Land of Hans Christian Anderson, and guardians’ of the gates to the Baltic, Denmark punches well beyond its beltsize as one of Europe’s smallest but best known countroes. It consists of the Jutland peninsula plus 500 islands, the largest of them being Zealand which houses the capital, Copenhagen, one of Europe’s most vivacious cities; don’t miss out on a chat with one of the venerable hippies in Christiania. Bordering Germany, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, Denmark is divided from Sweden and Norway by the Kattegat and Skagerrak straits. Apart from charming towns and villages, ancient castles, green forests and pleasant fjords, visitors are attracted by a 3,000-mile coastline with undamaged islands and white-sand beaches.
Why You Should Go
What’s Cool: Nightlife and shopping in Copenhagen, stunning beaches, history and culture, unspoiled nature, cycling, kind people, comfortable tourist network.
What’s Not: Bag-snatchers and pickpockets in crowded spots, cool summers, breezy winters, unreliable train services, everything’s expensive.
When to Go
The summers are quite cool (60°F in August) and the winters not too cold (32°F in January and February), but it can be very windy. On average, Denmark has 170 rainy days a year, mainly from September to November. Due to the country’s location in northern Europe, the sun rises at 03:30 on long summer days and sets at 22:00, whereas on short winter days, sunrise is at around 08:00 and sunset at 15:30.
Getting There & Away
Most overseas flights land at Copenhagen International Airport. Domestic air travel is relatively restricted. Denmark and Germany are connected by daily rail and bus services. The Øresund Fixed Link is a road-rail system between Copenhagen and Malmø in Sweden, providing a land linkage with Scandinavia. It is also possible to reach the kingdom by ferry from Germany, Sweden, Norway, England, Poland and Iceland. Local buses connect with the Danish train system, which offers frequent service and moderate fares.
Health & Safety
Hospitals and clinics in Denmark are first-rate and equivalent to those in any other western country. Foreigners need a prescription from a Scandinavian physician to obtain remedy at a chemist (apoteka) including for bitterly needed aspirins after having flushed down too many shots of Akvavit the previous night. Hygiene and food safety are top standard. As in most countries, pickpocketing is a possibility in tourist places, but in general, you shouldn’t experience any trouble concerning your private security. The road conditions are excellent and driving standards are high-ranking.
Food & Hospitality
You will find plenty of ethnic restaurants as well as Michelin-starred establishments. Not surprisingly, shellfish is an important element of the local cuisine. Top gourmet eating places serve traditional dishes and French or international food. Try Smørrebrød, the traditional Danish specialty which includes buttered dark bread with slices of fish, meat or cheese which are supposed to be consumed with a knife and fork. Danish coffee is most delicious, and there are various beer breweries, above all Carlsberg and Tuborg. Akvavit is an ice-cold schnapps served with a beer chaser.
Two weeks is the minimum period of time to enjoy a selection of the highlights.
Three days to discover the main attractions of Copenhagen and have some fun.
Four days to travel to the unique cities of Odense and Århus.
Three days to tour the countryside and its fascinating landscapes.
Three days to relax on the uncountable beaches.
One day at one of the country’s 35 amusement parks.
A daytrip to Legoland in Billund.
A few days in Skagen, a picturesque art-rich town in Jutland.
Copenhagen: offering the 17th-century royal residence Rosenborg Palace; Amalienborg Palace, which is the present residence of the royal family; Nyhavn, a canal region that was once Hans Christian Andersen’s home; the Little Mermaid, Denmark’s dearly loved landmark; Stroeget shopping zone and Tivoli Gardens pleasure park.
Odense: this 1,000-year-old dynamic city with an open-air museum offers visitors numerous cultural attractions in a relaxed atmosphere.
Århus: Denmark’s second-largest city is extremely charming, with scenic quarters, narrow streets, a stream through the center and a tempting night life.
Natural areas: forests and wilds of moor or marsh make the Danish fairytale landscape most unique; don’t be surprised if some goblins ask you for a fairy dance.
Excursions: various tours in Jutland or on Funen and Zealand as well as bird-watching trips suitable for the disabled, provide tourists with a wide range of active sightseeing options.
Amusement parks: there are more than 35 fun parks in the kingdom including a water park where the entire family can enjoy themselves.
Cultural sightseeing: is obligatory, especially in the more than 1,000-year-old picturesque cities with their ancient landmarks and open-air museums.
Cycling: numerous local tourist companies organize all-inclusive cycling tours through cities and nature.
Cruising: as the kingdom is enclosed by water, sailing to whichever part of the country is an adventurous option.
Fishing: local fishermen arrange fishing tours to the uncountable first-rate facilities for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.
Golfing: visitors are welcome to about 130 golf courses and may present their membership cards from home.
Partying: is a preferred but costly distraction, especially in Copenhagen where the top-quality music clubs close at 05:00, so you can have a Smørrebrød and schnapps for breakfast when the first bistros are just opening.
Festivals & Events
The Danish calendar is packed with over 40 festivals per year. Here are some of the most recommendable ones to get to:
July: Copenhagen Medieval Festival; a colossal battle with 300 warriors as well as knightsmen, musicians and merchants take visitors back to Denmark of the year 1219.
July: Roskilde Festival is an imposing legendary music festival with more than 150 bands on six stages.
August: Klampenborg Festival is where the crème de la crème of clowns meet to perform all kinds of comedy – a must for your kids!
August: Livø Jazz Festival on the lovely island of Livø in North Jutland offers traditional jazz.
September: Odense Film Festival shows the best short films from around the globe and also offers children and teenagers special programs.