Once the seat of Viking raiders, Denmark remains very much a maritime nation, bordered by the Baltic and the North Sea. No place in the country is more than an hour’s drive from its seashore, much of which is lined with beautiful sandy beaches.
These days, the Danish Vikings have parked their ships in the museum, and along with the other Scandinavian nations, have forged a modern society. People come here to explore storybook castles or the homeland of fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen.
Foodies adore Copenhagen, as do those who are devoted to art and design. Outside the capital, many other great things to do in Denmark, await the visitor. From Zealand, home to the aforementioned city, it’s a short jump to Funen where you’ll discover historic attractions and the home of the Little Mermaid.
Another skip across the Baltic Sea takes you to Jutland where Denmark’s ragged, rich and scenic coastlines will often take you by surprise. All parts of the country combine to showcase a remarkable history, which today is mixed in with modern sensibilities.
In this post, we'll cover:
18. Lindholm Høje Museum
A Viking burial ground may not have been on your radar when fleshing out your Denmark adventure. But the Lindholm Høje Museum is certainly one to add to your itinerary.
Spread across a lush green rolling field, Lindholm Høje was only discovered recently in the middle of the 20th century. Viking burial tombs and ancient homes stood under vast dunes and even a shooting range.
Now excavated, the fascinating grounds come in two parts, the southern and northern. The former dates back to the 11th century and the latter the 5th. Both feature hundreds of graves marked by tombstones worn smooth by the passage of time.
17. Egeskov Castle
Located in Funen, Egeskov Castle is one of the more mesmerizing structures in Denmark. The Renaissance masterpiece was completed in the 1550s. It’s set alongside a small lake and moat that reflects its brilliant facade with glee.
The castle may have been built as a line of defense for the Danes, but it has gone on to live a varied life. Today, the grounds are open to the public to explore.
Visitors can embark on a treetop adventure to see a different perspective of the castle and no trip would be complete without venturing into the Banqueting Hall. Top it off with a surprising visit to the castle’s camping and vintage car museums.
16. Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania is one of Europe’s most distinctive and eccentric neighborhoods. Despite being in downtown Copenhagen, it’s a self-governing community.
The former military base stood abandoned for years. That was before squatters went beyond the barricades and started a unique revolution. Today, some 900 folk call the area home and wandering through this part of the city is a memorable experience.
It’s a small but self-sustaining island, so you can expect to find all sorts of interesting goods on display, including great artwork and craft goods. Not to mention an abundance of fascinating people who have marvellous stories to tell.
15. Møns Klint
Rising just shy of 130 meters above the Baltic Sea, Møns Klint is one of Denmark’s most dramatic landscapes. In good news for travelers, despite being disconnected from the mainland, it’s not a tricky trip from Copenhagen.
Just two hours south, you can cross the Dronning Alexandrines Bridge and be admiring the cliffs in a single morning. The spectacular Møns Klint is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is jokingly nicknamed the Cold Caribbean. Such is the stunning scenery, you’ll understand why.
The chalk cliffs are 70 million years old and dive into electric blue water. Jump on a boat, go fishing or kayaking for the best view as the vast wall towers over you. Better yet, stick around to enjoy Scandinavia’s first Dark Sky Park.
14. H.C. Andersen's House, Odense
In Odense, the H.C. Andersen’s House is a celebration of perhaps the greatest writer from Denmark. Hans Christian Andersen, the creator of famous tales such as The Little Mermaid and the Ugly Duckling, has gone down in history as the forefather of modern fairy tales.
The house and surrounds are appropriately shaped like an old-time village, and the inside is a veritable treasure trove of manuscripts, drawings and inspirations that led to Andersen’s best works.
Since 1908, the home has been welcoming visitors to enjoy a look into the mind of Andersen. But arguably the best exhibit is a series of murals created by Niels Larsen Stevns. These took place in 1930 and explore various stages of the author’s life.
A picturesque Danish island known for its fishing and arts and crafts industry, Bornholm is located in the Baltic Sea. It rests closer to the shores of Germany, Poland and Sweden than Denmark, which gives it a unique appeal.
In the warmer months, visitors can enjoy calm scenery, nice weather, plenty of walking and some quaint beaches.
There are several ways to get to Bornholm from Copenhagen. An interesting quirk means all car & ferry travel will first take you through Sweden. A quick 40-minute flight is the other option.
