Denmark

Dog-Friendly Copenhagen: Visiting Copenhagen with a Dog

Dog-friendly Copenhagen

Before visiting Copenhagen, I had heard reports that it wasn’t that dog-friendly, including that restaurants and cafes don’t allow dogs inside. However, after recently visiting the city with my dog, I found it to be welcoming to dogs – you just need to know the rules and norms, which can be stricter than elsewhere in Europe. It’s a beautiful city, especially when it’s warm and sunny like when we visited, so if you are planning to soon visit Copenhagen with your dog, here’s my tips.

Visiting Copenhagen without your dog? Check out the top things to do in Copenhagen

Dining Out in Copenhagen with a Dog

On our second day in Copenhagen, we were heading to lunch on its outskirts when the heavens opened, and a furious downpour began. After sheltering in the carpark until the worst was over, we ventured out and were concerned about where we’d eat. We were wanting a nice sit-down lunch as it was my husband’s birthday, but surely no restaurant would allow us inside with our dog?

Standing outside a restaurant that would normally have an outdoor terrace, but that was now soaking wet and not possible to dine in, we tentatively asked the waiter at the door. He welcomed us inside, stating that there’s no law against allowing dogs inside restaurants inside Denmark, and that we weren’t the only ones dining there with a dog. We’d just have to make do with a limited menu, as the storm had knocked out the electricity!

So, when you’re visiting Copenhagen, feel free to ask restaurants and cafes if they would allow your dog inside. Not all places will allow dogs, but it’s certainly worthwhile trying. Although when it’s sunny, there’s no better places to dine out than the many outdoor terraces, such as in the Nyhavn District.

Two other recommendations for eating well, but on the cheap, while in Copenhagen. Firstly, the Danes have turned the humble hotdog into an artform, and you’ll find hotdog stands scattered around the city, with varied toppings available. Perfect for a quick meal eaten on a park bench, with your dog at your feet!

Gourmet Danish hotdogs

Secondly, there’s some great food markets scattered around Copenhagen, with a mixture of fresh food and ready-to-eat lunch options. We visited Torvehallerne, near the Nørreport train stations. While dogs weren’t allowed inside, there’s plenty of benches scattered around outside to bring your food back out to. I recommend trying the Smørrebrød, a type of Danish open sandwich that is seriously tasty!

Inside the Torvehallerne market

Taking a Dog on Public Transport in Copenhagen

Taking dogs on public transport is one of the more complex areas of dog rules in Copenhagen. While dogs are generally allowed on public transport, there are different rules depending on the type of public transport.

These are mainly for the benefit of allergy sufferers – to keep sections of public transport dog free. If in doubt, just look for the signage or ask a local to help translate – most Danes speak excellent English.

Tickets and General Rules for Dogs on Public Transport

Across the metro, buses and trains, the same rule applies to ticketing. Small dogs and other pets in a carrier (not exceeding 100 x 60 x 30cm) can ride for free, while larger dogs need to have a child’s ticket.

Public transport prices are quite expensive in Copenhagen, so consider a day ticket or multi-day pass, particularly if you’re travelling to Roskilde or Helsingør.

Larger dogs not in a carrier need to be on a leash, although there’s no mention of muzzling in the rules. Also note that there’s a limit of one dog per passenger.

Dogs on Trains in Copenhagen

During our time in Copenhagen, we mainly stuck to the local S-trains, as we were staying near an S-train station. Dogs are allowed on all S-trains, but only in selected carriages. 

When boarding, check the markings on the outside of the carriage. Roughly half the carriages will have a dog crossed out on the outside, meaning no dogs allowed, while about every second carriage will just have a dog symbol, meaning dogs are allowed. I found it best to look for the dogs allowed carriages as the train slowed down, so I had time to move to where they were stopping.

I’m not 100% sure whether the carriage restrictions apply to dogs in carrier bags, but just to be on the safe side I also stuck to the dogs allowed carriages when my dog was in a carrier bag.

Dogs on the Metro in Copenhagen

We didn’t take the metro while in Copenhagen, as at the moment there’s only two lines, although there’s a new line under construction to reach even more of the city.  

The situation with the metro is similar to the S-trains, but I’ve heard reports that it’s always the first and last carriage of these shorter trains that are pet-free. Check the symbols on the door before boarding. Once again, it’s not clear if these rules apply to dogs in a carrier bag.

Dogs on Buses in Copenhagen

The least dog-friendly public transport option in Copenhagen are the buses. Dogs are not allowed in A-buses (bus numbers that end in an “A”), except for in Køge, Roskilde, Naestved, Holbaek and Elsinore. This seems to apply to both large and small dogs, but my Airbnb host thought it didn’t apply to small dogs in a carrier. (I didn’t test this, as I could instead catch the S-train.)

Additionally, larger dogs are not allowed in peak hour on all other buses in the metropolitan area in zones 1-4, 30-33 and 40-44. Peak hour is listed as 7am to 9am and 3:30pm to 5:30pm, on weekdays only. Confused, yet?

The final more simple rule is that dogs must travel in the back half of the bus. The front half is kept dog-free for allergy sufferers.

Dogs on Regional Trains in Denmark

If travelling further afield to Roskilde or Helsingør, you’ll take the regional trains. Similar to local trains in Copenhagen, these trains also have dog-free areas, marked with a crossed out dog. Also stay clear of the quiet zone and the family zone, plus dogs aren’t allowed in first class, except for small dogs and other pets in a carrier bag.

