Planning a trip to Denmark? Great idea! This Denmark Travel Guide will show you things to do in Denmark, cities in Denmark you should definitely visit, and lots of practical information to help you plan your holidays in Denmark.
Denmark is located in Northern Europe, bordering Germany, the Baltic Sea, and the North Sea. The Nordic country is the smallest and southernmost of the Scandinavian countries. The country is made up of the Danish Archipelago and consists of around 406 islands, 70 of which are inhabited in Denmark.
Officially known as the Kingdom of Denmark, it also includes the Faroe Island and Greenland. It’s one of the founding members of NATO and is also a member of the European Union, the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The laid-back country has a rich culture and history with several UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit. With a world-class food scene, Denmark is a foodie’s paradise.
- Denmark Travel Guide: quick facts
- Denmark regions
- How to travel to Denmark
- How to travel around Denmark
- The best places to stay in Denmark
- What to pack for Denmark
- The best time to visit Denmark
- What to eat in Denmark
- Famous events in Denmark
- Bank holidays in Denmark
- Cultural customs to be aware of in Denmark
- Don't forget travel insurance
- Basic phrases and their pronunciation
- Safety in Denmark
- The use of cash and cards in Denmark
- Calling abroad, WiFi and data use in Denmark
- Tipping in Denmark
- A brief history of Denmark
- Posts about Denmark
- Pin for later
Denmark Travel Guide: quick facts
Size: 42,915.7 km² or 16,562.1 sq mi
People living there: More than 5,650,000
Capital of Denmark: Copenhagen
Governmental structure: A parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch of Denmark, Queen Margarethe II, is head of state.
National day: June 5
- UTC-4: Thule Air Base in Greenland
- UTC-3: most of Greenland, including inhabited south coast and west coast
- UTC-1: Ittoqqortoormiit and surrounding area in Greenland's Tunu county
- UTC: Danmarkshavn weather station and surrounding area in Greenland's Tunu county, Faroe Islands
- Central European Time (CET) / UTC+1: metropolitan Denmark
Currency: Danish krone
Power voltage and socket type(s): 230V, plug types C, F, E, K. If these don't match with your devices, make sure to bring a universal adapter.
Official religion(s)/Freedom of religion: Freedom of religion. Overall Denmark is a secular country with a small amount of the population identifying as Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim.
Official language(s) and general knowledge of English: The official language is Danish. English is widely spoken.
Drives on this side: right
International driver's licence accepted? Yes
Phone code: +45
Vaccinations required? No
Is it safe to drink the tap water? Yes
Want more quick facts about Denmark? Check out my post full of interesting facts about Denmark.
Denmark is divided into five regions with each region being governed by a popularly elected regional council, where the regional chairman is selected. The regions were created as administrative entities in 2007 at a level above municipalities but below the central government.
The Capital Region of Denmark consists of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. Northern Europe’s coziest capital is packed with some of the best restaurants, cafes, and shops. From the city’s cutting-edge buildings to its old town and winding streets, the capital city of Denmark is the perfect combination of old and new. Read more about things to do in Copenhagen here.
Northwest of the capital is Denmark’s largest lake, Arresø, perfect for an evening walk. Copenhagen’s infamous alternative neighborhood, Christiana, offers up a mixture of art galleries, music venues, and organic eateries.
The Central Denmark Region is the second-largest region after the Capital Region. The region covers the central part of Jutland from coast to coast. It's home to Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus as well as Horsens, Herning, and Viborg. Generally, the landscape is very varied from the North Sea and sand dunes in the west, to charming bays and inlets on the east coast.
The popular Scandinavian destination has a number of museums and exceptional restaurants. A great option for families, you can find LEGOLAND and the Mols Bjerge National Park to explore. Central Aarhus has its beautiful Old Town which acts like an open-air museum of Denmark’s rich past. For art lovers, the ARoS Art Museum features a rainbow skywalk designed by artist Olafur Eliasson
At the top of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula, North Jutland is known for its unique light and long, sunny days. The regional capital of Aalborg can be counted among tje major cities of Denmark and has a strong maritime history. Here you'll find beautiful architecture, bold art and a thriving culinary scene. To the west and north of the capital, there are endless beaches, rolling landscapes, dunes, forests, and cliffs. The most northwestern point is the idyllic village of Skagen.
