The most southern country in Scandanavia, with close links to the sea, nowhere is more than 52 kilometres (30miles) from the coast, Denmark is famous for its modern design, being the home of Hans Christian Anderson and having the highest life satisfaction in the world for its inhabitants.
We look at the cities that might inspire you whilst visiting the homeland of the Vikings.
A delightful modern city, with many buildings reflecting the contemporary near minimalist style, using steel and glass, with Nordic simplicity and clean lines. Enjoy the feast of cultural events, with ballet, opera, art and music on offer. The waterside cafes at Nyhavn, the old harbour, are the perfect way to enjoy a relaxed way of life, as are the free city bikes.
The ‘New Nordic Cuisine’, celebrating the meteoric rise of the city’s restaurants, has resulted in 14 coveted Michelin Stars being awarded, and noma once again winning the Best Restaurant of the World award.
The Royal Opera House and The Royal Theatre present internationally acclaimed programmes, and are beautiful, though contrasting, monuments to the city’s strong architectural tradition. For jazz lovers, Copenhagen is famous for its concerts and clubs, being one of Europe’s best jazz cities. Rosenborg Castle is worth a visit too, as are the Tivoli Gardens. And with the public transport being exceptionally good, getting aroung the city is pretty easy.
With the river running through the centre, right on the east coast, Aarhus, the capital of Jutland, is littered with bustling outdoor places to eat and drink. Visit Den Gamle By, a living museum, with old cobbled streets and quaint shops, dating back 500 years, a particularly special place at Christmas, with a splendid market. The glorious cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is certainly worth a look.
For museum lovers, ARoS houses a remarkable art collection, one of the largest in Northern Europe, with superb rooftop glass sculptures, whilst the Kvindemuseet is totally unique across the world, celebrating women’s history and culture throughout the ages. And the reknown Viking museum is here in Aarhus, with claims to the city being the first Viking settlement. During the summer months, various re-enactments take place in Bispertorv Square, watch and wonder. If you take advantage of the AarhusCard, many attractions, transport and restaurant offer good discounts.
The birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, on the island Funen, is just the place to immerse yourself in the wonders of fairytales and storytelling. Visit his house and the cultural centre for all things H C Andersen, or mabe take a guided walk and follow in his footsteps. The city is full of art galleries, museums and castles, as well as excellent shopping. Try the Bazar Funen for a lively market and the chance to grab a bargain. If food is your passon, the twice weekly food market on Black Friar’s Square will serve up plenty of delights. Or perhaps enjoy a jazz cruise on the Odense River. Every July, the city hosts free open air concerts in the Kongens Have, featuring both international and local talent. And as always in Denmark, bicycles are a great way to get about, or perhaps hire a boat along the river.
In the north-west of Denmark, on the Limfjord, with a great harbour, Aalborg has historic connections with the UK through the herring trade, sadly long gone, although as a dish, herrings are still very popular, and often eaten with the local speciality, Akavit, a potent spirit, brewed in the city. Not surprisingly, Aalborg is known as a party town, with the famous Jomfru Ane Garde street turning at night from a busy, but friendly collection of cafes and restaurants for everyone, to a popular late-night bar and club scene. The carnival at the end of May is a 3 day spectacular, with free events for all ages.
Art galleries and music venues are to be found across the city, as are magnificent buildings, old and new. And yes, Vikings abound in Aalborg too, the Lindholm Hoje settlement has unique remains, with an excellent museum attached.
• Read more about what you can do in Denmark
Silver Travel Radio Show
Becky Oliver of Visit Denmark tells the Silver Travel Show why everyone should head to this wonderful country.
For places to stay, Silver Travel Advisor suggests Kirker Holidays