenburg to Copenhagen is surprisingly smooth – and can be quite cheap too, especially if you stick to public transport. The only dilemma is how to tackle the journey; there are several different options available, from flying to driving.
Option one: go by train
Taking the train from Gothenburg to Copenhagen is probably the most comfortable option, particularly if you can manage to get a seat aboard one of the non-stop services. One or two of these direct trains leave from Gothenburg’s Central Station every hour. Öresundståg trains take around 3hr 50min to reach Copenhagen, while SJ snabbtåg (fast trains) make the same journey in around 3hr 15min.
Prices for tickets are cheapest around 90 days before departure, and tend to rise as the date of travel approaches. For timetables and fares in English, the easiest option is to visit the ACP Rail website – you can book tickets there too. Seat reservations are included when you buy through ACP Rail (they’re essential for the fast trains, which are also known as X2000 trains).
Note that if you buy a ticket elsewhere, you must pre-book an actual seat. The separate fee for this is around 49 SEK – check carefully when booking your ticket.
Trains to Copenhagen travel down the west coast of Sweden, passing Malmö before they cross the Öresund Bridge into Denmark. The final stop is Københavns Hovedbanegård – Copenhagen’s main train station, which is right in the middle of town.
The X2000 trains generally have a buffet car serving salads, sandwiches, snacks and booze, but if you’re taking one of the Öresundståg trains, it’s a good idea to bring some supplies.
If you’re looking to take the train from Gothenburg to Copenhagen Airport (sometimes referred to as Kastrup), simply join a train bound for Copenhagen’s Central Station – these stop at the airport immediately after crossing the Öresund Bridge and around 15 minutes before arriving in central Copenhagen. The train station is at Terminal 3. A free shuttle bus is provided for journeys between the terminals.
Journey time: 3hr–3hr 50min
Approximate cost: 500 SEK (one way)
Option two: the bus
Taking the bus is usually the cheapest way to get from Gothenburg to Copenhagen. It’s also one of the most reliable options, especially during the winter, when train services and flights can be delayed (or cancelled altogether) as a result of bad weather.
Each day, a few different services depart from Gothenburg’s main bus terminal (Nils Ericson Terminalen) bound for Copenhagen. There are two main companies running bus routes to the Danish capital. Nettbuss, our favourite, offers comfy seats with decent legroom and free on-board wifi.
Price-wise there’s very little between Nettbuss and rival firm Flixbus, so the best bet is to check online first and book the service that suits you best. Reservations should always be made in advance, but there’s often availability right up until the day of travel.
After leaving Gothenburg, these long-distance buses make quick stops at Helsingborg, Lund, Malmö and Copenhagen Airport before finally pulling up near the train station in the centre of Copenhagen. One-way tickets are available for as little as 220–250 SEK.
If, for some reason, tickets with both of those companies have completely sold out, you could try getting aboard a Eurolines Scandinavia bus. These leave from the Shell petrol station at Stadstjänaregatan 3 in Gothenburg (it’s just north of the bus terminal) and end up at the same place in Copenhagen, though fares tend to be higher.
All of these bus services enter Denmark via the Öresund Bridge, which joins Malmö with Copenhagen.
Journey time: 4hr 20min–4hr 40min
Approximate cost: 250 SEK (one way)
Option three: fly
If you’d rather not travel overland, you could consider flying from Gothenburg to Copenhagen. There are direct flights from Gothenburg Landvetter to Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup) with a journey time of around 50 minutes – or at least, that’s the time you’ll spend up in the air. By the time you add in the transfer times to and from the airports, and the extra hour you need to allow before boarding, you’ll find that flying isn’t really much quicker than going by train.
At the time of writing, SAS is the only airline running direct flights along this route, with up to four departures per day.
Journey time: around 3hr (including airport transfers and check-in time)
Approximate cost: 500 SEK
Option four: drive
If you fancy making a bit of an adventure out of the journey, driving is a good option. Rental cars are available in the centre of Gothenburg – most of the main car-hire brands have a presence at Nils Ericson Terminalen (the long-distance bus terminal). You then have two choices:
1) Drive south along the E6 from Gothenburg and cross from Malmö to Copenhagen using the Öresund Bridge (there’s a charge).
2) Use the Stena Line ferry to cross from Gothenburg to Frederikshavn, and then drive through Denmark to Copenhagen. This option involves a lot more driving (and a different toll bridge) but is a more scenic journey.
3) Drive to Helsingborg in Sweden and then take the ferry across to Helsingør in Denmark, before driving on to Copenhagen.
Always check that the car-rental firm is happy for you to take the car outside Sweden – there may be an extra charge.
Journey time: 3hr 30min (10hr+ via Frederikshavn)
Approximate cost: will depend on size of your car and the route you take
Find a cheap rental car
To book a rental car before your trip starts and to pick it up when you arrive, use the form below. It’ll search hundreds of local providers for you to find you the best deal.
What about passport checks?
If you’re travelling overland from Sweden to Denmark with a hire car or public transport, it’s now fairly likely that you’ll have to show your passport. Our advice is to bring it with you anyway, just in case there’s a check. Fly between Gothenburg and Copenhagen and you’ll be subject to the same security checks as on a standard international flight.