Thy National Park, Denmark’s oldest and biggest natural park is located on the north-west coast of Jutland. While in North Jutland, take part in a number of great outdoor actives including hiking and windsurfing. To learn more about Denmark’s fascinating Viking history, visit Lindholm Høje and Fyrkat.
The southernmost region of Denmark, the Zealand Region is named after the island of Sjaelland. Zealand and its archipelago are perfect for island-hopping holidays as well as exploring chalk cliffs, castles, ancient Viking history and some of the smaller towns in Denmark. The largest island in Denmark features a ton of beaches worth visiting.
Here, Roskilde is another one of the cities to visit in Denmark. It has a historical center where you can find the Viking Ship Museum and see 800-year-old Viking ships. The coastline in Stevns Klint in the south Zealand region has some of the most important fossils in the world. Wander along the coastline and take in 65 million years of history.
The regional capital of the Region of Southern Denmark is Vejle but Odense is actually the region’s largest city. The varying landscape of flat marshland on the west Jutland coast to the hilly areas in the east make this region a popular destination among hikers.
The south-west coast is home to the UNESCO protected Wadden Sea and can be especially rewarding for wildlife lovers. The region is also home to Denmark’s largest population of spotted seals, with the summer months being the best for sightings.
With a strong influence from Germany, the region’s cuisine is exquisite. For a traditional eating experience, try a South Denmark Coffee Table which consists of 14 types of cake. This can be found at a number of places across the region and is not for the faint-hearted.
How to travel to Denmark
Citizens from the EU can travel freely to Denmark with no visa. If you’re not from a Nordic country or EU/EAA county then you may need a visa to travel. Citizens from the US do not need a tourist visa for all stays under 90 days. Those traveling from the US will need two blank pages in their passport and at least six months left on their passport.
Denmark is part of the European Union’s Schengen Agreement which means that you don’t need to show your national ID card or passport when you are traveling to and from Denmark if you’re from a Schengen Agreement country. It is, however, recommended that you still carry your ID or passport on you.
How to get to Denmark
It’s easy to travel by bus from Germany or via the Øresund bridge from Sweden. The bridge connects the Swedish city of Malmö to Copenhagen. There are a number of daily buses from Germany to Denmark. Although traveling by bus takes longer, it’s usually more cost-efficient. On average, the journey takes approximately 11 hours. You can reach Copenhagen from Sweden by bus in roughly 55 minutes. Budget long distance bus companies include Flixbus, Eurolines and Sindbad.
The capital can be reached easily by train with a train from Hamburg to Copenhagen taking around 5 hours. Copenhagen also connects with Swedish cities Goteborg, Stockholm, and Malmö. It takes 35 minutes to reach Copenhagen from Malmö.
Getting to Denmark by ferry is possible from Sweden, Germany, Norway, and the UK.
- Stenaline provides ferry service from Sweden and Norway.
- Scandlines can take you from Germany to Denmark by ferry.
- DFDS Seaways connect the UK to Denmark by ferry. Check their timetables and prices here.
- Fjord Line offers ferry service between Norway and Denmark.
- ColorLine also offers ferry service between Norway and Denmark.
Fly to Denmark
The biggest airport is Copenhagen airport on the island of Zealand. You should be able to find direct routes to Copenhagen from most major airports all over the world. Denmark’s second busiest airport, Billund, on the Jutland peninsula is another option when flying. If you’re heading to central Jutland then Aalborg is the third largest airport and services this area.
Check Skyscanner for the best flights to Denmark. They give you a good overview of flight options and prices.
How to travel around Denmark
Independent travel around Denmark
Whether you plan on visiting the capital or traveling around the country, Denmark has excellent connections and networks making it easy to navigate. Depending on where you’re going, there are plenty of modes of transport from plains and trains to ferries and boats. It’s easy to use the train network to travel beyond the capital. Non-European travelers can use the Eurail Denmark Pass for cheaper train travels. EU citizens can use the InterRail Denmark Pass.
The excellent road system means there are a number of long-distance coach routes that will take you around the country for a very reasonable price. They usually focus on certain regions and don't always have a website in English so make sure to use the Google Translate function in your browser. Alternatively, you can get in touch with the local tourist offices for more information.
Ferries also make up an essential service for Denmark with ferries and passenger boats taking you to and from the smaller Danish islands. Samsø Rederi is just an example of a domestic ferry company. It offers a ferry service between Jutland and Samsø.
