The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Denmark is most probably Lego, the famous Danish toy, which continues to thrill young and old alike. But there’s much more that makes it worth visiting: from Tivoli, the Little Mermaid, breathtaking nature, dreamy coastline to the New Nordic Cuisine.
LEGO derives from the phrase “leg godt”, which in Danish means “play well”. Founded in 1932 by a Danish carpenter from Billund, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, the company has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of toys with thousands of stores all around the world. Here, simplicity is the key and less is more. It is thus no wonder that they thrill young and old alike. In Billund, where it all started, Legoland, the theme amusement park made from LEGO bricks was built in 1968. It attracts a great number of visitors and from 2017 features also the Lego House, which is divided into colour-coded play zones.
Hygge is currently one of the hippest expressions in the world and closely connected with Denmark. Actually the word itself got there in the 18th century from Norway and ever since, the Danes have taken it for their own. Consequently the concept of hygge is 100% associated with the Danish. But what exactly does it mean? Hygge is tricky to define, but the closest one might get is “creating a warm atmosphere”. It is enjoying the good things in life with good people. It is taking time for yourself and loving every minute of it. It is a concept of a happy life, which Danish seem to master.
Not only that Denmark boasts a total of 31 Michelin Stars and 26 star-studded restaurants, the country is also home to the innovative concept of the New Nordic cuisine, which focuses on seasonal ingredients and organic products. It follows the guidelines of “less is more”, the concept which has been brought into cuisine by Rene Retzepi, famous head chef in an even more famous Noma restaurant. If you were a foodie twenty years ago, you would definitely not have opted for Denmark, but this has changed and nowadays, Denmark is considered one of the top foodie destinations, and yes: visitors do fly here just to eat at a certain restaurant. Noma 2.0., the latest restaurant by Retzepti, was sold out before it even opened.
The Danish monarchy is one of the oldest in the world. Queen Margrethe II, who currently reigns, can clearly trace her lineage back to the first Viking kings of Denmark, who lived here more than 1,000 years ago. Today, royal family remains very popular, as members of the family engage in many diplomatic and charity events and are thus important ambassadors for the country. You can also visit many castles dotted around the country, among them Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand, Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, Roseborg and Marselisborg.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, boasts a number of historic landmarks, impressive buildings and other sights worth visiting. No wonder: its history is much longer than its first written records from 1043 AC, when it was called “Havn” (a harbour) and inhabitants mainly dealt with fishing. Some say it existed already more than 6,000 years ago. But the milestone was in 1343, when King Valdemar Atterdag made it the capital of Denmark. Today, the hometown of the Danish royal family and Scandinavia’s largest city attracts a number of visitors. Its main asset is that most popular attractions and sights are within walking distance. The most famous ones are Tivoli Gardens, the statue of the Little Mermaid and the freetown of Christiania.
The charming town of Ribe, intertwined with cobblestone streets and red brick and half-timbered houses, is the oldest in Denmark. It consequently boasts many sights which are considered “the oldest” for Denmark, among them the oldest cathedral (Vor Frue Kirke), the oldest town hall (Den Gamle Radhus) and the oldest hotel (Hotel Dagmar) etc. Established by the Vikings, back in 700 AD, the town is steeped with medieval history, which best preserved traces of the Viking history. Places worth visiting are the Ribe Viking Museum, which houses a full sized model of a Viking market and a ship, or Ribe Vikinge Center, which depicts the town in 825 AD, when the town was bustling with life.
A visit to Skagen, Denmark’s northernmost city, is an absolute must. Here, you’ll find things to do all year around. Surrounded with over 60 km of lovely white beaches, Skagen is considered Denmark’s main fishing port. No wonder: here Skagerrak and Kattegat seas meet. Located on the east coast of the Skagen Odde peninsula in the far north of Jutland, it annually attracts a great number of visitors, among them many families with children. Additional asset are white sandy beaches and the fact that Skagen is known for being the sunniest in Denmark. The town itself is bustling with excellent restaurants, cafes and inspiring museums.
The cliffs of Møn and the surrounding islands form Denmark’s first biosphere reserve listed among UNESCO World Heritage sites. The area is considered one of the top sustainable tourism spots in the country. According to UNESCO, biosphere reserves are learning places for sustainable development where the aim is to reconcile biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. This reserve includes islands and islets in the southern Baltic Sea and exemplifies one of the greatest natural creations in the area. You can explore it on foot, by bike, on horseback, in the sea kayak or on board of one of the traditional ships. A perfect place to recharge your batteries and explore the endless beauties of the breathtaking nature.
The homeland of Santa Claus awaits you in all its glory. Remarkable natural features, such as Aurora Borealis or the midnight sun, over 188,000 lakes, the trendy capital Helsinki and atop of all this Finnish design, which has become a synonym for minimalism and functionality worldwide.
Sweden is not only the homeland of H&M and Ikea, it's a country with breathtaking natural features, crystal-clear lakes, cool festivals and inspiring culture. Not to mention the freedom to roam or Allemansrätten - believe it or not, Sweden has listed the entire country on Airbnb.