Denmark Travel Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Welcome to Denmark, a land of enchanting fairy tales, picturesque landscapes, and timeless charm. Nestled in Northern Europe, Denmark is a nation where modernity seamlessly blends with centuries-old history and culture. Explore the colorful streets of Copenhagen, Denmark’s vibrant capital, or venture into the countryside adorned with rolling hills and serene coastlines. Discover the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the famous storyteller, and indulge in Danish culinary delights like smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) and flæskesteg (roast pork). Whether you’re strolling through the charming Nyhavn district or experiencing the magic of Tivoli Gardens, Denmark offers a warm welcome to all who seek a blend of old-world elegance and contemporary wonder. Your Danish adventure awaits!

What’s the Best Time to Visit? 📅

The best time to visit Denmark as a tourist largely depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and the type of experience you seek. Denmark experiences distinct seasons, each offering its own unique charm:

  1. Spring (April to June):
  • Spring is a beautiful time to visit Denmark as the landscape comes to life with colorful flowers and blossoming trees.
  • Temperatures start to warm up, and you’ll find pleasant weather for outdoor activities.
  • May is particularly lovely with longer days and milder temperatures.
  • Spring is a great time for exploring cities, gardens, and coastal areas.
  1. Summer (June to August):
  • Summer is the peak tourist season in Denmark. The weather is warm, and daylight hours are long, allowing for extended exploration.
  • This is the best time for outdoor activities, beach visits, and festivals.
  • The popular Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen are in full swing during the summer months.
  • Expect larger crowds and higher prices for accommodations, especially in tourist hotspots.
  1. Autumn (September to November):
  • Autumn brings beautiful foliage as the leaves change color, creating a picturesque landscape.
  • September is a pleasant month with mild temperatures and fewer tourists.
  • It’s a good time for exploring historic sites, museums, and hiking in national parks.
  • The end of November marks the beginning of the Christmas season, with festive markets and decorations.
  1. Winter (December to February):
  • Winter in Denmark is cold, with shorter days and chilly temperatures.
  • It’s an ideal time for experiencing Danish hygge, with cozy indoor activities like enjoying hot chocolate and visiting museums.
  • Christmas markets and decorations create a festive atmosphere, particularly in cities like Copenhagen and Aarhus.
  • If you’re interested in winter sports or the Northern Lights, consider visiting northern Denmark or the Faroe Islands during this season.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Denmark depends on your interests and what you’d like to experience. If you prefer warm weather and vibrant outdoor activities, summer is ideal. Spring and autumn offer a balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Winter is perfect for embracing the Danish concept of hygge and enjoying the holiday season. Regardless of the season, Denmark’s rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality are sure to make your visit memorable.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around? 🚌

Getting around Denmark as a tourist is convenient and efficient, thanks to the country’s well-developed transportation network. Here are the best ways to get around Denmark:

  1. Public Transportation (Trains and Buses):
  • Denmark has an excellent public transportation system, including trains, buses, and local trams, especially in cities like Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Odense.
  • Trains are the fastest and most comfortable way to travel between cities. The national rail company, DSB, operates regular services connecting major cities.
  • Buses and trams are convenient for getting around within cities and to smaller towns. The Rejsekort card can be used for seamless travel on various modes of public transport.
  1. Metro: Copenhagen has a modern metro system with multiple lines, making it easy to navigate the city quickly and efficiently.
  2. Cycling:
  • Denmark is a bike-friendly country with extensive cycling paths and bike lanes. Many cities offer bike rental services, making it a convenient and eco-friendly way to explore urban areas and scenic countryside.
  1. Car Rental:
  • Renting a car can be a good option if you plan to explore rural areas, visit remote attractions, or have the flexibility to travel on your own schedule.
  • Keep in mind that Denmark has strict traffic rules, and parking in city centers can be challenging and expensive.
  1. Ferries and Bridges:
  • Denmark consists of several islands, and ferries and bridges connect many of them. For example, the Oresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden, and the Great Belt Bridge connects the eastern and western parts of Denmark.
  1. Taxis and Ride-Sharing:
  • Taxis are readily available in cities and are a convenient option for short trips within urban areas. Ride-sharing services like Uber operate in some Danish cities.
  1. Domestic Flights:
  • While Denmark is a relatively small country, domestic flights are available for traveling between distant regions, such as between Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands.
  1. Copenhagen Card:
  • If you plan to spend a significant amount of time in Copenhagen, consider purchasing the Copenhagen Card, which offers unlimited use of public transportation and free or discounted admission to many attractions.
  1. Walking:
  • Denmark’s cities are pedestrian-friendly, with well-maintained sidewalks and pedestrian zones. Walking is an excellent way to explore urban areas and discover hidden gems.

