Ferry fares

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The high cost of crossing the channel between Britain and France - whether by ferry or by the Eurotunnel - is mystifying to most Scandinavians. Denmark, with its many internal ferry crossings as well as links to Sweden, Norway and Germany, provides a good example for comparison.

To go the 10 miles from Copenhagen to Malmo by hydrofoil costs pounds 15 per round trip and takes 45 minutes. The car ferry takes 90 minutes and costs pounds 60 per car return, year-round. That compares with 65 minutes from Dover to Calais on Le Shuttle for a cost of between pounds 220 to pounds 310 depending on the season. The Channel car ferry takes 105 minutes and fares per car are from pounds 139 to pounds 289 return, depending on the season.

Even long ferry rides in Scandinavia are cheaper. Take the two-hour crossing from Gedser in southern Zealand to eastern Germany. The return trip for a car with five people will cost pounds 35. For a passenger on foot, the cost is pounds 8. And prices stay the same all year.

Other Danish ferries are even cheaper. The one-hour crossing at the Great Belt from Zealand to Funen costs pounds 55 return for a car and pounds 8 for a single passenger. The Oresund bridge, if it is built, is expected to cost the same as or slightly more than the ferry.