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Cash or Credit in Denmark and other northern european countires

We will be in Copenhagen for a few days next week, then on a cruise to Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden. Will we be able to use our credit cards at most places in all these countries? We are trying to figure out if we need to get some of the local currencies prior to flying out. Thanks

Posted by
1874 posts

We were just on a cruise there (minus Germany) in June. We used no local currency (except for shore excursion tips in Finland and Estonia (but they would have happily of accepted US dollars), and we easily charged all of our other expenses, such as meal/entrance fees for our early fly in day expenses or any purchases made at local shops. Never used an ATM (we had a few euros leftover from a previous trip). Oddly, the only country in which my credit card functioned w/ the chip/pin was Russia. All transactions in the other countries went thru as either card swipesor chip without pin. I was surprised I was only able to use the pin function once.

For shore excursion tips in Russia, we gave US dollars, and guides were pleased. We did not need to use an ATM in any of the countries.

If you are using a provider for shore excursions other than thru the ship, you MIGHT need cash for them, but I think many accept credit cards.

Check w/ your cruise line, as I think some cruises will exchange small dollars into local currency (or have someone on board from each port that will). Ours was a small ship (Silversea) and did not offer currency exchange.

Posted by
6565 posts

We were there last September--on a Baltic Cruise. We also flew over to Norway and took the Norway in a Nutshell tour over to Bergen.
We did use an ATM in Copenhagen to get local cash, as we were there 3 days before and 1 day after our cruise. I don't recall getting cash in the other countries as all the gift shops took our credit and debit cards.
In Russia, our tour guide fronted us money and added it to our bill at the end of our 2 day tour. We paid for lunch with our regular credit card. The tour company also didn't require any deposit prior to our arriving in St. Petersburg--the honor system.
We loved each and every stop on a trip of a lifetime. St. Petersburg is simply a stunningly beautiful place.

Posted by
1251 posts

You will be able to use your credit card in Denmark & Sweden. I remember seeing loads of ATM's in both countries also.

Posted by
308 posts

We visited Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway in May and used credit cards for everything with one exception. We needed coins in the local currency for public restrooms. In Norway, we also encountered a museum coat room with lockers that only took coins. We didn't have any local currency so we asked the desk clerk for help and she loaned us a coin.

Posted by
5653 posts

Credit cards are the norm in my Scandinavian travel experience (Denmark, Norway, Finland) and commonly accepted in my German experience. That said, I use cash for smaller purchases just as I would in the States, and as others note, having the proper coinage is a good idea for certain pay facilities and transit. Some transit operators in Scandinavia still offer change but it's safer to have exact coinage. I should note that my German friends tend to pay for meals in cash, but for the most part I was able to use credit cards in my German travels including meals in the Baltic/Northeastern German area.

I count on getting local currency from ATM cash machines on arrival then try to get coinage in change. Getting local currency would be a task with your itinerary. Obtaining Danish DKK, Swedish SEK, Russian RUB and EUR for the rest in advance would not be my choice but some folks feel comfortable having local currency. Having local coinage is more important than currency when you need access to a facility.

Posted by
4835 posts

One thing about using your credit card in Denmark and Norway. Most restaurants and shops will ask you if your card is signature or code. If you don't have a chip and pin credit card, be sure to state signature. If you can acquire a chip and pin card it is a good idea.

Posted by
650 posts

Agree with Edgar. Sweden, Denmark and Norway were the first places I've been in Europe where there seemed to be a preference for plastic.