Small Towns In Denmark

Beautiful Danish villages and pretty small towns in Denmark that you must visit this year

There are plenty of pretty small towns in Denmark dotted throughout the mainland and its countless picturesque islands. If you’re ready to explore the most beautiful Danish villages and small towns, you’re in the right place — let’s get started!

When many tourists come to Denmark, they rarely venture outside of Copenhagen. And while the country’s capital city can keep you entertained for weeks, you’ll find plenty of hidden gems and beautiful towns to discover hygge if you dare to leave the city center.

Although Denmark is a small country, each region has a very unique local culture. If you visit the towns closer to the southern parts of the Jutland peninsula, you might notice a German influence.

Meanwhile, others will have a distinct maritime feel — and almost all of them wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a chocolate box.

Since Denmark isn’t too big, you can visit at least a couple of the towns we mention on a single trip to the country; most of them are within simple reach of the country’s major cities, too.

And if you come to live in Copenhagen or Aarhus, you might want to check a couple of them out if you fancy resettling and leaving the modern city life behind.

Okay, we’ve harped on for long enough. Without further ado, here is our list of the most beautiful villages and small towns in Denmark.

Small Towns In Denmark

Dragør

Dragør is a popular day trip from Copenhagen for locals and visitors alike. We’re not surprised at all; this quaint town just south of the capital is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours, regardless of the weather.

Dragør is Denmark as you always imagined it. At the bottom tip of Amager, it’s often at the wind’s mercy. As you wander along the cobblestone streets, you’ll see numerous colorful houses and a harbor with plenty of fishing boats.

Despite its small size — fewer than 20,000 people live here — you’ll find a pretty impressive range of things to do. On a clear day, you can see the Øresund Bridge with Sweden on the horizon. Inside the town, you’ll notice a selection of restaurants and bakeries — plus a popular ice cream parlor.

Dragør is right next to Copenhagen Airport, and you can get a bus directly from both there and the city center. Alternatively, you can try the Amarminoen walk — a pretty easy hike that starts close to Copenhagen city center.

Useful tip: When we said Dragør is windy, we weren’t joking. Bring a jacket and warm clothing, even if you plan to visit in the summer.

Find places to stay in Dragør.

Small Towns In Denmark

Stege

If you look at a map of Denmark, you’ll notice three islands south of Sjælland that look like they’re an extension: Falster, Lolland, and Møn. Møn is a popular getaway for Copenhageners, many of whom come to witness the marvelous cliffs at Møns Klint.

As you drive onto Møn, Stege — the island’s largest town — is usually one of your first stops before heading onwards. Besides visiting the supermarket and maybe filling up the car, few people pay much attention to Stege — but that’s a bit of a mistake if you ask us.

Roughly two hours south of Copenhagen, Stege is a charming town with a couple of superb places to eat. If you’re into burgers, we recommend Den Gamle Bryghus for some excellent grub and beer. In the town center, you’ll also find a couple of “hyggelige” cafés and pretty architecture.

Stege has a unique charm, and it’s especially nice to visit during the summer when you can experience the Tuesday market. On several days throughout the warmer months, you’ll find countless stools with all kinds of products to purchase.

After taking in the small town vibe, you can drive onwards to Møns Klint — where you’ll find excellent camping spots close by and beautiful clear skies at night.

Find places to stay in Stege.

Small Towns In Denmark

Køge

Many people that take day trips from Copenhagen tend to venture north on Sjælland. Alternatively, they might go over the Øresund Bridge to experience Malmö and Southern Sweden — or westwards to visit the numerous museums in Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen.

If you’re willing to venture just south instead, you’ll find yourself in a pretty little town called Køge (the locals and Lonely Planet reliably inform us that you pronounce it as “koo”). Køge is less than 40 kilometers from Copenhagen’s city center, and it’s a short drive or train ride away.

Køge is one of Sjælland’s most important market towns; with a population of just over 38,000, it’s one of the larger places on our list. Arguably its main attraction is the striking church with an observation deck, though you can only visit the top part in July each year.

Closer to ground level, you’ll find plenty of other reasons to fall in love with Køge. The town is one of the best places in Denmark to go café-hopping, and your kids will enjoy the interactive Køge museum in the city center.

