The Kingdom of Denmark is made up of Jutland, the large peninsula, and several islands including Zealand, Funen, Vendsyssel-Thy, Lolland, Falster and Bornholm. Denmark also holds – as autonomous provinces – the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
The Danes have a flinty, seafaring past (the Vikings were their ancestors after all), a relaxed approach to life and a strong design aesthetic. Their central philosophy is “hygge”, which is as important to them as “chic” is to the French or “craic” is to the Irish. “Hygge” suggests cosiness, a way of shutting out external stresses. It often means spending time with family and friends, eating and drinking.
Denmark is one of the world’s most liveable countries. It’s not the cheapest (sales tax is 25 per cent) but it’s well ordered, clean and safe with more than 6,000 miles of cycle tracks. Its laidback cities include Copenhagen, the capital, Aalborg, Esbjerg and Odense. Green forests and clean beaches are less than an hour away.
National airline SAS flies to Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup), the country's largest airport. Cheap flights to Denmark are also provided by low-cost airlines Sterling and easyJet.
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Denmark’s climate has few extremes. Temperatures average 19 degrees in the summer, while the chilly, wet winters hover around freezing point.
When to fly to Denmark
The big cities, especially Copenhagen, are popular with tourists year round, though they are more crowded in the summer and around Christmas. The rest of the country has a peak season from the start of June to the end of August.
Smaller cities and the countryside are less pleasant to visit during the winter months, especially the rainy time around late January and February. However, if undeterred by the weather, this can be a good time to search for cheap flights to Denmark and accommodation will generally be cheaper too.
Getting around Denmark
The train service is good throughout the country and, combined with a bus or coach, will enable you to reach any destination. Train tickets can also be used on connecting buses at the end of the journey. The Express Coach services can be quicker than trains on some routes. Check before you travel.
Ferry services are available to connect the main cities on the islands and the archipelago.
Denmark insider information
- Denmark’s capital is a popular tourist destination. Copenhagen is small enough to walk around and large enough to host a multitude of attractions. If you feel like a break from the sightseeing-shopping-museum circuit, take a stroll in one of the parks or gardens. Popular with locals is the King’s Garden near Rosenberg Castle. The gardens are huge and stunning; the castle itself is surrounded by a moat, inhabited by ducks.
- You could spend a happy couple of weeks exploring North Jutland and its main town, Aalborg. The area has wonderful stretches of beaches with dunes and stunning countryside consisting of hills and forests. Aalborg is quaint and charming, though it has enough of a buzz about it to keep most urbanites happy. The city is especially picturesque during the winter in the run up to Christmas. The Christmas Market is famous throughout Denmark and it starts good and early, on November 25.
- Aarhus is the second-largest city in the country, situated on the east coast of Jutland. It has an “old world charm,” with winding cobbled streets and gabled houses. The city is surrounded by woods on one side and the coast on the other. It’s a great location for walking – explore the woodland, the old town and take a stroll along the beach.
- Roskilde is famous for two things – its Viking ships and the summer music festival. The Viking Ship Museum contains the remains of five ships. It is open 10am-5pm daily and admission is free to under-17s. The Roskilde Music festival was started in 1971 and is the second biggest in Europe (to Glastonbury). Its popularity has grown immensely with foreigners in the past decade – book tickets early.
- The statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen may be the first thing tourists on the trail of Hans Christian Anderson visit. However, it is Odense on the island of Funen, that was home to the author. Visit the house in which he was born, now the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, take a guided city tour or visit the Tinderbox, a learning centre for children all about the fairy stories.