Did you know that Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world? Year after year, Denmark ranks among the top three happiest countries in the UN’s annual World Happiness Report which measures factors like generosity, freedom to make life decisions, social support, work-life balance, good governance, social support, health, and GDP per capita.
Denmark introduced the world to the term hygge (pronounced hoo-gah, which loosely translated means “cozy”), and when you visit this happy country, you’ll experience hygge for yourself! Situated on 400+ islands connected by ferries and bridges, you’ll find stunning coastline, endless beaches, and rolling hills & farmland laced with biking and walking paths. It’s an excellent destination for families, with a huge variety of family-friendly activities and attractions.
Visit Denmark/©Daniel Villadsen – Destination Fyn
History abounds, from Viking Age burial sites and artifacts to living museums where you can experience what life was like in Denmark 100+ years ago. Remarkably, modern Danish design blends well with the old. Well-preserved castles and manor houses dot the countryside, with some available for overnights. The cuisine is outstanding – Denmark boasts 30 Michelin-starred restaurants! It’s also possible to meet the locals with a home visit for a home cooked lunch or dinner.
Visit Denmark/© Claes Bech-Poulsen
The capital, Copenhagen, is a dynamic city of culture and tradition, a mix of historic and modern architecture, with picturesque canals, numerous parks, and lively neighborhoods. Take a guided bike tour and buzz through the city like the locals. Enjoy a cruise through the network of canals for a unique perspective of the city. Watch the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Castle (home of the Royal Family), and say hello to the Little Mermaid statue. Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, delights people of all ages with music, beautiful gardens, lights, and a variety of dining options. The bustling Nyhavn area is a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike, with colorful historic buildings housing shops, hotels, restaurants and bars (with outdoor seating along the canal!).
Credit Visit Denmark/© Kim Wyon: Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Castles, castles, everywhere! Rosenborg Castle, located in Copenhagen, is not to be missed. Built in the 17th century, the beautiful castle houses the Crown Jewels and other royal treasures, tapestries and art. Venture out of Copenhagen to visit Frederiksborg Castle, dating to the early 17th century, which features rich history, architecture, and beautiful gardens. The Museum of National History is located here, highlighting Denmark’s history from the Middle Ages to the present day. Another famous castle is Kronborg Castle, the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This is just a small sample of the 164 castles and manor houses in Denmark. Embark on your own exploration and admire the different styles and architecture. Some are even said to be haunted!
Visit Denmark/©Daniel Overbeck_VisitNordsjælland: Frederksborg Castle
Art lovers won’t want to miss a visit to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art international museum and gardens, located next to the sea just north of Copenhagen. The ARoS Art Museum in the city of Aarhus is one of the largest art museums in Northern Europe, featuring changing exhibitions, as well as their permanent collection, with works from the 19th century to today.
Danish architecture examples include the multitude of castles and manor houses, to modern designs including the Copenhagen Opera House and the Oresund Bridge which connects Denmark and Sweden. Several museums feature exceptional Danish architecture including the Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, while BLOX on Copenhagen’s waterfront is a modern urban residential and recreation area.
Visit Denmark/© The Playhouse (2007) – Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter. Operaen (2005) – Henning Larsen Architects. Photographer: Kim Wyon
The Vikings had a lot of influence in Denmark over 1000 years ago, and the Jelling Rune Stones (UNESCO listed) tell stories from that time. In addition to the rune stones, the Experience Center at Kongernes Jelling provides insight into the Viking era with interactive exhibits.
Visit Denmark/© Bang Clemme Film & Openhouse: The Runic stones of Jelling
At the Viking ship museum in the city of Roskilde, you can don Viking garb and try your hand at rowing a Viking ship replica. But the main attraction is the 5 excavated Viking ships, dating back to the 11th century, which give visitors a glimpse into the lives and history of the Vikings. Another location with Viking history is Lindholm Høje burial grounds near Aalborg. A total of 682 graves and 150 stone ships were discovered there, in addition to the remains of a village, and the museum displays artifacts and exhibits.
Visit Denmark/© Ribe VikingeCenter: Travel 1300 years back in time and meet the vikings at Ribe VikingeCenter
Historical sites are plentiful, as is nature. With five national parks and three UNESCO Global Geoparks, there is plenty of fresh air and outdoor space. Just south of Copenhagen is Scandinavia’s first Dark Sky Park, Møns Klint, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with 70 million-year-old chalk cliffs.
Visit Denmark/© Daniel Villadsen Møns Klint
One may not envision beaches when thinking of Denmark, but in the very north and west, you’ll find pristine, sandy coastlines and even surfing! Sand dunes and bird cliffs, fishing villages and the fascinating sea make this a wild wonderland to explore. The iconic artist town of Skagen is located at the very tip of Denmark, with an art museum, charming harbor, excellent restaurants, and a relaxed atmosphere. This is also the tip of the European continent, the “hook” of land seen on maps and from the air. Called Grenen, this is where the Baltic Sea and North sea, with different currents, collide, with waves and splashing visible out into the sea. Swimming is not permitted, but you can stand on the point with one foot in each sea!
Visit Denmark/©Dennis Lundby: Skagen Grenen
A fascinating phenomenon in the north is that the sand is constantly shifting. The St. Laurence Church is buried by centuries of shifting sand and now has only its tower visible. Rubjerg Knude lighthouse became buried under the shifting sand and became too close to a cliff, so in 2019 it was moved further inland. Råbjerg Mile sand dune is continuously shifting east approximately 49 feet each year. It’s possible to visit all of these locations!
Visit Denmark/© Daniel Villadsen: Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
Literature fans may be interested in the home of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa and many other works. This is where she wrote all of her stories after returning from Africa and is now a museum. It’s also possible to visit the childhood home & museum of Hans Christian Andersen, author of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and many other cherished fairy tales. Located in the town of Odense, this region is just like the setting of a fairy tale, with brightly painted timber houses with thatched roofs, rolling countryside dotted with castles, manor houses and idyllic farms, and an archipelago of many small islands. You may never want to leave!
Visit Denmark/© VisitOdense: Odense
Danish design has impacted the world. From furniture, clothing, and household items, to Georg Jensen jewelry, Royal Copenhagen porcelain and Bang & Olufsen stereo products, there is quite an assortment of brands. Perhaps you’ve heard of Lego? Lego is a Danish product, and you’ll even find a Legoland theme park in Denmark. Located in Billund, it’s a popular spot for families with displays made of Legos, rides, and opportunities to build your own structures from Legos.
Visit Denmark/LEGOLAND® Billund Resort/©Jesper Grønnemark
Denmark is an excellent destination by itself, where you can travel by rental car (driving is on the right side of the road), train, or private chauffeur. Combine Denmark with other Nordic countries, and public transportation between them is frequent and convenient. A fun method of travel is by cruise ferry and there are connections from several cities in Denmark to various points in Norway. You can travel by train from Copenhagen to Norway and Sweden. There are frequent flights from many locations in Denmark to points throughout the Nordic countries.
Visit Denmark/© Viggo Lundberg: The Øresund Bridge connects Denmark and Sweden. You can drive over by car or take the train to cross it.
Excited to explore this incredible destination yourself? View our inspirational Denmark itineraries below!