Denmark - Attractions
Copenhagen has been Denmark's capital for 600 years and is the largest city in Scandinavia. It's an appealing and largely low-rise city comprised of block after block of period six-storey buildings. Church steeples punctuate the skyline, with only a couple of modern hotels marring the view.
The city's seemingly interminable pedestrian mall, Strøget, has great shopping and entertainment, from street theatre to the parade of passersby. The famous Tivoli funfair serves up fun in more traditional forms while the cosmopolitan Latin Quarter will tempt you with its coffee aromas.
Egeskov Castle, complete with moat and drawbridge, is a Renaissance gem. Built in 1554, in the middle of a small lake, Egeskov rests on a foundation of thousands of upright oak trunks. The expansive 15-hectare park includes century-old privet hedges, free-roaming peacocks, a topiary and manicured English gardens.
The interior has antique furnishings, grand period paintings and an abundance of hunting trophies. For those who enjoy labyrinths, there's a 200-year-old bamboo maze. Also on the grounds is an antique car museum, which displays about 300 period cars. Located south of Odense on the island of Funen, Egeskov Castle is accessible by train and bus.
Legoland, a kilometre north of the small Jutland town of Billund, is a 10-hectare theme park built from plastic Lego blocks, and is not recommended to anyone who fears having their childhood writ both large and Lilliputian in 42 million pieces.
The spectacular white chalk cliffs rise 128m above sea level, presenting one of the most striking landscapes in Denmark. Created 5000 years ago, the cliffs were formed when calcareous deposits were uplifted from the ocean floor. You can walk down the cliffs to the beach and directly back up again in about 30 minutes, or walk along the shoreline in either direction and then loop back up through a thick forest of wind-gnarled beech trees for a hardier walk of about one and a half hours.
Møns Klint is located on the island of Møn, south of Zealand, to which it is connected by bridge and serviced daily by bus.
Ribe is the oldest town in Scandinavia; recent excavations have unearthed a number of silver coins, indicating that a market town once existed on the site as far back as AD 700. Incessant wars with Sweden strangled regional commerce, resulting in Ribe's decline as an important medieval trading centre. Its economic decline has, nevertheless, spared it from modernisation. With its crooked, cobbled streets and half-timbered 16th-century houses, visiting Ribe is like stepping into a living museum.
The town's dominant landmark, Ribe Cathedral, stands as a fine testament to Ribe's prominent past. For a lofty view of the countryside, climb the cathedral's 14th-century tower. Ribes Vikinger is a huge museum with displays of Ribe's Viking and medieval history. One exhibition hall has a reproduction of an AD 800 marketplace, complete with a cargo-laden Viking ship; and there's also a multimedia room where you can explore the Viking era via computers, light and sound. Just south of the town centre is the Vikingecenter, which has attempted to re-create Viking-era Ribe through various reconstructions, including a 34-metre (1112ft) Fyrkat-style longhouse. Ribe is in southern Jutland, accessible by trains from Esbjerg (35 minutes) and Tønder (50 minutes).
The commercial and cultural centre of Jutland, Århus is a lively university city with one of Denmark's best music and entertainment scenes. It has the added attraction of an open-air museum with 75 restored buildings brought here from around Denmark and reconstructed as a provincial town.