Though it's by far the smallest of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark once ruled all of Norway and much of southern Sweden. Before then, it was home base for fierce Viking warriors. Modern Danes, however, are remarkably well-adjusted — organized, yet easygoing, with a wry sense of humor. From Copenhagen to tiny ship-in-bottle islands, the Danish landscape is equally mellow, with rolling hills, thatched-roof farmhouses, beech forests, and whitewashed churches with stairstep gables…and none of it more than 30 miles from the sea.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Copenhagen Vibrant Danish capital city, with The Little Mermaid, old-time Tivoli Gardens amusement park, excellent National Museum, Renaissance King Christian IV's Rosenborg Castle, delightful pedestrian Strøget, and eye-opening hippie enclave at Christiania.
▲▲ Central Denmark Peaceful isle of Ærø — perfect for a loop tour by bike or car — and home to Denmark's best-preserved 18th-century village — Ærøskøbing; and the busy town of Odense, with the Hans Christian Andersen Hus and the nearby Funen Village open-air folk museum.
▲ Near Copenhagen Great day-trip options: West to the Viking Ship Museum and Royal Cathedral at Roskilde, and north to Frederiksborg Castle — the "Danish Versailles" — in Hillerød, the Louisiana Art Museum in Humlebæk, and Kronborg Castle in Helsingør.
▲ Jutland Family-friendly region with Legoland kids' adventure park; the tiny village of Jelling with historic rune stones; and Denmark's second-largest city, Aarhus, with its stroll-able pedestrian center, ARoS art museum, and Den Gamle By open-air folk museum.