Denmark Adventure Overview
Living in Germany certainly has its perks. It is a very central country with opportunities for adventure in every direction. Germany shares its boarders with France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark. The options were many but I only had 10 days to plan an action packed adventure, so we decided that a tour of Denmark would be the smart move.
Denmark, or as it is officially known “the Kingdom of Denmark” is the most southern of all the Scandinavian countries which is located north of Germany, West of Sweden and South of Norway. It is made up of more than 400 islands and is essentially one large archipelago (island chain or grouping) which has been connected to the main land via an extensive network of bridges, tunnels and ferries.
We broke the trip up into 3 cities and the areas surrounding these cities namely Aarhus (Århus) located on the island of Jutland, Odense on the island of Funen and lastly the magnificent city of Copenhagen (København) on the islands of Zealand and Amager. I have divided this post into 3 with the cities and surrounding areas being covered each on a separate post. In addition to this, I have included the google review links that I have written for a number of the sights that we visited.
The border crossing between Germany and Denmark is located just north of Flensburg and does not feature a passport control. While Denmark maintains its own currency (Danish Krone or DKK), it is still part of the European Union. It is always advisable to keep identity documents on you to show that you are legally in the union and dogs require the blue EU Canine Passport to prove that they are in good health and have all the requirements such as micro chipping.
Denmark being part of the European Union has the benefit that its economy appears to enjoy the use of a dual currency system mostly seen in the larger cities. One can often go into coffee houses or normal shops and request the prices in Euros if that is your currency of choice.
Visa and master cards are widely accepted however we did experience some issues with our master card, so if you have both, plan to use the Visa where possible. There are a number of money exchanges in the main centres however, should you spend Euros, you will always receive Krone back.
It is easy to withdraw from the many ATMs located throughout the country where one can often specify either Krone or Euros as the cash payout option. It must be noted though that some banks charge a surcharge for withdrawals from foreign banks whereas others do not. That being said, do not be too eager to withdraw from the first bank should there be additional charges as it is not the case with all banks. Shop around.
Contrary to what one might expect, the Danes are incredibly friendly, they are not all the humourless grim people I personally have heard about and I that was a pleasant surprise. We travelled with our Ozzie and I cannot count how many times people stopped us on the street to talk to us about her or to pet her. This is a really welcome change when living in Germany as the Germans stay well away from dogs and very rarely stop to chat to you.
Coffee culture is one of the major cornerstones of the Danish way of life. Denmark ranks 4th in the world for coffee consumption behind Finland, Norway and Iceland with an average of 4 cups/day per person being consumed. That being said, we found there we in fact 2 things in abundance, one being coffee outlets and secondly hairdressers. So when visiting Denmark, one can expect to find well groomed coffee junkies everywhere.
Denmark is characterized as one of the most economically and socially developed countries in the world where citizens command a very high standard of living. This is largely due to the country having relatively low income disparity which contributes to it having one of the highest social mobility ratings in the world. Unfortunately, this also comes with a high price tag with the Danes having to shoulder one of the highest personal tax burdens in the world.
The Danes take great pride in their cities which are culturally rich, clean and safe. As with any place where humans are, there are bad elements however the overall impression is that the cities are well maintained and tourist friendly.
The Danes are on the forefront of green energy with cycling being the main form of transport in the major cities. There are approx. 5 bicycles for every 4 people in Denmark with Copenhagen competing for the top spot against the likes of Amsterdam in the Netherlands as the most bike friendly city in the world.
There are a number of bicycle rental companies that will rent bicycles to tourists with some of these having on board computers assisting with navigation. The bicycles are accessed using mobile phone apps that are available for both IOS and Android systems. Some of the companies offering bicycle rentals include Bar50, Donkey Republic and Bycyklen to name but a few. There are shops that offer rentals as well however these are brick and mortar shops that will need to be personally visited to contract a rental.
Public transport is well laid out with both buses and underground systems being available. Tickets can be bought on the buses or at the stations using the electronic automates or tourist information centres. Dogs are allowed on the trains but are not allowed universally on all buses. We found this inconsistently applied in Copenhagen where some buses allowed us to travel with our dog whereas others refused entrance. Buses also only take cash and only in the form of Krone, so make sure you have enough with you. If you are unsure, people using the public transport systems are really friendly and will be more than willing to assist you should you feel unsure of your route or bus number.
The DSB App (abbreviation for Danske Statsbaner) also available on both Android and IOS systems is the Danish public transport app where one can plan your journey, purchase tickets and check for the nearest stations. I found this most helpful in getting around and with only a short amount of time needed to register, I was able to use this app without any major issues.
If you are planning of driving around Denmark, as we did, the road network is really world-class with enormous investment being poured into constructing and maintaining the road network throughout the island nation. The bridges are really spectacular however, be aware that the toll to cross these bridges is expensive even for European standards.
No real surprises here where the main dishes native to the Danish archipelago having strong similarities to those of its neighbours Sweden, Norway and Germany with dishes consisting of mainly meat, fish and potatoes. Open sandwiches on rye bread, known as smørrebrød, is a traditional staple of Danish lunch menus and should definitely be sampled on your visit to Denmark.
As with any world-class cities, you will find all sorts of foods from around the world such as Turkish, Italian, French etc should the Danish food not be to your liking – there will always be other alternatives on offer.
Eating out is very expensive, so we opted for street food and markets as a more cost effective alternative. This does not mean that we compromised on taste or quality. The standards of the street food markets are incredibly high and you will not be disappointed by it nor will you miss out on the authentic Danish experience should you decide to go this route.
Denmark was definitely not the cheapest of the destinations we have travelled to but I must say it was worth it. The overall experience was great, people were super and the country stunningly beautiful. The weather was cold but dry which we were very fortunate to have in November.
We will be returning to Copenhagen in the summer as the city will look completely different as compared to the winter setting. Europe in winter has its own special charm with its Christmas markets and Denmark is no exception. The lights and markets create a special atmosphere that is unlike any other time of year. That being said, both summer and winter have both positive and negative points and one cannot go wrong with either time of year.
This is but a brief overview of the Kingdom of Denmark and the links below give better in depth reviews of the cities of Århus, Odense and Copenhagen. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and should you have any questions about Denmark then leave me a comment below and I will assist you with your query.
Should you have any questions regarding out journey through Denmark, leave it in the comments section and I will gladly get back to you.