Denmark is frequently named one of the happiest countries in the world and sits at the top of the UN World Happiness Report. With such beautiful landscapes and rich history, it’s not surprising tourists from all over the world want to head to this Scandinavian gem. Denmark has the oldest flag design in the world. The Dannebrog was first acknowledged in 1219 and has flown ever since.
One of the biggest trends to spread across the globe, Hygge, originates in Denmark. The term embodies the Danish soul and is all about being cosy in both the home and in social gatherings. It embraces a feeling of warmth and welcoming atmospheres. While there have been many books published on how to create the sense of Hygee within our own lives, to experience it truly you need to head to Denmark. Even the bustling streets of Copenhagen ooze with Hygee spirit.
A common way to travel around Denmark, whether in the city or the countryside, is by bicycle. There are no mountains in Denmark, making it an easy country to cycle in. This is supported by its 12,000km (miles) plus of cycle tracks. If cycling isn’t for you, head to the two oldest amusement parks in the world, both of which are in Denmark! Bakken is the oldest amusement park, a short 20-minute train ride from Copenhagen station, and Tivoli Gardens is immediately opposite the station. Both are filled with old-world charm with rides and events to attract visitors of all ages. Another famous amusement park is Legoland. Ole Kirk Christiansen invented the colourful interlocking bricks in 1949 in Billund, which is now the home to the park.
Denmark consists of 444 islands, however, only 76 are inhabited. This abundance of islands also means that you are never more than 52km (32 miles) from the sea. Denmark is a country you will pine for after departing thanks to its friendly locals, warm Hygee atmosphere, incredible food and fascinating history. Here are 20 landmarks in Denmark to draw you into this Scandinavian wonder.
- 20 Landmarks in Denmark
- Landmarks in Copenhagen
- Natural Landmarks in Denmark
- Historical Landmarks in Denmark
20 Landmarks in Denmark
Landmarks in Copenhagen
Once a busy port where commercial ships would dock, today, the dock has been transformed into a trendy and Hygee filled area of restaurants, hotels and bars.
The buildings of Nyhavn are colourfully painted, making for some spectacular photographs.
Docked along its waters are many small boats, some with masts, giving this renovated area an old-world feel.
Hans Christian Andersen, the famed Danish fairy-tale author, lived for a time at number 20 where he wrote ‘The Tinderbox’ and ‘The Princess and The Pea’.
Head to Nyhavn at the end of a busy day as it starts to get dark, as the docks, trees, ships and restaurants turn on warm fairy lights and put out candles for the ultimate Hygee appeal.
Nyhavn is at Nyhavn 1-71, 1051 København K.
2- The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid statue is one of the most famous landmarks in Copenhagen.
The bronze and granite statue was gifted to the city by Carl Jacobsen, a local brewer.
The statue has rested on the edge of the harbour since 1913.
Edvard Eriksen, a sculptor, was tasked with creating a likeness of the Little Mermaid, following Jacobsen’s trip to see the fairy tale performed as a ballet.
The sculpture was inspired by the Little Mermaid, written by Hans Christian Andersen.
The statue sits atop the granite rock, as the mermaid sits in the story, waiting to catch a glimpse of the human prince she fell in love with.
The Little Mermaid is at Langelinie, 2100 København Ø.
3- Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens has been pulling the crowds through its gates since it opened in 1843.
The gardens were frequented by Hans Christian Anderson and inspired Walt Disney to create his own amusement park following a visit.
Unlike modern amusement parks, Tivoli Gardens prides itself on offering something for everyone.
The grounds are open for visitors to simply explore, while rides have an additional cost.
This allows visitors to marvel at the architecture, explore the gardens or stroll around its lake for free.
The rides on offer reflect the nostalgia of the rest of the park, including the wooden roller coaster which was opened in 1914.
Tivoli Gardens is at Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V.
4- Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace on Slotsholmen, or Castle Island, follows more than 800 years of Copenhagen’s history.
The castle was built above the ruins of an 800-year-old castle and some of the ruins are still visible today, accessible as part of a palace tour.
The palace was once the grand home of the Royal Family and today houses the Danish Parliament, Supreme Court and Ministry of State.
The Queen still uses parts of the palace for events including the Royal Reception Rooms and the Oval Throne Room.
Head to the Great Hall to admire the Queen’s tapestries in imposing surroundings, which depict 1000 years of Danish history.
Christiansborg Palace is at Prins Jørgens Gård, 1468 København K.
Rundetaarn (round tower) was built during the 17th century and serves as the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
Christian IV built the tower to add to the astronomical achievements Denmark had seen over the preceding years.
