Five Danish Destinations to Visit (that Aren’t Copenhagen)

Five Danish Destinations to Visit (that Aren’t Copenhagen)

Think Denmark, think Copenhagen? Think again. Beyond the Danish capital’s borders, lively cities, salt-sprayed peninsulas and hippie enclaves await

mavens and Ganni girls planning a city break might make a
beeline for Copenhagen, but Denmark’s allure stretches far beyond its
crowded capital, from the blustery, dramatic shores of the west to
the northerly tip where two seas meet. Adding a few days to your
Copenhagen city break to explore the raw beauty of the Nordic
country is well worth it. Here are five places to try.

Five alternative Danish destinations to visit

Aarhus Brick Street
Photo credit: Steffen Muldbjerg



Take the dainty red-and-white seaplane a short 45
minutes’ flight from Copenhagen’s Nordre Toldbod to reach this
cosmopolitan Jutland city – it’s the best way to arrive in style.
Aarhus, the country’s second-largest urban area, is making a name
for itself through its unpretentious culinary offering, which is
distinctively different to that of the Noma-bewitched capital. Sure, new Nordic
restaurants are in evidence, but you’re just as likely to be
snacking on Korean bibimbap or Nepalese momos at Aarhus Street
, sipping chilled reds at Sjovinisten or
scoffing a seafood selection at Mefisto, a straightforward bistro in the Latin
Quarter serving lobster three ways, as you are attempting to pick
up a reindeer heart jerky stick with your fine-tined fork. At
rustic Pondus,
organic Danish produce is paired with organic wines; at Langhoff &
, you’ll find sandwiches as tall as they are wide on the
menu. Walk off holiday banquets at the city’s enormous, ten-floor
ARoS modern art museum. Head
straight to the roof to scan the sea and the old town, as well as
the Botanical Gardens, below, before working your
way back down through exhibitions.

Where to stay:
Villa Provence

Odense Building and Garden
Photo credit: Magnus Hasberg



The birthplace of fairy-tale storyteller Hans Christian
Andersen, and home to a striking Kengo Kuma-designed
dedicated to telling the writer’s own story, as well as
the whimsical tales he became famous for, Odense takes its role in
promoting its most famous inhabitant seriously – even the
pedestrian crossings feature a flashing silhouette of the scribe.
There’s more here than just Little Mermaid references, though. A
90-minute train ride from Copenhagen airport, the quaint and
colourful city centre belies the urban innovation happening in
Odense’s vibrant, modern neighbourhoods and leafy outer suburbs –
all of which are much easier to access thanks to a recent expansion
of the city’s slick light railway. Start a long weekend with a
Friday-night dinner at the ancient Sortebro Kro, a
200-year old restaurant plating up classic dishes made using
locally sourced ingredients (think scallops, roe deer and homegrown
apples), then switch it up with a post-prandial drink at natural
wine bar Lalou. Alongside the architecturally impressive Hans
Christian Andersen museum, you’ll want to make time for the modern
art at Kunstmuseum

Where to stay: Hotel Odeon

Gilleleje Lighthouse
Photo credit: Hjalte Gregersen

The Danish Riviera


With pearls such as a Henning Larsen-designed luxe spa hotel on the
oceanfront, a world famous art museum and sea-gazing harbour towns
all with their own smokeries and old pubs, the northern extremes of
Sjaelland (the region in which Copenhagen is based) has a lot going
for it – including a buzzy cultural scene. We’d recommend driving
from the Danish capital to explore all 230km of this breezy
Sweden-facing coastline; you’ll be able, en route, to peer at the
20th-century designer Arne Jacobsen‘s cubist house, as well as the 1936 Bellevue
and chic 1937 gas station he designed. Don’t miss the
at Humlebaek, either. In late summer, this artistic
haven acts as a playground for local (and international) literati
when its book festival rolls into town. After getting your cultural
fix, head towards the beaches around Gilleleje and Hornbaek, where
white sand and cool blue waters rival even the beauty of southern
France (despite the temperature difference). Book a stay at 25-room
Gilleleje Badehotel for a room with a view. The
hotel sits atop a 30m cliff on Sjaelland’s northernmost point.

Where to stay: Gilleleje Badehotel

Skagen, Denmark



A port town nestled into the finger-like tip of the Jutland
peninsula, Skagen is known as “The Land of the Light”, in reference
to the paintings of an artistic collective who frequented the area
from the 1870s to the turn of the century and captured the fishing
culture and sun-kissed Skagen landscapes in dreamy, pastel hues.
Check in at Brøndums Hotel to sleep among the painter’s
ghosts, including the mysterious Mrs Brøndum, whose spirit is said
to haunt the hotel’s Blue Room, then bundle up for a walk through
the dunes. Seafood is a must: feast on towering platters of
just-harvested mussels at Skagen Fiskerestaurant, or head to a candlelit
krø (roadside inn) for toast skagen – a local dish of prawns, dill
and crème fraîche. For something unique, try the oak bark ice cream
at the Ruths Hotel restaurant. In summer, surfing is
(increasingly) popular in the area; come winter, bird-watching
takes over as the nature-based activity of choice.

Where to stay: Brøndums Hotel

Thy Lighthouse
Photo credit: Mads Rosendahl



When Yoko Ono announced she was quitting NYC earlier this year,
we liked to imagine she was heading to Thy. In 1970, during a
one-month residence in northwestern Denmark, she and John Lennon helped launch one
of the world’s first hippie communes, Thylejren, which still exists
today. The location might have lost momentum over the years
(current population: 65) but this free-loving enclave still has
something of an unpretentious friendliness about it. It’s part of
Denmark’s first national park, an area under protection due to its
unique sand dunes, mystical moors and heaths, and bird-packed
wetlands. Despite the hippie vibes (or, perhaps, inspiring them),
this area also played a major role during the Second World War: a
visit to the award-winning bunker-turned museum Tirpitz in all its brutalist concrete-and-glass glory
is sobering. Bed down at Strandhotellet
Vedersø Klit Badehotel‎
, a smart hotel set just 200m from the
coastal dunes.

Where to stay: Strandhotellet

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