Backpacking In Denmark

Backpacking in Denmark: Essential Denmark backpacking tips and advice

Backpacking in Denmark represents one of the most immersive (and affordable) ways to explore the nation. Whether you’re camping under the stars in Copenhagen, or couch surfing to get around the country, Denmark is extremely welcoming to the average traveller. 

If this destination isn’t on your must-visit list yet — it definitely should be. Danes are passionate, friendly, and modern individuals — all characteristics which shine in the location’s landmarks. What’s more, as one of the safer places in the world, Denmark is ideal if you’re new to backpacking.

Today, we’re going to introduce all the facts you need to know when backpacking across Denmark. You’ll be traversing the Danish shores in no time.

Is it safe to backpack in Denmark?

Before you go backpacking across Denmark, you’ll likely want to make sure you’re going to be safe and relatively comfortable. 

The good news is Denmark’s skill for delivering a high quality of life doesn’t just apply to local citizens. Even visitors to Denmark get a phenomenal level of care, respect, and generosity wherever they go. 

More than just a beautiful country, Denmark benefits from a friendly culture, and an overwhelmingly safe environment, so you shouldn’t have to worry about much — even if you’re experimenting with the benefits of “wild camping”. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious. When backpacking across Denmark, make sure you pay attention to the rules and restrictions of each location you visit — they’re usually there for your safety. 

For instance, it’s best to avoid “wild camping” in areas where hunting parties might be taking place. 

It’s also helpful to plan for unpredictable weather. While the climate in Denmark isn’t quite as harsh as it is in other parts of Scandinavia, it can be difficult to manage the cold in the winter if you’re going to be sleeping outdoors.

Backpacking In Denmark

Is backpacking in Denmark expensive?

Accommodation

After the costs of actually getting to Denmark, the biggest expense for backpackers is likely to be accommodation. The good news is Danish cities and towns are often brimming with a wide selection of places to stay

Hostels and Airbnb’s will offer a fantastically affordable option for people on a tight budget. Just make sure you research your location before you go.

One great place to try is “Generator Copenhagen”, which straddles the worlds of hotel and hostel. The unique design-led interiors and private or en-suite dorms means you’re sure to find something to suit you. 

The hostel has live music and events, as well as being ten minutes away from most of the major attractions in Copenhagen. 

Alternatively, why not try Europe’s largest design hostel? The Danhostel Copenhagen City stands at 16 stories tall with over 1000 beds. The building is located on the Langebro bridge, so it’s close to main attractions. There’s even a bar where you can relax and make new friends.

While some of the hostels in Denmark (particularly in Copenhagen) can be pricier than elsewhere in the world, they’re good value, as they often offer various cooking utensils, Wi-Fi, and other extras. 

If you’re going to be hiking and trekking a lot in Denmark, you can also save some extra cash by camping. You can simply set up a tent in most parts of Denmark thanks to the wild-camping rules.

Backpacking across Denmark

Food and drink

Backpacking in Denmark is often more affordable than backpacking in other parts of Scandinavia, like Norway. However, it’s still one of the most expensive places in the EU. 

Generally, you’ll need to consider cooking most of your meals at home (in your hostel) if you want to save as much cash as possible. Sometimes, you can also find some cheap fast food too. 

While it’s definitely worth stopping at a café for an afternoon coffee at some point, you’ll need to avoid most restaurants if you don’t have a lot of cash. 

Set aside just enough to try some of the essentials, like:

  • Ableskiver: Tiny balls of Danish pancakes cooked in a special stovetop pan.
  • Kartofler: A unique potato dish from Denmark you have to try.
  • Krebinetter: A type of pork dish often served with carrots and peas in a white sauce.
  • Smorgasbord: If you have a chance to try one you definitely should — it’s basically a huge buffet full of different kinds of foods. 
  • Hønsekødssuppe: Tasty chicken and vegetable soup with dumplings — ideal for winter

Backpacking through Denmark

Travel

Getting around is easy enough in Denmark. As you might expect, the most expensive way to travel is by plane, but you can definitely use tools like Skyscanner to check out whether there are any deals on your trips if you’re travelling last-minute.

Train and long-distance busses are the most common way to get around the country, with busses usually costing the least. Most of these public transport options will come with a range of features, including charging ports and toilets. 

Train travel is a little more expensive than getting the bus, but it will get you between towns and cities much faster. 

The Englaenderen boat-train is an excellent option for travelling between Copenhagen and Esbjerg, and it offers connections with ferries in the UK. The country is also part of the Eurail network, which is ideal if you’re planning on going beyond Denmark during your adventure.

Outside of busses and trains, you can also consider hiring a car in Denmark. There are a number of affordable companies out there and travelling by car gives you more freedom about when and where you stop.

Backpacking In Denmark

How much does it cost to backpack in Denmark?

When it comes to travelling in Denmark, backpackers are generally going to spend more than they would in other, cheaper parts of Europe. 

