Best things to do in Denmark

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 13.03.2023

Denmark is a small country known for its picturesque landscapes, rich culture, and friendly people. Explore the beautiful capital city of Copenhagen, or visit the charming towns of Aarhus and Odense. Or take a trip to the UNESCO-listed Wadden Sea. Denmark has a lot to offer travellers. Inspired to take a trip? Here is our list of the best things to do in Denmark.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, your essential guide for visiting Europe.

1. Experience Roskilde Festival

Roskilde Festival is one of the best music festivals in Europe. Every summer over 100,000 music fans gather for a long, drunken weekend of peace, love and lots of rock and roll. The festival features a wide range of music genres, including rock, pop, hip-hop, and electronic music. Some notable artists that have performed at the festival in the past are Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Radiohead, and Kendrick Lamar.

In addition to music, the festival also features art exhibits, film screenings, and other cultural events. The festival is also known for its charitable efforts, with a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales going towards supporting various humanitarian causes.

Roskilde Festival audience © Shutterstock

Roskilde Festival audience © Shutterstock

2. See the preserved vessels of the Viking Ship Museum

Denmark’s most famous museum showcases five of the world’s most magnificent Viking vessels, dredged up from the fjord bottom where they lay for nearly a thousand years. It is located on the waterfront in Roskilde, which was an important Viking port in the past. The museum features original Viking ships that were excavated from nearby Roskilde Fjord.

The Viking Ship Museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about Viking shipbuilding, seafaring, and daily life through a variety of interactive exhibits and activities. It also features a range of artefacts that were found with the ships, including weapons, tools, and everyday items. History fans will find this to be one of the most interesting things to do in Denmark.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Roskilde

Viking boat replicas, Roskilde, Denmark © Attila JANDI/Shutterstock

Viking boat replicas, Roskilde, Denmark © Attila JANDI/Shutterstock

3. Explore the Hans Christian Andersen Museum

The Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense is dedicated to Denmark's most famous writer. A visit here offers visitors some intriguing insights into the father of the modern fairy tale. The museum includes a library of Andersen’s works and audio recordings of some of his best-known fairytales read by the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier.

There’s also intriguing paraphernalia including school reports, manuscripts, paper cuttings and drawings from his travels. Aside from the diminutive house itself, the most striking feature is the series of murals by Niels Larsen Stevns (1930) depicting different stages of Andersen’s life.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Odense


Childhood home of Hans Christian Andersen © RPBaiao/Shutterstock

4. Visit the "free city" commune of Christiania

Visiting Christiana is one of the most unique things to do in Denmark. This neighbourhood in Copenhagen is completely self-governed. Although currently under threat of being “normalized” — this area offers an array of excellent restaurants and nightlife venues. It also excels in quirky public art.

Amble along the pretty Christianshavns Kanal, designed by an Amsterdam-born architect, before exploring this renowned hippie “free city” commune. Egalitarian, creative and ecologically minded, the ideals of its thousand-or-so residents have resulted in some truly unique self-built homes, imaginative businesses, and a host of flourishing artistic venues.

Planning a trip to Copenhagen but don't know where to start? Our day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Copenhagen will come to your rescue.

Christiania.The area occupied by hippies in Copenhagen © maisicon/Shutterstock

Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark © maisicon/Shutterstock

5. See the Amalienborg Palace — home to the Danish Royal Family

Amalienborg Palace is the primary residence of the Danish Royal Family. It is located in the heart of Copenhagen and consists of four identical palace buildings that surround a central octagonal courtyard. The palace is open during the summer months, and visitors can take a guided tour of the palace and its grounds.

One of the most iconic moments of the palace is the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a tradition that has been held in front of the palace every day at 12:00 pm since the 17th century. The ceremony is a colourful display of military pageantry, featuring the Royal Life Guards in their distinctive red uniforms and bearskin hats.

Travelling to Copenhagen on a budget? Don't miss our list of things you can do here for free.

Amalienborg, Royal Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark © Shutterstock

Amalienborg, Royal Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark © Shutterstock

6. Visiting Tivoli Gardens — one of the best things to do in Denmark

No list of things to do in Denmark is complete without a day at the world’s oldest amusement park. Just off hectic Vesterbrogade outside the station is Copenhagen’s most famous attraction, Tivoli an entertaining mixture of landscaped gardens, outdoor concerts and fairground rides.

You’ll probably hear it before you see it, thanks to its high perimeter walls and the constant screams from the roller coasters. On a summer evening when the park is illuminated by thousands of lights and lamps reflected in the lake, it’s one of Scandinavia’s most magical experiences.

Find even more great accommodation options in the capital city of Denmark in our guide about where to stay in Copenhagen.


Tivoli Lake in Copenhagen, Denmark © Anastasia Pelikh/Shutterstock

7. Try a few types of smørrebrød

The traditional open sandwich of dark rye bread topped with anything from smoked salmon or shellfish to herring or salami is delectable and delicious. In Denmark, it is a popular dish and can be found in many restaurants and cafes. It is often considered a traditional Danish delicacy and is often served at special occasions such as parties and holidays.

Some of the most popular types of Smørrebrød include those made with roast beef, smoked salmon, and pickled herring.


Trying various smørrebrød sandwiches is one of the essential things to do in Denmark © Shutterstock

8. Roam the iconic walkway of the ARoS Art Museum

ARoS, in Århus, is one of Europe’s most beautiful contemporary buildings and a fantastic modern art museum. It contains seven floors of works from the late eighteenth century to the present day, accessed from a centrepiece spiral walkway reminiscent of New York’s Guggenheim.

