Travel in Denmark to the land of the Vikings

I spent 12 days driving a large part of Denmark and a little bit of Sweden. Still, it would be my second time in a Scandinavian country. I had visited Iceland and, to this day, it is the most beautiful place where my eyes have settled. To do this, I prepared a travel plan to make the most of the time and thanks to official websites and blogs of other travelers, our trip turned out very well. With the experience of the trip, I learned many more things that I want to share with you. I hope you find it useful.

The trip in India was totally improvised and, before planning it, I had bought a ticket for Copenhagen in Denmark for the month of November. I go from a sticky Indian heat to a dry cold glacier. As you can imagine, this trip was quite decaffeinated. Europe has thousands of things to see but now I am hooked on traveling to different cultures. The prices in Copenhagen seemed crazy to me.

I arrived at Copenhagen airport at noon. I left there with my little suitcase, took a car that I had rented and went to the hostel. The host lived in an old red brick community building now divided into a lot of mini apartments. Upon entering, I felt that I had gotten into an Ikea catalog. It has a very minimalist decoration, unvarnished flooring, a lot of white to give a sensation of light. 5 o'clock in the afternoon and it was already closed! The party to which I had been invited was made up of rolls, cheese, grapes and French red wines. I was immediately struck by the fact that the city was so flat and full of bikes.

Day 2: Copenhagen

I went through the list of places to see in Denmark and my host gave me some good advice. I started the day walking, going through some of the most tourist sites since the center of Copenhagen is quite small.

1. The center of Copenhagen: the old town and the canals of Nihavn

I visited Copenhagen in the month of November. The truth is that I already thought it was really charming (and even more so because of the Christmas atmosphere that was breathed there ). The old center of the city has medieval style with spectacular buildings like Teatro Real. I fell in love completely with the beautiful district of Nyhavn, a promenade along the harbor with colorful houses. When I finished the boat trip I went to eat.

The warehouses are in the shopping area (Stroget). I went back to the hotel walking through its pedestrian streets (Frederiksberggade, Nygade, and Vimmelskaftet). I pass through Vor Frue Kirke (The Cathedral of Our Lady) and the Radhuspladsen (Town Hall) from where the pedestrian streets emerge. After resting a bit in the hotel pool, in the afternoon I went on the car to visit the city. It was Saturday and there was little traffic.

Copenhagen has about 2 million inhabitants, which makes it a very pleasant capital. One feels very safe and quiet in it and many downtown streets are pedestrianized. Passing in front of Tívoli Gardens, I arrive immediately at the Town Hall Square. I move along Stroget Street until to reach the Kongens Nytorv, where I see the Royal Theater.

2. Tivoli Park

When I arrive in a new city I love asking for an opinion about the points of interest. In this case, the Tivoli Gardens came from the list. This amusement park, opened since 1843 is one of the oldest in the world. It is really a must for the Kobmendense (Copenhagen). That afternoon I went to the Tivoli Gardens and entered the amusement park.

I found a Christmas theme park, with typical fair attractions such as trains, Ferris wheels, and roller coasters. It was a fairy-tale air with lots of families and children enjoying chocolate, hot wine, and waffles to fight against the cold. It was a really different place. I ate inside the park inside one of the many restaurants.

3. Walk along the harbor to see the Opera and the Little Mermaid

One of the big problems, when you travel alone, is that you need help to take photos. The advantage? You make friends right away. I saw a boy who, like me, was looking for someone to take a picture of him and we immediately became friends. We continue touring the whole area of the port together in search of the Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue). After about 45 minutes of walking all along the port of the Danish capital, we find it.

It is located in the Langelinie Park, in the Harbor Bay of Copenhagen, which flows into the Baltic Sea. The first time I approached the famous little mermaid was a failure. The tourists-paparazzi were harassing her with flashes without stopping but, who gets up early, God helps! In the second attempt, seeing her at dawn (together with a couple of Japanese) was a success.

More or less halfway, on our right, we find the majestic building of the Opera (the night lighting is spectacular). On our left is the residence of the Danish royal family, Amalienborg. Going around we found a Thai restaurant located in a very nice place at the foot of a canal. It was all very good but spicy.

4. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

The collection of this museum enchanted me. There are 10,000 works ranging from ancient art to the gems of Gauguin, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and my beloved Rodin. This building that collects the famous private brewer's collection is truly impressive inside as well as outside. The highlight was the beautiful winter garden that connects the two main buildings. It was a small oasis in an icy capital.

5. The Church of Our Savior (Vor Frelsers Kirke) and the free city of Christiana

I had many expectations placed on Christiana, for its history but today I am afraid that it is very far from what it was. Still, it is a curious visit. I had heard about this independent community but, today, little remains of that free city, which had been a self-governed hippy commune. It has unfortunately become a neighborhood of squatter houses where it is easy to procure drugs.

A step away from there is the Church of Our Savior (Vor Frelsers Kirke). I decided to enter and climb their vertiginous exterior stairs that spiral around the length of its baroque capital. It is not suitable for claustrophobic and/or people with vertigo). Overcoming your fears will be worth it because the views from there to all of Copenhagen are spectacular.

Day 3: Hillerod - Helsingor

We took the car and went to Hillerod to visit the Frederiksborg Castle. It is worth visiting, as it is very beautiful, well preserved and the gardens are beautiful. We easily park the car on the street. After strolling through its gardens (if you want you can also take a boat trip on the lake), we ate on the terrace of a restaurant. After lunch, we went to Helsingør to see the Kronborg Castle, the stage of the Hamlet.

We visit some royal dependencies and the Maritime Museum. We did not go to see it, we only saw it from the outside. It is the place where Hamlet, the work of Shakespeare, happens. In this work, the castle of Kronborg has the denomination of "Elsinore". I can perfectly understand the strategic importance of this place since from its windows I can see the sea and Sweden in the distance.

When we returned to Copenhagen we passed by the marble church, Frederiks Kirke (Marmorkirken). It is one of the best-known buildings in Copenhagen. The interior of Marmorkirken is very spectacular, mainly due to the shape of the building and the feeling that the dome produces from within.

Next, we went to the Kastellet. At that time of afternoon (6:00 PM), there are no longer as many tourists. We park well in Churchillparken, right at the southern entrance of Kastellet. It is an open site that does not have closing hours. Before entering we see the Gefion Fountain and the Church of Saint Alban (Saint Alban Kirke). It is one of the most beautiful churches.

Day 4: Roskilde

Roskilde is a beautiful city where you can visit the Viking Ship Museum and the Cathedral. We easily park in both places and it's free. We were in the museum all morning. It is curious to see, you can visit it only though there are guided tours but in English. We ate there in the museum restaurant. It's not very cheap but it was very tasty typical Danish food. There is also a cheaper coffee.

In the afternoon we visit the cathedral of Roskilde. It is very large and very beautiful, it is worth visiting. Upon returning to Copenhagen that night we went to dinner at a pizzeria on the Nyhavn Canal. There were many people but we found a place to park. There almost everyone moves by bike.

Day 5: Copenhagen - Odense - Billund

We left the Copenhagen hotel for Odense, the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen. We cross the island of Selandia where Copenhagen is. We cross to the island of Fiona by the bridge of the Great Belt (in Danish: Storebælt, that means great belt). It is the greater of the three marine narrows that connect the Strait of the Kattegat (sea of ​​the North) with the Baltic Sea. It is a little expensive, but we save a lot of roads. On the island, there are many more places to visit but we did not have time.

In Odense, we visited the museum and Hans Christian Andersen's birthplace. We ate in an outdoor cafe. There is a restaurant behind the museum that has a free buffet that includes drinks but it was only until 2:00 PM and we did not arrive on time. In Odense, you can also visit the zoo, the Cathedral of San Canuto but we did not have time to see anything else.

After lunch we went to Billund which is located on the Jutland peninsula, separated by the Strait of the Small Belt from Funen Island. There we stayed at the hotel. Billund is a small town where all activity is centered around the Lego factories. There is not much to visit. That night we walked to the resort of Lalandia and had dinner there, it is the liveliest thing in the area. Apart from a small shopping center with shops and restaurants, it has a water park and belongs to a resort. We had dinner with American food that was very rich.

