Famously known for its Vikings, Denmark is a Scandinavian country that beams with pride over its culture, heritage, and extensive history. Best known for being home to some of the happiest people in the world, Denmark is a stunning northern European nation that boasts beautiful architecture and plenty of waterways.
But from a violent past came a peaceful future. Now, instead of exploring and attacking new lands, the Danish people have settled into the comforts of home. Hygge is a staple in Danish culture and while it cannot be perfectly transcribed, it is best thought of as a moment of coziness, whether you are alone or with family and friends.
Velkommen – Welcome to Denmark!
With deeply seated feelings of contentment, the happiness of the Danish people has major appeal for world explorers, who often travel to the country to unlock its secrets. Visitors can explore and learn about the country’s stories and legends, while also getting to know its quality of life.
Everyone is welcomed and cared for in Denmark, which makes the country’s unique inclusivity one of its most charming aspects. With plenty to explore, Denmark will sweep you off your feet. Compact and clean, Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital and one of the world’s most envied cities.
Copenhagen excels at being green and is a major leader in sustainability and clean energy. What makes the city function so well and what makes it perfect for visitors is that it’s well-connected via public transport. Unlike expansive capitals that are hard to travel to, Copenhagen is close and easily accessible.
With art, treasure, palaces, and Viking age artifacts, Copenhagen is filled with plenty of museums and galleries. The city has also exploded onto the culinary scene with powerhouse kitchens and restaurants. But when you’re not inside gazing upon objects or tasting the cuisine, outside will draw your eye too.
In-between a flurry of bicycles, the colorful buildings of Copenhagen has become its hallmark and are exactly what this cozy capital needs to pop and dazzle.
- Culture and Language
- Spending Budget
- How to Get Around
- Top Cities to Visit
- Points of Interest
Culture and Language
Denmark’s recorded history dates back to 12,000 years ago, but the most famous period is without a doubt the Middle Ages, which were dominated by the Vikings. Usually depicted as wearing a horned helmet and known for their brutality and violence, the Vikings have often been misrepresented throughout the years.
While they did violently attack new land, the Vikings did not wear horns on their helmets, and they made great achievements too.
The Vikings’ prowess in sailing made them great explorers and they conquered many parts of Europe and even reached North America before Christopher Columbus. They did this by landing in Newfoundland in the year 1000 AD.
But the Vikings were also known for rejecting Christianity and many believe in Pagan or Old Gods. The most famous is Thor, who has recently cemented himself in popular culture due to the blockbuster movies by Marvel.
While the Vikings dominate Denmark’s culture, they aren’t specific to just this country and are an icon throughout all of Scandinavia. What does make Denmark unique is that its royal family can be traced back thousands of years.
With the oldest continuing line of monarchs, Denmark’s reign goes back to the year 900. Due to their long history, Denmark’s royal family has ties to almost every reigning European dynasty.
But with people who are often described as upholding simplicity, equality, and politeness, the Danish people do not overly boast of their impressive past. Instead, they proudly display their heritage in museums and let the artifacts speak for themselves.
Now, the country is centered on art and the people enjoy all mediums and types of performances. Danish films are one way the country expresses itself and some of their films have even become internationally recognized and nominated for Academy Awards.
But whether you’re indulging in an afternoon at the movies or plan on visiting the country yourself, you’ll need to get acquainted with the local language too. Danish is the official and national language of Denmark and is used in everyday life, as well as in the government and media.
However, foreign languages are also popular, with English being the number one choice. Learning it at a early age in school, it’s estimated that 86% of the country’s 5.85 million citizens (as of 2021) can also speak English. For travelers from the US, this makes it easy to navigate and connect with the people and culture in Demark.
Before you can set off on an adventure, you need to consider what it will cost to visit and spend time in Denmark. By having a spending budget outlined, you won’t be surprised by how much you spend each day, and can help you better prepare for any emergencies.
Denmark is an expensive country to visit and if you want to save money, you’ll have to take the time to find the best deals and prices. Preparing a spending budget can help you save for your trip and ensure that you won’t run out of funds. With airfare, accommodation, food, drink, and transportation to consider, these categories are essential for your trip.
