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Dreaming of Denmark?
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.
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.
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 streets.
4. Relax on the Island of Fanø
Ahh, Fanø! This island with its white sand 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
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.
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. When traveling with children there is nothing more essential than a trip to at least one of them.
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 as 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. 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 our local dialect), 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?