Denmark, a small country in Scandinavia covering just 42,951 km2 (16,583 miles2), might be small, but it makes up in culture, history, cuisine and coastline. You will find castles, museums, green spaces and an extremely high standard of living.
Denmark will give you a taste of Nordic life but with a milder climate than other Scandinavian countries further north, such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Winters can dip down to 0C (32F) and it can snow. If you visit in December, you will get a Christmassy feel. Summer is pleasant, with temperatures rarely going above 22C (72F). And if you’re a cold-weather person uncomfortable with the Mediterranean’s heat, you will enjoy Denmark in the summer and can sightsee without getting hot and bothered.
Denmark has a rich history and was inhabited as far back as 12,000 years ago. Most Danish people are descendants of the Vikings, who originated in the late 700s and continued until the 11th century. Many museums in the country take you on a journey through Danish history, particularly maritime history. Here are the best towns and cities in Denmark to tick off your to-see list.
Cities in Denmark
- Copenhagen: Canal Cruise from Nyhavn – cruise the canals and see houses, churches and castles. This is the most popular tour!
- Copenhagen: Roskilde, Frederiksborg and Kronborg Day Tour – discover Denmark’s old capital and explore royal castles.
- Save money and order your European SIM card online before you go here.
20 Danish Cities To Visit
One of Denmark’s most beautiful cities, Copenhagen is home to the Little Mermaid Statue and the Christiansborg Palace.
The palace is one of three royal residences in the city.
You can visit some areas of the Palace, such as the Royal Reception Rooms, the Royal Stables, the Royal Kitchen, the ruins underneath the Palace, and the Chapel.
17th-century Nyhavn Harbour is charming and has plenty of eateries where you can try new Nordic cuisine.
Copenhagen has a network of canals, and you can cruise through them starting at the harbour.
A highlight of Copenhagen is Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park and pleasure garden that opened in 1843.
It has become famous because it has one of the world’s oldest operating wooden roller coasters.
Over the summer, Tivoli Gardens hosts concerts and dance performances.
Copenhagen is connected to Malmo in Sweden by the Oresund Bridge, and you may want to take a day trip.
As for food, Copenhagen is famous for its new Nordic cuisine, which values organic ingredients, a return to traditional methods like pickling, and an ethical approach to a culinary lifestyle.
However, Copenhagen still serves traditional foods like the Smorrebrod, the Danish open sandwich famous for sweet pastries.
The city is vegan-friendly; you will find a vegan option on most menus.
- The Christiansborg Palace is at Prins Jergen Gard 1 1218.
- Tivoli Gardens is at Vesterbrogade 3 1630. Skip the line and book your tickets here.
- Copenhagen Card-Discover: 80+ Attractions & Public Transport
- Copenhagen: Tivoli Gardens and Unlimited Rides Classic Combo
- Copenhagen: Hop-on, Hop-off Bus and Boat Tour
You’ll need several days to explore Aalborg, as it’s one of the largest cities in Denmark.
Situated on Limford, a body of water cutting through Jutland, this city has a revitalised waterfront with plenty of restaurants and cafes.
The architecture is amazing; museums, squares, parks, and houses remind you of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson, the famous Danish children’s writer.
If you enjoy visiting museums and love history, you’ll be in your element in this Danish city.
The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art displays artwork from both Danish painters and international artists.
In the Lindholm Hoeje Museum, you will find exhibits relating to Viking culture and history.
It is situated on a Viking burial site, one of the most spectacular sites in Denmark, going back to both the Iron Age and the Viking Age.
For an incredible city view and the surrounding area, go to the Aalborgtarnet, an observation tower built out of lattice steel.
It is 54.9 m (180 feet) tall, and a lift will take you to the 360-degree platform.
If you are a classical music fan, visit the Park of Music.
Here, famous Danish artists have created statues, sculptures, fountains celebrating classical artists, and an extraordinary collection of trees that can be activated to play music.
A must is a visit to the street food market, which offers food from all over the world.
- The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art is at Kong Christians Alle 50 9000.
- The Lindholm Hoeje Museum is at Vendilavej 11 9400.
