Last Updated on July 3, 2021 by Nina Ahmedow
Dreaming of Denmark? I feel like the country is way to underrated in the travel blogging space, especially if you want information on things to do in Denmark and not only in Copenhagen.
Growing up less than a two-hour drive from Denmark, I’ve been to this Scandinavian country more times than I can count. Here are 18 things I think you should do when you go. And while you’re in the region make sure to check out these five free things to do in Sweden and hop on over to Denmark’s neighbor.
The Best Things to Do in Denmark
1. Eat Rundstykker
Rundstykker are small bread rolls. I grew up close to Denmark where some people actually use the same word, Rundstück. If you’re not from a Northern European country you might not understand our obsession with bread in general and bread rolls in particular. But for us, they’re an essential part of a Sunday breakfast. There are different types, for example with poppy seeds. Vegans will have no problem finding vegan butter, cheese, or cold cuts to eat with them. If you’re a sweet breakfast kind of person eat them with marmalade.
2. Head to One of the Beaches
Denmark’s beaches were the reason I spent so much time in Denmark growing up. It’s not that we don’t have our own beaches in the north of Germany. But somehow, the Danish beaches were always a little more special (something feels different when you go to a “foreign” country, right?). Granted, most people don’t associate the Nordic countries with beaches. But did you know that there is no point in Denmark that is more than 52km from the coast? And the beaches are so sandy and gorgeous. All you have to hope for is good weather and you have yourself one of the loveliest things to do in Denmark.
3. Snack on Brændte Mandler
Another thing we love in Northern Germany as well. “Burned almonds” are caramelized, roasted almonds and the perfect winter snack. The smell alone makes me feel cozy and warm. You can get them from street vendors and snack on them as you stroll through the alleys of a pretty Danish town.
4. Relax on the Island of Fanø
Ahh, Fanø! This island with its white, sandy beach and dunes is absolutely stunning. In fact, Fanø’s town Sønderho is considered the most beautiful town in Denmark. You can reach Fanø by ferry from Esbjerg and then simply relax on the beach.
5. Have Smørrebrød for Lunch
Nothing is more essentially Scandinavian than smørrebrød. This open sandwich comes with various toppings. Sourdough rye bread is often the basis, though white bread can be used as well. Smørrebrød is a meal that you eat with a fork and knife, not like sandwiches in other countries. As the possibilities for toppings are endless, you can easily find vegan smørrebrød nowadays.
6. Visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense
Hans Christian Andersen is one of the most famous fairytale authors in the world, and he was born and raised in Odense on the island of Funen (Fyn). As a traveler, you have probably read Andersen’s quote “To travel is to live.” So why not learn a bit more about him in this museum dedicated to his life?
7. Buy Odense Marzipan
If you’re already in Odense why not buy a local specialty? I have to admit that I’ve never liked marzipan, but there are people who genuinely like it, so how could I leave it off this list? The best part about marzipan is that it’s vegan by default so you only have to pay attention to additional ingredients like chocolate in some products.
8. Get a Vegan Hot Dog
Danish hot dogs are super famous in Germany. It’s the one Danish dish everyone knows. So a trip to Denmark won’t be complete without ordering at least one hot dog. They come with ketchup, Danish remoulade, mustard, pickles, and French fried onions. Luckily there are now vegan versions available so everyone can indulge in this typical Danish fast food.
9. Explore Downtown Copenhagen
Although I think most lists of things to do in Denmark focus too much on the capital Copenhagen I obviously wouldn’t leave it off!
Indre By is Copenhagen’s old town and perfect for walking. Here, you can see most of Copenhagen’s landmarks, such as the City Hall, beautiful palaces and churches, and the Parliament. But the most iconic thing to see in Indre By is Nyhavn the gorgeous canal with its picturesque buildings. Downtown Copenhagen is also home to several interesting museums and the city’s beautiful Botanical Garden. For shopping fanatics, the streets of Strøget are a paradise. Downtown Copenhagen really has something for everyone.
For a detailed list of things to do in Copenhagen check out this Copenhagen weekend guide.
