Your essential guide to the Danish countryside: Things to do, places to see, and more

When many tourists come to Denmark, they visit Copenhagen and rarely leave the city’s boundaries. But just a stone’s throw away from the capital, you’ll find a whole world of opportunities to eat well, enjoy the great outdoors, and take things very easy. We are, of course, referring to the Danish countryside.

The countryside in Denmark is one of Northern Europe’s best-kept secrets, and many Danes choose to holiday domestically. Why catch a 4am morning flight somewhere else when you’ve got sand dunes, green fields, and pastoral charm on your doorstep?

If you’re coming to Copenhagen and want to explore what Denmark has to offer outside of the capital — or you’re moving here and are curious to check out the country you live in — you’re in the right place.

This guide will show you where the Danish countryside is and explain how to get there — along with a selection of the activities you can enjoy.

Where is the Danish countryside?

Denmark is a relatively small country that has urbanized a lot in recent years. But outside of Copenhagen and Aarhus, much of this nation still has a relatively rural feel.

Even Odense and Aalborg — the third and fourth-largest cities in the country — can feel more like a town if you’re used to metropolises like London and New York.

To keep things simple, we’ll refer to a couple of areas that you would class as the countryside in Denmark. Most of its small islands, such as Møn and Ærø, are very much rural and have pretty small populations.

Between Sjælland and Jutland, much of the Island of Funen — known as Fyn in Danish — is also countryside. Similarly, several parts of Jutland can be considered rural — including the windy west coast and central Jutland’s scenic lake district.

Is the countryside in Denmark easy to get to from Copenhagen?

Downtown Copenhagen very much has the feel of a modern and international European capital. But on the outskirts of town, you’re almost instantly in the Danish countryside.

If you head up along the coastal road to Sjælland’s northern areas, you’ll find several forests and sleepy fishing towns — along with excellent cycling routes and more.

Similarly, you could potentially class much of Sjælland as countryside — if not suburban Copenhagen. If you ever take the train to Odense or Aarhus, you’ll notice acres of farmland before crossing the water to Fyn or Jutland.

What can you do in the Danish countryside?

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what does and doesn’t count as the countryside in Denmark, we can look at the top activities you can do here. Below, you’ll find a sample of must-try experiences.

Sample the local wine

When you think of local wine, where does your mind wander to? We would assume France, Italy, and Portugal all popped into your head much quicker than Denmark did. But believe it or not, you’ll find acres of grapes in Danish countryside vines.

If you don’t want to venture too far from Copenhagen, you can find plenty of vineyards on Sjælland. The island is home to Dyrehøj Vingård — Denmark’s largest vineyard, which is just over 90 minutes away from Copenhagen by car.

Fyn is also a hotbed for vineyards and a popular summertime destination for Copenhageners. In Jutland, you’ll also find several places to enjoy Danish wine; how many people do you know that can say that?

Kick back on a patch of sand

While the weather doesn’t play fair for most of the year, beaches in Denmark are plentiful and scenic. Again, you don’t need to travel too far from Copenhagen to sample the Danish countryside at its best; in the northern parts of Sjælland, you’ll find the Danish Riviera.

If you moved to Aarhus instead of Copenhagen, or you chose to avoid the crowds and check out Denmark’s second city instead, you’ve got plenty of beaches on Jutland too. Western Jutland is popular with Danes and Germans, and Rømø Strand is one of the best beaches in the country.

Explore fairytale towns

Danish villages are the perfect place for dialing up the “hygge” meter to its maximum. You’ll find well-preserved settlements with colorful houses lining cobblestone streets throughout the country.

In the western parts of Jutland, Ribe is Denmark’s oldest town and one of the best places to visit on your adventure. If you’re looking for a Viking museum, you’ll find Roskilde and its impressive Viking Ship Museum just 30 minutes from Copenhagen.

You should visit other wonderful villages and towns in the Danish countryside, including Ebeltoft, Ærøskøbing, and Skagen.

Enjoy local cuisine

Copenhagen has become renowned globally for the New Nordic Cuisine movement, but traditional Danish foods are hearty and you’ll get generous portion sizes. Throughout the Danish countryside, you’ll find quaint places to dine while enjoying a long summer night.