The museum's standout permanent exhibit is artist Olafur Eliasson’s fantastical addition to the roof, known as Your Rainbow Panorama. Suspended between city and sky, and loosely inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, this 150m circular pathway spans the colour spectrum and gives panoramic views over the city.

Inspired to take a trip? Read our guide to how to spend a weekend in Denmark's happiest city - Århus.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Århus


ARoS Kunstmuseum, Denmark © Shutterstock

9. Visit the 16th-century Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Castle is a historic castle located in the town of Helsingør. It is most famous for being the setting of Shakespeare's "Hamlet." The castle was built in the late 16th century and was used as a royal residence and as a strategic coastal defence. It is considered one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visitors to the castle can explore its many rooms and exhibits, which include artefacts from the castle's history and art from the Renaissance period. The castle also offers guided tours and special exhibitions, as well as an open-air theatre, where plays and other performances are held.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Helsingør


Kronborg castle Helsingor, Denmark © Shutterstock

10. See the beautiful vistas of the Jutland beaches

Jutland is the main peninsula of Denmark. It is home to many fantastic beaches that are made even more stunning by the persistent westerly winds that thrash the western coast. One of the top things to do in Denmark is to explore these wild beaches and the beautiful vistas they offer.

The west coast of Jutland is known for its long sandy beaches and the North Sea, which is popular for swimming, sunbathing and beach sports. The east coast of Jutland is facing the Kattegat Sea, and the beaches there are known for their beautiful scenery, with high dunes and cliffs.

Looking for something a little different? See our guide to Scandinavia’s ultimate off-the-beaten-track destination.


The North sea coast, Jutland Beach, Denmark © javarman/Shutterstock

11. Explore Koldinghus — one of Denmark's national treasures

This dramatic former royal castle is one of Jutland’s must-sees, sensitively restored to retain its raw, weather-beaten look. It is one of the best-preserved Renaissance castles in the country and is considered one of Denmark's national treasures. The castle was built in the 14th century and has been expanded and renovated over the centuries.

It served as a royal residence and a centre of power for many centuries. Today, it is open to the public as a museum and visitors can explore the castle's various rooms and exhibits. You'll find here artefacts from the castle's history, as well as art and furniture from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Things not to miss in Denmark:Castle Koldinghus, Denmark.

Koldinghus castle, Denmark © SlavaFlash/Shutterstock

12. Hike through the vast sands of Råbjerg Mile

Råbjerg Mile is a large coastal sand dune located in the northern part of Jutland. It is one of the largest moving sand dunes in Northern Europe. The dune is constantly moving due to the wind and it is estimated to move around 15 meters per year.

Exploring the dune is one of the popular things to do in Denmark among hiking and nature enthusiasts. Råbjerg Mile also features a number of unique plant and animal species that have adapted to life in the shifting sand. Visitors can also see the Råbjerg Mile lighthouse and a forest that was planted to stop the sand dune from moving further into the land.

Lighthouse on Rabjerg mile on the Danish coast © Shutterstock

Lighthouse on Rabjerg Mile on the Danish coast © Shutterstock

13. See the wildlife of Wadden Sea National Park

The Wadden Sea National Park is located along the western coast of the island of Jutland and the southern part of the island of Rømø. It is a unique coastal area that is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, including migratory birds, seals, and fish. The park is part of the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage Site, which includes parts of Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The Park is known for its tidal flats, which are exposed during low tide and covered by water during high tide. These flats are home to a diverse array of plants and animals, including molluscs, worms, and crustaceans, which are an important food source for migratory birds. The Wadden Sea is also home to several colonies of seals, which can be observed from observation towers or on guided boat tours.

Wadden Sea National Park in Denmark © Shutterstock

Wadden Sea National Park in Denmark © Shutterstock

14. One of the best things to do in Denmark with kids: Lego Land

The Lego House is a visitor centre and attraction located in Billund. It is the official home of the Lego brand and it opened in 2017. The Lego House is designed to look like a giant Lego brick and it features over 25 million Lego bricks.

Legoland is the first Lego park and it opened in 1968. It is also located in Billund, where the headquarters of the Lego Group is located. The park features over 50 rides, shows, and attractions, as well as a variety of Lego-themed shops and restaurants. It is a seasonal park and it is open from April to September. The park also offers overnight stays at on-site hotels, such as Legoland Hotel and Legoland Castle Hotel.

Legoland, Billund, Denmark © Shutterstock

Legoland, Billund, Denmark © Shutterstock

15. See the dramatic cliffs of Møns Klint

Møns Klint is a series of chalk cliffs located on the island of Møn in Denmark. The cliffs rise up to 128 meters above the Baltic Sea, and they stretch for around 6 km along the island's eastern coast. They are made of layers of white chalk and they are a popular spot for hiking and birdwatching.

There are several hiking trails that lead to the top of the cliffs, where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding countryside. There is also a visitor centre and a museum located at the base of the cliffs, where visitors can learn more about the geology and natural history of the area.

Find more accommodation options to stay at Møn island

Mon Cliffs at Denmark (Møns Klint) © Shutterstock

Mon Cliffs at Denmark (Møns Klint) © Shutterstock

Visiting Denmark is a truly unforgettable experience. For more inspirational travel tips check our Rough Guide books.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Denmark without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

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Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 13.03.2023

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