The round tower was dedicated to Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and is open to amateur astronomers and the public.
Don’t miss the floating glass floor, a new attraction allowing visitors to view the core of the tower from 25m (82ft) above the ground.
Rundetaarn is at Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København K.
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6- Amalienborg Castle
Another of Copenhagen’s Royal landmarks is Amalienborg Castle.
Denmark’s Royal Family still lives at the palace, however, the palace museum is open to the public to explore.
The palace is famous for its changing of the Royal Guard ceremonies. Each day the guards change posts at 12 pm.
Within the main palace square is a statue of King Frederik V, who ruled over Denmark during the 1700s.
Visit the palace museum to see some of the interior rooms of the castle, as well as exhibitions on the Danish Royal Family.
The rooms of Christian IX and Queen Louise, who ruler 150 years ago, are still intact and preserved in the style of the time.
Amalienborg Castle is at Amalienborg, 1257 København K.
7- Rosenborg Palace
Christian IV built Rosenborg Palace during the early 17th century.
The castle sits in the heart of the city and has been a royal landmark of Copenhagen since its construction.
Knights’ Hall features the coronation thrones of the Royal Family of Denmark.
The thrones are guarded by three life-size silver lions.
Within the palace are well-preserved rooms featuring the King’s private writing cabinet, ornate and highly detailed tapestries depicting battles between Denmark and Sweden, and of course the crown jewels.
Rosenborg Palace is at Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København K.
8- Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania is often referred to as an anarchist district in Copenhagen.
The area was once a military base that lay abandoned for years before hippies broke in during the 1970s and began squatting.
The area is now lived in by approximately 900 people in a community that follows its own rules and is completely independent of the Danish government.
The buildings are colourful and often adorned with street art.
Due to its independent status, the area freely and openly trades in cannabis which is illegal in the rest of Denmark.
While the Green Light District is often the reason most visitors stop at Freetown Christiania, it is worth visiting this unusual Danish landmark to be immersed in a unique culture, surrounded by friendly locals, and to visit some of their eco-friendly cafes and restaurants that serve tasty dishes to cater to all dietary requirements.
Freetown Christiania is at Prinsessegade, 1422 København K.
9- Botanical Garden
In the centre of Copenhagen stands the Botanical Garden, covering 10 ha of land, and features a glasshouse that is an instantly recognisable landmark of Copenhagen.
The Botanical Garden was founded in 1600 but was moved to two other locations before settling in 1870, where it remains today.
Within the gardens are more than 13000 plant species and features an area dedicated to Danish plants, annual plants, and a rock garden with plants from central and southern Europe.
There are 27 glasshouses within the gardens, however the most famous is the Palm House.
The Palm House was built in 1874 and the glasshouse is conditioned to have multiple environments, including an area that is air-conditioned to recreate the natural environment for Arctic plants.
Botanical Garden is at Gothersgade 128, 1353 1353 København K.
10- The Marble Church
The Marble Church is an eye-catching Copenhagen landmark thanks to its copper green dome.
The church’s construction began in 1749.
Nicolai Eigtved was the architect until his death in 1754 when French architect Jardin took over.
The church was completed in 1894 following multiple postponements.
Today the church is open for visitors as well as scheduled services.
Head to the top of the dome, which is open for access at 1 pm each day, for spectacular views across the city.
The Marble Church is at Frederiksgade 4, 1265 København K.
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Natural Landmarks in Denmark
11- Møns Klint
Møns Klint is a 70 million-year-old chalk cliff on the island of Møn.
Due to the cliffs soft chalk, they are gradually crumbling into the Baltic Sea.
Møns Klint is often referred to as the place where Denmark was born in local legend.
The age of the area offers up many ancient fossils at the base of the cliffs just waiting to be found.
For some of the best views of Møns Klint take to the water. The area is popular with sailing boats and kayaks.
The area is both a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the first Dark Sky Park in Scandinavia. Visiting at night will offer not only spectacular night sky views but also an unusual illumination of the white cliffs.
Møns Klint is at 4791 Borre.
12- Rold Skov Forest
Rold Skov is one of the largest forests in Denmark, covering 8600 ha of land.
Within the forest is a magical area called Troldeskoven, an area of the forest with links to magic as the trees here resemble trolls.
The beech trees here grow with twisted trunks covered in gnarled bark.
Despite Denmark being a mountainless country, there are lovely hills.
Some of the most beautiful hills are found within Rold Skov and are covered with thick layers of moss.
Rold Skov Forest is at Rold Skov, 9520 Skørping.