When choosing your mode of transportation, consider factors such as your itinerary, the distance you need to cover, and the places you want to visit. Denmark’s efficient and reliable transportation options make it easy for tourists to explore the country’s cities, countryside, and coastal regions with ease.

What’s the Official Language?

The official language of Denmark is Danish. However, English is widely spoken and understood throughout the country, especially in tourist areas, making it easy for travelers to communicate. Nevertheless, learning a few basic Danish words and phrases can be appreciated by locals and enhance your travel experience. Here are some common Danish words and phrases for tourists:

  1. Hello: Hej (pronounced “hi”)
  2. Good morning: God morgen (pronounced “goh MOR-gen”)
  3. Good afternoon: God eftermiddag (pronounced “goh eh-ter-MEE-dahg”)
  4. Good evening: God aften (pronounced “goh AHF-ten”)
  5. Goodbye: Farvel (pronounced “FAHR-vel”) or Hej hej (pronounced “hi hi”)
  6. Please: Vær så venlig (pronounced “vayr soh VEN-lee”)
  7. Thank you: Tak (pronounced “tahk”)
  8. Yes: Ja (pronounced “ya”)
  9. No: Nej (pronounced “nay”)
  10. Excuse me / Sorry: Undskyld (pronounced “OON-skuld”)
  11. How much is this?: Hvor meget koster det? (pronounced “voer MEY-et KOS-ter deht?”)
  12. Where is…?: Hvor er…? (pronounced “voer er…?”)
  13. I don’t understand: Jeg forstår ikke (pronounced “yei for-STOHR ee-uh”)
  14. Help: Hjælp (pronounced “yelp”)
  15. Restroom: Toilet (pronounced “toilet”)
  16. Water: Vand (pronounced “vahn”)
  17. Food: Mad (pronounced “mad”)
  18. Beer: Øl (pronounced “ool”)
  19. Cheers: Skål (pronounced “skohl”)
  20. Numbers: Learn basic numbers, such as one (en), two (to), three (tre), etc., to help with ordering and understanding prices.

Danish pronunciation can be challenging, but don’t be discouraged. Danes are generally appreciative when tourists make an effort to use a few local phrases. However, you’ll find that most Danes are fluent in English and can switch to English to assist you if needed.

Where to Stay? 🏨

Denmark offers a wide range of accommodation options for tourists, catering to various preferences and budgets. Whether you’re interested in staying in a vibrant city, charming countryside, or coastal town, you’ll find suitable places to stay. Here are some popular choices for where to stay in Denmark as a tourist:

  1. Copenhagen: The capital city, Copenhagen, offers a diverse selection of accommodations, including hotels, hostels, boutique hotels, and vacation rentals. Popular neighborhoods to consider are:
  • Indre By (City Center): Ideal for exploring historic sites like the Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid.
  • Vesterbro: Known for its trendy vibe, restaurants, and nightlife.
  • Nørrebro: A hip neighborhood with a multicultural atmosphere and a range of dining options.
  • Frederiksberg: A leafy district with elegant streets, parks, and shopping.
  1. Aarhus: Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus, boasts a mix of cultural attractions and beautiful coastline. You can find hotels, guesthouses, and apartments in and around the city center.
  2. Odense: Known as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, Odense offers a blend of history and culture. Consider staying in the city center or near the historic old town.
  3. Skagen: Located at the northern tip of Jutland, Skagen is famous for its scenic beaches and unique light. There are hotels, cottages, and guesthouses in this coastal town.
  4. Ålborg: Aalborg, in northern Denmark, is known for its vibrant cultural scene. You’ll find a range of accommodation options, particularly in the city center.
  5. Rural Areas: If you prefer a quiet retreat in the Danish countryside, look for rural accommodations like farm stays, cottages, and bed-and-breakfasts. The Danish countryside offers peace and tranquility.
  6. Coastal Towns: Denmark has a beautiful coastline with picturesque fishing villages. Consider staying in towns like Helsingør, Horsens, or Køge for a coastal experience.
  7. Lighthouses: For a unique experience, some Danish lighthouses have been converted into accommodations. Staying in a lighthouse provides stunning sea views and a memorable experience.
  8. Islands: Denmark has numerous islands, and some offer accommodations ranging from luxury resorts to cozy inns. Consider exploring islands like Funen, Lolland, or Bornholm.
  9. Camping: Camping is popular in Denmark, and there are well-equipped campgrounds throughout the country. If you enjoy camping, this can be an economical and adventurous option.
  10. Historic Inns: Denmark has charming historic inns and manor houses that offer a taste of traditional Danish hospitality.