On a budget of around 450 DKK (Danish currency) or about $70 per day, you can usually expect to enjoy a nice hostel or dorm room, but you’ll have to cook your meals yourself, limit your drinking, and do only free activities. 

If you want to eat out or drink during your stay in Denmark, you’ll need to add another 100-200 DKK per day at a minimum. 

If you have closer to $150 per day to spend, you can get a lot more done. You’ll be able to stay in a private room with Airbnb and enjoy some cheap meals out. You can also have drinks here and there and visit some paid attractions like local castles and museums. 

If you want absolute freedom to do whatever you want, rent a car, and eat wherever you like, you’ll need at least $300 per day, or around 2000 DKK. 

The best way to make sure you’re budgeting properly is to figure out exactly where you want to go and what you want to do in advance. Planning an itinerary will give you some time to look up deals and other cash-saving opportunities before you go.

When is the best time for backpacking in Denmark?

As with most backpacking adventures, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for backpacking across Denmark. Compared to other parts of Scandinavia, Denmark is relatively temperate climate-wise, thanks to the warm gulf stream. 

If you want to spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the harbors, then it’s best to travel in summer, when you can enjoy a little sun.

Autumn tends to be quite rainy across the region, but you can still enjoy some sunlight and great outdoor activities in the spring. 

If you are going to be travelling in summer, try to choose early summer when there are few crowds. June is definitely a good time to visit if you want to check out the Midsummer celebrations on June 21st

Although winter is a little harder to manage, particularly if you’re camping during your backpacking trip, it has its own magic to offer. The winters in Denmark aren’t as freezing cold as they are elsewhere in Scandinavia, so you can still stay outdoors if you’re careful. 

You’ll also have some great opportunities to visit beautiful Christmas markets.

Check out our guide to Danish Christmas traditions here.

Where can I backpack in Denmark?

There is a total of five plus regions available to visit in Copenhagen alone, and each has its own regional council. If you’re careful with your planning, you can potentially travel across each of these regions, and check out different cultures and landscapes along the way. 

It’s worth planning your excursions in Denmark before you visit, so you know how to approach your adventure. 

Here are some of the best places you can visit when you’re backpacking in Denmark:

Backpacking In Denmark

1. Copenhagen

A trip to Denmark just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Copenhagen. There are numerous districts in Copenhagen to check out, including the Frederiksberg district, and the Amager district, with its amazing sculptures and architecture. 

If you have a little extra time for your backpacking adventure, we’d recommend spending at least a couple of days soaking up the sights and walking through the amazing streets this region has to offer.

Find places to stay and things to do in Copenhagen.

Backpacking In Denmark

2. Tivoli Amusement Park

Love rides and old-fashioned fun? The Tivoli amusement park is one of the best and oldest amusement parks in Europe, featuring a number of fantastic rides and attractions. 

You’ll also be close to some other major Copenhagen attractions when you’re here, like the Little Mermaid statue, which draws some of the biggest crowds in the country.

Backpacking In Denmark
Credit: Jens Cederskjold

3. Bornholm

The perfect destination for a backpacking trip, Bornholm is the “Sunshine district”, but it doesn’t always have the best sun. What this location does offer in spades, is culture, beautiful coastline, and a massive range of architectural wonders. 

You can even visit the pristine wilderness area in Bornholm if you want a chance to see some of the local wildlife during your trip. Or why not stroll along one of the amazing beaches?

Find places to stay in Bornholm.

Backpacking In Denmark

4. Randers

Located on the harbor of the Kolding fjord within the Jutland peninsula, Randers is ideal to visit if you’re looking for history and opportunities to explore. Stroll around Clausholm Castle to see architecture from the 1600s, and visit the surrounding grounds, where you’ll find a total of 1,000 linden trees. 

The main tourist attraction of Randers, of course, is the Rainforest Zoo, which is the largest artificial rainforest in Northern Europe. 

Check out our guide to Danish cities here.

Backpacking In Denmark

5. Roskilde

If you’re a fan of history and culture, we’d definitely advise taking some time out to check out Roskilde. Close enough to Copenhagen for a brief excursion, Roskilde is known as the city of kings and Vikings, where you can find a number of museums and exhibits dedicated to Denmark’s incredible past. 

Make sure you find some time to visit the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum when you’re here and dress up like a Viking for a few minutes.

Find places to stay in Roskilde.

Backpacking In Denmark

6. Svendborg

Found on the Funen island of Southern Denmark, Svendborg is a wonderfully historical town, and home to the Vladermars Slot palace — constructed by King Christian IV for his child. 

Parts of the ground are open to the public, including three museums and a delightful café. There’s also a local wildlife museum nearby where you’ll find tons of amazing exhibits.

Find places to stay in Svendborg.

Backpacking In Denmark

7. Kronberg Castle

Situated beside the coast in Helsingor, the Kronberg Castle was first built somewhere between the 1220s and 1230s. This castle achieved the title of UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 2000, and it’s also the castle where Shakespeare set the famous play, Hamlet, during 1609. 

