Mini Travel Guide: Denmark

Traveling to Denmark? Enjoy these travel tips to Denmark in our mini travel guide by Alexandra! This one of many Mini Travel Guides, in which we dip our toes into international travel via the best-ofs a given country.

Mini travel guide to Denmark

Denmark is a great travel destination and place to live. Between the gorgeous architecture and rolling scenery, the cities overflowing with bicyclists, the quaint traditions, and the funny, sweet, impeccably dressed Danes themselves – I fell in love with this amazing country instantly. Since that first visit, I have spent more than three years in Denmark, in both the capital of Copenhagen and in Aarhus. And, if my dreams come true, I’ll spend the rest of my life there as well!

I first flew to Denmark when I was sixteen. I knew nothing about the country or the language (other than how to say “I have to pee” – “Jeg skal tisse”). Regardless, I would spend the next year living in their second largest city, Aarhus as an exchange student.

travel guide to denmark from a native

Must go in Denmark 

Christianshavn
This beautiful oasis in the center of Copenhagen is home to beautiful canals and small, colorful houses that rival the architecture of Amsterdam. This island is also the home of Christiania, the “free” state within Copenhagen that it is regulated by a special law. This commune is most widely known for the legal sale of marijuana, but it also houses fascinating architecture and local residents. Take a walk around the nearby lake, and if you can find the Christiania Jazz Club – go! You’ll feel as if you’ve instantly been transported to 1955.
Tivoli
If you can spare about $20 for the entrance fee, visit the magical theme park of Tivoli in downtown Copenhagen. Stroll through the gorgeous gardens, enjoy a traditional Danish ice cream cone (topped with whipped cream, fresh jam and flødeboller), and see the theme park that inspired Walt to build Disneyland once upon a time.
Must do when visiting Denmark

Must do in Denmark

Take a stroll on Nyhavn and see the sights
This well-known harbor in Copenhagen is filled with beautiful ships, quaint, brightly colored houses (one of which Hans Christian Anderson once resided in) and lots of people. Enjoy a cold beer or ice cream by the canal in the warmer months, and then take a walk down to the harbor, where you can stroll by the Amalienborg Palace and all the way to the infamous Little Mermaid statue (emphasis on the word little – she’s tiny!). In colder months, enjoy a glass of wine and live jazz music in the nearby Tango y Vinos – an amazing Argentinian wine bar.
things to eat when traveling to Denmark


Must eat in Denmark

Smørrebrød
Denmark is well known for their variety of delectable open faced sandwiches, which are typically served on a very dark rye bread called rugbrød. Try any number of their traditional combinations: crispy fish, remoulade and lemon; hardboiled egg and shrimp; or – if you’re brave – pickled herring! If you’re at a special gathering, this lunchtime meal could be accompanied by shots of snaps. Skål!
Æbleskiver
If you happen to be in Denmark near Christmas, try Danish æbleskiver –small, spherical pancake-like treats that are served with fresh jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. You can simultaneously sip on my favorite Christmas drink glögg – mulled red wine with almond slices and raisins. Then just smile and say “God Jul!” to people you pass in the street. You’ll fit in perfectly!
Cultural tips for traveling in Denmark


Cultural tips for Traveling in Denmark

Everyone speaks English
This may not be completely true, but I bet this will be one of the first things you notice in Denmark. Danish citizens begin learning English in school at a very young age, and are often excited to meet English-speaking travelers so they can practice their language skills. Sometimes it takes a beer or two for people to gain their confidence, but then you’ll find they often speak English perfectly! Regardless, I would suggest learning a few simple Danish words to use, such as thanks – tak – and cheers – skål. Since only about 5.5 million people speak Danish, many Danes will be honored and surprised that you took the time to learn some of their language.

Reserved personalities
Many people think that the Danes are rude or cold when you first meet them, but really they are just generally reserved. Once they open up you’ll be glad you took the time to get to know them – so don’t write them off immediately! Simply take the time to talk with them – ask them questions about Denmark and their own travels, or buy them a round. You’ll quickly find that they are truly some of the nicest and most accommodating people you’ll ever meet.

Traveling in Denmark tips and guide


Travel on the cheap in Denmark

Buy your own food/drink
Since food and drinks in restaurants and bars can be quite expensive in Denmark, many people drink and eat before going out – often not arriving at bars and clubs until around midnight (most places are open until 5 a.m.). Buy food, beer and other drinks in supermarkets and you can save a lot of money. You can drink in public in Denmark too (in most places), so enjoy a pre-party picnic in the King’s Park or by the canal!

Thanks for sharing, Alexandra!  Any other Denmark travel tips to share?

8 Comments

Anonymous

As a dane, it's really nice to read a nice and great guide to my city 🙂 Thanks for that.

/Camilla

Reply
meg

Great guide, I am just finishing up a semester in Copenhagen this week! Although I would say as somebody who took intensive Danish that Danish is hard as hell to pronounce, and Danes will often not understand you even if you are speaking Danish, and you might not understand when, say, the name of your train station is called out, because the way it is spelled is not remotely the way it is pronounced.
Also, sorry to be a debbie downer, but Denmark is a very very expensive country for Americans (especially poor college students)! So be prepared.
Other than that, I've had a great semester here and I really recommend a visit to this little country that most Americans can't even find on a map 🙂

Reply
Lolakola

I don't think I can agree with the Tivoli section enough. I beyond loved it. I only had a day there, as we were visiting from Malmo 🙂

Reply
Lullesdrømme

I'm also from Denmark – its so lovely to see people liking our contry! I've always wondered what people saw in Denmark and why they came to us was a mystery, but after reading this, I understand why you guys wants to come!
Love from Denmark <3

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