Interested in visiting Scandinavia but don't know where to start? Over the next several weeks, I'll introduce you to my personal must visit lists that, I hope, will provide ideas for couples, families, singles and group travel. Denmark is a great place to start because I lived in Denmark for 2 years and my husband grew up in Denmark. Does this make us experts? Maybe! But we do know what we love to see and what we want to do every time we visit. Hope this list helps you plan your journey!
- Tivoli Theme Park. A beautiful & historic theme park in the heart of Copenhagen. Tivoli is lovely by day and even better by night. They are open in the summer and certain holiday periods including Halloween and Christmas. The park is fun to walk through, great for rides and is the home of some of the best food in Denmark (and the world).
- Visit Nyhavn. If you've seen a photo of Denmark or a movie that takes place in Denmark, you've likely seen the beautiful Nyhavn (new harbor). It's a must for those wanting an amazing photo but it's also a place to sit and have an expensive beer with great people watching and an iconic view. Take a boat tour from here and see the little mermaid and other fantastic Danish sites. But at least get a great photo!
- Eat Smørrebrød. Preferably with Herring. Danish rye bread is an amazing, healthy mix of whole grains, seeds and hearty goodness and then Danes combine it as an open face sandwich as unique as you'll get anywhere. Many restaurants specialize in Smørrebrød and we recommend you give it a try with a nice Danish beer.
- Visit Skagen. Located at the northern tip of Denmark, Skagen (yes, like the watch brand) is a unique community with a history in fishing, art and a church buried by drifting sand. It's also where the North Sea and Baltic Sea meet creating a unique, visible turbulence on a beautiful white sand beach where you can also visit old war bunkers and see seals.
- Eat as much Danish Bakery as possible. Denmark's growing new Nordic cuisine is a must for foodies but Danish bakery is a must for everyone. Each bakery has it's own specialties but any of the Gold Bakeries will have fantastic hard rolls that you should layer with real Danish butter and Havarti cheese. They also have "Vienna Bread" or, as we call it in the US, Kringle or Danish. My favorite has layers of dough, marzipan and almonds. Yum! Desserts with marzipan, amazing bread and cakes and so many other amazing take aways.
- Visit Rosenborg Castle & The Crown Jewels. Rosenborg and the surrounding park are a site to behold. In the spring the crocuses surrounding the castle give it a fairy tale feel. Tour the castle for history and see the crown jewels in the basement to get your fill of royalty - yes there is still a Danish royal family and you just might see them during your visit to Denmark!
- Try a hot dog. Denmark is very well known in Europe for it's hot dogs. Yes, hot dogs. You will see food carts for hot dogs everywhere - and they've been around since long before our food cart craze. Try the French dog with French dog sauce or the everything dog with onions, remoulade, ketchup and more. There are dozens of options to chose from - amazingly you can sometimes find Danish hot dog stands in other European cities too.
- Visit Royal Copenhagen. Do you love beautiful porcelain, silver and housewares? Royal Copenhagen family of brands now owns Georg Jensen, Bing & Grøndahl and Holmegaard Glass Factory all with beautiful products in their own right. You can visit the porcelain factory to see artists painting the traditional blue and white porcelain and the store Illums Bolighus to purchase firsts and seconds of products on the Strøget (main shopping street). They also have a small shop at the airport. It's worth a visit to pick up something very Danish.
- Say Rødgrød Med Fløde. It's one of the most difficult tounge-twisters in the Danish language for Americans. And saying it is a great way to bond with Danes as they enjoy laughing at your pronunciation and you enjoy speaking to them about their country and culture. Trust me. The Danes will be entertained for hours!
- Visit the original LegoLand. Located next to the original Lego factory, Legoland is not to be missed by Lego fans. More than 50 million people have visited the 45 acre park in Billund. The park is divided into 9 themed areas and is the most visited attraction in mainland Denmark.
I hope you found this list a great starting place for planning a vacation to Denmark. Do you have suggestions that we should add to the list? Perhaps a little Hans Christian Anderson (of The Ugly Duckling fame) or a tour of the old city in Aarhus? Let us know and Enjoy Vacationing!