Must-See and Must-Do Activities in Denmark

Denmark is a small Nordic country located in Northern Europe, which despite its size has a rich history and a unique cultural heritage. The country is known for its picturesque landscapes, with rolling hills, stunning coastlines, and charming towns. It’s also home to cities such as Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Odense, all offering vibrant cultural scenes. Get ready for activities like exploring historic sites, indulging in delicious Danish cuisine, or simply taking in the natural beauty of the country.

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Denmark’s Rich History and Heritage

Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark
Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde

Denmark’s history dates back thousands of years, and its heritage is deeply intertwined with Viking culture. The country is dotted with ancient ruins, medieval castles, and historic sites that offer a glimpse into its past. Exploring the country’s historical sites and museums is a must for any visitor.

The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen offers a comprehensive overview of the country’s past, from the Viking Age to the present day. Here, you can marvel at ancient artifacts and learn about Denmark’s role in shaping European history. Meanwhile, at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, you can see reconstructed Viking ships and gain insight into the seafaring prowess of the Vikings.

Another must-see historical site is the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. As well as being the seat of the Danish Parliament, it houses the Royal Reception Rooms and the Royal Stables.

Must-Do Activities in Copenhagen

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is a bustling metropolis offering a wealth of must-do activities. Even if you don’t have much time, take a leisurely stroll along Nyhavn, the iconic waterfront district lined with colourful townhouses, and enjoy a drink at one of the many outdoor cafes.

Another popular option is to visit Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks where you can enjoy thrilling rides, beautiful gardens, and live entertainment. You can also explore the stunning Rosenborg Castle, home to the Danish crown jewels.

Take a bike tour and explore the city like a local, cycling through the picturesque streets and parks. Don’t miss the famous Little Mermaid statue (which has become a symbol of the city) inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, and soak in the beautiful waterfront views.

For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a must, with its impressive collection of ancient and modern art. Finally, no trip to Copenhagen would be complete without sampling the delicious Danish pastries, known as “wienerbrød”, at one of the city’s many bakeries.

Exploring the Historic Sites of Aarhus

Your Rainbow Panorama, Aarhus, Denmark
Your Rainbow Panorama, Aarhus

Located on the eastern coast of Jutland, Aarhus, the second-largest city in Denmark, is a treasure trove of historic sites and cultural attractions. Start your exploration at the open-air museum of Den Gamle By, which recreates a historic Danish town. Here, you can explore beautifully preserved historic houses, workshops, and shops, and get a glimpse of what life was like in Denmark in the past.

The Aarhus Cathedral, which is the longest and tallest church in Denmark, dates back to the 12th century and features stunning Gothic architecture. The ARoS Aarhus Art Museum is a must-visit for art lovers, with its impressive collection of contemporary art and breathtaking rooftop installation, “Your Rainbow Panorama”.

Aarhus is also home to the Moesgaard Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of archaeological artifacts, including the well-preserved Grauballe Man. Don’t forget to take a stroll along the picturesque Aarhus Harbour, lined with trendy cafes and restaurants.

Discovering the Charming Town of Odense

Saint Canute's Cathedral, Odense, Denmark
Saint Canute’s Cathedral, Odense

Known as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, Odense is a charming town located on the island of Funen that offers a glimpse into the life of the beloved fairy tale author. Visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, which is dedicated to the life and works of the beloved author, and learn about the inspiration behind his famous stories. The museum is housed in a beautiful historic building and features exhibits on Andersen’s life, as well as interactive displays and a children’s section.

Explore the picturesque old town, with its cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses, and visit the charming Saint Canute’s (Skt Knud’s in Danish) Cathedral. For a unique experience, take a walk through the enchanting Fruens Bøge forest, which is said to have inspired Andersen’s fairy tales.

Another must-see attraction in Odense is the Odense Zoo, which is home to a wide variety of animals from all over the world. The zoo is known for its focus on conservation and education, and offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals.