- The food market is at Skudehavnsvej 35 9000.
Roskilde, set by a scenic fjord, was once the capital of Denmark and is still worth visiting, particularly if you are interested in the history of the Vikings.
You can visit the Viking Ship Museum to see five authentic 1000-year-old Viking ships.
You can even row onto the fjord on a real Viking ship, but it’s not for the faint-hearted, as you have to take part and row.
If you build up a thirst or appetite after this experience, there is a lovely cafe in the museum serving New Nordic Viking food.
Roskilde Cathedral, where the Kings and Queens of Denmark are buried, is also worth a visit.
This UNESCO World Heritage site houses royal tombs and unusual chalk paintings.
It is in a prime position on the city’s peak with fantastic views of the fjord and the city.
Every year, from the end of June, Roskilde Music Festival is held.
Around 100,000 music fans descend on the city for eight days, so if you intend to visit during festival time, book your accommodation early.
This is the largest music festival in the Nordic countries and one of Europe’s largest.
The Viking Ship Museum is at Vindeboder 12 4000.
Roskilde Cathedral is at Domkirkeplasden 3 4000.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen: Roskilde, Frederiksborg & Kronborg Day Tour
Aarhus was once a Viking fishing village but has blossomed into the largest port in Denmark.
It goes back to the 8th century when it was called Aros, and in the Middle Ages, it developed into an important trading centre.
The city’s main highlight is the Old Town, an open-air museum with historic buildings relocated from many parts of Denmark.
The streets are cobbled, the buildings are gabled, and there are lovely views towards the waterfront.
Don’t miss the underground museum where you can learn about the history of Aarhus.
The cafe here serves excellent Nordic food.
At the edge of the Latin Quarter, you will find Aarhus Cathedral.
It is the longest and tallest cathedral in Denmark at 93 metres long (305 feet) and 96 metres (314 feet) tall.
It was built in 1201 in the Romanesque style but after a devastating fire in the 14th century, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style.
Inside, you will find the largest frescoes in Denmark.
Nature lovers will enjoy wandering around the Botanical Gardens, which are free to visit.
There are plants and flowers from all over the country and a central rockery with mountainous plants from different parts of the world.
There are also greenhouses with plants from four climate zones.
Aarhus Cathedral is at Store Toro 8000.
Recommended tour: Aarhus: GoBoat Self-drive Boat Tour
The third-largest city in Denmark, Odense sits on the island of Funen and is famous for being where fairy tale writer Hans Christian Anderson was born.
There is a museum dedicated to him with mementos and his drawings and artwork.
Another interesting museum in this Danish city is The Time Collection Museum which is fully interactive.
You can dress up in period clothes, touch the exhibits, and try out any tools on show.
There are nine rooms, each representing a decade of life in Denmark between 1900 and 1990.
Just 3.5 km (2.17 miles) from the city’s centre is Funen Open-Air Village.
Set in the 19th century, you can explore shops, farmhouses, and workers’ cottages.
There are actors in 19th-century costumes throughout the village who tell you more about life in Denmark in the 19th century and demonstrate cooking and crafting skills.
Visit the Odense Christmas market, one of the best in Scandinavia and held over the first two weekends in December.
- The Hans Christian Museum is at Claus Bergs Garde 11 5000.
- The Time Collection Museum is at Farvergaarden 7, 3rd Floor 5000.
- Funen Open-Air is at Sejerskowej 20 5260.
Recommended tour: Odense: River Cruise on the Odense River
Fredericksberg looks like it could be part of Copenhagen but this city is separate and very independent.
Most people enjoy Frederiksberg Gardens, one of Denmark’s biggest green spaces and a relief from the city’s noise.
It was landscaped during the reign of King Frederick 1V between 1699 and 1730.
There are lakes and canals where you can hire boats.
In the summer, these gardens host music festivals.
Beneath Sondermarken Gardens are the cisterns, former water reservoirs that have now been turned into a museum hosting the city’s most exciting and contemporary art.
It is a magical labyrinth of tunnels, but it is cold down there, so dress warm even in summer.
When you are ready for refreshments, head to Vaernedamsvej Street, where many restaurants and cafes dish out a menu of tasty meals.
