Denmark has an abundance of picturesque villages and towns, historic castles and monuments, and a coastline which varies delightfully from broad sandy beaches to small coves and gentle fjords. Throughout the country, rolling hills and gentle valleys provide a constant succession of attractive views; there are cool and shady forests of beech trees, extensive areas of heathland, a beautiful lake district, sand dunes and white cliffs resembling those of Dover; nor should one forget the Danish islands, each of which has its own unique attractions. Though there are few holiday resorts of the kind found in, say, France or Spain (the nearest equivalent being the ‘Holiday Center’ (HC), a purpose-built coastal resort), the Danes, who are taking strong measures to keep their coastline clean and tidy, are keen for visitors to sample the many unspoilt beaches.
There are now various Sommerlands in locations all over Denmark; these are activity parks where a flat entrance fee covers the visitor for use of all the many and varied facilities inside.
The largest urban center in Scandinavia, Copenhagen is a city of copper roofs and spires, founded in 1167. It has many old buildings, fountains, statues and squares, as well as the singular attraction of the Little Mermaid at the harbor entrance. The Copenhagen Card gives unlimited travel on buses and trains and free entry to a large number of museums and places of interest.
A number of organized tours are available, taking in most of the famous sights. These include the Vikingland tour to the Viking Ship Museum; a Royal tour to the Christianborg Palace (the seat of Parliament), Rosenborg Castle and Amalienborg Palace; a coach tour to old-world Bondebyen and its open-air museum; and even a brewery tour, which takes in the famous Carlsberg brewery, including an exhibition on the history of brewing and on this particular brewery. Tivoli, Copenhagen’s world-famous amusement park, is open from late April to mid-September. Bakken (in the deer park north of Copenhagen) and the Charlottenlund Aquarium are both worth a visit.
This area comprises the greater part of Denmark, extending 400km (250 miles) from the German border to its northernmost tip. Jutland’s west coast has superb sandy beaches but bathing there is, however, often unsafe, due to the changing winds and tides. Care should be exercised, and any advice or notices issued by local authorities should be heeded. Also in Jutland is the major port of Esbjerg, which receives daily ferries from the UK. Main towns and resorts include Aalborg, Århus, Esbjerg, Frederikshavn, Holstebro, Kolding, Randers, Silkeborg, Vejle and Viborg.
Aalborg contains the largest Viking burial ground, as well as a cathedral, monastery and castle. The largest Renaissance buildings in Denmark are in Aalborg. Århus has a collection of more than 60 17th- and 18th-century buildings – houses, shops, workshops and so on – from all over the country, re-erected on a spacious landscaped site; as well as Marselisborg Castle and a museum of prehistory. Esbjerg and Fanø are also historically interesting and have a number of fine beaches. Rosenholm, Clausholm and Vœrgard castles are all worth a visit, while Legoland (Billund), which is open from April to October, provides good entertainment for children.
Known as the ‘Garden of Denmark’, Fyn (Funen) has some of Denmark’s most picturesque and historic castles and manor houses, set in age-old parks and gardens. Odense is famous as the birthplace of the great fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). Fyn (Funen) is connected to Jutland by bridges. Main towns and resorts include Odense, Nyborg, Svendborg, Middelfart and Bogense.
Castles and churches are the main attraction in Fyn (Funen). Egeskov Castle is a superb moated Renaissance castle, which is fairytale in every detail. Other castles in the area include Nyborg (seat of the former National Assembly) and Valdemar, which houses a naval museum. There are also a number of beautiful beaches, particularly on the southern islands of Langeland, Tåsinge and Ærø. Odense has a festival every July and August celebrating the life and works of Hans Christian Andersen. Visitors can see the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and his childhood home. Other museums include a major railway museum and Fyn Village, a major cultural center. Also in Odense is the Brandts Klaedefabrik, a major cultural center.
Lolland, Falster, Møn & Bornholm
Lolland is generally flat, Falster less so, while Møn is a haven of small hills and valleys, with the Møn Klint chalk cliffs a breathtaking sight. Bornholm is set apart from the rest, 150km (90 miles) east of the Danish mainland, and is made up of fertile farmland, white beaches and rocky coastlines. Other towns worth visiting include Nakskov, Nykobing, Nysted, Rønne, Sakskøbing and Stege.
Knuthenborg Park on Lolland is Denmark’s largest, with 500 species of trees, flowers and plants; it also contains a safari park. Corselitse and the Pederstrup Museum are also worth a visit. Bornholm contains Hammershus, Denmark’s largest castle ruin (built in 1260), as well as many fine churches. The small town of Svaneke was awarded the European Gold Medal in Architectural Heritage Year (1975).
Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is on Zealand (Sjælland) and thus there is much commercial activity on the island. But there are also fine beaches, lakes, forests and royal palaces. Other towns worth visiting include Slagelse, Nastved and Frederikssund.
Excursions & sightseeing
The old fortress of Kronborg, famed not only as the most imposing edifice in Scandinavia, but also as the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, can be found at Helsingør (Elsinore). Frederiksborg Castle, equally as impressive, is to be seen at Hillerød, which houses the National History Museum. The 12th-century cathedral at Roskilde and the Viking Museum are both worth a visit while, at Skjoldenasholm, there is a fine Tram Museum. Excellent beaches can be found in Sjælland, particularly in the north of the island.