Traveling by car is an easy and efficient way to get around Denmark due to the brilliant road system and may be more suitable if you’re on a tighter schedule. Just take into account you might need to pay toll when crossing bridges.
The best places to stay in Denmark
I always use Booking.com for booking hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts. It has a lot of filtering options so I can easily get a list of only the hotels that meet my criteria. If you're looking for a place to stay in Denmark, I highly recommend you check there.
When I want to book an apartment rather than a hotel, I use airbnb. If you don't have an airbnb account yet, you can sign up using my link to get a discount on your first stay.
What to pack for Denmark
Denmark has a very temperate climate that is moderated by the warm Gulf Stream. There are four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Summer is the hottest time and autumn tends to be rainy and cloudy. August is the hottest month with the average temperature being 15.7°C and reaching highs of over 25°C.
The west coast of Denmark sees more rainfall than the rest of the country due to a prevailing western wind. There are no truly dry periods but September to November tends to be the wettest season. No matter the time of year, taking items that layer up is key to packing for Denmark.
What to pack for Denmark in summer
- A swimsuit
- Flip flops
- A re-usable water bottle
What to pack for Denmark in winter
- A warm, wind- and waterproof jacket
- A thick scarf
- A hat
- Warm boots
- A re-usable water bottle
What to pack for Denmark in fall
- A waterproof jacket
- An umbrella
- A scarf
- Waterproof boots
- A jumper or cardigan
- A re-usable water bottle
What to pack for Denmark in spring
- A waterproof coat
- An umbrella
- Clothes to kayer
- Comfortable walking shoes
- A re-usable water bottle
The best time to visit Denmark
Early summer is a great time to travel to Denmark, the days are long and there are less crowds. The temperature is pleasant without spring’s wet weather. July and August are a good time to travel as well, however, as it’s peak season, it’s usually busier around the most popular places to visit in Denmark and hotel and flight prices tend to be higher.
With a massive coastline full of beaches, the best time to go swimming in Denmark is between June and August with the average sea temperature being between 17°C and 22°C. Denmark welcomes Midsummer’s Eve, the longest day of the year, around June 21 with a country-wide celebration. For one of the country’s best music festival, visit during the first week of July to experience the Roskilde Music Festival.
What to eat in Denmark
- Stegt flæsk, crispy pork with parsley sauce
- Smørebrød, open-faced sandwich
- Pølser, hot dog
- Æbleskiver, small, round pancakes usually filled with apples
- Wienerbrød, a Danish pastry, a sweet and buttery multi-layered pastry
- Risalamande, a dessert made up of rice pudding mixed with chopped almonds, vanilla, and whipped cream usually served with a cherry sauce
- Lakrids, licorice
- Flodebolle, a sweet made from a wafer biscuit and marshmallow cream covered in a chocolate shell
- Rugbrod, rye bread
- Æbleflæsk, bacon, apples, onions, and sugar mixed together then served on rugbrod (rye bread)
Famous events in Denmark
- Roskilde Festival, Roskilde (June) – the largest music and cultural event in northern Europe attracting 80,000 people annually to enjoy a week of music and art.
- Skagen Winter Swimming Festival, Skagen (January) – the event guarantees ice-cold sea dips, hot drinks and a close experience with the unique nature of Skagen.
- Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Copenhagen (July) – one of the biggest jazz festivals in Europe, the city comes alive with jazz in the streets, city squares, and clubs.
- Aarhus Festival, Aarhus (August to early September) – the 10-day arts and cultural festival is among one of the largest cultural events in Scandinavia with local, national and international artists.
- Ribe International Viking Market, Ribe (May) – over 500 Vikings flock to Ribe to experience how the Vikings would have lived and worked 1,300 years ago.
- Aalborg Carnival, Aalborg (May ) – the largest carnival in Northern Europe with up to 60,000 participants and more than 100,000 spectators, ending in a spectacular Grande Parade.
- Classic Race Aarhus, Aarhus (May) – 300 racing cars from Denmark and abroad come to the historical race track for the event at Marselisborg Memorial Park.
- Beer Festival, Copenhagen (May) – the three-day beer festival is popular among the Danish and beer enthusiasts.
- Blokhus Wind Festival, Blokhus (May) – a beautiful kite festival on the beach in Blokhus with the opportunity to fly your own kite and enjoy great performances.
- Odense International Film Festival, Odense (August) – experience national as well as international short films at the Danish film festival.
