Denmark Travel - An Overview
Denmark is the smallest of the Nordic countries, and is most famous for the play by Williasm Shakespeare, which was set here several hundred years ago. Hamlet's words, "there is something rotten in the state of Denmark", made this country famous for years to come. It was once the home of Viking raiders who caused havoc throughout Europe, and later became a major European power, its various monarchs shaping the history of the continent with the mere wave of their hand, and is now an influential member of the EU, although it chooses not to adpot the currency or let any of the EU politics influence its own internal affairs (much like the UK).
About Denmark Travel
Denmark is a Nordic country situated in northern Europe on the crossway between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Greenland and the Faeroe Islands are part of Denmark, but they are autonomous regions with home rule. Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsula and a large number of big and small islands. It is a country that boasts a large number of international visitors, as well as tourists from around Denmark. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Danish weather is not as cold as you might think. Snow is rather unusual, though the winters are wet. The average winter temperature is 41-50°F and the summer temperature can vary from 59-77°F. The country is relatively flat, with about 65 percent farmland and 11 percent woodland, while the rest is comprised of cities and towns, roads and lakes. The population numbers 5.3 million people, and the population density is 120 people per square kilometre. The capital is Copenhagen with around 1.2 million inhabitants. Copenhagen has an old, historic center and a large network of pedestrian streets, bicycle paths, and parks. The official language is Danish, though most people understand and speak English.
Destinations in Denmark
Copenhagen is definitely worth a visit, even if just a short one. Even if you just have a few hours before boarding your plane or before a business meeting, you can easily experience the city.
First of all, it is fast and easy to reach Copenhagen Central Station (Copenhagen H) from the airport - it only takes twelve minutes by train - and second the city is very compressed, therefore attractions are within short distances.
First stop on the tour could be the tourist information Copenhagen Right Now, situated across from the central station, where you can pick up a city map before heading out into the streets of Copenhagen.
A guided bus-tour is a good way to get an idea of the city. The tours last from 1 to 2½ hours and drive by or stop at some of the greater attractions of Copenhagen, like for example: The Little Mermaid, The National Museum, The Royal Palace: Amalienborg, the Parliament etc. The various tours all begin and end by Palace Hotel across from the Town Hall.
Another possibility to see as much of the city within a short timeframe, is to get on one of the canal tours. Quite a few of the sights and attractions in Copenhagen can be experienced from the seaside, and while the canal boats sail through the canals you get a chance to rest your tired feet and at the same time enjoy the attractions of Copenhagen.
The tours take approximately one hour and the Little Mermaid, The Parliament, The Opera House, The Royal Palace: Amalienborg etc. are some of the attractions the guided boats pass on the tour. The boats leave from the very picturesque Nyhavn. The canal area is very popular and packed with restaurants and cafés.
If you would rather experience the authentic atmosphere of the city a tour by foot is a great way to breathe in the atmosphere. From the town hall you should either go right or left from Strøget (the main pedestrian street); this is where the more interesting streets are situated.
To the right off Strøget is a street called Strædet, which consists of Kompagnistræde, Læderstræde etc. and to the left streets like Larsbjørnsstræde, Studiestræde, Sankt Peders Stræde etc. are part of an area referred to as the Latin Quarter. These streets have many quaint and ancient buildings that are several 100 years old and you will find many interesting shops; everything from Danish Design shops to small second hand clothing stores.
The walking tour through Strædet ends up at Kongens Nytorv, where the Royal Theatre lies. This is also where the picturesque Nyhavn is located with its many old houses and many restaurants and cafés that are situated with a view over the canal.
The walking tour to the left of Strøget ends up at Købmagergade, (another pedestrian street), close by The Round Tower. The tower was built as an observatory in 1642 during the reign of Christian IV and a 209-metre-long winding passage leads to the platform and the Observatory at the top of the tower - from here you have a magnificent view over the old town, house roofs and church towers.
If you end up at the area around Kongens Nytorv and need to get back to the airport after your Copenhagen-sightseeing-tour, the Metro will take you to Nørreport Station and from here the train back to the airport only takes 17 minutes.
Sought after places to see in the Denmark capital, Copenhagen
The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is the most famous and popular tourist attraction in Denmark. The statue, situated on Copenhagen's waterfront, is a national landmark and synonymous with the city. Hans Christian Andersen wrote a fairy tale about her, Disney produced a film, and Copenhagen maintains the statue in her honour. The Little Mermaid continues to be one of the most photographed statues in the world.