Exploring the Coastal Beauty of Skagen

Skagen, Denmark
Skagen

Situated at the northernmost tip of Denmark, Skagen is a coastal town known for its artistic heritage and stunning natural beauty, with sandy beaches, dunes, and crystal-clear waters. The unique meeting point of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea creates a mesmerising spectacle known as the “Skagen Odde”.

In addition to exploring the sand dunes and beaches, visit the Skagen Museum. Here, you can admire the works of famous Skagen painters who’ve been inspired by the town’s unique light and landscapes. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Grenen, where you can stand with one foot in each sea.

Make sure you don’t miss the Råbjerg Mile, which is the largest migrating sand dune in Northern Europe. The dune is constantly shifting and changing shape, creating a dynamic landscape that’s well worth exploring. Skagen is also home to a vibrant arts community, with numerous art galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists.

Experiencing the Natural Wonders of Bornholm

Bornholm, Denmark
Bornholm

Located in the Baltic Sea, the small island of Bornholm is famous for its stunning natural landscapes and unique rock formations and is a haven for nature lovers. Top things to do include exploring the dramatic cliffs and rugged coastline of the island’s northern region, known as the “Hammeren”, as well as visiting the Hammershus Castle ruins. It’s the largest medieval fortress in Northern Europe, offering panoramic views of the island and the sea. It’s also a popular spot for hiking and picnicking.

Another must-see natural wonder in Bornholm is the Almindingen Forest, which is the largest forest in Denmark. The forest is home to numerous hiking trails, picturesque lakes, and historic sites, such as the ancient rock carvings at Madsebakke.

For a more tranquil experience, head to the idyllic beaches in the south to relax and soak in the sun. Dueodde Beach, which features fine white sand and clear turquoise waters, is a particularly popular choice during summer. Don’t forget to explore the quaint towns and villages scattered throughout the island, each with its own unique charm.

Unique Cultural Experiences in Denmark

Hygge
Hygge

In addition to its natural beauty, Denmark is known for its rich cultural heritage. One of the most famous is the unique tradition of “hygge”, which encompasses cosiness, comfort, and a sense of well-being. Hygge workshops often include activities like candle-making, knitting, and baking, and provide insight into the Danish way of life.

Another must-try experience in Denmark is visiting a traditional Danish bakery and indulging in delicious pastries. Don’t miss the famous Danish pastry or the cinnamon bun.

Denmark is famous for its traditional festivals and celebrations, including the Roskilde Festival, one of Europe’s largest music festivals. Attending these festivals will give you a taste of Danish culture and allow you to celebrate with the locals.

You can also visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located on the shores of the Øresund Sound, and explore its impressive collection of contemporary art. Alternatively, attend a performance at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, known for its world-class productions. And don’t miss the opportunity to witness the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace, the official residence of the Danish royal family.

Exploring the Fairy Tale Castles of Denmark

Egeskov Castle, Denmark
Egeskov Castle

Denmark’s numerous fairy tale castles transport visitors into a world of enchantment and wonder. Kronborg Castle, located in the town of Helsingør, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the setting of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Take a guided tour through the opulent halls and secret passageways and immerse yourself in the castle’s history and legends.

Frederiksborg Castle, situated in Hillerød, is another must-visit, with its stunning Renaissance architecture and beautiful gardens. It also houses the Museum of National History, which showcases the history and culture of Denmark.

For a truly magical experience, visit Egeskov Castle. It’s one of Europe’s best-preserved Renaissance water castles, and is surrounded by lush gardens and a moat.

Outdoor Activities and Natural Wonders in Denmark

Klampenborg Deer Park, Denmark
Klampenborg Deer Park

Denmark’s natural beauty extends beyond its coastal landscapes and charming towns. The country offers a wide range of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts. One of the must-do activities in Denmark is cycling along the Danish coastline, which offers breathtaking views of the sea and the picturesque landscapes.

