The Little Mermaind, Copenhagen.  Easy to reach by train & ferry!
 

The Little Mermaid by Edvard Eriksen.  Unveiled in Churchill Park in 1913, now a symbol of Copenhagen.

London to Denmark by train

It's easy to travel from the UK to Denmark without flying.  Take Eurostar and onward trains from London to either Brussels, Cologne or Hamburg, stay overnight, then travel from Brussels, Cologne or Hamburg to Copenhagen next morning.  Or sail overnight to Holland and catch a train from Amsterdam to Copenhagen,  A great alternative to an avoidable flight, where the journey becomes part of the holiday.  This page explains the routes, trains, fares & how to buy tickets.

small bullet point  London to Odense & Copenhagen by Eurostar

small bullet point  London to Odense & Copenhagen by ferry from Harwich

small bullet point  UK to Copenhagen by ferry from Newcastle or Hull

small bullet point  UK to Aarhus, Aalborg

small bullet point  UK to Legoland

International trains to & from Copenhagen

small bullet point  Trains from Copenhagen to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Copenhagen

 

Other useful information

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Hotels in Copenhagen

small bullet point  Copenhagen main station guide

small bullet point  About the Hamburg-Copenhagen trains

small bullet point  How to book trains within Denmark using dsb.dk

small bullet point  General European train travel information

small bullet point  Luggage   Taking bikes   Taking your dog

small bullet point  Travel insurance, mobile data, VPN & other tips

Interactive map:  Click a route

Route map, London to Copenhagen & Scandinavia by train Key - Finland via ferry from Germany Key - via Harwich-Hoek Key - via Eurostar Via the Harwich-Hoek ferry Key - via Hull and Newcastle Train travel in Sweden Train travel in Norway Train travel in Finland Travemunde to Helsinki by ferry Helsinki-St Petersburg by train Ferries to Tallinn Stockholm-Riga by ferry Stockholm-Helsinki by ferry London-Norway via Hirtshals London to Oslo by train London-Sweden by train London-Copenhagen by train


Useful country information

Train operator in Denmark:

DSB, www.dsb.dk

For trains between Denmark & Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic & Poland use German Railways: int.bahn.de.

For trains between Copenhagen & Sweden, Norway use Swedish Railways www.sj.se.

Eurostar times & fares    All-Europe online train times

Ferries UK to Denmark:

The DFDS ferry Harwich-Esbjerg was discontinued in September 2014.

Railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses     Buy a rail pass online

Time zone & dialling code:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).  Dial code +45

Currency:

£1 = approx 8.4 Krone.  €1 = approx 7.4 Krone.  Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.dt.dk    Tripadvisor Denmark page   Copenhagen city tours   Legoland

Hotels:

Find a hotel in Copenhagen & Denmark

Page last updated:

18 June 2024.  Train times valid 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024.


Option 1, London to Kolding, Odense & Copenhagen by train

You can travel from London to Copenhagen by Eurostar and comfortable air-conditioned trains, leaving day 1 and arriving day 2, with an overnight hotel stop in either Brussels, Cologne or Hamburg.  By all means stop at one city on the outward and another on your way back.  Incidentally, the Hamburg-Copenhagen trains no longer use the Puttgarden-Rødby train ferry, since December 2019 they've been routed the longer way round through Kolding & Odense and the Great Belt Fixed Link.

London ► Copenhagen with overnight stop in Brussels

This is the most time-effective option, leaving central London in the evening after a full working day, arriving in Copenhagen in the evening next day.

London ► Copenhagen with overnight stop in Cologne

London ► Copenhagen with overnight stop in Hamburg

Copenhagen ► London with overnight stop in Brussels

Copenhagen ► London with overnight stop in Cologne

Copenhagen ► London with overnight stop in Hamburg

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Another way to buy tickets

Using an Interrail pass

Have your trip arranged as a package

How to buy tickets by phone

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels MidiMore about ICE trains.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train

As from June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, now shown in the timetable as EC for EuroCity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

Hamburg to Copenhagen train approaches the Great Belt fixed link

Crossing the Little Belt (Lillebælt in Danish) from Jutland (mainland Denmark) to Funen, the island on which Odense is located.

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Option 2, London to Copenhagen via Harwich-Hoek

There are no longer any direct ferries from  the UK to Denmark.  DFDS axed its 140-year-old route from Harwich to Esbjerg in September 2014.  However, Stena Line's Harwich-Hoek van Holland route makes a useful alternative to Eurostar, with daily departures, inexpensive fares, quality private cabins with shower, toilet & satellite TV.  It's shown in orange on the route map above.

This is a good option if you need to travel at short notice when Eurostar is expensive, if you live in East Anglia, or if you want to avoid the Channel Tunnel.  Indeed, you may prefer this relaxing journey to the faster Eurostar options, cruising overnight to Holland on the Stena Line superferry in a luxury en suite cabin with shower, toilet & satellite TV (see the video), then travelling by daytime train to Copenhagen next day.  Why not stop off in Amsterdam on the way?

London, Cambridge, Harwich ► Copenhagen

  • Day 1, travel from London to Amsterdam overnight by Stena Line Rail & Sail.

    You leave London Liverpool Street at 18:45 Mondays-Fridays, 19:36 Saturdays or 20:00 Sundays by direct train to Harwich International.