A highly popular amusement park, it is usually at the top of everyone's list of places to visit in Copenhagen. Founded in 1843, it is a beautiful, romantic park with lanterns in the trees that create a unique atmosphere. It has a wealth of high-class restaurants and stages for music and theatre.
Dyrehavsbakken is the home of entertainment, thrills and spills. Right near Copenhagen this amusement park is the oldest in the world. The park is packed with joy rides of all kinds , some fast and furious, others more tame.
You can test your skills in more than thirty different entertaining games and competitions.
There around forty restaurants and bars, catering for everybody, and all price ranges. Wine and dine in an a la carte restaurant or grab a quick hamburger or hotdog - or perhaps a giant ice cream.
The bars are full of fun and many of them host live music throughout the season.
There is free entertainment every day at Bakken. For the youngest guests, Pjerrot the white clown performs three shows a day in front of his little house, while at the Open-air stage you can enjoy the antics of the four loveable Bakken animals.
Dyrehavsbakken is also home to the Circus Revue and the Bakkens Hvile music hall. The Circus Revue is the biggest and funniest revue in Denmark, while Bakkens Hvile - the only remaining original music hall in Denmark - is the setting for a unique mood and atmosphere when the cabaret singers take to the state in their brightly coloured outfits.
Kronborg Castle is located on the sea in Elsinore (Helsingor) and in clear weather you can get a clear view of Sweden across the sound.
The Castle was built between 1574- 85 during the reign of King Frederik II to keep and eye on and collect taxes from ships sailing through the narrow sound between Denmark and Sweden.
The Castle burned down in 1629 but was rebuilt again in 1638. Kronborg contains the 62m-long Knight's Hall, one of the longest halls in Europe, and the famous statue of Holger Danske. Legend says that if Denmark is ever threatened, the stone figure will turn into flesh and blood and rise in defence of the kingdom.
The National Museum
The National Museum is Denmark's largest museum of cultural history. The main domicile is a classic 18th century mansion just a stone's throw from 'Stroget' at the center of Copenhagen. The National Museum is the museum for all of Denmark, where you can follow the history of the Danes right down to the present day.
The museum's do-it-yourself guides only take an hour, and make it easy to get an overview of the 10,000 square metre exhibition area. So take a free do-it-yourself guide from the Information booth and find your way around the museum more easily. The National Museum's audio guide in both English and Danish is a transportable CD player with headphones. The museum also has equipment to magnify both exhibits and texts for the partially sighted.
Statens Museum for Kunst
Statens Museum for Kunst, the Danish national gallery, is the only place in Denmark which features 700 years of Western art and cultural history under one roof. The museum houses a large collection of Danish and international paintings, sculptures, drawings, and installations. The museum is located in central Copenhagen near the Norreport and Osterport stations, a short walk from the Castle of Rosenborg and the Botanical Gardens.
The Round Tower
The Round Tower was built on the initiative of King Christian IV (1588-1648). The tower was the first stage of the Trinitatis complex, which was to gather three important facilities for the scholars of the seventeenth century: an astronomical observatory, a student's church and a university library. The tower was completed in 1642.
The Tower is built in the old Latin Quarter and right in the heart of Copenhagen. It was built together with Trinitatis church, which was inaugurated in 1656. In 1728 the church was damaged by a fire and was rebuilt again in 1731. The loft was used as a library for the University.
A 209-metre-long winding passage leads to the platform and the Observatory at the top of the tower from here you have a magnificent view over the old town, house roofs and church towers.
Copenhagen is gay-friendly
The city has something to offer all senses and tastes all the year round. July and August are the warmest months, but any time of year the gay community will be happy to welcome you to their big city renowned for its easy-going and laidback life style.
The city’s gay scene of entertainment and fun is located within one square kilometer.
The first gay bar, Centralhjornet, opened over 80 years ago and is still going strong.
The National Association for Gays and Lesbians (LBL) was founded in Copenhagen in 1948 as the first of its kind.
In 1989 Denmark was the first country in the world to recognize marriage between two persons of the same sex.
The city even boasts its own gay radio station, Radio Rosa.
For more on the Copenhagen gay community visit Copenhagen Gay Life
Cruises on the canals
A tour on the old canals is one of the biggest tourist attractions and an experience you should not miss. The boats take you through all parts of the old city and pass many of the most famous sights. Following is a selection of tours you can take:
A 60-minute guided tour of the harbour and the canals.