Airfare is the first large chunk of money that you’ll have to spend because you need a way to get from the United States to Denmark. With the country being in northern Europe, the fastest option would be to take a flight.
The average cost of an airline ticket from the United States to Denmark is fairly expensive, but with a thorough search, you may be able to find some budget airlines that lower the price.
You may also catch on to the price changes while you are looking for your tickets. The price of an airline ticket may go up or down depending on when you’re planning to visit Denmark.
The tourist high season in Denmark runs from May to August, although the country does have a steady stream of travelers all year round. But with nice weather in the summer months, this is when airline tickets to Denmark will be the most expensive.
Once you have decided on how and when you’ll go to Denmark, the next big chunk of cash that you’ll have to spend will go towards your accommodation. There are plenty of places to stay, but right off the bat, you’ll notice that they are pretty pricey. Even hostels are expensive, so it’s important that you plan your budget accordingly.
However, hostels are the way to go if you’re looking to lower how much you spend each day in Denmark. They will be the most affordable option, but you could see the price increase in popular areas.
Hotels are also expensive, and you should expect nightly rates to start at one hundred dollars. Outside of major cities, the price should decrease, but only by so much. Airbnb is also an option, but you shouldn’t expect to save a lot of money unless you are traveling in a large group.
With sleep being a necessity for every person, even with plenty of snoozes you need to give your body a nutritional boost too. This means that you have to incorporate the price of food and drink into your spending budget too.
Danish cuisine has always been known for using its locality to enhance its dishes, but with better cooking techniques that developed in the 19th century, there is now a wide range in the type of food you eat.
With an influx of new cooking styles, the latest craze in Danish cuisine is known as New Nordic. There are many restaurants, some even with Michelin stars, that are now serving both traditional and New Nordic dishes.
Stegt flæsk med persillesovs is the national dish in Denmark and it consists of fried pork and boiled potatoes. On the side are small dishes of beets, beetroots, and a parsley sauce. Pork is the go-to meat choice in Denmark and you will see it featured in many dishes. Karbonader is one pork dish, which has been breaded and fried. It’s also served with greens and a white sauce.
Frikadeller is Denmark’s take on meatballs, which are served hot and cold. One of Denmark’s most famous dishes is smørrebrød, which is an open sandwich. These delicious bites can be topped with anything from fish to eggs and are the most commonly eaten for lunch.
But with many more and nearly endless choices, it’s important to consider the cost of eating out. While having an authentic taste of Denmark is a great way to connect to the local culture, the cost of food quickly adds up.
The cheapest meals in Denmark are still pricey and will often be more pricey for dinner. If you go for Michelin-quality food, you should expect to pay exceedingly more.
For travelers who would also like a drink to go with their meal, the price will be even higher. Alcohol is quite pricey in Demark and you should expect to pay a decent amount per beverage.
Local alcohol and store-bought bottles are less expensive and the way to save on your budget. With most supermarkets selling local beer, you should expect to spend a few dollars if you skip the bars and restaurants.
How to Get Around
One final part of your budget is transportation. Denmark has plenty of sights to see and this means that you’ll have to travel around the country to see the best ones. Local transportation in Denmark is the most affordable way to go, but not always the most convenient. Other transportation options include domestic flights and private drivers.
Buses, Trains, and Ferries
For local transportation like buses, trains, and ferries, you should expect to pay an affordable price. Most rides will cost minimal, but some cities offer passes for 24 hours that give you unlimited rides.
Trains are another option and while short rides can cost a few dollars, long stretches on the tracks will be more expensive.
Ferries are another local option that can get you to some of Denmark’s outlying territory.
The most convenient and fastest way to travel will also be the most expensive. Domestic flights are popular for some travelers because it reduces the time needed to reach a new destination, but the prices can be high.
Shorter flights may cost less, but they are harder to secure. With excellent highways, private drivers are another option for getting around Denmark, but they are quite expensive to hire per day.
Top Cities to Visit
While Copenhagen is Denmark’s star, it isn’t the only city worth visiting. Home to different attractions, plenty of waterways, and even a famous annual concert, exploring the country is worth your while. From the coast to inland, here are the best cities to visit in Denmark.