Køge has plenty of streets for postcard-perfect Instagram shots, but one of its more unique attractions is Køge Nord station. Its interior features interesting patterns that will make you feel like you’re going through a futuristic airport and not simply waiting for a train back to the city.

Køge is 30-45 minutes from Copenhagen by train and around 45 minutes from the city center by car.

Find places to stay in Køge.

Small Towns In Denmark

Hillerød

If we talk about Hillerød as a whole, it’s perhaps not the most exciting place on our small towns in Denmark list. However, we’re including it for one reason: it has the country’s most picturesque castles and one that is well worth visiting if you find yourself in Copenhagen.

Frederiksborg Slot is arguably the most impressive castle on Sjælland; we’d argue that it stakes a claim for beating Kronborg Slot in Helsingør, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was the setting for one of the most famous William Shakespeare plays.

Built in a Dutch Renaissance style, walking around its exterior will make you feel like you’ve suddenly been transported to the charming town of Bruges in Belgium.

Behind Frederiksborg Slot, you’ll discover acres of green spaces and wonderful gardens. To get to the castle, you can choose whether you’d like to walk or get a boat across the moat. You can go inside to visit the museum, and tickets are available online.

In the center of Hillerød, you’ll find various shopping opportunities — plus a selection of bars and restaurants. If you’re going elsewhere on Sjælland, it’s a good hub for getting to the Danish Riviera by public transport.

Hillerød is just under 40 minutes from Copenhagen by train. 

Find places to stay in Hillerød.

Small Towns In Denmark

Tisvilde

As you journey north of Copenhagen, you’ll find a seemingly-endless beautiful coastline. One of the best places worth visiting on Nordsjælland is Tisvilde, a small town with fewer than 2,000 residents.

For many Copenhageners, Tisvilde is a resort town and a popular destination for summer holidays. You’ll find numerous colorful houses close to Tisvildeleje, which we listed as one of the best beaches in and around the capital region.

Tisvilde has plenty of natural beauty away from the town, though, and that’s the main reason most tourists come here. You’ll find a huge forest close to the beach, in which wild deer roam. You’ll typically only see a glimpse of them, though, as they usually don’t interact with humans.

Closer to the sea, you’ll find a spacious beach with several facilities — such as places to buy ice cream — close by.

Tisvilde is roughly 75 minutes north of Copenhagen by public transport and 50-65 minutes away by car.

Find places to stay in Tisvilde.

Small Towns In Denmark

Silkeborg

We haven’t yet listed any Danish villages or towns on Jutland, so we figured that now is probably a good time to change that. For our first Jutlandic entry, you’ll find yourself in Silkeborg — which is right in the center of Denmark’s lake district.

Silkeborg is a great place for outdoor sports, and many Danes head to this region to enjoy their long summer breaks. Close to the city, you can enjoy a day trip to Himmelbjerget — Denmark’s highest natural point.

The literal translation to English is “the Heaven Mountain”, and it’s a grand total of… 147 meters above sea level.

Silkeborg is also worth visiting if you’re interested in kayaking and going for walks in luscious forests. It’s not far from Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus; you can get here in around 40 minutes on both the train and by car.

Find places to stay in Silkeborg.

Small Towns In Denmark

Ærøskøbning

Just south of the island of Funen is the timeless island of Ærø. This fairytale destination is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of Danes when you mention it to them, even if that’s simply because they enjoy watching you try to pronounce its name.

Ærø is also a popular tourist destination for people looking to get married, but there’s plenty more to the island than putting a ring on it. Its largest town, Ærøskøbing, is another main reason you should visit.

Ærøskøbing has an abundance of glorious cobblestone streets and historic buildings, in addition to some of Denmark’s most picturesque beach huts. If you’re a photographer, you’ll almost certainly have a field day here.

In addition to Instagram material, you’ll also find a selection of places to stay and eat in Ærøskøbing. Moreover, the town is an excellent launchpad for adventures elsewhere on the island.

To get to Ærøskøbing, you can take the ferry from Svendborg (which, by the way, is also worth exploring). The journey takes around an hour and 15 minutes.

Find places to stay in Ærøskøbing.

