Danmark – Land of Smørrebrøds
The small kingdom has a lot to offer – sandy beaches, Viking villages, unique dune landscapes, colorful plastic blocks, historic old towns, modern city centers and much more. Because of its small size, everything is very compact and you can explore a lot in a relatively short amount of time.
If all of this appeals to you, Denmark could be the right destination for your next vacation – there is a lot to discover.
Denmark is considered the entry door of Scandinavia. Be it for drivers who have to drive through this country on their way to their chosen holiday destination, if they don’t want to use a ferry, or also for people who want the experience of the „Scandinavian feeling“ but do not want to travel thousands of kilometers.
The small country borders directly on Germany, which is also the only neighboring country with a land border. Denmark is therefore surrounded by the sea on three of four sides (North Sea, Skagerrak, Kattegat and Baltic Sea). Due to the small size of the country – Denmark is about the size of Switzerland or only half the size of Austria – it is possible to get to know many different facets of the country within short distances.
If you don’t speak Danish like most visitors, you will still be able to communicate easily with the locals. Most Danes learn either English or German as a second foreign language. On all our trips we remembered the people of Denmark as very friendly and helpful.
The northernmost area of Denmark is framed by seas: the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the Kattegat. The location is also reflected in many ways in the landscape, people and traditions. The landscape is characterized by gentle sand hills on the coastline and there is always a salty breeze blowing around your nose. At the northernmost point of Denmark, near the picturesque town of Skagen, you can also see the collision of the North and Baltic Seas. The different seas can be recognized very well from land by the different color of the water.
In addition to the many beautiful sandy beaches and dune landscapes, you will also find another natural phenomenon in northern Jylland: shifting sand dunes.
Rubjerg Knude stretches almost two kilometers in leghts in north-south direction and is approximately 400 m wide. It is located south of Lønstrup on the North Sea coast and drops steeply towards the sea. The dune is currently around 100 m high and is slowly moving inland. The lighthouse of the dune, Rubjerg Fyr, is now completely enclosed by the dune. Due to progressive coastal erosion, the tower was relocated 70 meters further inland using rails in 2019.
In Råbjerg Mile, a nature reserves area on the northern tip of Jutland between Frederikshavn and Skagen, you imagine yourself in the middle of a desert. Here too, there is a large shifting sand dune with an extension of about two square kilometers.
With around 112,000 inhabitants, the city of Aalborg on the Limfjord is the largest in Northern Jutland. The famous spirit Aalborg Akvavit looks back on a long tradition and with its 17 different types it offers a variation for every taste. The old distillery can be visited.
The city is also known for “Denmark’s longest bar”, Jomfru Ane Gade, where various bars, nightclubs and theaters are lined up. There is a turbulent nightlife here, especially at late hours on weekends.
If you like it quieter, you can also visit the various old churches and buildings, or the various museums in the city.
The port towns of Hirtshals and Frederikshavn are also in Northern Jutland. They are probably one of the most important (ferry) ports in Denmark. If you want to go to Iceland or the Faroe Islands, but flying is not an option for you, then you will most likely have to use the Hirtshals ferry. The main connection from Norway is the Kristiansand – Hirtshals ferry (3:15 hours, catamaran fast ferry 2:15 hours)
For the 100th anniversary of the city, 100 small concrete cubes were distributed in the city. Each cube has a sponsor who was allowed to determine where its cube is placed. So if you have some time before your ferry crossing or you are just in town, you can go on a search and see if you can find all of the cubes.
From Frederikshavn there are ferries to Gothenburg (Sweden – 2-3 hours), Oslo (Norway – 9-12 hours) and the Danish island of Læsø (1.5 hours). This island is the smallest municipality in Denmark and is very sparsely populated. If you want to discover Denmark in its most pristine form and explore the landscape alone, you should pay a visit to Læsø.
In addition to the dune and beach landscapes, which of course also exist in Midtjylland, there is also Møllehøj, the highest natural elevation in Denmark with 170.86m. The country is becoming increasingly hilly and varied towards the south.