Day 6: Legoland

This full day was spent in Legoland. We take the tickets in advance on the internet since it is cheaper and we do not have to wait for the queues at the entrance. We took it out in Copenhagen because we wanted to make sure of the weather. We print them at the hotel because yes, we have to take them printed. To ride there are many queues. When we were closing at 9:00 pm, the attractions closed 1 hour before. The last hour was spent in the lego store where we came out with 4 boxes (we are fanatics of lego). We ate there but as we left at 9:00 p.m., we bought some sandwiches and went back exhausted to the hotel.

Day 7: Aarhus

We went to visit Århus, the capital of Jutland. In the morning we visit the Castle of Marselisborg, the summer residence of the Danish monarchs. We could see it because they were not there. It is worth visiting, not for the building, but for the gardens and orchards and the beautiful site in which it is located. Admission is free.

After a walk, we went to the center of the city. We visited the Cathedral of San Clemente and took a walk through the pedestrian streets of the Latin Quarter. We ate at a cafe/bar in front of the Magasin store, which had roast chickens and shrimp sandwiches. It was all very tasty.

In the afternoon we went to see Den Gamle By (the old city) which is on the outskirts of Aarhus. It is an open museum organized as an old town formed by historical buildings of Denmark (brought from cities and towns throughout Denmark). We loved the place. It takes a long time to see everything.

On the way to Billund, we stopped in a beautiful village, Silkeborg. Here we stopped for an ice cream on the shores of Silkeborg Langsø, a lake that divides the city. Right there is the stop of the steamboats that moves through the lake. We arrived in time to catch one at 6:30 p.m. which made a wonderful tour of 1h 30 min. We had not anticipated it and we loved it. We got to dinner in Billund, in a pizzeria. It was very cheap and it was not bad.

Day 8: Kolding - Christiansfeld - Ribe

Today we visited Kolding, an ancient city of royalty that offers many historical sites. We visit the beautifully restored ruins of Koldinghus Castle. From the castle, there are beautiful views of the Kolding Fjord. We then go south of Kolding to see Christiansfeld, the best preserved old town of Moravia in northern Europe. There is the Church of the brotherhood of Moravia. We ate there after taking a nice walk and seeing its shops.

In the afternoon we went to Ribe. It is the oldest city in Denmark. Ribe is a unique experience for the visitor, the old town and its surroundings with its impressive cathedral. The Cathedral of Ribe (Domkirke, or Vor Frue Kirke Maria) is one of the largest Christian temples in Denmark and is among the highest artistic quality.

It is the city that I liked most of all we have visited so far. It was a shame because at 17:30 they close all the stores and the town remains empty. We took the bicycles and went to meet Ribe, where we walked through the streets of the oldest city in Denmark.

Located in a flat and swampy area, with marvelously well-preserved houses, streets, and monasteries from the medieval period. The city is also home to a fantastic Viking museum. We climb to the top of the Tower of the Plebeians, inside the impressive cathedral, and thus enjoy the breathtaking views of the old town and its surroundings.

We went to Billund trying to find the beaches of Esbjerg, but we did not get it. So we went back to the Billund where we took a tour to see the Lego factories and we went to see the reception of the Lego Hotel with the store where we chop with another box.

That night I slept next to the fjord, in a beautiful country house owned by a couple. For breakfast, my hosts filled me with marinated herring, cold meats, fruits, and yogurt. It was a delight.

Day 9: Billund - Mariager - Skagen - Frederikshavn - Gøteborg

Today we are on our way from Sweden, to Gothenburg. For this, we have to get to Frederikshavn to catch the ferry. We did not take them out very soon. The good news is that it has given us time to see more things on the way to Frederikshavn. We left Billund on the way to Rasted. There we stopped 5 min to take a photo of the Romanesque church.

We have followed the road. We stop at Mariager, to visit the small town and see the Mariager fjord, which is the longest in Denmark with a length of about 35 kilometers. After lunch, we go to Skagen. It is a cape and a beautiful fishing village. There, on the Cape in Grenen, the northernmost point of Denmark, is a spectacular place where two parts of the North Sea, the Kattegat, and the Skagerrak, can be found. In Skagen is one of the first lighthouses of Denmark, the Vippefyr, built in the fifteenth century.

