Denmark. It’s not only the happiest country on earth, but it’s home to the world’s best restaurant and lots of fairytale cottages along the 7,000km of coastline. Although it is rather expensive if you compare it to Southeast Asia, the unique history, fabulous food and amazing nature certainly makes up for it.
The fact that over 80% of Danes speak English makes it easy to get by, but learning a few Danish words will still get you far. I’ll help you get started: Tak (thank you), Hej (hello and goodbye), Undskyld (sorry), skål (cheers) – the latter will get you new friends in no time!
Here are 10 more reasons to visit (and love!) Denmark:
1. Northern Jutland
We’ll take the best one first: Northern Jutland. This is the most beautiful part of Denmark as it’s rich with fascinating nature, pristine beaches and lots of history. A popular destination for both Danes and foreigners is Skagen (the Scaw) and in particular, Grenen, where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea meet. Close by, you’ll find the sand-engulfed Buried Church along with Tversted lakes and forest (see photo collage below).
These sights are free, but expect accommodation and food to be expensive!
2. The harsh North Sea (Vesterhavet)
One of the points of pride of Denmark is the North Sea. The landscape is dramatic with endless sand dunes, cliffs and a large number of old German bunkers from World War II. This area is rather isolated but incredibly beautiful to explore. The sea covers the west coastline of Jutland and most popular cities to visit from is: Skagen, Tyborøn, Løkken, Hvide Sande and Søndervig.
3. Aarhus – the cultural center
Aarhus is another great reason to visit Denmark. Not only is it the second largest city in the country, but it’s the cultural center and quite young at heart. You’ll find lots of students, both Danish and International and a great selection of fun entertainment from the popular NorthSide Music Festival to delish restaurants and an outstanding nightlife (tip: Danes know how to throw a party, so don’t miss out if you’re here).
I live in Aarhus myself and I adore this city’s relaxed vibe, great nature, cozy cafes, and beaches. Places to check out in Aarhus are: the city river, Risskov beach, Aarhus Cathedral and Sea Pink by the harbor as seen in the photo collage below from upper left corner to the right.
4. Ride a bike in Copenhagen
Ever explored a capital on two wheels? Well, here’s a golden opportunity! Although you can take the train or bus, bicycling is the most popular and fun way to get around (plus it’s cheap).
In addition to the Little Mermaid, the 100-year-old amusement park: Tivoli, Nyhavn and Amalienborg Palace; home to the Royal family, Copenhagen has a lot to offer. You will find tons of exciting sights in the Danish capital including cozy restaurants, long pedestrian streets with lots of shopping possibilities, museums, art galleries and a great nightlife.
5. Freetown Christiania – the Danish anarchy state
In the heart of Copenhagen, you’ll find the famous Freetown Christiania. This place is known for Pusher Street where you can buy hash from different stalls, and its residents have built their own distinct houses giving it a unique 70s feel. They have their own set of rules at Christiana (for instance, it’s not allowed to take pictures or run). Some areas are quite dodgy, so be careful when you walk around or simply opt for a guided tour.
6. Hello delicious cuisine
Oh yes, Danish food is so much more than pastry – although it is darn good! Since Denmark is surrounded by ocean, you’ll find tons of fresh seafood especially in cities along the North Sea coastline. Also, Copenhagen has it going on with the Michelin stars and three times, the restaurant Noma has been named The World Best Restaurant.
Sushi restaurants, Asian, Italian, French and Turkish are some of the most common cuisines found in Denmark. On most street corners, you’ll find a kebab or hotdog stand (we call them sausage wagons) in addition to the huge variety of organic foods and stores.
7. Beautiful, historic architecture
Although much Danish architecture is modern, there are lots of well-preserved buildings, castles and mansions dating 300-400 years back throughout the country – most of these are free to visit. In the big cities, you’ll see houses and buildings in a palette of colors, 700-year old cathedrals and characteristic cobblestone streets (which are not suited for heels, might I add!).
8. Public transportation is easy
Denmark is a quite small country and it only takes around 7 hours to get from one end to the other (if you don’t count Bornholm, which is a small Danish island close to Sweden). Both local and regional buses run regularly and always on time. Trains (DSB) run frequently as well, but they’re a tad more expensive than taking the bus. Be sure to look for Orange tickets, which are much cheaper than regular ones. Within a city, just rent a bicycle and pay a deposit of $4. When you’re done, simply leave the bike anywhere you want and you’ll get your money back when you park it.
If you are looking to go from Copenhagen to Jutland (main island), check out bildskou.dk and rødbillet.dk as these bus lines are the cheapest alternatives around. Another option is Gomore.dk, which is a site to catch a ride with someone who’s going in the same direction. It’s safe and reliable.
9. Amazing nature
Even though flat-terrained Denmark doesn’t have anything that resembles the magnificent fjelde (mountains) you’ll find in Norway and Sweden, we do have beautiful forests, lovely beaches, and even a tiny desert.
You can visit Denmark all year round, but November to March is typically filled with snow, wind or rain. Danish winters tend to be quite harsh with temperatures going below -10 degrees at times, but Christmas and New Years is still a beautiful time to visit Copenhagen.
10. Hygge and happiness
Last but not least: You simply must experience the Danish hygge (pronounced hooga), which basically translates to coziness.
Hygge is when friends, family, colleagues or neighbors get together and have a good time. In Copenhagen, you’ll find hygge along the waterfront of Nyhavn, in Aarhus it’s down by the river and in all the cafes around the country. On sunny days, everyone goes to the beach, the forests and city parks with picnic baskets and snacks to hang out.
Visit Denmark during the summer and you’ll be sure to experience lots of hygge!
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Miriam Risager is a copywriter, travel writer and blogger with a passion for adventure. Based in Denmark, she travels the world exploring different cultures and taking on adventures from volcano boarding, biking down the world’s most dangerous road and much more.
You can find her tales and travel stories on adventurousmiriam.com
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