When booking a ticket with a seat reservation, make sure you avoid these sections and get a seat in the standard section. Additionally, some Swedish trains run into Denmark, particularly on the stretch between Copenhagen Airport and the city centre. These trains have a specific dog section (follow the arrows), which I made sure to sit in.

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Copenhagen

When I recently investigated the percentage of dog-friendly hotels in different European cities, I found that Copenhagen performed surprisingly well, with 41% of hotels on Booking.com allowing dogs (although probably with restrictions, particularly limiting dogs to certain pet-friendly rooms).

However, I suspect that many of these dog-friendly hotels are more expensive hotels, of which there seem to be plenty in Copenhagen. Accommodation prices in Copenhagen are quite high, and most of the budget hotels don’t seem to allow dogs.

Dog in Copenhagen

Exploring the narrow historic streets of Copenhagen

If like me you’re having trouble finding affordable dog-friendly accommodation, it’s worthwhile checking out Airbnb, more so the suburbs surrounding Copenhagen, rather than the city centre. Ideally look for something serviced by an S-train (given the restrictions for dogs on buses), and budget for the cost of public transport. Car parking though is easy and usually free, and there’s lots of green parks, which Schnitzel enjoyed.

Schnitzel loved the grass in suburban Copenhagen during spring

Dog-Friendly Parks in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is home to many wonderful parks. Whether it’s the sizeable parks in the city centre (we visited both Kongens Have and Ørstedsparken), the many greens parks in the suburbs or the deer parks and forest to the north of Copenhagen (such as Jægersborg Dyrehave).

We only found one park that didn’t allow dogs – the botanic gardens, unsurprisingly. In other parks dogs are allowed, although usually with the signage “Hund i snor”, meaning dogs are to be kept on a leash.

Dog-friendly parks in Copenhagen

Sign on the gate at Ørstedsparken indicating dogs need to be kept on a leash

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a wonderfully walkable city, and your dog will love joining you on your explorations of the city, whether that’s strolling through its historic streets, taking a cruise on the harbour or relaxing in the parks. There’s also some great day trips available from Copenhagen where your dog can join you, such as heading to Helsingør, the site of Hamlet’s castle, or visiting the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. 

Check out my full list of dog-friendly things to do in Denmark.

Schnitzel on a harbour cruise in Copenhagen

Alternatively, for something different, for one day a year the Tivoli amusement park welcomes dogs. The historic amusement park is one of the most popular attractions in Copenhagen. While we missed out on visiting as dogs are not usually allowed inside, for one day each year, the doors are open to well-behaved dogs on the annual Dogs’ Day in Tivoli.

In Dogs’ Day in Tivoli in 2019 happened on Sunday 25th August 2019. Dogs are required to be on a leash and normal admission fees apply for human visitors, but there’s plenty of treats in store for both two- and four-legged family members. Keep a look out for the day during late summer each year!

The gates to Tivoli

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Ryan Biddulph
    October 22, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Schnitzel looks like he had a blast in this wonderful city Shandos. He is so cute!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      October 22, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Thanks Ryan, he sure loved rolling in all the green grass!

  • Reply
    Dana | Travelling With a Dog
    November 25, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Great article! We’ve been living in Denmark for 3 years now with our (big) dog, and have recently moved near Copenhagen. We always take her with us on days out and it can be quite limiting where we can go with her, unlike countries like Germany where she is able to sit at our feet at virtually every restaurant 🙂

    A great dog-friendly cafe is Joe & The Juice. It’s not Danish and is a chain but they are dog-friendly so if you ever need a place to sit or warm up, Joe & The Juice is a great spot if you’ve got your dog!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      November 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks for the tip on Joe & The Juice! It’s always good to know about some of the chains that are dog-friendly.

  • Reply
    Mariah
    November 27, 2018 at 6:43 am

    I would love to read an article about what it was like & what is needed flying internationally with your dog (specifically to Denmark), all the tips & tricks and things to expect/have prepared! I’m planning on spending 2 months in Copenhagen this summer with my service dog, but am anxious about all the regulations, etc!!

  • Reply
    Annie
    April 25, 2019 at 2:10 am

    What was it like bringing your pup through customs in Copenhagen Airport? We are bringing ours next month and will have all the necessary paperwork. We travelled to France last year and they didn’t even notice our dog much less ask or request paperwork for Brady. Thank you for your knowledge!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      April 25, 2019 at 4:57 am

      Annie – Sorry, but I didn’t fly directly into Copenhagen from outside of the EU, just from Paris, so we didn’t go through customs. As long as you have the necessary paperwork you’ll be fine. I’ve heard from other people flying into multiple cities in the EU that their paperwork isn’t looked at, so this could be the case in Copenhagen, but you always need to be prepared. Shandos

  • Reply
    Diana
    December 31, 2019 at 6:34 am

    I am in Copenhaguen right now and so far my two dogs are not allow in cafes or restaurants…. compare to other cities in Europe this is by far the less pet friendly one. At Tivoli someone said to us… mmm next time do not bring your dog to the city… let’s see how it ends!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      January 2, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Diana – that’s frustrating to hear. That’s the problem with cities where only some places allow dogs – you can get lucky, or you may not, and it’s so much tougher this time of year, when it’s cold outside.

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