10. Visit one of Denmark’s Amusement Parks
Denmark’s most popular attractions are its many amusement parks. From Copenhagen’s Tivoli and Dyrehavsbakken (which is the world’s oldest operating amusement park) to Fårup Sommerland, Djurs Sommerland, and the world-famous Legoland, Denmark sure loves its amusement parks. Definitely one of the essential things to do in Denmark if you’re traveling with children.
11. See the Wadden Sea National Park
Denmark’s Wadden Sea National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are Wadden Sea National Parks in the Netherlands and Germany as well because the Wadden Sea zone encompasses all three countries’ coastlines. The Wadden Sea is famous for the millions of migratory birds that come here every year.
12. Admire the Country’s Viking Heritage
Head to Roskilde to visit the Viking Ship Museum with its exhibition of a total of five original Viking ships. Then go to nearby Lejre to see its Land of Legends. Here, scientists reconstructed various settlements and villages from different eras, including a Viking settlement.
13. Go to a Music Festival
Roskilde Festival is one of the biggest rock festivals in Europe, but Denmark also has jazz and country festivals. Many of the festivals focus more on Danish music, so you might even discover new artists. Hitting up music festivals is one of the best things to do in Denmark in the summer. The basic idea is that summers are short so Danes want to take advantage of the warmer months.
14. Head to Bornholm
Bornholm is an island far off the mainland and a popular vacation spot with tourists from Scandinavia, Germany, and Poland. The island is famous for its scenic round churches and stunning sandy beaches. Bornholm has many arts and crafts shops where you can get high-quality souvenirs from artisans and designers.
15. Go Camping in Hullehavn
Hullehavn Camping is a beautiful camping spot right by the sea on Bornholm. It’s located in the picturesque small town Svaneke so you can combine your camping and swimming trip with a bit of sightseeing as well.
16. Take Lots of Photos
Whether it’s its architecture or nature, Denmark provides tons of photo ops. So make sure you bring several SD cards and all the necessary equipment.
17. Eat Vegan Koldskål
Koldskål (cold bowl) is another Danish classic that you should be able to find vegan versions of. A koldskål is buttermilk-based and can be made with a variety of fruit. With the vast option for plant-derived alternatives, you can easily make a vegan koldskål nowadays.
18. Indulge in Vegan Rødgrød
Rødgrød is another dish that is common in Northern Germany as well. We call it “rote Grütze” (or “rode Grütt” in Low German), and it’s one of my favorite childhood summer memories. It should be super easy to find vegan milk or cream to go with this tasty dessert.
What do you think of this list? If you’ve been to Denmark what would you add to my list of things to do in Denmark?
Justine JenkinsFebruary 22, 2020 at 12:30 pm
Yep, I’m definitely dreaming of Denmark! 😉
I’ve heard so many great things (especially about Copenhagen) from everyone I know who’s visited.
It’s definitely on the list so I’m pinning this for when we finally make it happen!
Nina | Lemons and LuggageFebruary 23, 2020 at 3:47 pm
I hope you get to visit soon, Justine! Let me know which one of these things turns out to be your favorite.
EricaFebruary 22, 2020 at 10:23 pm
Great post! I was in Copenhagen two years ago and fell in love. I’ve been dying to go back and explore more of the country since then. I love that they have vegan variations of some of the most popular/traditional foods! I sometimes feel like being a vegan hinders me from trying local dishes, and I’m so glad that isn’t the case in Denmark (I did my own cooking when I was in Copenhagen). I would love to visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. Love checking out local museums.
Nina | Lemons and LuggageFebruary 23, 2020 at 3:49 pm
Self-catering is always a good and cheap option, but I think it’s worth trying out some veganized local dishes as well. So yummy!!
Jason ReidApril 9, 2020 at 3:25 pm
Really interesting. It’s not a country I’ve managed to visit yet but hopefully that will change sometime soon. I wouldn’t have thought of Denmark as a beach-type destination but interesting to hear they’re worth visiting. Maybe I’ll make my first Denmark visit a summer visit in that case.
Great read! Hope you’re keeping well!
Nina AhmedowApril 10, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Well, I doubt anyone from a Mediterranean country would ever go to a Danish beach. But I think for those of us who grew up in the cold, Denmark can really be a nice summer destination. I hope you get a chance to experience that for yourself some day.