Falsled Kro, in the southwestern corner of Fyn, is one place renowned for its food. The restaurant is in Millinge and serves dishes inspired by Denmark and France. Elsewhere, you’ll find places to eat a broad range of dishes — including sumptuous main courses and sweet treats.

And of course, you’ll find bakeries aplenty.

Go camping

Denmark is a peaceful country with largely flat terrain, making it an excellent place to go camping. Danes love parking up their van in the summer, and the countryside in Denmark is also popular with German and Dutch tourists.

Throughout the country, you’ll find excellent places to enjoy the tranquility and be at one with nature. Møn is one of the most popular places to do so, while Bornholm is also great for camping.

You’ll find campsites dotted throughout Sjælland, Fyn, and Jutland — along with many of Denmark’s other small islands. 

Enjoy castles

Denmark has an impressive number of castles, and you’re never far away from one. All you have to do is look at Copenhagen’s city center!

If you choose a Danish countryside vacation, you should aim to visit at least one castle on your adventure. One of the most famous is on Fyn and worth a detour; Egeskov Slot dates back to the 16th century and is just 30 minutes from Odense by car.

In the north of Jutland, meanwhile, Dronninglund Slot is worth checking out. However, these aren’t your only options; fire up Google Maps and have a look at what’s in your local area.

You can also join one of these organised trips.

Border-hop

Many people are more than aware of the fact that you can travel from Denmark to Sweden pretty easily. Malmö is only around 30 kilometers from Copenhagen and one of the easiest and best day trips in equal measure.

Meanwhile, Helsingborg is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsingør.

But did you know that Germany is very easy to access from the Danish countryside? Many people living in Southern Jutland regularly travel across the border, and you’ll frequently hear German spoken in towns like Sønderborg.

Germany and Denmark are both in the Schengen Area, meaning that you usually don’t need to deal with passport checks when traveling between both countries. Historic towns like Lübeck and Lüneburg aren’t far away, and larger cities like Kiel and Hamburg are also reachable in a few hours.

Enjoy watersports

The Danes are an active bunch, and who can blame them? The country is full of enjoyable outdoor experiences, regardless of where you are. Many Danes are particularly fond of watersports, and you’ve got an abundance of places to try them out for yourself.

Kitesurfing and windsurfing are popular in Denmark; you’ll find excellent spots to do so in Jutland and on Sjælland. If you’re into something a little quieter, you can rent a kayak or canoe and take to the Lake District.

Go hiking and walking

Thanks to Denmark’s topography and its lack of dangerous animals, the country is accessible to beginner hikers. Throughout the Danish countryside, you’ll find several scenic walking routes.

One place worth exploring is Himmelbjerget, which is Denmark’s highest natural point at 147 meters above sea level. It’s 25 minutes from Silkeborg and 45 or so from Aarhus.

Elsewhere, Northern Jutland has several spots for walking — including Thy National Park. You can also head north of Copenhagen to get your nature fix.

How do you get to the Danish countryside?

Denmark has excellent infrastructure, and you’re never too far away from the countryside. In many cases, you can get the train; Copenhagen Central Station serves almost everywhere in the country, and Aarhus and Odense are also major transport hubs.

If you visit one of Denmark’s islands, you can take the ferry. In many cases where you can’t get a train, you’re better off driving; local buses can be infrequent.

You can fly around Denmark, but doing so is largely pointless when you include the time it takes to get to the airport and through security. Moreover, you’ll have stricter baggage limits.

The Danish countryside is beautiful, peaceful, and not as remote as you think

Denmark is a beautiful country with so many experiences, even if you leave Copenhagen. The Danish countryside is easy to access regardless of where you are, meaning that you could very much get away with never traveling abroad again once you move here.

You’ll find vast green spaces and unique local experiences throughout the country. Compared to many European countries, tourists outside the main cities are still thin on the ground; if you’re struggling to think of a summer getaway, Denmark might be a dark horse worth considering.

In addition to its spacious countryside, you’ll find plenty of Danish cities worth checking out. We’ve written a full guide for that, so why not check it out?

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