By Erin McQuilkin
Denmark might not be on your radar for your next trip, but it absolutely should be. This Scandinavian treasure is an uber-modern, progressive nation risen from Viking roots. Its borders contain an alluring mix of the ancient and modern with archaic burial sites, iconic danish architecture and fairytale castles.
This kingdom is known around the world for its modernist designs, Michelin dining and very happy citizens. Whether you spend your trip luxing around Copenhagen or venture out into some of the nearby picturesque villages, like Odense, you are going to enjoy every second of your time in the land of “hygge”.
Minimalist Copenhagen On The Rise
2020 is a monumental year for sophisticated Copenhagen. It’s beloved square, Kongens Nytorv, will reopen and the M3 (or Cityringen) is now in service, which will smooth and speed up transport around the city and its outer neighbourhoods. In addition, the fabulous Museum of Copenhagen will resume, adding another layer of art and immersive experience to this already rich cultural scene.
Then there are the unchanging delights, like strolling down one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets Strøget while soaking up the danish way of life. The vibrant Tivoli Gardens, the world’s second-oldest amusement park offers beautiful gardens, nightly music like Friday Rock, or rides like the Vertigo to quicken your pulse. If you’re in the mood for something more active, there’s the outdoor skiing slope at CopenHill, where you can swoop down the new artificial ski and snowboard slopes.
Outside The City Of Spires
Spend as much time as you can in uber-cool Copenhagen and then escape out into the picturesque countryside. If you have the time, make your way to Jutland with its captivating landscape of heaths and fjords and rent some bicycles to cruise the hillsides.
Anholt holds another kind of enchantment with its stunning scenes of forest and heaths mixed with desert and sand dunes. When you’re not gazing at the otherworldly landscape, you can spy spotted seals along the coasts or in the seal sanctuary at Totten. And if you really want to have an unforgettable experience on this epic voyage, make your way to the legendary Faroe islands.
Outside scoping the architecture and enjoying nature, there are some unique events to experience during your time in this compelling country. The Hans Christian Anderson Festival, held yearly in his birthplace of Odense, is a perfect stop if you have children or are a fairytale lover. The quaint streets and squares fill with live storytelling, theatre and street performers.
For literary fiends of a noir shade, there is the Crime Fiction Festival held in a prison with top authors and speakers in the crime genre. If you prefer to see Denmark’s roots, you can join the International Viking Market, a re-enactment of a Viking marketplace with battle shows and horses on the Ribe River. For music lovers, the famous Danish music festival, Roskilde, is held every summer in June packed with glammed up festival-goers and some of the worlds best performers. Headliners for 2020 include Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke, Deftones, and Alex Cameron.
Gastronomy Danish Style
Denmark has become a golden child in the gastronomic world with over 27 of its restaurants holding Michelin stars, including the renowned Noma and Geranium. There are so many stars in the dining scene, the nation was awarded the Bocuse d’Or in 2019.
It was the acclaimed Noma who first elevated Danish cuisine with its vegetable-focused, hyperlocal menus. The three Michelin-starred Geranium is another impressive restaurant following the locally sourced trend. Outside the Michelin game, Denmark has plenty of mouth-watering native dishes to dive into.
Start with the iconic comfort food, smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich on dark brown rugbrød, or rye bread, topped with different sauces, vegetables, herbs and either fish or meat. While in Copenhagen you will spy and probably smell the classic pølser stalls all over the streets. These traditional sausages are served with a crusty bun, ketchup, mustard and remoulade with fried onions and pickles on top.
Getting High On Hygge
Denmark exudes coolness and vibes with energy and quality of life that few other nations have. Although it does have a reputation to be expensive, it’s totally possible to keep your budget under $90 USD a day with hostel stays and local transport, but if you to stay in the strikingly designed hotels and dine at a few of the mind-blowing restaurants, you should plan for around $90 USD to $200 USD. Cosy up with your partner or break bread with some locals to get that convivial feeling and give this fascinating and understated nation a whirl in 2020, you might just find your new favourite place.