Bank holidays in Denmark
- New Year’s Day
- Maundy Thursday
- Good Friday
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Monday
- Day of Prayer
- Ascension Day
- Whit Sunday
- Whit Monday
- Constitution Day (June 5)
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas Day
- Second Day of Christmas
Cultural customs to be aware of in Denmark
Denmark is a well-oiled machine and Danes tend to follow the rules. Courteous behavior is expected from everyone whether it be locals or tourists. Follow the rules in Denmark and remember not to jaywalk across the street. When cycling through cities, use your hand signals. Generally, cultural customs are easy to follow here but don’t be surprised by Dane’s lack of social pleasantries. The lack of please’s and thank you’s might be a surprise for non-Scandinavian travelers.
Don't forget travel insurance
No matter how well you plan and research a trip, there are always things that happen beyond your control. Something might get canceled, you can get ill or hurt while traveling or one of your electronics might break or get stolen. When misfortune strikes, travel insurance has got you covered. I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on. Don't have insurance yet? You can get a free quote here:
Basic phrases and their pronunciation
How are you?
Do you speak English?
I don’t speak Danish
Can we have the bill?
My name is
What’s your name?
How much is it?
Where are you from?
Hvordan har du det? (vor-dahn hah du deh)
Taler du engelsk? (tay-ler doo eng-elsk)
Jeg taler ikke dansk (Yai tai-ler igge dansk)
Kan vi få regningen? (kahn eve fo rehh-ning-ehn)
Togstasjon (tog sta-shon)
Busstopp (boos stohp)
Mit navn er… (meet now-n air…)
Hvad hedder du? (Ved hell-er do?)
Hvor meget koster det? (Vor my-et kaw-sta day?
Hvor er (vor air)
Toilet Herrer (toy-let hair-ah)
Toilet Damer (toy-let day-mah)
Jeg er fra… (Jai air fra…)
Hvor kommer du fra? (Vor kom-ah do fra?)
Safety in Denmark
Denmark is one of the safest countries in the world and visitors have little to worry about in terms of crime. Ranked number five in the Global Peace Index, Denmark is generally very safe. As with any big tourist areas, pickpocketing and petty theft can occur, although rare. Although it’s known to be one of the safest countries to travel, still use the same common sense you would anywhere else in the world.
The use of cash and cards in Denmark
The majority of places accepts cards in Denmark with the most commonly accepted cards being visa and MasterCard. ATM’s are widely available throughout Denmark although not all cash machines are available 24 hours outside of Copenhagen. You can easily get by without cash during your trip, using only card. You may need small amounts of cash for bus tickets if buying from the driver, street food and parking money if needed.
Calling abroad, WiFi and data use in Denmark
Those with a SIM card from an EU country don't have to pay roaming charges when calling, texting, or using data in Denmark. The same goes for some global phone plans.
If you don't have a EU SIM but still want to have unlimited WiFi, check out Skyroam.
Skyroam offers both day passes and monthly subscriptions providing you with 4G throughout your trips. I've been using their daily passes not just when I travel outside the EU (no roaming charges for me in the EU) but also as a backup for when I think I'll go over my phone's data plan.
Check out Skyroam here.
Tipping in Denmark
Tipping is not customary in Denmark as service, including gratuities, is already included in the bill and salaries are decent. Even at restaurants and bars, there's no need to tip. It won't be frowned upon if you top for excellent service but it also won't be expected. You can read more about that here.
A brief history of Denmark
Denmark has a rich history that dates all the way back to C.12500 BC when the first hunters inhabited the Danish lands. Between 700-1000, the Vikings ruled the sea as Denmark was the Viking capital of England. During this time the Dane’s became notorious for plundering churches and monasteries.
The German occupation of Denmark in WWII finished in 1945 after five years. Following on from the war, Denmark was a leader in industrial design with cool clean lines that features in its architecture, silverware, and furniture. As a founding member of the UN in 1945, Denmark went on to join the European community in 1973. With the first female prime minister in office and the legalization of same-sex marriage in the 2010s, Denmark has come along away from its Viking days. Much of the country’s culture and history can be still be seen today throughout Denmark.
And that's it!! I hope these Denmark travel tips have given you an idea of what to see in Denmark and how to plan your trip to this beautiful country.
Posts about Denmark
Click here for all the posts I've written about Denmark.
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