It might not have the azure fjords and soaring peaks of Sweden and Norway, but Denmark, the smallest of the four Scandinavian countries, has a unique charm that is all its own.
A land of flat farmland pockmarked with Viking burial mounds, the peace of the Danish countryside belies a historical reputation for terror and a modern one for producing some of the finest murder mysteries on television.
Copenhagen, the capital, is a cool, cosmopolitan city whose debonair inhabitants foster an affable atmosphere more typical of a small town than capital city. Synonymous with bold architecture and cutting-edge design, Copenhagen is also a culinary pioneer. The city’s cobbled streets and windswept squares harbour some of the best restaurants in the world, most notably Noma, the brilliant brainchild of Rene Redzepi.
The suburbs also sparkle. There’s Vesterbro, made famous by the hit television show, The Killing, and Nyhavn, best known for its quaint harbour, colourful merchants’ houses and throbbing nightlife.
But there’s more to Denmark than its cool capital. Zealand, the island on which Copenhagen sits, is also home to Roskilde – once the Viking capital of Denmark. Along with a soaring UNESCO-listed cathedral, there’s a museum housing one of the best-preserved Viking ships ever uncovered and a smattering of pretty cafés, shops and galleries.
To the north, on the main Jutland peninsular, there’s more Viking fun to be had; from visiting the mighty runestones at Jelling to tucking into a Viking supper at Lindholm Høje.
Smaller rural towns such as Vejle and Aarhus offer have a lot to offer in the form of art galleries and adventure activities such as kayaking, hiking or horse riding.
Of all Denmark’s towns, though, none is lovelier than Skagen. A seaside settlement at the tip of the Jutland peninsular, it is a favourite amongst Danish families, who come to bask on golden beaches and watch scintillating Scandinavian sunsets.