Small Towns In Denmark

Nordby (Fanø)

If you go to the western parts of Jutland, you might find yourself in Esbjerg. Though you will find a couple of attractions — such as the Men at Sea Sculpture — Denmark’s fifth largest city doesn’t have the best reputation among those living in this country.

Luckily, you can escape the grit in just 10 minutes if you hop on a ferry to Fanø. The island is pretty small, and its largest town is Nordby. Despite the Danish mainland being a short trip away, you’ll quickly feel like you’re in another world.

Nordby has a number of pleasant small streets and several thatched roof houses that might just convince you to move here. It’s also home to the Fanø Museum, where you can learn more about the island’s history.

Close to Nordby is Fanø Strand, a large beach that you’re allowed to take the car onto.

Find places to stay in Nordby.

Small Towns In Denmark

Ribe

If you’re in the Esbjerg area, Ribe might be the main reason you visited. Dating back to the 8th century, Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark — and boy, does it feel so quintessentially Danish.

Ribe’s old town is remarkably well-maintained, with dominating churches and a whole host of colorful houses in different architectural styles. In perhaps contradictory fashion, Ribe is pretty charming on a rainy day when you’ll have much of the town to yourself.

Even if you did nothing other than walk around and explore, you’ll have spent your day well. But considering that Ribe has such a rich history, it’s worth participating in some of the many cultural activities.

One of the best is to join the night watchman tour, which happens every evening at sunset. Doing so is free.

Find places to stay in Ribe.

Small Towns In Denmark

Skagen

You’ll do well to find someone that doesn’t like Skagen; it’s one of the best towns in Denmark without any shadow of a doubt.

Located right in the north of the country, Skagen has year-round appeal — whether that’s enjoying the unique summer evening light or marveling at the aggression of the sea(s) during the winter.

Skagen is your quintessential Danish village, and its center is pretty compact. At the tip of the peninsula, you’ll find Grenen — which is where you can see the Baltic Sea and the North Sea come together. If you’re lucky, you might also spot some seals lounging around on the beach.

Closer to the town, you can marvel at artwork inspired from this part of the world at Skagens Museum. And with more than enough water at your disposal, you don’t need to worry about finding an excellent seafood restaurant to enjoy some freshly-caught food.

Skagen looks quite remote on a map, but it’s pretty accessible from elsewhere in Denmark. You can get here from Copenhagen by train in roughly six hours, though you’ll need to make some changes along the way.

As for driving, it’s just over five hours away.

Find places to stay in Skagen.

Small Towns In Denmark

Ebeltoft

Not far from Aarhus is the quaint town of Ebeltoft. It’s one of the best towns in Denmark if you’re looking for cobblestone streets, if not the best. As you wander its streets, you’ll probably forget all about the modern city life that’s only around an hour away.

Walking around Ebeltoft’s core is well worth a couple of hours, but that’s not the only thing you can do here. Throughout the town, you’ll find several opportunities for shopping — regardless of whether you’re looking for clothes, flowers, or food.

Depending on how much time you’ve got, you might also want to venture just outside of Ebeltoft to Mols Bjerge national park. In a huge plot twist for much of Denmark, you can enjoy hiking across rolling hills and enjoy a few out toward the sea — plus more.

You can get public transport from the country’s second largest city to Ebeltoft, but it’s perhaps easier to drive. You’ll get here in around 50 minutes by car, and 75-90 minutes if you take public transport.

Find places to stay in Ebeltoft.

Small Towns In Denmark
Credit: Carsten Wiehe

Mariager

Jutland is full of hidden gems, and Mariager is one of many small towns in Denmark that slips under the radar. Just over 2,500 people live in this charming town on the banks of the Mariager Fjord, where you’ll find colorful houses and street scenes that might somewhat remind you of Dragør.

In addition to its cute streets, Mariager has a selection of galleries and museums — including Mariager Museum and Galleri Halmtorvet. You’ll also find a good range of accommodation if you fancy staying overnight.

Mariager is 17 minutes from Hobro by car and 23 minutes if you use public transport. It’s just inside the Nordjylland region, but the town is on the southernmost fringes; you’ll need to drive for an hour from Aalborg.

Find places to stay in Mariager.