We also visit the bunkers of World War II on the beach. There is a museum too. We go around the beach by bus pulled by the tractor. It has been a shame because this town is worth more than what we have seen this morning and where we have lost a bit of time. After 3 hours in the ferry, we come to sleep in the hotel in Gothenburg.

Day 10 and 11: Gothenburg

We have stayed at the hotel. It was very well located in the center of the city, next to the central station. Gothenburg is a small city. If you do not visit museums or the amusement park, the most important thing in the city can be seen in a day. The Museum of World Culture that has an ambitious and varied program of dynamic and exciting exhibitions from around the world and based on experiences for all the senses.

The first day we decided to take the "Hop On - Hop Off Bus" to tour the city. Being Sunday we thought it was the best option because the stores were going to be closed and that we were going to go around a boring city. But it was not like that. It is almost all open and there is enough activity in the streets. It has taken us through the most touristic areas of Gothenburg. Occasionally we would get off the bus to walk around. We visited:

Fish Market Fisktorget, known as Feskekôrka (church of fish). It is an indoor market where you can buy all kinds of fresh seafood. Just on Sunday and Monday that was when we were, this market closes.

The Kungstorget Market stores and restaurants representatives from all over the world. Outside is Kungstorget with an open-air market selling fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Kungstorget Market

Lilla Bommen is a part of the port of Gothenburg, used for ships that visit the Port. The building of the same name, the Opera, and the Viking ship are located there. Nordstan Shopping Center is the largest shopping center in Scandinavia.

We finished our tour at the gates of the Trädgårdsföreningen (Horticultural Society). It is an oasis of tranquility in the middle of the city. A beautiful place that you can not miss, with a rose garden with more than 4,000 roses, with its greenhouses where you can see cactus, palm trees, and other tropical species. There are several cafes in the park where it is very nice to spend some time.

As the park was near the hotel, we took the car and went for a walk through the Slottsskogen gardens in the southwest of the city which is mostly covered in forest. It is a nice place to take a walk.

We visit Botaniska trädgården, the Botanical Gardens of Gothenburg. Then we move to Läckö Slott on Lake Vänern, a short distance from Gothenburg. It seems straight out of a fairy tale and well worth a visit. We find a very nice place to have a beer and a cider.

The second day we went in the morning to see the neighborhood of Haga. According to the tourist guides, it is the oldest area of ​​the city and has a great charm thanks to its old buildings, narrow streets, and avenues. It is really only worth a street that has typical shops and cafes. I expected more due to its fame but I was a bit disappointed. The stores for being more touristy are also more expensive.

We took a tram and went to Liseberg, the Gothenburg amusement park. There was the option of the Universeum, which they recommended us but we went to the park instead. The trams are easy to catch and they take us all over the city. We pay inside with coins or credit card. The ticket lasts 90 min.

Each attraction cost between 1 and 4 tickets. It is not worth taking the ticket to ride in everything. There are lines to eat. There are also performances. We left there around 7 and took another tram back.

Day 12: Gothenburg - Malmo - Copenhagen

It is our last day of travel. Thank goodness that on the previous days we got very good weather. We had planned to visit the beautiful fishing villages such as Mölle and Arild, as well as coastal cities as unique as Torekov and Båstad. We did not do it due to bad weather and we stopped only in Malmo. I do not know if we did well not stopping in other towns, but the truth is that we liked Malmo a lot and we did not have too much time left.

We went around its streets and visited the district of Västra Hamnen. It has a very urban architecture with an innovative and daring aspect. In the pedestrian streets of the center, there are many shops to visit. We take a nice walk while you see the shops, typical touristy and modern, as there are of all types.

After lunch, we went to Copenhagen to catch the plane. For this, we went through the Øresund bridge that connects Copenhagen with Malmö. It has two train lines and four-lane road, being the longest train-road combined bridge in Europe. Going through this bridge costs a lot of money but it is the fastest way. We arrived at the airport and we finished our trip where we started it. We are very tired but it has been worth it.

Denmark was for me a step forward and a great experience. Not only is it a beautiful country, with nice people it has full of places impossible to forget.
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