Upon arrival, head to the charming Roenne Harbor which combines the beauty of an old maritime town with a rugged Nordic past. Afterwards, discover the Museum of Art and Hammershus Castle Ruins which hails back to the 1200s. Another top attraction is the village of Svaneke with its beautifully preserved ancient buildings and abundant art galleries.
12. Jægersborg Dyrehave
It’s easy to have preconceived ideas of what Denmark can be. This especially rings true if you hone in on the best of Copenhagen. But Denmark lives to surprise. Exploring the Jægersborg Dyrehave (Deer Park) encapsulates this.
Upon arrival, you’ll begin wandering through centuries-old oak trees that stand like soldiers across the rolling hills. Soon they make way from trenches of subglacial landscapes and dense woodlands. Further footsteps take you beyond to the Sound that stretches into the distance and sprawling plains where herds of deer roam.
Jægersborg Dyrehave is essentially untouched primeval countryside. It’s an amazing feat considering the nation’s diminutive size. The landscape spreads for 10 square kilometers where 2,000 deer roam through a scene more akin to a fairytale.
11. Råbjerg Mile, Skagen
In northern Jutland, the Råbjerg Mile is an immense coastal sand dune that is constantly in flux. Every year the dune can move up to 15 meters, shifting and manipulating the surrounding landscapes.
Climbing the Råbjerg Mile is on the bucket list for a lot of Danes. Travelers can join the 250,000 folks that climb it every year, embarking on a journey that is more like a time-lapse than a classic hike.
With the way the dune moves, you can see the past written in the sand. Old forests have shifted and new vegetation is consistently planted to help slow it down. But nature is inevitable. At the top, the Råbjerg Mile features a beautiful lighthouse, the land’s one constant.
10. Øresund Bridge
History, culture, landscapes, the list of reasons to travel around the world are endless. Denmark may have a lot of those reasons, but it’s a unique engineering marvel that sets this country apart. The Øresund Bridge spans eight kilometers, starting under the city’s airport before skimming across the Baltic Sea to Sweden.
Part bridge, part tunnel, the Øresund opened in 2000 and accommodates nearly 17,000 vehicles on a daily basis. Visitors to Denmark use the bridge as a convenient gateway to Sweden.
If you fly in or out of Denmark, the Øresund Bridge is a stunning site, one that will cause you to rub your eyes due to the confusion. With its brilliant design and the sheer distance between land, it feels utterly out of place. But that’s exactly what makes it so incredible.
9. Little Mermaid
In Denmark 1837, the finishing touches were placed on a story that still remains in our consciousness almost two centuries later. Countryman Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid. Using his imagination, he no doubt drew plenty of inspiration from Copenhagen’s waterfront location.
The installation of The Little Mermaid statue made the connection between the city and the story permanent in 1913. It has gone on to become one of the city’s most important landmarks, for locals and visitors alike.
The Little Mermaid is only 1.25 meters high and weighs around 175 kg. The striking statue features the mermaid gazing out towards land, where, as the story goes, she longs for her prince.
8. Frederiksborg Palace
Copenhagen is quick to be progressive when it comes to new construction, modern work and public transport. But its historic architecture has been upheld remarkably well. This is perhaps best exemplified by Frederiksborg Palace.
Situated in the middle of a lake, the impressive Frederiksborg Palace hosts the Museum of National History. The museum has existed on the site since 1878, but the castle itself was constructed during the early part of the 17th century.
At that time, it was the home of King Christian IV, one of Denmark’s most well-known monarchs. Visitors can roam the halls of the castle and view the vast collection of artwork. The gardens are not to be missed. Particularly of note are the gardens that lie on the far side of a lake, which can be crossed by boat. Some of the best castle views can be had from this vantage point.
7. Jutland Beaches
It’s unlikely that Denmark is ever going to be the first country that comes to mind when you think of a beach vacation. But that doesn’t mean Denmark doesn’t have beautiful beaches in its own right. In fact, you’ll find the beautiful, sun-soaked (sometimes) Jutland beaches.
Jutland is the largest section of Denmark and is surrounded by some memorable coastline. The western and more wind-swept coast is often categorized by its persistent gales that have shaped the eye-catching landscape.
Over the eastern side, you’ll face out into the Kattegat Sea where decent surf rolls towards rolling dunes and cliffs. The best of them all is a subjective exercise, but Moesgaard and Vejers Strand are hard to top.