Only an hour from Copenhagen, the castle offers complete tours, which include a look behind the doors at some of the historical royal apartments.

Backpacking In Denmark

8. Dyrehaven

Otherwise known as “Deer Park”, Dyrehaven sprung up outside of Copenhagen in 1669. The park spans more than 11km, and allows visitors to hike, cycle, and horseback ride their way around. 

Check out the amusement park located within the park, which is home to a set of five roller coasters, as well as various classic rides like the ferris wheel. If you’re on a budget, admission to both the amusement park and the park itself is free.

Backpacking In Denmark

9. Esbjerg

Comfortably positioned on the west coast of Jutland, Esbjerg has a fantastic coastline with lots of sandy beaches to walk across. Nearby the shore, you’ll find a variety of lively museums and galleries in the nearby city, as well as a maritime museum, which is definitely worth visiting if you’re a fan of fish. 

There’s also a saltwater aquarium, where you can see the aquatic life in all of its glory.

Find places to stay in Esbjerg.

Backpacking In Denmark

10. Jelling Stones

The Jelling Stones are an amazing local attraction in Denmark, ideal for the average backpacker. These huge rune stones feature inscriptions dating back to the 10th century. It’s no wonder the stones were declared a UNESCO heritage site. 

The oldest runestone was raised by King Gorm, according to historians, and there’s also a large stone left by Harald Bluetooth. If you get bored of the stones, the nearest Legoland is also around 25 minutes away.

An example itinerary for backpacking in Denmark

The ideal adventure in Denmark will depend heavily on your preferences, and what you love to do and see. 

For instance, if you’re looking for historical ruins and beautiful outdoor destinations, you can take the train from Copenhagen to North Zealand, where you can visit Kronborg castle, or check out the Maritime Museum of Denmark nearby. 

Alternative, if you’re looking for a taste of the more fast-paced and younger lifestyle in Denmark, you can attend one of the many music festivals which appear in the region throughout the year. The Roskilde Danish music festival is one of the biggest in Europe. 

For a little inspiration, here’s an example itinerary for 5 to 7 days in Denmark:

Copenhagen (2 days)

If you haven’t been to Denmark before, you’re going to need at least two days to soak up a decent amount of the culture and local attractions. 

Copenhagen is located near to the busiest airport in Scandinavia, and it has a host of different regions offering unique experiences, from lush green forests to city living. 

Make sure you have enough time to check out the autonomous neighborhood of Christiana while you’re there if you’re looking for an authentic “hippie” experience.

Roskilde: (half a day)

Following Copenhagen, head over to Roskilde about half an hour from the capital city. As mentioned, this location is brimming with Viking history, making it a great place to check out if you want to learn more about the heritage of Denmark. 

Also, as mentioned above, Roskilde is also the setting of the largest Scandinavian festival, which runs for a week each Summer. 

It’s pretty easy to get from Roskilde to other parts of Denmark like Odense, which takes us to the next stage of our travel itinerary.

Odense (1-2 days)

The ideal backpacking trip to Denmark should always include an adventure around the country’s third-largest city. Odense is brimming with well-preserved renaissance castles, and walkable routes where you can see tons of amazing architecture. 

If you have extra time in your schedule, you can also hop on a bus to some surrounding towns and countryside. Alternatively, just visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum for a look at Danish literature in all of its glory.

Aarhus (1-2 days) 

After you’ve basked in the wonders of Odense, head along to Aarhus, a vibrant Danish city frequently overlooked by adventurers checking out some of the bigger Danish locations. Aarhus only takes a couple of days to explore in full, but it’s full of wonderfully diverse experiences to enjoy. 

As you’re planning your itinerary, don’t forget to set some extra time aside to visit any destinations which particularly catch your eye. For example, if you want to nurture your inner child while backpacking across Denmark, visit Tivoli Gardens when you’re in Copenhagen. 

If you’re looking for an insight into Danish history and culture, make time for the many free museums and exhibits you can explore around the country’s largest towns. 

The joy of backpacking in Denmark

Like most regions in Scandinavia, Denmark offers a welcoming, diverse, and attractive environment for backpackers. If you’ve always wanted to cross Denmark off your bucket list, but you’ve struggled to find enough cash to travel through the country in the traditional sense, backpacking can be a great option. 

Remember, Denmark is one of the most expensive locations in the world. 

Our best advice when you’re in Denmark backpacking is to plan and prepare as much as possible. The more time you spend figuring out your routes, the more likely it is you’ll be able to save time and money on visiting various destinations.

Do your research in advance to figure out where you want to stay, and make sure you keep an eye open for any shows or festivals worth checking out when you’re there. For instance, there’s the Hans Christian Andersen festival, or Roskilde to consider. 

To ensure you’re extra prepared, read through of the Danish guides on this website for an update on Danish culture and other important information. Alternatively, why not learn about backpacking through regions like Norway, Sweden, and Iceland too?

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