Cheap passenger and car ferries connect Helsingør (Elsinor) in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden four times per hour in only 20 minutes.
Fast Forsea passenger and car ferries provide cheap and frequent public transportation links between Helsingør (Elsinor) and Helsingborg. These Forsea ferries stop conveniently next to train stations and only a few steps from the town centers making it sensible to leave cars behind and enjoy cheap day trips for sightseeing and shopping. Combination savings deals are a good option when also planning to use the Helsingør-Helsingborg car ferries with Scandlines ferries from Denmark to Germany.
Crossing the Øresund from Helsingør to Helsingborg
The Øresund strait is at its narrowest between Helsingør in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden. Here, only around 4 km of mostly calm seas separate North Zealand from Scania.
For around four centuries, the Danish crown collected tolls here on all boat traffic from the Baltic to the North See – one of the largest and most reliable forms of revenue in medieval and early modern Europe. This explains the importance of Helsingør Castle, or Hamlet’s Elsinore, and why the similarly large fortress on the Swedish side was destroyed.
The completion of the Øresund Bridge to the south of Copenhagen and Malmö lessened the importance of transportation links via Helsingør and Helsingborg but ferries still operate almost non-stop on this short route. It is a cheap and fun day-trip tour for foot passengers while for many drivers the ferry crossing saves driving distance compared to using the toll bridge.
Passport checks are sometimes made on this routing and it may be necessary to carry the correct documentation.
Ferries from Helsingør to Helsingborg
Car and passenger ferries operated by Forsea Ferries (previously Scandlines or HH) generally connect Helsingør and Helsingborg four times per hour in only twenty minutes. Boats run through the night but the frequency lessens to one or two per hour during the early morning hours. (Some boats are still in Scandlines or HH Ferries livery but all belong to the same group.)
The ferry terminals in both cities are directly adjacent to the railway station making it easy to arrive by train and simply boarding the ferry for a day trip. Fees for foot passengers and cyclists are cheap, while it is relatively expensive to take a car across the strait.
Passenger Ferries from Helsingør to Helsingborg
Reservations for foot passengers are not possible. Simply buy a ticket from the window or vending machine and board the first ferry to depart.
Single tickets for foot passengers are around DKK37 one-way. Small discounts are available for return tickets (usually valid for three months) while prices are a few crowns more during summer. Bicycles are transported for free.
Children under 12 and seniors over 65 years pay around DKK25.
Discount tickets for 10 single journeys give savings – handy for groups as the tickets may be shared freely.
The Copenhagen Card gives a 25% discount for passengers and around 10% for cars.
With a single ticket, passengers may stay on the ferry for basically unlimited crossings for the day. Such restaurant cruises are popular with locals more than visitors keen to explore the sights.
Forsea Car Ferries from Helsingør to Helsingborg
Taking the car ferry from Helsingør to Helsingborg is as simple as driving onto the boat a few minutes after arrival at the port. Reservations are mostly not necessary, except during the peak holiday season where reservations give priority access.
Ticket prices are a bit more complicated. A standard crossing bought on arrival is around DKK400 one way and includes the passengers (slight variations depending on the season – summer is more expensive).
However, a wide variety of savings options are available for cars using the Helsingør-Helsingborg ferries:
- Advance, online bookings save a few crowns and are a good option as only the date, and not specific crossing time, is required for reservations on this routing.
- Return tickets, generally valid for 90 days, are cheaper than two singles.
- A day-return ticket is often hardly more expensive than a single ticket.
- A weekend-return ticket – out Thursday, Friday, Saturday return Saturday, Sunday or a holiday Monday – is cheaper than a standard return.
- AutoBizz tickets are half price or less. (AutoBizz is an automatic payment system – well worth getting if traveling extensively in Scandinavia.)
- Combination tickets of the Forsea Helsingør-Helsingborg ferry with other Scandlines ferries to Germany (Rødby-Puttgarden or Gedser-Rostock) give some discounts too.
Currently, the English website of Scandlines offers reservations for the Helsingør-Helsingborg route only in combination with further crossing to Germany. Use the Forsea site when buying car ferry tickets for the Helsingør-Helsingborg routing only.
Facilities on the Forsea Ferries
Although the crossing from Helsingør to Helsingborg takes only 20 minutes, the Forsea boats have the usual facilities that can be expected on Scandinavian ferries: lounges, sun decks, restaurants and shops. Passengers enjoy lovely views of the town and Kronborg (Elsinore Castle from Hamlet fame) from the open decks as well as lounges with large panorama windows.
Passengers generally board directly into the restaurant area that includes self-service restaurants, café-bars, and even more formal restaurant facilities. A popular dish is two reds and a green, i.e. a green Tuborg beer and two red hotdog sausages.
The shop is also typical Scandinavian: to take advantage of different tax regimes, alcohol is only sold during the ten minutes the boat is in Danish waters and sweets the ten minutes in Swedish waters. Many of the Swedes on the boats cross over for cheaper alcohol shopping in Denmark. For Danes, many prices are lower in Sweden too but the difference is not that pronounced as the savings are for Swedes on Danish beer and other alcoholic drinks.
Getting to Helsingør from Copenhagen
Transportation from Copenhagen to Helsingør is easy by train or car. The train station is directly next to the ferry terminal. Cheap parking is also available in the fairly small Sferry parking lot next to the terminal in Færgevej. A credit card is required to enter and exit – free for three hours and then only DKK10 per hour up to six hours.
Trains on the Swedish side run frequently to Lund and Malmö with easy connections via the Oresund Bridge back to Copenhagen. The train on both sides of the Øresund strait and ferry tickets are covered by some travel passes.