The region is also ideally suited to take a closer look at the Danish way of life. The open-air museum „Den Gamle By“ in Aarhus offers the perfect opportunity to take a look at the life of the Danes in the past centuries and to experience it up close. Especially in the summer months during the holiday season, many volunteers fill the individual areas of „Den Gamle By“ with life. You immediately feel transported to another time – be it the section with houses and craftsmen from before the 19th century or the modern district from 1970.
Aarhus offers much more than just the open air museum. The student city is anything but a hectic city. You have the feeling of being in a quiet and cozy neighborhood – everything is a bit quieter. Rush hour here in the city center means that cyclists cycle from one city district to another and not, as is usual in large cities, that a solid line of cars rolls through the entire area. The bicycle is not only a means of transportation, but also part of the lifestyle of the people of Aarhus. It even goes so far that the city makes bicycles freely available to visitors. These can usually be found in front of the numerous cultural institutions, schools or at the train station.
You only need to bring your own helmet, bike lights if it gets dark and a 20 kronor coin to get the bike out of the associated bike stand (same system as with a shopping cart).
Those who prefer to enjoy the nature of Midtjylland should either walk part of the Heerweg or explore it by bike. The Hærvej, also known as the ox trail, is a several hundred kilometer long hiking and cycling route that leads the watershed along the ridge of Jutland through beautiful nature to Viborg. The route touches several historical sights, such as the Hærulfstein, the tomb of the girl from Egtved or the rune stones from Jelling. Here you have a very easy way to combine an active holiday and great experiences in nature with a trip through the history of Denmark.
Horsens has the opportunity to experience history up close at the annual Horsens Middelalderfestival, which takes place in front of an old prison converted into a hostel. Fine goods are on sale there, hearty dishes are served and a tournament is also held.
The south of Denmark is perfect for families to spend their active vacation there. On the one hand because of the numerous family offers, on the other hand because of the easy accessibility. The proximity to Germany, but also Billund Airport, make a significant contribution to this.
Denmark’s most famous export product is also at home in Billund: LEGO.
In Legoland Billund, but also in the Lego House in the city center, you can completely immerse yourself in the world of colorful plastic bricks.
History comes to life in the Ribe VikingeCenter. In the summer months, up to 200 Vikings populate the village and make the hustle and bustle with their authentic robes a special experience. Here, too, the visitor is encouraged to participate, which is a great experience, especially for children.
The Wadden Sea at Ribe was declared Denmark’s largest national park in 2010. The area is visited by up to 12 million migratory birds twice a year and has the largest seal population in all of Denmark. The best way to understand the importance of the unique natural area is to gain experience there. Be it to experience the game of the tides, to hear the rustling of the wind or to see the flocks of migratory birds and the enormous number of ground creatures in the mudflats. The professional nature guides of the Wadden Sea Center are happy to organize events for groups that are adapted to your needs and wishes, taking nature into account.
Odense is a fairytale city. The city center is still as winding, historically and manageable as it was 300 years ago when Odense was an important trading center. The city’s most famous son is probably the well-known Danish writer Hans-Christian Andersen. In H.C. Andersens Hus and H.C. Andersens Barndomshjem you can walk in the footsteps of Andersen. This also includes Fyrtøjet, in which children actively deal with the poet’s fairy tales. You can dress up there and re-enact the stories.
Egeskov Castle is located about 30 kilometers south of Odense on the island of Funen. The building, influenced by the Middle Ages, changed in the course of its history from a fortified Renaissance seat to a homely country castle. The building is surrounded by extensive gardens and there are several museums on the castle grounds.
Hovedstaden is the easternmost region of Denmark and is best known for the country’s capital: Copenhagen! The port city has developed into one of the most popular travel destinations in Northern Europe in recent years and is one of the cities with the greatest quality of life worldwide. Tourists who are interested in royal families, their castles and residences, art enthusiasts, nature lovers, Hans Christian Andersen fans, friends of historic old towns and old, colorful harbors will visit this capital not only once.
