Famed around the world for the Vikings who poured forth from its shores, Denmark has a plethora of interesting historical sites dotted around its cities that highlight the country’s rich heritage. Whether it is the longboats that lie in some of its ports, or its fantastic museums, old churches and delightful architecture, there are a wealth of things to see and do here.
Map of cities in Denmark
Click to enlarge
Mixing the old with the new, innovative and creative Danish design is ever-present in the fashion outlets on offer, and its daring culinary scene is sumptuous to dig into. With the works of Hans Christian Anderson to explore in Odense, you can put your own creativity and imagination to the test at Legoland. Water is never far away in this island-filled country, and many of its delightful cities also present fantastic opportunities for visitors to revel in the great outdoor landscape that has so shaped Denmark’s identity.
Lying at the center of Jutland, Herning has a lively arts and cultural scene with many exhibitions, conventions and trade fairs being held here throughout the year. The city’s art museum is great to visit and there is a lovely sculpture park surrounding it which is worth checking out. With a number of great bars and restaurants for visitors to enjoy, most people visit Herning when taking part in a convention or event hosted here.
With a lovely harbor full of sleek yachts and old fishermen’s boats, Svendborg is set on a lovely fjord and is the gateway to the spectacular archipelago of Funen. Dotted alongside the more modern parts of the city are quaint cafes and nice restaurants, as well as some peaceful cycling paths. With pretty beaches that are especially popular in summer, and regular ferries to nearby islands, Svendborg is a laidback place to spend some time.
Lying on the Oresund strait and facing Helsingborg, Helsingor is a gateway to Sweden. Many Swedes descend on the city to buy cheap alcohol. An affluent place, Helsingor became rich from taxing trade passing through Oresund – this funded the fantastic medieval buildings which we see today. Wandering its picturesque streets lined with old, half-timbered houses is delightful – it seems a world away from its busy shopping streets. The massive castle of Kronborg Slot is the undoubted highlight of the city.
Straddling the narrow Als Sund waterway that runs through it, Sonderborg is a historic city with a modern feel. There is a pretty waterfront for visitors to wander along, and the fun and educative Danfoss Universe is well worth a visit. The site of two wars between Germany and Denmark, the city’s modern feel is due to reconstruction efforts. Sonderborg still has close ties with nearby Germany. Due to its proximity to Flensburg just across the border, hordes of Danes and Germans pass through Sonderborg on their way to other destinations in both countries.
A relatively new city built on oil, fishing and trade, Esjberg is a wealthy place that is a bit soulless and grim. This is primarily due to its industrial origins and the rapid pace at which it sprung up. While it is not the prettiest place in the world, there are a few quirky attractions and some good shopping options – though most people stop by for the nearby sights. The delightful Fano island is just a short ferry ride from the center, and the fairtytale-esque streets of Ribe are a fantastic place to visit. Legoland is about an hour away.
Renowned for its famous rock festival – one of the largest in Europe, Roskilde has much more than just great music to offer. With a delightful museum of modern music located in an exciting post-industrial complex full of skate parks and unique arts and design workshops, Roskilde – a historic city – has numerous sides to it. In the old town, an impressive cathedral towers over everything, while its old harbor has Viking longboats for you to visit. Due to its proximity to Copenhagen, it is a popular day-trip destination.
Lying where the Baltic joins the North Sea, Skagen’s busy harbor is framed on either side by expansive beaches. In summer, droves of locals and tourists head here for its holiday atmosphere. Lying on the northern tip of Jutland, the city has some pretty neighborhoods which are worth exploring. It also possesses a rich art heritage – artists once came here to paint its desolate yet charming landscapes. A popular place, with art galleries, museums and restaurants featuring delicious seafood dishes, Skagen is a delight to visit.
Often considered to be part of Copenhagen, there is no clear border between Frederiksberg and the capital – it could even be said to be a city within a city. An affluent place that is considered to be posh, Frederiksberg has royal gardens and palaces for visitors to explore. Its wide, leafy boulevards are lined by grand mansions and lovely parks. Home to Copenhagen Zoo, some great museums, and lots of upmarket restaurants and boutiques, the city is a peaceful and picturesque place to experience.
With its recently restored waterfront at the heart of the city, Aalborg is attempting to rejuvenate and breathe fresh life into the industrial parts of the city that have long lain neglected. Straddling the Limfjord – the narrow strait of water that cuts Jutland in two – the waterfront is much improved and is now a nice place to stroll along. With a 16th Century castle and a lovely medieval old town, as well as a Viking burial site nearby, there is more than enough to warrant a visit. Renowned for its pounding nightlife, Aalborg is a useful base from which you can explore the surrounding region.
Odense is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, who lit up the world with his literary creations. As such, there are numerous museums, sculptures and attractions dedicated to his works in the city. Full of life, Odense has a number of great museums and art galleries to check out, as well as a fantastic zoo. With over a thousand years of history, there is an interesting village full of historic buildings for visitors who want to learn more about the city’s past. Peaceful parks are sprinkled around the city and there are lots of lively bars and cafes on offer. From here, you can easily explore the rest of Funen – the third largest island in Denmark.
Founded by the Vikings, the second-largest city in the country was fittingly named the European Capital of Culture in 2017, for the wealth of attractions that it has to show off. Architectural wonders abound in this lively city and there is a thriving arts and cultural scene, with lots of festivals and events taking place over the year. With a healthy range of shopping options, lots of brilliant restaurants and some hip bars and cafes, Aarhus is welcoming more and more visitors to its streets every year. Picturesque to behold and easy to navigate, it is a great place to live. The sizeable student population makes it a vibrant city to explore.
1. Copenhagen Where to Stay
The capital of the country, Copenhagen is one of the most livable cities in the world. This is immediately apparent in the green spaces, pristine waterways, and well looked after harbor which is so clean you can swim in it! With a wide array of cultural attractions on offer, you can be exploring art collections or Viking history in royal palaces one minute and diving into the delights of Islamic art at a neoclassical mansion the next. A stylish place, fantastic Danish design is on show wherever you look; you can find wonderful examples of this in just about any bar, cafe or shop you visit, while its trendy residents will put you to shame with their effortlessly cool fashion. With fifteen Michelin Star restaurants, Copenhagen is full of exciting and innovative eateries for you to check out – the Danish propensity for design and creativity is mirrored in its delicious cuisine.