Green is the northernmost point of Denmark and a sandbar where two bodies of water, the Kattegat and the Skagerrak Strait, meet.
The waters here are incredibly strong, and therefore swimming is not allowed as the currents can be violent and unpredictable.
It is one of few places in the world where you can have your feet in two different seas.
Green translates to ‘The Branch’ in English and is slowly lengthening away from the coastline as the seas crash together.
As the sandbar is continually lengthening it is believed that over time the sandbar will connect Denmark and Sweden together with a new land bridge.
Grenen is at North Demnark Region, Skagen, 9990.
14- Mols Bjerge
Mols Bjerge National Park covers 180 square kilometres (69 square miles) with forests, moorland, lakes and coastal areas.
The landscape was created by nature, shaped by ice and water, during the last ice age, giving it its unique landscape.
Whilst the entire park is well worth an explore it is the Mols Bjerge themselves that draws visitors in.
Mols Bjerge are heather-covered hills that reach 137m (449ft).
Some of the hills are in fact burial mounds dating back to the bronze age.
Mols Bjerge is at Grenaavej 12, 8410 Rønde.
15- Lille Vildmose
Lille Vildmose, which means ‘small wild bog’, is Northern Europe’s largest raised bog and it is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes.
Lille Vildmose began life as an idea in the early 1990s to create a wild outdoor space that would educate visitors on the landscape and its flora and fauna, as well as providing them with nature experiences.
In 2015 five Swedish moose calves were released into the wild here, and are now thriving in their new environment.
A herd of 40 red deer were also released and the area is also home to golden eagles and wild boars.
Lille Vildmose is at Birkesøvej, 9280.
Historical Landmarks in Denmark
16- The Viking Ship Museum
The Viking Ship Museum offers a lesson in history like no other because within its walls are five incredibly well-preserved 11th century Viking vessels.
The museum is formed of two sections.
The first, The Viking Ship Hall, is home to the five Viking ships which have been carefully reconstructed.
The second is the Boatyard where archaeologists work on findings from the Viking Age, with a core focus on their maritime activities.
The museum features exhibits into Viking handcrafts which during the summer months allows visitors to make items such as their own shield or pieces of jewellery in the Viking style.
The Viking Ship Museum is at Vindeboder 12, 4000 Roskilde.
17- Rubjerg Knude Fyr
Esbjerg Knude Fyr is a lighthouse on the Rubjerg coast, overlooking the North Sea.
The lighthouse was built in 1900 but its location proved to be a problem and during the 1910s, sand in the area began to drift.
The growing sand dune was initially tackled by planting more trees in the immediate area, however, this proved fruitless as the dunes grew.
Locals eventually tackled the dune, and the light was relit on August 1st 1968 for the first time since the 1920s.
The lighthouse was briefly transformed into a museum to chart its battle against the dune, but it sadly was closed in 1992 after succumbing again to the sand.
Today, the lighthouse looks like a relic from another time emerging from the sand, making for some interesting photography opportunities.
A local museum tells its story.
Rubjerg Knude Fyr is at Fyrvejen, 9800.
18- Kronborg Slot
Famous for being the inspiration for the castle in William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, Kronborg Slot is a spectacular historical landmark to visit in Denmark.
King Erik of Pomerania built the castle as a Krogen, a tollhouse, in the 1420s.
Over the centuries, the castle was expanded, destroyed by fire, and came under attack.
The castle that stands today was designed in the Renaissance style and features baroque spires topped with green copper domes.
Inside the castle are intricate murals painted on the ceilings, tapestries depicting historical events, and dungeons lit by paraffin lamps.
Kronborg Slot is at Kronborg 2 C, 3000 Helsingør.
19- Roskilde Cathedral
UNESCO World Heritage Roskilde Cathedral holds the tombs of Viking kings Harold Bluetooth and Sweyn Forkbeard, as well as 40 kings and queens of Denmark.
The cathedral is built on an important religious site, as a church has stood on the same spot in various guises for more than 1000 years.
The cathedral that stands today was built in 1170 and took 100 years to complete.
It is designed in the Gothic style.
Roskilde Cathedral is at Domkirkepladsen 3, 4000 Roskilde.
20- Lindholm HøjeMuseum
Lindholm Høje is an important archeological site dating back to Denmark Iron Age and Viking Age.
The open-air museum has burial sites from both ages and was used as a burial site from 400AD to 1000AD.
Following extensive excavations, more than 700 graves were found in the area.
The graves are arranged so that the oldest graves are at the top of the hill and the younger graves towards the bottom.
It was customary in the culture for the dead to be buried with a view.
Vendilavej 11, 9400 Nørresundby.
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