Gammel Kongevej has great shopping.
Fredericksberg Gardens are at Fredericksberg Runddel 1A 2000.
The Cisterns are at Sondermarken 2000.
Recommended tour: Castles: Kronborg (Hamlet) & Frederiksborg
Randers is called the Venice of Denmark because of its beautiful canals lined by traditional and modern buildings.
The highlight of Randers is Randers Regneskov, a tropical zoo with various plants and animals from the rainforest.
There are three domes, one representing Africa, Asia and the other South America.
They have a tropical climate with free-ranging animals such as iguanas, sloths, and monkeys.
It’s a fantastic place to visit, with cascading waterfalls, swing bridges to conquer, and temple ruins.
There is even a snake temple.
All the snakes are non-poisonous constrictors but don’t touch them as they can still bite!!
For a taste of Danish wine, visit Cold Hand Winery.
- Randers Regnskov is at Torbebryggen 11 8900.
- Cold Hand Winery is at Havermosevej 21 8920.
Another name for Helsingor is Elsinore, a UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooked by the 15th-century Kronborg Castle, which was used as the setting for Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.
Helsingor is well worth visiting to see the royal rooms and banquet hall.
From here, you can see the city of Helsingborg in Sweden.
The ferry to Helsingborg from Helsingor only takes 20 minutes and goes 55 times a day.
So why not have a day out in Sweden?
While in Helsingor, visit the interactive M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark, which covers 600 years of maritime history.
In Helsingor’’s old shipyard, you will find The Culture Yard, a cultural centre that hosts activities and exhibits for kids and adults alike.
Concerts are often held, as well as theatrical performances and film showings.
There is also a Shipyard Museum here and a cafe.
Shop ‘til you drop at Stengaden, where you will find both traditional and modern stores.
- Kronborg Castle is at Kronborg 1B 3000.
- The M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark is at Ny Kronborgvej 1 3000.
- The Culture Yard is at Allegade 2 3000.
Recommended tour: Mesmerizing Family Walking Tour Around Helsingør
Herning in Central Denmark is a historic city filled with 19th-century buildings.
It’s also one of the best cities in Denmark to go to if you want to sample food from all over the world and drink Danish beer.
You’ll find Carlsberg beer served in most bars and restaurants in Herning.
HEART, the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, houses paintings from all over the world.
As well as paintings, it exhibits graffiti and statues and hosts temporary exhibitions.
Another interesting museum is AutoGallenet, a car museum with two halls containing dozens of classic cars from many countries.
Fuglsang Lake is right in the city’s heart if you want a bit of nature without leaving the city.
It is a beautiful place with plenty of ducks and an opportunity to participate in water sports, such as kayaking, go-speed boating, inflatable boat rides, and swimming.
HEART is at Bitten og Aage Damgaards Plats 2 7400
AutoGallenet is at Industrivej Syd 1A 7400
Esbjerg is a port in southwest Denmark and is part of the UNESCO-listed Wadden Sea National Park, Denmark’s largest nature reserve.
You may have heard of the famous Man by the Sea Sculptures, and this is where they are.
They are four 9-metre (29.5 feet) men constructed out of white concrete by Svend Wiig Hansen.
They are breathtaking and well worth photographing.
If you enjoy visiting museums, you will be in your element in Esbjerg.
The Fisheries & Maritime Museum can take a day’s visit if you want to experience everything it has to offer.
There is a saltwater aquarium, a sealarium, which, as the name suggests, houses seals, an enclosed outdoor lake, a German bunker from WWII and more.
The Esbjerg Museum shows life in the city between 1900 and 1950.
There are ships, a dentist’s room, and even a Resistance exhibition featuring the German occupation of Esbjerg.
Esbjerg Art Museum is in the city park and features modern art, including work by Svend Wiig Hansen.
- The Man by the Sea Sculptures are at Saedding Strand 6710
- The Fisheries & Maritime Museum is at Tarphagevey 2 6720
- Esbjerg Museum is at Torvegade 45 6700
- Esbjerg Art Museum is at Havnegade 20 6700
Vejle’s oldest streets date back to the Middle Ages, and the city is steeped in history.
