Denmark is often named as one of the world’s happiest countries and is famous for its Hygge philosophy; forward-thinking design; green and eco-friendly cities; kind and friendly people; flat, green landscape dotted with enticing blue lakes; and the godfather of fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen.
The Danish capital city, Copenhagen, is one of the globe’s greenest, cleanest and most sustainable urban centres – you can get around easily by walking, cycling or jumping on a bus or the metro.
One of the prettiest parts is Nyhavn Canal with its iconic brightly coloured gabled town houses and salty boats. Nyhavn Canal was built to connect Kongens Nytorv to the harbour and was long a haunt for sailors and writers, including the famous fairy tale author, Hans Christian Andersen. The oldest house on the canal is Number 9, remarkably unchanged since its construction in 1681.
Now, if you’re into your food, Copenhagen is the place to be. The capital has 15 Michelin-starred restaurants which pride themselves on local produce with a wide array of fish dishes on offer. Denmark is also famous for the Smorrebrod, open sandwiches with mouth-watering delicacies placed on top, and of course, Danish pastries!
Rosenborg Slot is a ‘once upon a time’ castle located in Copenhagen. It was built between 1606 and 1633 by King Christian IV to serve as his summer house. Today the castle’s 24 upper rooms are chronologically arranged, housing the furnishings and portraits of each monarch from Christian IV (1588-1648) to Frederik VII (1848-1863). The pièce de résistance is the basement Treasury, home to the dazzling Crown Jewels.
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is the second oldest amusement park in the world, dating back to 1842. The gardens are home to amusement rides, pavilions, carnival games, open-air shows and a 100-year-old rollercoaster. Go on a Saturday evening for its famous fireworks display and soak up the story-book atmosphere as you wander around.
Lego was invented in Denmark in the 1960s. Lego is Danish “leg got” which means “play well” in English. Just outside of Copenhagen is Legoland which is well worth a visit to see its mind-blowing Lego model miniature cities and incredibly fun amusement rides.
Fairy tale towns
Denmark is home to a number of towns with fairy tale charm. If you go to Ribe, Ebeltoft, Æreskøbing or Aarhus’ Old Town, you will find the fairy tale atmosphere that makes you feel like you are part of a Hans Christian Andersen story, whether that is ‘Princess and the Pea’, ‘Thumbelina’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, or ‘The Snow Queen’.
Hygge is all about the simple joys in life, with a sense of cosiness, camaraderie and contentment, and because Denmark invented this philosophy, it’s the best country to experience it in. Go for meals with friends, or a picnic in the park, stroll around the colourful streets of Nyhavn or sit outside a cafe with friends and family – that’s all Hygge!
Go to the northernmost point in Denmark, Skagen, where the North and Baltic Sea meet. Skagen is home to a peaceful port town, quiet beaches, a reef taming with wildlife and some lovely museums. It is a Danish tradition to go out into the ocean and stand with one foot in each of the two seas – it’ll be cold but definitely worth it!
ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus
Denmark is known for its innovative art and design. Established in 1859, ARoS Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in Northern Europe. It displays art from the museum collection and by national and international artists including Grayson Perry, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. There is a circular walkway on its roof which also gives the most awe-inspiring panoramic view of Aarhus. A great place to explore.