The largest urban centre 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 harbour entrance.
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.
Tivoli, Copenhagen’s world-famous amusement park, is open from late April to mid-September and again during the Christmas season. Bakken (in the deer park north of Copenhagen) and the Charlottenlund Aquarium are both worth a visit.
Outside the city of Copenhagen, throughout the Zealand province, there are fine beaches, lakes, forests and royal palaces. Excellent beaches can be found in Sjaelland, particularly in the north of the island.
Other towns worth visiting include Slagelse, Nastved and Frederikssund. 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 Helsingor (Elsinore).
Frederiksborg Castle, equally as impressive, is to be seen at Hillerod, 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.
Known as the ‘Garden of Denmark’, Funen, sometimes called Fyn, has some of Denmark’s most picturesque and historic castles and manor houses, set in ancient parks and gardens.
The central town of Odense is famous as the birthplace of the great fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). 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.
Castles and churches are the main attraction in Funen. Egeskov Castle is a superb Renaissance castle surrounded by a moat, which is fairytale in every detail. Other castles in the area include Nyborg and Valdemar, the latter housing a naval museum.
Other museums include a major railway museum and Fyn Village, a major cultural centre. Also in Odense is the Brandts Klaedefabrik, a major cultural centre.
Funen's newest attraction, Naturama, opened in 2005, incorporating three levels of multimedia natural history displays. There are also a number of beautiful beaches, particularly on the southern islands of Langeland, Tasinge and Aero.
Funen is connected to Jutland and Zealand (the province of Copenhagen) by bridges. Main towns and resorts include Odense, Nyborg, Svendborg, Middelfart and Bogense.
Jutland (Aalborg & Arhus)
This area comprises the greater part of Denmark, and includes the towns of Arhus and Aalborg. Jutland’s west coast has beautiful, clean sandy beaches, but swimming can be hazardous, due to the changing currents and winds.
Also in Jutland is the major port of Esbjerg, which receives daily ferries from the UK. Main towns and resorts include Aalborg, Arhus, 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.
Arhus has a collection of more than sixty 17th and 18th century buildings transported from all over the country and re-erected on an enchanting landscape; 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 Voergard castles are all worth a visit, while Legoland (Billund), which is open from March to October, provides good entertainment for children.
Lolland, Falster, Mon & Bornholm
Lolland is generally flat, Falster less so, while Mon is a haven of small hills and valleys, with the Mon Klint white chalk cliffs a breathtaking sight.
Bornholm is set apart from the rest, 150km east of the Danish mainland, and is made up of fertile farmland, white beaches and rocky coastlines. It is criss-crossed with more then 200km of scenic bicycle routes.
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).
Top Things to Do
Visit the birthplace of the great fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen in Odense in Funen.
Visitors can have a look around the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and his childhood home.
Odense also has a festival every July and August celebrating the life and works of Hans Christian Andersen.
Gaze at around 500 species of trees, flowers and plants at Knuthenborg Park on Lolland, Denmark’s largest park; it also contains a safari park.
Behold the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the old fortress of Kronborg, famed as the most imposing edifice in Scandinavia, which can be found at Helsingør (Elsinore) on the island of Sjaelland.
Go Cycling. Denmark is a fantastic country for cycling. The roads are relatively quiet, the drivers are courteous, and the country boasts an attractive undulating landscape.
Cyclists enjoy a variety of well-maintained routes and facilities around the towns and in the countryside. Bicycles can be hired from local tourist offices or bicycle shops. Bikes can easily be taken on ferries, trains, buses and domestic air services.
Go Horse Riding. Horse riding is excellent in Denmark, with fantastic trails and scenic rides spread throughout the country.
Strong, steady and smart, Icelandic horses were once used by the Vikings and can be found all over. Rides can be organised through riding companies almost everywhere in Denmark at very moderate rates.
Spoil yourself with a relaxing treatment from a health resort, which are widespread throughout Denmark. Some offer medical and physiotherapeutic treatment, others simply offer recreation in beautiful quiet surroundings.
Go Fishing. The country abounds with streams and lakes, all well stocked with perch, pike and trout. Sea fishing tours can be arranged with local fishermen at many Danish harbours, and large groups may charter a boat for themselves.
For further information, contact the Danish Sports Fishing Association on +45 75 82 0699.
Explore Denmark on Foot. Denmark is full of picturesque scenery and peaceful places. Beaches are great for a stroll, the majority boasting outstandingly clean water, silky sand and plenty of space.
Walkers are allowed to explore any stretch of coast, no matter who owns it as well as the forests, but you must stay on the paths.
Hikers will enjoy Denmark’s only national park, Rebild Bakker, near Skorping, as well as the Lake District in Sohojlandet, Jutland.