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Thinking of planning a trip without joining a travel group. Would use public transportation. No rental car. Want to visit Copenhagen, Oslo, Bergen and Stockholm. Primary language is English. How difficult is it to navigate public transportation with regard to a language barrier? Are signs in English?

Posted by
6530 posts

How difficult is it to navigate public transportation with regard to a
language barrier?

Not that difficult.

Are signs in English?


Posted by
332 posts

I’ve found people in Scandinavia generally speak better English than I do and it’s my first language.

Posted by
90 posts

I agree with the replies above.
I travelled by train in Denmark and Sweden last year and I'm planning to do it again this year.
I don't think it's more difficult than other countries I've been in.

Posted by
1951 posts

Spent a few days in Copenhagen before cruising in 2019. Most people speak some English but not everyone., Still you should be able to get along ok

I spent a few hours in Stockholm on a shore excursion and almost everyone speaks English, some very well.

Posted by
27347 posts

I haven't been to Denmark since 1972, but I spent many weeks on Norway and Sweden last summer. Excellent English is widely spoken, not just by folks working in the tourist industry. Many people have no accent at all. There will always be people around to help you.

That said, if you get off the tourist trail, you may well encounter restaurants with no English on their menus. The real problem will be the prices, though.

Posted by
569 posts

I have been to those cities several times and had no difficulties getting around speaking only English. All of my Norwegian relatives living in the Nordic countries speak English very well and none work in tourism.

Posted by
4286 posts

I have only been to Copenhagen and Stockholm, but using public transportation (or walking) exclusively and language was not an issue.

Posted by
968 posts

We spent five weeks in Denmark, Sweden and Norway in August/September 2022. We travelled exclusively by public transport - trains, buses, ferries. We had no issues using English wherever we went. We used a lot of public transport apps which had an English language option. We also found that most bus and taxi drivers spoke English and signage at railway stations was in English as well as the relevant language.

Posted by
102 posts

Now these responses are very helpful! Thank you! I'm going for it...

Posted by
1677 posts

To add to what others have said, we went to Copenhagen, Bergen, and Oslo on our own, even doing the "Norway in a Nutshell" route from Bergen to Oslo. It wasn't difficult. Enjoy!

Posted by
1333 posts

The real problem will be the prices, though.

Agree - but at least remember that the prices you see are the prices you pay. No need to tip.

Posted by
148 posts

I traveled to Denmark & Norway last summer and found for the most part English is widely spoken. Our only challenge was when we were lost bike riding on Aero and worried about making our ferry back my husband stopped the one Dane who didn't speak English.

We used public transportation for 90% of our trip. It was a little bit of a logistical challenge as we had many moving parts but totally doable. We took trains in Denmark and found them fairly easy to use although we were confused with the train ticket system. Local trains were fine but we got tripped up when trying to take a train from Copenhagen to Svendborg. I made an advance reservation but I guess that wasn't enough. I spent some time at the train office at Central station and never fully understood what I did wrong but it seems we needed to also reserve a seat in addition to making the reservation. Who knows!

I highly recommend taking the overnight boat from Denmark to Norway. This is a great use of time and will save you a hotel stay pulse it's something different. We took it from Fredrikshavn to Oslo. Norway's public transit was also good. If you are trying to do a nutshell tour you will need to book tickets well in advance. Booking that on your own is doable but I found it a little tricky as we wanted to break up our nutshell trip with a stay in Fjord country. I booked the Songefrjord in a Nutshell through an agency.

Posted by
471 posts

I hope it's easy because that's exactly what we're doing in May. I'm not worried at all. Onwards and upwards!

Posted by
102 posts

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I appreciate all of it.