Often envied for its high quality of life, Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital and main attraction. For many travelers, Copenhagen is their introduction to the Nordic country, and it has everything you need to understand Danish culture. With art and Viking artifacts, the capital city will show you what it means to be Danish.
A strong cycling culture is also enjoyed here, and many tourists will look to rent a bike and join the crowds who use this eco-friendly mode of transportation to get around. Finally, with the New Nordic cuisine bursting onto Copenhagen’s stage, the city is filled with Michelin-star restaurants that will make your mouth water.
Another place where art and culture collide is Aarhaus. This town has a young and energetic vibe to it due to the local university and is also architecturally a stunner. An easy-to-navigate layout also makes the city popular.
With events held all year round, you may enjoy one of the various festivals that take place in the city. The Den Gamle is the city’s best site, which lays out three different decades of Danish life and history for you to explore.
Much of Odense has been dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen, who is a famous Danish author of fairy tales. The Little Mermaid is undoubtedly the most well-known and there is even a statue in Copenhagen dedicated to the story.
Hans Christian Andersen’s famous writings have also put Odense on the map. And it is here, in this picturesque town, that visitors can see the author’s birthplace and explore the museum bearing his name.
With a Viking burial site nearby, Aalborg is a historic city that has taken on the modern age. While remnants of the past are not far away, the city is now known for its thriving nightlife and restored waterfront. Once left in the past, the city has been rebuilt to draw in new crowds.
Located close to Copenhagen, visitors often take a day trip to Roskilde to see the Viking ships and enjoy the rock music festival. But with a peaceful nature about it, Roskilde is also a place where you get out in the sunshine and relax.
With the Al Sund waterway running through Svendborg, this city is popular for its beaches and clean landscape. While the area was once destroyed by the Second World War due to its close proximity to Germany, it has since been restored and is now a favorite spot for travelers to relax as they journey on to new destinations.
The rebuilt sections of the city make it feel young again and breathe new life into the streets.
Points of Interest
While cities are large and in charge, there are also various points of interest throughout Denmark that can provide you with entertainment and delight. With a compact and cozy setup, tourists can easily peruse the streets and pop in and out of the countless museums and restaurants. Here are the top tourist destinations in Denmark.
Located in Billund, the Lego House is where the iconic toy got its start. Visitors can learn all about the bricks and how they started, as well as see Lego masterpieces constructed in all their glory. A favorite amongst kids and families, everyone can enjoy spending time at this world-famous hotspot.
The Kronborg Castle is famous for being the castle setting in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and was named a World Heritage Site. With a mini fortress and moat, the castle stands above the mostly flat land and plays as a watch guard over the area.
With new renovations, the castle has been kept mostly in its original state and has a gorgeous interior that is worth exploring.
The Farøe Islands
As an autonomous country, The Farøe Islands are still largely tied to Denmark and known for their remote location and jaw-dropping beauty. With lush green hills and a lake above an oceanside cliff, travelers flock to witness nature’s beauty with their own eyes.
But even though the islands are far off, there is still plenty to do in terms of museums and festivals.
As a part of Copenhagen, the Tivoli Gardens have become an icon for the city. With a layout that was inspired by Disney’s theme parks, the Tivoli Gardens are packed with entertainment from roller coasters to food courts and a concert hall. You can spend the day exploring the beautiful gardens and having fun watching all the live shows.
Now acting as the Museum of National History, the palace was originally constructed by Denmark’s most famous royal, Christian IV in the 17th century. While there are a few exhibits, parts of the castle have been preserved and kept as they were in the time of royal life.
Additionally, visitors will also see various works of art like portraits and photographs of Danish culture.
Located in Roskilde, this Viking Ship Museum teaches you how the Vikings made their boats with authentic and preserved Viking ships. But beyond looking at pieces of history, a new and interactive exhibit has been added to the museum that puts you into the life of a Viking aboard one of their famous ships.
One of the Happiest Countries in the World
With sophistication and charm, Denmark is quickly becoming the must-see place in Scandinavia. From authors to toymakers and the historic Vikings, Denmark is anything but simple…even though the locals live a simplistic life.
Beyond the picture-perfect layout of the cities and beautiful landscapes, there is plenty of cultures to explore. All you have to do is let Denmark sweep you off your feet and show you a whole new world!