When choosing where to stay in Denmark, consider factors such as your travel itinerary, the type of experience you desire, and your budget. It’s advisable to book accommodations in advance, especially during the peak tourist season in the summer months. Denmark’s varied lodging options ensure that you can find the perfect place to stay, whether you’re seeking urban excitement, coastal relaxation, or rural tranquility.

What to Eat? 🍽️

Exploring Danish cuisine is a delightful experience for tourists, with a mix of traditional dishes and modern Nordic flavors. Here are some must-try foods when visiting Denmark:

  1. Smørrebrød: Danish open-faced sandwiches are a culinary staple. These artfully crafted sandwiches consist of a slice of dense rye bread (rugbrød) topped with various ingredients like herring, cold cuts, pickles, and egg salad. Try varieties like “Frikadeller” (meatball), “Leverpostej” (liver pâté), and “Stjerneskud” (star sandwich with fish).
  2. Frikadeller: Danish meatballs are typically made from a mixture of ground pork and veal, seasoned with spices, and pan-fried. They’re often served with potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry sauce.
  3. Smoked Fish: Denmark’s coastal location makes it an excellent place to enjoy smoked fish. Try “Røget laks” (smoked salmon) or “Røget ål” (smoked eel).
  4. Fish and Seafood: Explore the Danish coastline with dishes like “Stegt rødspætte” (pan-fried plaice), “Fiskefilet med remoulade” (fish fillet with remoulade sauce), or “Gravad laks” (cured salmon).
  5. Rødgrød med fløde: A classic Danish dessert, this is a red berry compote served with cream (fløde) on top. It’s refreshing and a taste of summer.
  6. Danish Pastries (Wienerbrød): Indulge in the world-famous Danish pastries, known locally as “Wienerbrød.” Try “kanelsnegle” (cinnamon rolls), “spandauer” (danishes with various fillings), and “kringle” (sweet pretzel-shaped pastries).
  7. Æbleskiver: These round, fluffy, and pancake-like balls are a favorite treat during the Christmas season. They’re often served with powdered sugar and raspberry jam.
  8. Koldskål: A chilled buttermilk dessert soup often enjoyed in the summertime. It’s sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla and lemon.
  9. Flæskesteg: A traditional Danish roast pork dish, typically served with crispy crackling, red cabbage, and gravy. It’s a popular choice for Christmas.
  10. Danish Cheese: Denmark is known for its excellent cheese, including varieties like “Danablu” (blue cheese), “Gamle Ole” (aged cheese), and “Havarti.”
  11. Hotdogs (Pølsevogn): Try a Danish hotdog from a street vendor (pølsevogn) topped with mustard, ketchup, remoulade sauce, pickles, and crispy onions.
  12. Leverpostej: Liver pâté is often spread on bread and served with pickles, beets, and mustard.
  13. Æbleflæsk: A traditional Danish dish made with fried bacon and apples, often served with potatoes.
  14. Brunsviger: A sweet, sticky cinnamon and brown sugar cake, typically enjoyed with a cup of coffee.
  15. Danish Beer: Denmark has a thriving craft beer scene, so be sure to sample some local brews, including classic lagers and innovative ales.
  16. Schnapps: Enjoy a glass of Danish schnapps, often flavored with herbs or spices, as an accompaniment to traditional Danish dishes.

Exploring Danish cuisine allows you to savor the flavors of the region while immersing yourself in the country’s culinary traditions. Whether you’re dining in a cozy café, exploring street food markets, or enjoying a meal in a traditional Danish restaurant, there’s no shortage of delicious food to try in Denmark.