6. Kronborg Castle
The 15th century Kronborg Castle features a striking presence in the North Riviera town of Elsinore. The beautiful Renaissance castle and fortress stand like a proud parent above the rest of the town’s neighborhoods.
Kronborg and Elsinore may be familiar to you, as it was the location for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. But its significance stretches beyond one of the world’s great plays, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Construction began in 1574 on a particularly strategic stretch of land on the Sound, the body of water that forms a border between Denmark and Sweden. The castle remains mostly as it was since its last reconstruction only a few decades after it was first completed.
Travelers will quickly admire the castle’s ominous vibe. Several of Kronborg’s wings lead to memorable destinations. These include the Renaissance-laden interior of the Castle Chapel and the enchanting Knight’s Hall. The latter, a sprawling ballroom.
5. Vikingeskibsmuseet in Roskilde
Perhaps better known for the Roskilde Festival, travelers who want to immerse themselves in Viking history should make a beeline for Vikingeskibsmuseet. The Viking Ship Museum features five original Viking ships that have set sail throughout time.
The age of these ships, combined with ancient craftsmanship and tales of triumph and defeat, showcase just how remarkable each construction is. After learning the story of each, take your time exploring the boatyard where builders are hard at work, creating full-scale replicas.
During the summer months, the museum also offers a sail into the Roskilde Fjord aboard a Viking ship. Guests will also be able to try their hand at traditional Viking crafts, create swords and dress up as Vikings.
4. Den Gamle By in Aarhus
Aarhus is Denmark’s second-largest city and not lacking for adventures and history. Although it has its own Tivoli, the highlight of Aarhus is the Den Gamle By.
This open-air, living museum is a fresh take on the genre and is surrounded by the captivating Aarhus Botanical Garden. Dem Gamle By is quite interactive, providing an immersive experience that allows you to dive deep into the city and country’s past.
The museum is spread across a trio of neighborhoods, each representing a distinct era in time. One takes you as far back as the 11th century, deep into Nordic life. The others will have you exploring the heart of the 1800s before taking a quick trip back in time to 1974.
Adults and children delight in the toy museum, and few can resist the allure of costumed re-enactors demonstrating the lifestyle of a bygone era. This attraction is particularly festive during the holiday season with numerous special events occurring.
3. Nyhavn, Copenhagen
One underrated aspect of Copenhagen’s layout is its connection to the sea. Amsterdam’s canals are certainly more famous, but you could make a strong case for the sightly beauty of Copenhagen’s Nyhavn.
This waterfront stretch connects to the Sydhavnen and flows into the Baltic Sea. However, it’s the collection of pastel-hued homes and old-timey boats that creates one of the capital city’s most iconic sites.
Nyhavn was developed in the 1600s and while redevelopment has taken place, the bulk of the canal homes are centuries old. History, color and culture combine to create a shopping, dining and people-watching experience rivaled in Copenhagen by only Christiania.
From Nyhavn, you can board a historic schooner or jump on a GoBoat and explore.
2. Legoland in Billund
Billund’s Legoland was the first of its kind, sparking an international movement that took these beloved building blocks to the next level. This shouldn’t come as a shock. After all, this worldwide sensation started right here in a small town with a population less than 10,000 people.
Upon visiting Legoland, you’ll first have to take stock of the Lego House. The construction required over 25 million bricks. Beyond that, kids and the young at heart will revel in the 50 exciting experiences on offer, from heart-stoking rides to themed shops and live shows.
Take your time and enjoy a full day here, as you can later collapse at one of Legoland’s two hotels. Legoland in Billund is open from April to September.
1. Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen
One of Europe’s best known tourist attractions, the Tivoli Gardens was established in 1843. Pleasure gardens were all the rage at the time, and Copenhagen’s version was particularly lovely. It has inspired residents for over 150 years, while also being the precursor for Disney.
Tivoli Gardens brings the city together, especially through the summer when major acts perform. The bright lights of Christmas and the promise of the New Year also spur a magical time at Tivoli.
Whenever you’re exploring Copenhagen on your travels through Denmark, you’ll find a long list of adventures. These include thrilling roller coasters, theaters, great food and gorgeous gardens from which to bask in the organized chaos.
Wait around until dusk to see the fireworks take flight. Plus, on Friday nights you can take in free concerts!