In the pursuit of happiness: According to a UN study, Danes are among the happiest people in the world. The Danish life philosophy of “Hygge” (literally translated as “cosiness”) is now also a well-known concept in Germany. It’s not just the positive attitude towards life and Danish hospitality that makes Germany’s neighbours to the north a popular destination – the country, with its special location between the North Sea and Baltic Sea also offers breath-taking nature, picturesque towns and millennia-old culture. Copenhagen and Billund can be reached directly by plane from Berlin. Between the two cities, a roundtrip by car is a great way to search for clues to happiness and to get to know the country in all of its enchanting diversity. Here we suggest some highlights and insider tips for a road trip through our neighbouring country.
Start in Copenhagen: The capital city between hygge and hippies
The capital city of Denmark is the starting point of the journey. Copenhagen is a city with a high quality of life, vibrant and cosy at the same time. The centre can be wonderfully explored on foot – the main attractions include the Little Mermaid statue, the Tivoli amusement park with a lot of nostalgic flair and the old port of Nyhavn, the lovely facades of which shape the Copenhagen cityscape. From Nyhavn, boat tours start through the harbour installation and the idyllic canals of the city centre, which are also ideal for sightseeing from the waterside. Freetown Christiania in the heart of the centre is truly a phenomenon and also worth a visit – for around 40 years, the neighbourhood has been firmly in the hands of hippies, alternatives and dropouts and is tolerated by the state.
Historic Zealand: In the footsteps of the Vikings
Denmark’s capital is located on the easternmost and largest of the country’s main islands, the historically rich Zealand. Start off in the rental car with a short break on the so-called “Danish Riviera”, which starts just a stone’s throw away from Copenhagen on Zealand’s north coast. Long, white sandy beaches and a calm sea are especially suitable for families with children. Via Roskilde, the once royal city (tip: absolutely visit the Viking Ship Museum!), head southeast towards the island of Møn. With its steep chalk coasts, Møns Klint is a highlight of any trip to Denmark – at a length of six kilometres, white cliffs rise majestically from the turquoise Baltic Sea 128 metres high. (Tip – a cliff and beach walk is worth doing)
Fairy tale Funen: Island-hopping like Robinson Crusoe
West of Zealand is the island of Funen (Fyn in Danish). It is the link between Zealand in the east and the Jutland peninsula in the west. On the journey from Copenhagen on Zealand to Jutland, Funen is often ignored – unjustly! When traversing through the island – far from the motorways is best – new, fairy tale landscapes never fail to open up: gentle, green hills, white sand beaches, turquoise sea, in between castles, thatched half-timber houses and picturesque port towns. For instance, the port town of Svendborg in the southeast, with its maritime charm, is well worth seeing. You should also definitely visit the island’s capital, Odense. It’s the third largest city in Denmark and the birthplace of the famous Dane Hans Christian Andersen. As you stroll through the side streets of the picturesque city, you will always bump into traces of the famous fairy tale author.
Jutland between the seas: Natural idyll with an amusement park
From Funen onwards to Jutland, on the mainland and to Denmark’s North Sea coast on the west – here the landscape is shaped by the tides; the sea and the climate are a bit rougher than on the Baltic Sea. The Wadden Sea National Park stretches along the southern part of the coast with its unique landscape being considered one of the largest coastal and tidal wetlands in the world with a special biodiversity. A ten kilometres long dam extends from the mainland to the southernmost Wadden Sea island of Rømø, its wide, white sand beaches are amongst the most beautiful in Europe. Also in the southwest of Jutland is one of the top attractions for a holiday to Denmark – the Legoland amusement park near Billund is a must for children big or small.
Berlin – Denmark flight connections
Take off from Berlin to Copenhagen direct several times per day (with Norwegian Air International. easyJet and SAS), which is an ideal starting point for a Denmark round trip. Ryanair also connects Berlin to Billund every Monday, Friday and Sunday.
Good to know…
- Nowhere in Denmark is more than 50 kilometres away from the coast
- Denmark is made up of the Jutland peninsula and 405 islands
- The “ø” and “øer” endings mean “island” or “islands” and are already included in the name of many Danish islands or island groups – so the English name for “Farø island” is saying the same thing twice!
- The traditional Smørrebrød is a rich open-faced sandwich and a staple meal in Danish cuisine. The basis is a slice of bread, usually rye bread, which is topped with a variety of ingredients – not too little, of course – such as fish, sausage, cheese, salad and sauce. It is recommended to eat Smørrebrød with a knife and fork, not with hands.
- Denmark is also famous for its creative cuisine, such as in Copenhagen where there are numerous street food markets with exciting food creations (for example, a cross between Smørrebrød and sushi = smushi), and the city alone has 15 Michelin-starred restaurants. Noma in Copenhagen has been known for years as the best restaurant in the world.
- LEGO was invented in Denmark, with the name based on the abbreviation of the Danish words “leg godt” (“play well” in English).
- Miriam lives in Denmark and blogs about the most beautiful areas of her homeland: https://adventurousmiriam.com/road-trip-in-denmark/
- Insider tips for Denmark’s capital city Copenhagen from the city’s residents can be found here: https://www.spottedbylocals.com/copenhagen/
- If you want to know more about “hygge”, learn a bit more about the life philosophy here: https://www.countryliving.com/life/a41187/what-is-hygge-things-to-know-about-the-danish-lifestyle-trend/