It also has a stunning waterfront because of its location on the Vejle Fjord.
There is also a lovely open park, Dyrehaven, with hiking and cycling trails.
Along the waterfront is Fjordenhus, a spectacular building designed by Olafur Eliasson.
There’s an exhibition of his art on the ground floor and, on the first floor, you’ll find a gourmet restaurant which is so popular you’ll need to book ahead.
Be sure to pass by when it’s dark, as Fjordenhus lights up and looks like a lighthouse.
From April until October each year, there is a whacky outdoor exhibition along Tannesgade og Norregade.
Umbrellas of different colours are hung above the streets, giving the city centre a colourful vibe.
Take your time along the street; there are some interesting shops, bakeries, pastry shops, and cafes to stop by.
Fjordenhus is at Havneoen 1 7100
Horsens is best known for culture and entertainment.
Harsens New Theatre has over 200 annual shows with local and worldwide performers on any of the three indoor stages.
There is also a club for children with various activities to participate in.
Faengslet, the old State Penitentiary, is a highlight of the city, and you’ll be pleased to know it’s no longer a prison.
It has been kept the way it was the day it closed so you will get a good impression about the lives of the prisoners.
Visit old cells and look for the escape tunnel dug by the famous escapee, Carl August Lorentzen.
In the museum, you can listen to stories about the prisoners.
The Industrial Museum will delight the kids as you can smell the old city.
They will also love the interactive exhibits like the Children’s Moped Repair Shop.
There are many recreations of buildings like the old school, the textile factory, old stores, and workers’ living quarters.
- Horsens New Theatre is at Teaterorvet 1 8700.
- Faengslet is at Fussingsvej 8 8700.
Viborg is one of Denmark’s oldest cities, dating back to ancient times, although the city you see now was built in the Middle Ages.
Viborg’s Cathedral is at the heart of the city.
It is impressive, towering 42 metres (137 feet) over the city and is the world’s largest granite church.
Next to the Cathedral is Staenderpladsen, where at least 37 Danish kings and queens were crowned.
In the neighbouring Old Town Hall, you will find the Skovgaard Museum, which exhibits works by different family members of the Skovgaard family; Joakim Skovgaard created the beautiful paintings in the cathedral.
Near Viborg are the Monsted Limestone Mines which are the largest in the world.
Here you can learn about geology, see handcrafted works and, if lucky, see some bats.
Be prepared to descend 50 metres (64 feet) below ground, but you will be rewarded with an illuminated labyrinth of tunnels and underground lakes,
The Skovgaard Museum is at Domkirkestraede 2 -4 8800
The Monsted Limestone Mines are at Kalkvaerksvej 8 – 10 7850
Kolding is a seaport that is steeped in history.
Koldinghus Castle was once a royal residence and is well worth a visit.
It was first built in the 13th century but has been reconstructed several times since.
It houses a historical museum with artworks and 16th-century furniture.
Historical festivals and re-enactments are held in the beautiful gardens during the summer.
In the Trapholt Museum, you can see works by famous Danish artists and craftsmen.
All the furniture exhibited was made by hand.
Torvegade, the old market square, should be visited if only to see the impressive buildings.
The Old Town Hall houses a spectacular frieze by Otto Bache depicting one of the battles in the city from the 19th century.
The Open-Air Museum, Miniby is great for kids.
It is a replica of Kolding from the 19th century but in miniature.
There are also playgrounds, gardens, bird cages, goats and a greenhouse.
- Koldinghus Castle is at Koldinghus 1 6000
- The Trapholt Museum is at Aeblehaven 23 6000
- Miniby is at Christian 4 Vej 53 6000
Hillerod is north of Copenhagen near Fredericksberg.
It is surrounded by the forests of Gribskiv and Store Dyrehave, where you can hike and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Par Force Hunting Landscape.
Close to Store Dyerhave are the ruins of the getaway mansion belonging to King Frederick VII.
Overlooking Hillerod is Fredericksborg Castle which you can visit.
It is situated on three islets and surrounded by a lake and beautiful gardens.
