Renaissance castles and cutting edge contemporary architecture, incredible restaurants, awe-inspiring landscapes and of course, Danish Hygge — Denmark is one of the few places on earth whose 5.8 million residents frequently find themselves outnumbered by tourists!
Don’t be deceived by this pocket sized nation’s small size: Denmark is one of the oldest states in Europe and in fact, the oldest kingdom in the world. The first Danes were hunters and fishermen, and then small scale agriculture farmers who greatly benefited from the presence of locally available iron — the Nordic iron age. Then came the Vikings, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Without further ado, here’s what to do and see on your visit to Denmark!
Denmark’s beautiful Baltic bay, Bornholm is like something straight out of a fairy tale. 200 KM east of the Danish mainland, and only 35 KM from Sweden, Bornholm was once a Viking stronghold that maintained independence well into the 10th century! Today it’s beloved for its pristine, sandy beaches, endless amounts of sunshine, winding cycle trails, fantastical rundekirke (round churches), famed smoked fish, picturesque water-front villages and vibrant art scene. Not quite enticing enough? The island’s also got some of the best restaurants this side of Denmark, and once you’re done gorging yourself, you can go rock climbing, kayaking, and even diving to see shipwrecks!
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in our philosophy. Brevity is the soul of wit. Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5! Shakespeare buff or not, the real life Elsinore castle is not to be missed! This massive marvel of Renaissance loveliness is as fantastical on the inside as it is on the outside: the price of a ticket is well worth the opportunity to see the castle’s wondrous tapestries, maze like interior rooms and ceiling paintings! Feeling particularly brave? Venture down into its subterranean dungeons for an experience you’re unlikely to forget.
Carnival games, glittering lights, fireworks and roller coasters — Tivoli’s resplendent in all its twinkling, colorful amusement park finery! Opened in 1843, by George Carstensen, Tivoli happens to be the second oldest theme park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg. Nestled among the Hans Christian Andersen House and the main train station, right in the center of Copenhagen, Tivoli is indubitably Denmark’s most famous landmark. The Nazis did their level best to burn it to the ground in 1944, but the park was up and running again within weeks, a testament to its enduring legacy. Today, you can ride the world’s oldest roller-coaster, the Rutschebanen, dine in any one of the park’s numerous restaurants, laze among the fanciful gardens and even visit the park’s very own theater.