    You leave Cambridge at 19:47 Mondays-Saturdays or 19:45 on Sundays by direct train to Harwich International.

    At Harwich, the station is right next to the ferry terminal, you simply walk off the train into the terminal, through a simple security & passport check, check in at the Stena Line desk to get your boarding card & cabin key, then straight onto the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland.

    The ferry sails at 23:00 and arrives at Hoek van Holland at 08:00 Dutch time next morning.

    All passengers travel in cosy private cabins with en suite toilet & shower, satellite TV & free WiFi.  Deluxe Comfort class & Captains class cabins are also available.  You can have a late dinner in the restaurant and settle into your cabin. 

    Day 2, take the frequent metro train from Hoek van Holland Haven to Schiedam Centrum and change onto a Dutch intercity train arriving Amsterdam Centraal at 10:25, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.

Copenhagen ► Harwich, Cambridge, London

How much does it cost?

  • London or any Greater Anglia station to Hoek van Holland starts at £62 per person each way, plus cabin.

    Cabins start at £34 for a single berth cabin or £45 per cabin for a 2-berth, and are compulsory on the night sailing.  For full details of fares and cabin types and costs, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page.

    Hoek to Schiedam by metro costs around €4.  Schiedam to Amsterdam by train costs €17.20.

How to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

What's the journey like?

Step 1, London to Amsterdam by train & ferry

A train takes you from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The superferry Stena Britannica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  Have a late dinner in the restaurant, retire to bed in a private cabin with en suite toilet & shower and satellite TV.  At Hoek van Holland, you walk off the ship, through passport control and straight onto the station for the frequent metro train to Schiedam & Rotterdam.  Change at Schiedam Centrum for a Dutch Railways (NS) train to Amsterdam CentraalThe journey from London to Holland is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video.

Stena Line ferry at Hoek van Holland

The Stena Britannica at boarding at Harwich, a floating hotel with private cabins, restaurant, bar, lounges, shop & kennels.

Standard outside cabin on Stena Line ferry   Stena Plus lounge on the ferry to Hoek van Holland

Above left, a standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360º photoAbove right, the Stena Plus lounge with complimentary red & white wine, tea, coffee & snacks.

Bar on the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland   London to Amsterdam via the Stena Line ferry

Above left, the bar on 9 deck. Above right, a Captain's Class cabin with complimentary minibar, toilet & shower.

Step 2, Amsterdam to Osnabrück by Intercity train

You take a comfortable Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Osnabrück.  There are power sockets at all seats and a refreshment trolley.

Amsterdam to Berlin train, at Amsterdam

An Amsterdam-Berlin Intercity train at Amsterdam CentraalMore about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class seats are in 6-seat compartments.

 

2nd class is open-plan.

...and Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

You then take an ICE4 from Osnabrück to Hamburg Hbf, with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  More about ICEsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

...then Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train

As from June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, now shown in the timetable as EC for EuroCity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class cars have 6-seat compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

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Option 3, Scotland & the North to Denmark

Naturally, you can take a train up to London then travel to Denmark as described above.  You can buy special connecting train tickets from most British stations to London International, see my advice on buying connecting train tickets to London.  But DFDS Seaways (www.dfds.com) run an excellent overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and P&O Ferries (www.poferries.com) have an overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam, both with comfortable private en suite cabins.  Take a train to Hamburg, stay overnight, then take a train to Copenhagen.

Scotland & the North ► Copenhagen

Copenhagen ► Scotland & the North

Fares & how to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

Step 1, Newcastle to Amsterdam (DFDS) or Hull to Rotterdam (P&O) by overnight ferry, with private en suite cabins, restaurants, bars, cinema, a floating hotel.  If travelling with DFDS from Newcastle, a transfer bus takes you from IJmuiden ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal, from where frequent Dutch trains run to Utrecht or Amsterdam.

Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferry also has deluxe Commodore class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video

 

A standard Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam   Cabin on P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam at Rotterdam Europoort.  The ferry also has deluxe class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.

 

A standard outside cabin with shower & toilet on P&O's Pride of Rotterdam from Hull to Rotterdam.

Step 2, Amsterdam to Osnabruck by Intercity train...

You take a comfortable Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Osnabrück.  There are power sockets at all seats and a refreshment trolley.

Amsterdam to Berlin train, at Amsterdam

An Amsterdam-Berlin Intercity train at Amsterdam Centraal More about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class is in 6-seat compartments.

 

2nd class is open-plan.

...Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

You then take an ICE4 from Osnabrück to Hamburg Hbf, with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  More about ICEsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

...then Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train

As from June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, now shown in the timetable as EC for EuroCity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

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London to Aarhus & Aalborg

London ► Aarhus, Aalborg

Aalborg, Aarhus ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

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London to Legoland  (www.legoland.dk)

The famous Legoland theme park, opened in 1968, is at Billund.  There is no railway station at Billund, but there are buses from Vejle, Kolding & Fredericia. 

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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Hotels in Denmark

Suggested Copenhagen hotel:  Axel Guldsmeden Hotel

The Axel Guldsmeden Hotel is a stone's throw from Copenhagen main station, so handy for arrivals and departures, and has been described as 'cool but not pretentious' by travellers - worth taking a look!

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card!  Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Buy from Amazon.com.

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

 


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