It houses The Museum of National History, which has fascinating displays about the country’s history and artwork.
There is a lovely café in the gardens where you can enjoy coffee, cake, and Danish open sandwiches.
Opportunities for shopping abound in Hillerod.
You can find both quirky shops and chain stores.
North Zealand’s trade and shopping centre has over 200 shops.
Many streets are pedestrianised with delicatessens, wine shops, fish vendors, and bakeries.
Fredericksborg Castle is at Fredericksborg Stat 10 3400
Ringsted is situated in the middle of Zealand Island and is the ideal base for exploring the Danish countryside.
There are two National Parks close by, Kongernes Nordsjaelland and Skoldungernesland.
If you want to know more about Danish history, this city has many places to visit.
The Ringsted Museum in the city centre has exhibits relating to the Viking Age, the Middle Ages and recent times.
There are also some churches worth visiting, such the 12th-century Ringsted Kirke, for its impressive architecture and beautiful stained-glass windows.
For many centuries, this was where the Royal family members were buried.
Ringsted Museum is at Kogevej41 4100
Sct Bendts Kirke is at Sct Bendtsgade 9 4100
17 – Varde
Varde is close to the North Sea coast and has some lovely beaches but it will probably not be warm enough to swim in the sea unless you are hardy.
The scenery is stunning and it has some good museums.
Varde Museum tells you about the city’s history and the surrounding area, while The Tirpitz Museum depicts the story of the Danish west coast during WW II.
Children will love Varde Miicity which is a miniature model city of Varde.
It displays many buildings and landmarks from the city.
If you want a little nature, just east of Varde is Varde Adal Nature Reserve.
There are many walking trails as well as a good variety of flora and fauna.
Varde Museum is at Lundvej 48 6800
The Tirpitz Museum is at Tirpevej 1 6857
Kalundborg is one of the best-preserved Medieval towns in Denmark landmarked by a spectacular five-towered church at the highest point in the city.
Opposite the church is Kalundborg Museum, which is housed in Lindegarden, a great six-winged estate from the 16th century.
Here you can learn how the city developed from ancient times to the present.
There are exhibitions on the Viking Age, the Middle Ages, the Crusades, maritime history, and market-town life.
There is a garden showcasing 37 plants from the Middle Ages.
In modern Kalundborg, you can shop and take breaks in one of the many restaurants and cafes,
The Kalundborg Museum is at Adelgade 23 4400
One side of Silkeborg is next to the river Gudenaa; on the other, there are lakes and a forest.
There are opportunities here to rent bikes and participate in water sports.
One of the attractions of Silkeborg is the Museum of Art, where there’s an impressive showcase of the works of Danish artist Asger Jorn.
Silkeborg Museum exhibits old Danish glass, jewellery, and artefacts from the ruins of Silkeborg Castle.
It also has a freshwater aquarium.
The highlights are, however, two ancient human bodies.
One is a female believed to have been buried around 210 BC, and the other, a 2200-year-old body of a man who has become known as the Man of Tollunda.
- The Museum of Art is at Gudenaavej 7 – 9 2600.
- Silkeborg Museum is at Hovedgardsvej 7 8600.
Skagen is a port in Northern Jutland and a main fishing centre in the country.
At Grenen, a long sandbar with the sea on each side, you can see seals and porpoises enjoying a rest.
Head there during the afternoon, when the tide is low, for a better chance of spotting the mammals.
Walk to the top of the Rabjerb Mile, a migrating coastal dune that is one of the largest in Europe.
Skagen is heaven for museum lovers and at Skagen Museum, you can learn more about the town’s history and admire paintings by the Skagen Painters Colony, depicting the lives of the citizens during the 19th and 20th centuries.
There is a Natural History Museum and a Bunker Museum housed in an old German WW II bunker.
The Skagen Teddy Bear Museum will delight little children.
- The Skagen Museum is at Brondumsvej 4 9990.
- The Natural History Museum is at Flagbakkevej 30 9990.
- The Bunker Museum is at Fyrvej 59 9990.
- The Teddy Bear Museum is at Oddevey 2A 9990.
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