Fairytale author, Hans Christian Andersen, was from Denmark. The country feels legendary, with Viking heritage, grand castles from Europe’s oldest monarchy and a rich landscape of dark forests and mysterious islands. Add a cosmopolitan modern culture centered on gourmet cuisine, innovative design and high fashion, and you have the varied experience of today’s Denmark.
Think of Denmark as three main sections: Jutland, the mainland part near Germany; Funen, the central island; and Zealand, the eastern island including Copenhagen.
Spend a few days in Copenhagen enjoying world-class food and fashion. Shop along Strøget, the city’s pedestrian-only main boulevard and high-fashion center. Make a reservation to eat at one of Copenhagen’s highly regarded restaurants. Try Noma, often called the world’s best restaurant.
Copenhagen is the heart of Denmark’s monarchy, which survives to this day. With roots from 10th-century Viking Kings, Denmark’s royal family is considered to be the oldest in Europe. Visit many castles and palaces from early days of the monarchy. Today, the Danish Queen spends winters in Copenhagen’s Amalienborg Palace, an 18th-century complex featuring a massive plaza where you can watch the daily changing of the guard. Head north of Zealand to see Fredensborg Palace, the Queen’s residence in spring and fall, and Kronborg Slot, a military barracks that served as the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Branch out of Zealand to see Denmark’s incredible natural landscape. Visit Møns Klint, towering chalk cliffs on an island south of Zealand. Head into Jutland, where beaches and sand dunes run up the entire western coast along the North Sea. Søndervig is a popular beach here, and the Wadden Sea is a vast area of coast exposed at low tide and inhabited by millions of birds. Drive up to Skagen, Denmark’s northernmost point.
Fly into the international airport outside Copenhagen. Once in Denmark, rely on the extensive train, bus and ferry network to get around. Come in summer to enjoy the beaches or visit in winter to see the royal castles frosted in heavy snow.