For water sports enthusiasts, Denmark’s coastlines provide excellent conditions for sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. You can also explore the Gudenå River, Denmark’s longest river, by canoe or kayak, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you paddle through the picturesque countryside.

Additionally, Denmark is home to numerous national parks, such as Thy National Park and Mols Bjerge National Park. Both are excellent for hikers with their rolling hills, dense forests, and stunning coastal cliffs. For birdwatchers, the Wadden Sea National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to a diverse range of bird species and offers the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat. Denmark is also home to many beautiful gardens and parks, such as the Frederiksberg Gardens in Copenhagen and the Deer Park in Klampenborg.

Traditional Danish Cuisine

Smørrebrød
Smørrebrød

One of the must-try dishes in Denmark is smørrebrød. This open-faced sandwich is topped with a variety of ingredients, such as pickled herring, roast beef, or smoked salmon.

Another traditional Danish dish is frikadeller, which are delicious meatballs made from a mixture of ground pork and beef served with potatoes and gravy. Denmark is also known for its seafood, with dishes such as fish fillets, shrimp, and mussels being popular choices. For dessert, don’t miss out on trying the famous Danish pastries, such as the Wienerbrød or the Kanelbulle.

There are numerous Michelin-starred restaurants where you can indulge in gourmet cuisine and innovative culinary creations. Meanwhile, for beer lovers, a visit to one of Denmark’s many microbreweries is an absolute must, where you can taste a wide range of craft beers.

Accommodation Options in Denmark

Copenhagen Hotel, Denmark
Copenhagen Hotel, Denmark

Denmark offers a wide range of accommodation options, although you should book in advance, especially during peak season. In major cities such as Copenhagen and Aarhus, you’ll find a variety of luxury/boutique hotels and international hotel chains. These hotels offer comfortable rooms, modern amenities, and convenient locations.

If you’re looking for a more personalised experience, consider staying in a cosy bed and breakfast or a charming guesthouse. If you’re looking for a unique experience, a traditional Danish “kro”, a charming country inn located in rural areas.

Denmark is also known for its eco-friendly accommodations, such as eco-lodges and sustainable hotels, which offer a more environmentally conscious option. For budget-conscious travellers, hostels and budget hotels provide affordable accommodation without compromising on comfort. Camping is also a popular option during summer, with campsites located throughout the country.

You can find plenty of options on Booking.com and Hostelworld. Make sure to compare prices and use filters to find options that meet your requirements.

Tips for Planning Your Trip to Denmark

When planning your trip to Denmark, there are a few tips that can help make your journey more enjoyable. Firstly, it’s important to check the visa requirements for your country of residence and ensure that you have the necessary travel documents. You should also familiarise yourself with local customs and etiquette, such as greeting with a handshake and respecting personal space.

Denmark is a relatively small country, and its efficient public transportation system makes it easy to explore different regions. Consider purchasing a Copenhagen Card, which offers free admission to many attractions and unlimited public transportation within the city. Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes, as Denmark’s cities and towns are best explored on foot. If you prefer to drive, Discover Cars and Qeeq offer car rentals, and you can rent bikes on BikesBooking.

Denmark uses the Danish Krone (DKK)- most places will accept card, but you should always carry a little cash just in case. If you have activities in mind that you’d like to try, book in advance to avoid disappointment. You can use Get Your Guide and Viator to find the best options.

The summer months of June to August are the most popular for tourists, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices. However, visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn can offer a more relaxed and affordable experience. Lastly, don’t forget to pack appropriate clothing for the weather, as Denmark can be quite cold and rainy, especially during the winter months.

If you require emergency assistance in Denmark, dial 112 to contact emergency services.

Conclusion

Denmark is a country that offers a wealth of activities and experiences. With vibrant cities, historic sites and culinary delights, it has something to offer for everyone. From fairy tale castles to charming towns, from stunning coastlines to beautiful gardens, the natural beauty of Denmark will leave you in awe. And if you decide to keep travelling after you’ve seen all there is to see, neighbouring Sweden and Germany are within a few hours reach!

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