The Netto Boats
A 60-minute guided tour of the harbour and the canals.
The Water Bus
Hop-on hop-off (without guides). The water bus sails along and between the coasts of the water separating the two islands of Sealand and Amager and is a good choice for a visit to Holmen or other places.
The old road north from Copenhagen to Helsingør follows the scenic coastline passing through Klampenborg with its vast Dyrehave Park and the Bakken amusement fair, Rungsted with the Karen Blixen Museum and Humlebaek with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The most impressive sight is however Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, famous for its associations with Shakespeare's Hamlet.
For more information on attractions, places to see, and things to do you should consult Visit Copenhagen - the official tourism site for the Denmark capital.
Odense is over a thousand years old. It's a beautiful and lively city, the third largest in Denmark, and is full of open areas; its leisurely, relaxed atmosphere and a wealth of musical and other cultural attractions make Odense an ideal vacation spot. Extensive pedestrian-only streets, squares and alleys lead to museums, cafes, shops and restaurants. A wealth of cycle paths make it easy for biking tourists to get around.
There are museums honoring Hans Christian Andersen and Carl Nielsen, both world- famous sons of Funen. The Brandts Klaedefabrik houses several museums, including the Danish Museum of Printing and the Museum of Photographic Art, and has frequently changing exhibits of modern and unusual art in its galleries.
Odense has a strong focus on culture, business, a vibrant student life and many parks and green areas which bring a pleasant atmosphere to the city.
Currently, one of the most visible projects is the transformation of Odense Harbour from an industrial port to an extensive leisure area. Spectacular apartments and beautiful squares are just some of the novelties which are helping give new life to the harbour.
The official site of the City of Odense can be accessed here.
Southern Sealand, Lolland, Falster and Mon
In view of its proximity to Germany, one of the most popular areas of Denmark for visitors is the South of Sealand and the neighbouring islands. Mon, with its magnificent chalk cliffs and its sandy beaches is one of the main destinations. Falster has a number of sandy beaches including those at Marielyst. The area also has several tourist attractions including Knuthenborg Safari Park on Lolland, BonBon-Land near Næstved and the GeoCenter at Mons Klint.
Svaneke harbour, Bornholm
The island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea to the south of Sweden offers tourists a variety of attractions including rocky seascapes, picturesque fishing villages and sandy beaches. Among the quaint towns worth visiting are Gudhjem, Sandvig, Svaneke and Rønne. The magnificent ruin of Europe's largest castle, Hammershus, is the island's most famous monument. There are ferry services to Bornholm from Køge near Copenhagen, and from Ystad in the south of Sweden. There is also an airport at Ronne.
Funen, linked to Sealand by the Great Belt Bridge, has strong associations with Hans Christian Andersen who was born in Odense. The small coastal towns of Fåborg and Svendborg are popular with tourists both as attractions in their own right and as centres for visiting the surroundings, particularly the castles of Egeskov and Hvedholm and the unspoiled islands of Thuro, Tåsinge and Ærø with their narrow streets and thatched cottages.
The cities of Aalborg, in the north, and Aarhus, in the east, attract a considerable number of visitors, whether for business or pleasure. Aalborg's 14th century Budolfi Church, 17th century Aalborghus Castle and the Jomfru Ane Gade (a lively old street close to the city centre) are major attractions. In Aarhus, Den Gamle By (the Old Town) is in fact a museum village in which old houses from various parts of Denmark have been brought together.
Among Jutland's regional attractions are Legoland close to Billund Airport, the easterly village of Ebeltoft with its cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, Skagen in the far north famous for its seascapes and artist community and the north-west beach resorts of Løkken and Lønstrup. Finally the island of Mors, famous for its natural beauty, attracts tourists to its Jesperhus Flower Park and to the cliff at Hanklit which overlooks the sea.
Jelling, near Vejle in the south-eastern part of Jutland, is a World Heritage Site, famous for its two great tumulus mounds erected in the late 900s and its runic stones erected by King Harold.
Near Esbjerg on the west coast stands Svend Wiig Hansen's enormous scultpure of four chalky white figures gazing out at the sea. Known as Mennesket ved havet or Men at the Sea and standing 79 m high, it can be seen for miles around.
Visitors from all over the world can gain more data on Denmark travel by viewing the official travel guide to Denmark, produced by the national Danish government - Visit Denmark.