What to See? 🔍

Denmark offers a wealth of must-see places that showcase its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant culture. Here are some top destinations and attractions for tourists:

  1. Copenhagen: Denmark’s capital city is a treasure trove of attractions, including:
  • Tivoli Gardens: A historic amusement park with rides, entertainment, and beautiful gardens.
  • The Little Mermaid: A beloved statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.
  • Nyhavn: A picturesque waterfront area lined with colorful buildings, restaurants, and bars.
  • Rosenborg Castle: A well-preserved Renaissance castle housing the Danish crown jewels.
  • The Round Tower (Rundetårn): An iconic observatory with panoramic views of the city.
  1. Kronborg Castle: Located in Helsingør (Elsinore), this UNESCO World Heritage site is known as the setting for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Explore the historic fortress and its scenic coastal surroundings.
  2. Frederiksborg Castle: Situated in Hillerød, this Renaissance palace is home to the Danish Museum of National History. The castle’s gardens and lake add to its charm.
  3. Roskilde: Visit the ancient city of Roskilde, known for its stunning cathedral (Roskilde Domkirke) and the Viking Ship Museum, where you can see well-preserved Viking ships.
  4. Aarhus: Denmark’s second-largest city offers cultural gems like the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Moesgaard Museum, and the historic old town of Den Gamle By.
  5. Legoland Billund: Ideal for families, Legoland Billund features themed rides, attractions, and a vast collection of Lego creations.
  6. Bornholm: Explore this picturesque island in the Baltic Sea, known for its stunning beaches, medieval ruins, and quaint villages.
  7. Faroese Islands: If you have extra time, consider taking a ferry or flight to the Faroese Islands, an autonomous territory of Denmark, known for its dramatic landscapes and outdoor adventures.
  8. North Jutland: Discover the beautiful landscapes of North Jutland, including the shifting sands of Råbjerg Mile and the charming town of Skagen.
  9. Møns Klint: Witness the awe-inspiring white chalk cliffs of Møn Island, known for their dramatic beauty and fossil-rich shores.
  10. Egeskov Castle: Located on Funen Island, Egeskov Castle is a well-preserved Renaissance castle with picturesque gardens and a range of museums.
  11. Ribe: Step back in time in Denmark’s oldest town, Ribe, known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and the Ribe Viking Center.
  12. National Parks: Denmark boasts several national parks, including Wadden Sea National Park and Thy National Park, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, and outdoor adventures.
  13. Koldinghus: Explore this historic castle in Kolding, featuring art exhibitions, gardens, and impressive architecture.
  14. Marselisborg Palace: Located in Aarhus, this palace is the summer residence of the Danish royal family and is surrounded by a beautiful park.

These are just a few of the many incredible places to visit in Denmark. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, natural beauty, or family-friendly attractions, Denmark has something to offer every type of traveler.

What to Do? 📸

Denmark offers a wide range of activities and experiences for tourists, ensuring a memorable and enriching visit. Here are some must-do things when exploring Denmark as a tourist:

  1. Copenhagen Bike Tour: Discover the city like a local by renting a bike and exploring Copenhagen’s charming neighborhoods, historic sites, and picturesque canals.
  2. Cruise the Canals: Take a canal boat tour in Copenhagen to view the city’s landmarks from the water, including the famous Little Mermaid statue.
  3. Visit a Danish Castle: Explore one of Denmark’s many historic castles, such as Kronborg Castle in Helsingør or Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød.
  4. Try Danish Pastries: Savor the world-famous Danish pastries, including “kanelsnegle” (cinnamon rolls) and “spandauer” (danishes).
  5. Taste Nordic Cuisine: Sample Nordic cuisine at a local restaurant, trying dishes like smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) and herring.
  6. Explore Viking History: Visit the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde to learn about Denmark’s Viking heritage and see well-preserved Viking ships.
  7. Attend a Danish Festival: Experience Danish culture by attending a local festival or event, such as the Aarhus Festival or the Roskilde Festival.
  8. Walk the Old Towns: Stroll through the historic old towns of cities like Aarhus, Ribe, and Odense to soak in the medieval charm.
  9. Visit Legoland: If traveling with family, spend a day at Legoland Billund, a theme park dedicated to the iconic toy bricks.
  10. Embrace Hygge: Experience “hygge,” the Danish concept of coziness and contentment, by enjoying a warm drink at a cozy café or exploring a candlelit Christmas market.
  11. Explore Bornholm: Take a ferry to Bornholm Island to explore its unique landscapes, including stunning beaches and dramatic cliffs.
  12. Visit an Art Museum: Explore Denmark’s art scene at museums like ARoS Aarhus Art Museum or the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
  13. Enjoy Danish Beaches: Relax on Denmark’s beautiful beaches, such as Skagen’s Grenen Beach or the sandy shores of the Danish Riviera.
  14. Taste Danish Beer: Try local Danish beers at breweries or pubs, and savor craft brews, lagers, and ales.
  15. Experience Midsummer: If visiting in June, join the Danes in celebrating Midsummer (Sankt Hans) with bonfires, music, and traditional rituals.
  16. Visit Hans Christian Andersen’s House: Explore the museum dedicated to the famous Danish fairy tale author in Odense.
  17. Go Birdwatching: Denmark is a great place for birdwatching, especially along the Wadden Sea coast, where you can spot migratory birds.
  18. Enjoy Live Music: Attend a live music performance, whether it’s classical music, jazz, or contemporary Danish bands.
  19. Take a Day Trip to Sweden: Cross the Oresund Bridge from Copenhagen to visit Malmö, Sweden, for a day of exploration.
  20. Stay in a Danish Cottage: Experience the Danish countryside by renting a cottage or cabin in rural areas.