Small Towns In Denmark

Rønne

If you leave Denmark and head way out into the Baltic Sea, you’ll eventually bump into the paradisiacal island of Bornholm. Bornholm is known for its distinct dialect of Danish and is just off the Swedish mainland; Poland is to the island’s south.

When you visit Bornholm, you’ll probably begin your adventure in Rønne — the island’s largest town. And before you head out to enjoy the rest of this island’s wonders (including another settlement we’ll mention later), you should dedicate a bit of time to explore its main attractions.

Rønne’s core has several streets lined with the typical Danish houses that you’ve grown to know and love at this point. You can also marvel at its gorgeous white church, which is a prerequisite for the unique round versions you’ll later notice across the island.

Rønne is very accessible from both Denmark and Sweden. You can get the ferry from Ystad in the south of Sweden, as well as Køge if you’re coming from Denmark.

Find places to stay in Rønne.

Small Towns In Denmark

Helsingør

If you’ve spent any amount of time living in Copenhagen, you’ve probably ventured north to visit the wonderful town of Helsingør.

Arguably Denmark’s true capital of hygge, Helsingør is a historic small city – with plenty of pretty shopping streets and numerous cafés that you’ll do well to resist stepping inside of.

Helsingør is also well-known for the imposing Kronborg Slot, which was the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet play. Its exterior is great for walking around, and you can see over to the Swedish city of Helsingborg from the beach.

In some instances, your phone network provider might change to a Swedish one if you’ve got roaming switched on.

In Helsingør, you’ll also find the M/S Museum for Søfart — an excellent place for learning about Denmark’s maritime history.

Helsingør is around 50 minutes from Copenhagen by train.

Find places to stay in Helsingør.

Small Towns In Denmark
Credit: Wolfgang Pehlemann

Nyborg

If you’ve ever taken the train from Copenhagen to Odense, you’ll probably have stopped in Nyborg along the way. As far as small towns in Denmark go, it’s a lowkey destination — but it’s one with a rich history that you might not be particularly aware of.

Nyborg dates back to the 12th century, making it one of the oldest towns in Denmark. You can enjoy several attractions here, including Nyborg Castle and a church that has striking similarities to the main cathedral in Aarhus.

Close to Nyborg, you can also enjoy a view of the Great Belt Bridge that connects Sjælland and Fyn.

Nyborg is just over an hour from Copenhagen by train.

Find places to stay in Nyborg.

Small Towns In Denmark

Gudhjem

Bornholm is full of hidden gems, and it’s not difficult to see why the island is so popular with not only the Danes — but also Swedish and German tourists. While Rønne is by far the largest settlement, it’s not the only one worth visiting.

If you travel to the northeast of Bornholm, you’ll find Gudhjem — a small Danish village of 750 people. Down at street level, you’ll find a couple of restaurants where you can stop for some delicious food and a glass of beer.

But arguably, the best place to enjoy the view of Gudhjem is from Bokul — a viewing spot just outside the town.

Close to Guhjem, you’ll find a number of attractions — including the Røverborgen rock formation and Østerlars Kirke (the largest round church on Bornholm).

Gudhjem is just over 20 minutes from Rønne by car. You can take a bus or cycle, too, but both options are much longer.

Find places to stay in Gudhjem.

You’ll find plenty of pretty small towns in Denmark when you visit

While Copenhagen deserves a significant amount of your time, you’ll find plenty of small towns in Denmark — as well as numerous Danish villages — that are worth visiting.

You don’t need to venture far from the most dynamic capital in Northern Europe to get a taste of that unique small town vibe, but these towns are scattered throughout the country if you fancy a bit of a longer adventure instead.

Denmark’s towns are almost always close to natural beauty, and you won’t need to tussle to find luscious green spaces to wander around and enjoy. In their centers, you’ll find beautiful cobblestone streets and wonderful cafés — plus several opportunities to grab something to eat.

There are plenty of wonderful small towns in Denmark if you want to visit, but have you ever thought about moving here?

Getting a residence permit can be tricky if you’re a non-EU citizen, and finding a job can be difficult if you don’t learn Danish — but if you get in, you’ll enjoy one of the highest qualities of life anywhere.

Why not read our guide on how to move to Denmark and get your adventure kickstarted?

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