The city of Helsingør is located north of Copenhagen. It lies at the narrowest point of the Öresund and ships connect it to the neighboring Swedish city of Helsingborg. Helsingør is best known for Kronborg Castle, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another castle in this region that is a must see is Frederiksborg Castle. It houses the Danish National History Museum and is surrounded by a beautiful palace garden.
Denmark is connected to southern Sweden through the fee-based Öresund bridge (Øresundsbron and Drogden tunnel). It is the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge for combined road and rail transport and therefore a trip from Copenhagen to Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, is no problem.
Not to be forgotten is the island of Bornholm, which is located off the south coast of Sweden, but is still part of the Danish region of Hovedstaden. There are small idyllic fishing villages on the island, the ruins of the medieval Hammershus Castle, several museums, the „holy“ Helligdomsklipperne cliffs, four round churches and lots of nature that invite you to go hiking, horseback riding, cycling, playing golf and swimming.
The Sjælland region in Denmark comprises a large part of the island of Sjælland and the islands of Falster, Lolland and Møn.
Roskilde is probably the most important city in this region because it played an important role in the history of Denmark and was once the royal city and capital of the country. Roskilde Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the last resting place of 20 Danish kings and 17 queens. These tomb chapels are very magnificent and the cathedral itself is impressive.
An archeological site of Viking ships from the 11th century is located on a fjord near the city. These ships from the Skuldelev ship cemetery were transferred to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, preserved and can now be admired.
Roskilde is also internationally known for the local music festival, which takes place annually and is one of the largest European music festivals with around 100,000 visitors.
In addition to numerous other sights such as the passage grave of Øm, one of the best preserved among the 500 preserved large stone tombs of this type in Denmark, there is of course an open air museum typical for Denmark. In Sagnlandet Lejre, different epochs of history have been reconstructed and visitors can take part in various activities or observe them.
Friends of beer, malt and soft drinks will find the Danish brewery group Royal Unibrew in the Sjælland region, more precisely in the small town Faxe. The best-known product is probably the Faxe beer and the tasty lemonade Faxe Kondi.
Further south is the island of Møn, made of 70 million year old chalk. The island was recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve due to its specific nature and culture. We recommend a visit to the chalk coast Møns Klint and the associated GeoCenter to get to know this region better. Møn would of course not be a typical Danish island if it weren’t for the megalithic complexes and castles such as Liselund Castle.
The two islands of Falster and Lolland are not far apart and are connected by a tunnel and several bridges. Falster delights visitors with the 20 km long, child-friendly sandy beach and some historical monuments, some of which date from the Stone Age. In Lolland there are also some attractions that are particularly suitable for a family holiday, in addition to some very important prehistoric monuments. A trip to the „Knuthenborg Park & Safari“ park, the largest safari and adventure park in Northern Europe, to the Guldborgsund medieval center or a trip on the Maribo-Bandholm museum railway provide variety.
The area is also perfect for leisurely bike tours. The islands are very low, Lolland, for example, even has areas in the south that are 2 meters below sea level.
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Denmark is also a member of the European Union. This makes immigration especially for EU citizens very easy. The autonomous areas of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, which belong to Denmark, do not belong to the Schengen area.
The speed limit in Denmark is staggered as follows:
– in town: maximum 50 km / h
– out of town and on expressways: maximum 80 km / h
– on the motorway: 110/130 km / h (depending on the signs) *
* This applies to vehicles with a total weight of less than 3.5 tons – including light motorhomes. Motorcycles with trailers, teams and motorhomes with a total weight of more than 3.5 tons have a speed limit of 80 km / h in Denmark.
Even if it should be a matter of course not to drive a vehicle while drunk, there is a alcohol limit of 0.5 in Denmark. Drunk drivers are also at risk of the vehicle being confiscated by the Danish state.
In Denmark, the low beam must also be switched on during the day (daytime running lights).
If you plan to drive to Sweden by car, the BroBizz could be interesting for you. This is a small box that automatically pays the toll on the Storebælt and Øresund bridges after prior notification. A number of operators offer advantageous discounts and programs when crossing the bridges or using some ferries. The exact advantages can be found on the official website under „Advantages and Prices“.
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