Cute and compact, Denmark is a harmonious blend of the old and the new. Ancient castles and Viking ring forts exist side-by-side with lively cities and the sleekest modern design you’ll ever see. Over a millennium ago Danish Vikings brought the country to the world’s attention when they took to the seas and ravaged half of Europe, but these days they’ve filed down their horns and forged a society that stands as a benchmark of civilisation, with progressive policies, widespread tolerance and a liberal social-welfare system.
Best time to visit
May and June or AD 900 if pillaging is your thing.
• Knocking back a local beer while enjoying a summer evening on Nyhavn canal
• Letting your hair down at northern Europe’s largest rock festival, Roskilde Festival
• Being charmed by the cobbled streets and well-preserved buildings of Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town
• Building (and destroying) your own mini-empire at Legoland
• Dipping a toe at Skagen, where the waters of Kattegat and Skagerrak clash
• Cycling from end to end of this flat landscape on the extensive bike routes
• Exploring a Viking ring fortress at Trelleborg
Food and drink
Smǿrrebrǿd (the famous Danish open-faced sandwich), frikadeller (Danish meatballs of pork mince, served with potatoes and gravy), sild (pickled herring), and of course Daniesh pastries, known locally as wienerbrǿd (literally, Vienna bread).
ǿl (beer, or Akvavit (schnapps) – but you have to swallow it in one swig
Denmark has virtually no down hill skiing because its highest mountain is 147m; not all Danes are blonde and blue-eyed.