Most people, when thinking about Denmark, think about its capital with its colorful houses, its canals and last but not least its Mermaid statue. Who in Europe has not already thought about a week-end trip to Copenhagen? But there is more to the country than just its capital. Indeed, Denmark is a beautiful country with diverse countrysides from huge white sanded beaches, dunes and cliffs to wide yellow rape seed fields. This is the Denmark we wanted to discover. Here are our 10 must-sees.
1. Mando island – Alone in nature
If you love nature, an excursion to Mandø island, a small island of 8 km2 with only 40 inhabitants in the middle of the Wadden sea in the South of Denmark, is a must-do. The small access road which gets flooded twice per day makes this day trip an unforgettable experience. You can take your own car, use the tourist tractors or go by bike. Outside the tourist season, the island is almost empty and you can enjoy this beautiful nature as it comes. Just be careful about the tights. To read more about our Mando island experience, please click here.
2. Grenen – Denmark’s mostnorthern point
Grenen is the northernmost point of Denmark. This is where the North Sea meets the Baltic sea. This natural phenomen is easily visible to the naked eye. A walk on the huge sand beach is definitely worth the detour and once you are in the area, don’t forget to make a stop in Skagen, the nearest town. While Grenen can be a bit busy during the summer season, beginning of May, we found ourselves almost alone on the beaches nearby.
3. Den Gamle By in Aarhus – travelling in time
Do you want to know how our parents, grandparents and former generations grew up? Then this is the place for you. Den Gamle By is a huge outdoor museum in Aarhus with reconstructions of houses, shops and streets from three different times: before 1900, 1927 and 1974. You can walk through the streets and enter the shops and houses. Actors make this experience even more real and it feels like travelling back in time.
4. Rabjerg MilE – Denmark’s biggest migrating dune
This is another typical place to visit when travelling in Northern Jutland. Rabjerg Mile is the biggest migrating dune in Denmark. Each year the dune moves around 15 meters towards Northeast, closer to Grenen. An old light tower is placed just on the top of the dune. From there, the view on the coast and its sandy dunes is really amazing. We actually did not use the main parking spot but went a bit further down the road (coming from Thy National Park) and found a small but very nice parking spot with a view on the dune. From there, a beautiful one hour walk leads you directly on the top of the dune.
5. KroNbOrg castle – In hamlet’s footsteps
This is one of the most famous places in Denmark as William Shakespeare got inspired by Kronborg castle in Helsingor for its world renowed drama Hamlet. Does Helsingor sound familiar to you? Maybe you think about Elsingor, which is the place that Shakepear chose for reating Hamlets world. After visiting the main castle. A hightlight of the visit are the castle’s catacombs.
6. Jelling – birthplace of christianity in denmark
If you have enough time, don’t miss a short visit to Jelling and its two famous Stones in front of the church. The Jelling stones are from the 10th century. The older stone was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife. But it is the second and larger stone which is of great interest. It was raised by King Gorm’s son, Harald Bluetooth celebrating his conquest of Denmark and his conversion of the Danes to Christianism.
On the other side of the street, there is a brand new Cultural Center, which explains the history of the place, the paien faith which dominated Denmark before the 10th century and the arrival of Christianism in the country. Once you enter the door, you are taken away in another universe. Great visual effects animate the visit and entrance is free.
Interesting Fact: Did you know that it was the Danish King Harald Bluetooth, who gave its name to a very famous technology we use nowadays?
7. Mons Klint- The geological wonder
Mons Klint is a stretch of high white chalk cliffs on the Danish island of Mon. Its white color is given by shells from millions of microscopic creatures that lived over 70 million years ago. The area is protected in a natural reserve but there are special paths for walkers, riders and cyclists. When arriving by car from the main road, follow the small road a few kilometers down the hill until you arrive at a big car park. From there, several paths are indicated. The typical visit is to take the stairs down to the beach. Since 20017, there is also a Geological Center with explanations on the formation of the white cliffs.
The island of Mon is also worth a visit. Drive through its beautiful countryside with huge rape seed fields and visit its beautiful churches all over the island.
8. Ribe – The oldest town in denmark
Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark. Indeed, its existence goes back to the 8th century when the vikings settled in the area. Walking through the colourful streets of this small town makes you forget about time.
In the heart of the city, the symbol of Ribe is its impressive cathedral. Dating back to the 13th century, it is the country’s oldest cathedral. The sound of its carillon immerse the city serveral times per day in a very special atmosphere.
9. Egeskov Castle – The Renaissance water castle
The Egeskov castle is Europe’s best preserved Renaissance water castle and is located on the island of Fyn, in the center of Denmark. In summer, this is one of the main tourist attractions in the area, not only because of its impressive architecture and its beautiful gardens but also because of the giant playground and its dozens of museums (from an oldtimer museum to a firefighters museum) which are included in the entrance fee. As the current owner still life, at least partly, in the castle, only some parts are open for visitors. A big part of the inside of the castle feels quite modern so don’t expect to see too much of an authentic Renaissance interior. Opening hours are quite limited, from end of April to mid-October, starting at 10 am (knowing that it is not possible to enter the castle until 11 am).
10. Esbjerg – man meets sea
Esbjerg is a seaport town on the west coast of the Jutland. The most famous part of the city is it 9 metre high white monument called “Man meets the sea” which shows four seated males watching the sea. It is located four kilometres from the city centre of Esbjerg. The sculpture was designed by Svend Wiig and was installed in 1995 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the municipality.
Want to see more about our Denmark experience? Check out our youtube video the timeoffaroundtheworld channel.
To read more about our full travel experience, check out our blog post 10 days Denmark campervan experience – The full story.