The Scandinavian countries, such as Denmark, have reputations for being expensive to visit, but there are opportunities for young travelers to cut their costs, including discounted rail passes, special information services that will steer them toward budget accommodations and even free accommodations for a two-week period each summer.
For example, travelers under 26 are offered special rates on Scanrail Passes, which are valid for unlimited travel in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. You should keep in mind, though, that while passes are sold in North America and Scandinavia, the passes sold in North America tend to be about 20% less expensive.
Travelers under 26 can, for example, buy Youth Scanrail passes valid for five days of travel within a 15-day period. In Denmark the pass is sold for about $170 for second class and $205 for first class. If you buy the pass from a travel agent before you leave the United States, the price is $119 second class and $149 first class.
Youth Scanrail passes valid for 10 days of travel within one month are sold for $206 second class and $254 first class in the United States. Passes for unlimited travel for one month are sold for $299 second class and $374 first class.
For details on youth, regular or senior Scanrail passes, contact a travel agent or Rail Europe at (800) 438-7245.
Denmark, Europe's oldest kingdom, is the southernmost and smallest of the Scandinavian countries. Copenhagen smoothes the path for young travelers using it as a gateway by providing a special youth information office that offers details on budget accommodations, luggage storage facilities and advice on getting around by bus, bike and foot. The Use It office is at Radhusstraede 13, telephone 011-45-33-15-6518. It's open daily from mid-June to mid-September in the summer and on weekdays the remainder of the year.
Young travelers using Eurail, Scanrail or BIJ rail tickets can also use the special Inter-Rail Center at Copenhagen's Central Railway Station. The budget guide "Let's Go: Europe" refers to this as "one of Copenhagen's most useful and friendly assets." The center is a place to exchange information, leave messages, meet up with other young travelers, and, after a long rail journey, take a free shower.
One of the best deals in Denmark for young travelers happens every summer for a two-week period. Travelers under the age of 26 can stay for free in more than 50 hostels throughout the country. But, bring a sleeping bag. This year the free accommodations will be available June 24 until July 6. Addresses will be available at rail stations and local tourist information offices. You can check in from 6 to 10 p.m.
During those same weeks the Danish State Railways also offers discounted fares for travelers under 26. Pedal power is also ideal in Denmark because of its rolling countryside and numerous bike paths. Bike rentals average $7.50 a day or $27 to $45 per week.
If you're curious about Denmark's Viking heritage, the Viking Ship Museum is 19 miles east of Copenhagen in Roskilde. Here you can see reconstructed cargo vessels, warships and a fishing boat that were buried just outside of the town for 900 years. Between June 29 and July 2 the 25th annual Roskilde Festival will be held in the area. It's been referred to as the Danish Woodstock and features more than 100 singers and bands.
Aarhus is know for its large student population. It was researchers at the University of Aarhus who recently announced that they had traced an ancient species of Scandinavian sand mussel to North America. For more information, contact the Danish Tourist Board, 655 3rd Ave., New York, NY 10017.