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Should you choose the ferry between Oslo and Copenhagen over flying?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Should you choose the ferry between Oslo and Copenhagen over flying?
The ferry between Oslo and Copenhagen has remained popular with travellers despite quicker alternatives existing. Pictured is the DFDS ferry near Drøbak. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Many are put off by the thought of packed airports, swamped motorways and overcrowded trains. So, is the longer journey from Oslo to Copenhagen via ferry a better solution?

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Several travel links connect the capitals of Norway and Denmark. Thanks to rail, road, and flight connections, travellers can journey between the two cities over land, air, and sea.

Flying is the most popular option, given flights take just over an hour. Even when you need to be at the airport two hours before the flight, it's still quicker than the road (seven hours) and rail links (eight hours).

The frequency of flights also means that tickets are relatively cheap. Meanwhile, the boat between Oslo and Copenhagen, operated by DFDS, takes roughly 19 hours.

READ ALSO: What are the alternatives to Norway's busiest flight routes?

The pros

Despite the long journey, the ferry connecting the two capitals remains popular with travellers.

For starters. It's perhaps the most comfortable way to complete the journey, even if it takes considerably longer.

If you are travelling with kids or pets, they don't need to be cooped up either and can stretch their legs.

You also don't need to worry about luggage. Those travelling by car can leave the bulk of their luggage in the vehicle while bringing toiletries and other essentials to their cabins. Meanwhile, those not bringing a car aboard can travel with what they can carry.

The ferry can be considered an experience in and of itself. The DFDS ferry has bars and restaurants, making it more like a mini cruise ship than a ferry. There are also kids' activities, as well as a pool, sauna, and jacuzzi.

Wi-Fi can be ordered onboard, meaning that if your job allows remote work, you could work instead of losing the day to travel.

The journey into and out of Oslo passes through the Oslofjord. This offers great views all year round, and in the summer months, you could enjoy the journey from one of the outdoor areas.

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The boat could be a more relaxing alternative for those who find travel stressful.

Prices start from around 600 Norwegian kroner, 400 Danish kroner, or 53 euros for a one-way trip with a car. However, this price doesn't include booking a cabin.

If you are travelling without a car, you could get tickets for considerably less. There's also the mini cruise offer, which involves a roundtrip with a short five-hour excursion in either Oslo or Copenhagen before heading back aboard.

These tickets are typically heavily discounted and have even previously been given away for free at corporate sports days in Norway.

Those on long trips in Scandinavia or travellers with the luxury of time may also enjoy the change of pace from the usual stresses of airports, traffic jams, and train issues.

The cons

The ferry can be similar to flying in that while cheap tickets are available, the cost of the trip could add up—especially if you are bringing a car aboard.

Furthermore, the current strength of the Danish krone against its Norwegian equivalent can put a squeeze on passengers who primarily use the Norwegian krone.

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This is because everything aboard is priced in Danish kroner. Therefore, a day's surfing on the ship's Wi-Fi would cost 119 Danish kroner, equivalent to 184 Norwegian kroner.

Once aboard, there are more substantial costs than the Wi-Fi. Given that you'll be spending 19 hours aboard, you'll likely want something to eat. A three-course set menu, without drinks, in one of the boat's restaurants costs 477 Danish kroner or 730 Norwegian kroner.

There are cheaper options on board, but the currency exchange and Scandinavian prices make things very expensive for all but those who primarily use the Danish kroner.

Time is also a factor. If you are okay with airports, long stints driving, or being onboard a train, you could spend some of the time you save opting for those methods actually in Copenhagen or Oslo.

When making round trips, the novelty of the boat may wear off on the return leg, as you will have already spent 19 hours aboard it.

Furthermore, if you haven't visited Copenhagen or Oslo before, five hours won't feel like enough time.

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