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Denmark Travel Guide

Updated on February 4, 2013
Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Nyhavn, Copenhagen

The JutlandPeninsula and the 400 surrounding islands represent one of the smallest countries in Europe – Denmark, a country abundant in scenic villages and cities, castles and historical monuments, and coastal regions that vary from wide sandy beaches to gulfs and fjords. All over the country the smooth hills and valley offers a wide range of attractions – shadowy beech forests, verdant areas, lake, sand dunes and white rocks resembling those in Dover and unique islands.

The Danish take great care in keeping the coastal areas clean, waiting for the tourists. Besides the 4800km of beaches and islands you also have biking tracks available. Sleepy villages grouped around the white churches cover the marshy fields where the heather grows, rolling hills and rich farms dotted with windmills and manors. The ferries handle the transport between the continent and the islands, competing with the amazing bridges like the one that ties Oresund to Sweden, 16km long.

The relaxed ambiance in Denmark makes the warrior Vikings’ existence seem unreal. The present’s visitors find a peaceful and neutral Denmark. Its brands are good taste, world class projects and high standards. Besides being very modern, Denmark keeps a connection with fairytales, provided by the great storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Its lovely castles and historical buildings are o common sight in Denmark. Copenhagen is a city with cobblestone and medieval streets, but also with a vibrant nightlife. But it’s best to go beyond the capital city and to also venture in the rest of the country’s territory.

Denmark's Tourist Attractions

  • Don’t miss the Little Mermaid’s statue from the entrance in the Copenhagen port. If you see the statue for the first time, you might be amazed by its small dimensions, but the statue of the most popular characters in the Hans Christian Andersen’s tales is the city’s symbol.

  • Discover Denmark’s Viking heritage in the VikingBoatMuseum in Roskilde, 30km away from Copenhagen, where you can see five ancient boats salvaged from the port’s waters.
  • Visit the famous Carlsberg brewery, which has a center for visitors where you can listen to a story about the company and its products.
  • The AmalienborgPalace is a royal winter residence located in the center of Copenhagen city. Try to be there at 12, where the guards changing ceremony takes place.
  • Follow Hamlet’s footsteps in Elsinore, the place where the 16th century Kronborg castle watches over the Oresund waters and the Danish coast.
  • Walk through Christiania, the independent hippy community in Copenhagen, founded in 1971, for those who are looking for an alternative life style. Even if it represents a problem for the authorities, this community proved to be very enduring.
  • Explore the greatest Viking funeral site from the city of Alborg that includes a castle, a cathedral and a monastery.
  • In summer, take a trip to Arhus. Here, the summer royal residence is the MarselisborgCastle that has its gates opened to the public when the queen isn’t present.
  • Also in Arhus, take a walk through the historical center, a collection of building dating from the Renaissance up until the First World War, brought from all over Denmark.
  • Remember you’re childhood visiting the birth place of the great storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen, and the house where he had spent his childhood.

  • You can ride – this an easy thing to do in Denmark. There are horses for rent and riding schools almost all over the country. Many schools offer riding holidays with full accommodation or half accommodation.

  • Stop for a spa treatment in one of the resorts that are spread throughout the country. Some of them offer medical and therapeutic treatments and other offer only relaxation in a nice and peaceful environment.
  • Denmark has excellent fishing facilities, for both in sweet or salty water. The fishers from the ports organize fishing trips unto the sea.
  • The nude beaches are a common thing on Denmark’s coasts. Only on the Henne Strand and Holmsland beaches nudism is forbidden.
  • Take your kids to the Legoland in Billund, opened from April to October. The attractions include the thematic area of Atlantis.
  • The historical gardens of Tivoli are a main attraction in Copenhagen and are opened from April to September.
  • See Denmark’s geological history at the Mons Klint Geocenter on the SjaellandIsland. The center shows the events that determined the country’s sea and land formation.

Christianshavn, Copenhagen
Christianshavn, Copenhagen

Danish Cuisine

The Danish don’t usually mix many dishes in the plate, they like to keep them in a strict order. Due to its geographical position, it’s no wonder that an important part in the Danish cuisine consists of prawn. Besides the traditional dishes, the French and international cuisine are also preferred today. In Copenhagen you can find excellent restaurants and Alborg is renowned for its large number of restaurants. In most cities you will find fast food stalls, sausages, hamburgers, refreshing drinks and beer.

The national specialties – smorrebrod is a very popular dish that consists of a slice of black bread with butter, a slice of meat, fish or cheese and a rich garniture. This dish is consumed with the fork and knife, sitting on a table. Also popular is the buffet-lunch, with fish, meat, hot pots, cheese and sweets. A full Danish breakfast consists of several types of bread, rolls, jam and cheese, often assisted by meat, boiled eggs and warm pastry products.

In Denmark there are many kinds of beer produced, the most famous ones are Carlsberg and Tuborg. Akvait is a popular alcoholic drink that is consumed with cold dishes.

Denmark's History

The word Denmark appears since the Viking era, writtern on the Jelling Stone from the 990s, but there is a big difference between what Denmark was then and the territories that it contains today. In some eras, like in the 13th and 17th centuries, Denmark was a super-power, with an influence as important as the other great states in Europe. Modern Denmark configuration is the result of 400 years of losing territories, lost battles and abdications.

In middle of the 1800s crucial events took place. In 1848 absolutism was abolished and Denmark had the benefit of a constitution and a parliament, but in 1864 the country was defeated by Prussia and had to give up 40% of its territories. Denmark’s population diminished from 2.6 million to 1.6 million inhabitants. As a result of this defeat Denmark an almost entirely homogenous society, where the inhabitants – except the ones from Iceland (which became independent in 1944), FaroeIsland and Greenland – shared the same culture and language.

The present borders of Denmark were established around 1864 and the border between southern Jutland and Germany was established in 1920. The political neutrality offered Denmark peace during the First World War, but not in the Second World War, when it was occupied by the German troops. In 1949 Denmark was one of the founding members of NATO, and in 1972 it joined the European Community. Today, despite its relatively small dimensions, Denmark is a country that maintains its importance on the international political scene.

Useful Info

If you happen to talk to a Danish he will surely speak English. To ask “Do you speak English” use the phrase “Taler De engelsk”. The respectful way to address someone, Hr and Fru, has almost disappeared, the locals rather using the first name. Despite the formalities, the Danish are very polite and they show good manners in public.

Public alcohol consumption is almost a normal thing in Denmark, but the laws are starting to restrict it. Usually you can see a sign that forbids alcohol in some places, but it’s best to be moderate when consuming alcohol, especially during the day. The local hour on Denmark’s territory is GMT+1 and in Faroe Islands and Torshavn is GMT.

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