These activities and experiences allow you to immerse yourself in Denmark’s culture, history, and natural beauty, ensuring a memorable and enriching journey in this Nordic gem.

Culture and Safety 🦺

Traveling to Denmark offers a safe and culturally rich experience, thanks to the country’s well-developed infrastructure, low crime rate, and friendly population. Here are some insights into the culture and safety considerations when visiting Denmark:

Culture:

  1. Hygge: Embrace the Danish concept of “hygge,” which is all about creating a cozy, comfortable, and content atmosphere. It’s often associated with enjoying simple pleasures, like warm drinks by the fireplace or quality time with loved ones.
  2. Punctuality: Danes value punctuality, so make an effort to arrive on time for appointments, tours, and meetings.
  3. Tolerance and Equality: Denmark is known for its progressive attitudes, tolerance, and strong commitment to gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights.
  4. Respect for Nature: Danish culture places great importance on respecting nature. Follow “everyman’s rights,” which allow people to enjoy the countryside responsibly, but also leave it as you found it.
  5. Personal Space: Danes value personal space and tend to maintain a comfortable distance when interacting. Respect this cultural norm, especially in crowded places.
  6. Tipping: Tipping is customary but not obligatory. In restaurants, rounding up the bill or leaving a 10% tip is common.
  7. Language: While Danish is the official language, English is widely spoken and understood. Learning a few basic Danish phrases can be appreciated by locals.

Safety:

  1. Low Crime Rate: Denmark is considered one of the safest countries in the world, with low rates of violent crime. However, like in any destination, be cautious of petty theft in crowded tourist areas and keep an eye on your belongings.
  2. Traffic Safety: Denmark has strict traffic regulations, and road safety is a priority. If you plan to drive, obey speed limits and traffic rules, and be prepared for winter driving conditions if visiting during colder months.
  3. Emergency Numbers: The emergency number for police, fire, and medical assistance is 112.
  4. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for Denmark’s changeable weather, which can include rain and wind. Dress accordingly and check the weather forecast.
  5. Healthcare: Denmark has a high standard of healthcare, and emergency medical services are readily available. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) holders receive necessary medical care, but it’s advisable to have comprehensive travel insurance covering medical emergencies.
  6. COVID-19 Precautions: Stay informed about COVID-19 regulations and follow local guidelines regarding mask mandates, social distancing, and vaccination requirements.
  7. Wildlife Safety: When venturing into Denmark’s wilderness areas, be aware of wildlife, such as deer, which can sometimes appear on roads. Drive carefully and be cautious.

Denmark offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere for tourists, with a strong emphasis on culture, safety, and the well-being of its visitors. By respecting local customs, following safety guidelines, and enjoying the Danish way of life, you can have a fantastic and secure travel experience in this Scandinavian country.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a visit to Denmark promises an unforgettable journey through a land where fairy tales come to life, history whispers through cobblestone streets, and the beauty of nature captivates the soul. From the vibrant streets of Copenhagen to the tranquility of the countryside, Denmark offers a delightful blend of culture, history, and natural wonders. Savor Danish cuisine, explore historic castles, and embrace the Danish concept of hygge, a unique kind of coziness and contentment. With its welcoming atmosphere and timeless charm, Denmark invites you to create lasting memories and experience the best of Nordic hospitality. Velkommen til Danmark! (Welcome to Denmark!)