Why stop your European adventure at just the Netherlands? The Hook of Holland is an incredible gateway to the rest of the Europe, with many countries an easy drive or train journey away. For those looking to head slightly further afield, Denmark makes a wonderful stop on any European road-trip.
With the Danish border just over seven hours away by car from the Hook of Holland port, you can be exploring the home of Vikings, Lego and ‘Hygge’ in no time.
After driving through Germany, the first stop on this Danish driving adventure should be Billund.
Dainty Billund on Jutland, is made for family holidays, so much so that it has set itself the lofty aim to become the world’s most child-friendly place. Billund is best known as the hometown of Lego, and kids and adults alike will love a trip to the first ever Legoland. Billund is also home to the incredible Lego House, where visitors can learn about the history of the brand, as well as discover the ‘experience zones’ to explore their creativity with the iconic tiny bricks. The house is home to one of the largest Lego builds ever, the Tree of Creativity, amongst other Lego masterpieces.
Billund isn’t just about the Lego. Givskud Zoo, just a short drive from Legoland is home to a huge variety of animals (including the largest pride of lions in Europe!) and there’s a dedicated Safari Bus for those who don’t want to take their car. Museumsgaarden Karensminde is another great attraction for families. Costumed staff wander around this traditional farm teaching visitors all about Danish heritage, with opportunities to ride a horse and cart or learn about traditional carpentry.
From Billund, drive north to Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city.
Your rainbow panorama
Denmark’s second city is bursting with culture, with great restaurants, museums and shops. No trip to the city is complete without a visit to the famous ARoS, an art museum that features a permanent piece from Olafur Eliasson, Your rainbow panorama, a circular walkway that sits on top of the museum and allows guests to walk through all the colours of rainbow as they look at the city below. The beautiful (and free!) Botanical Garden is another favourite, with four climate-controlled greenhouses showing off a variety of different habitats. Families will enjoy visiting Den Gamle Bay, the open-air museum that shows Denmark through a number of different eras.
The quaint streets of the Latin Quarter are bustling with trendy restaurants, bars and cafés that make for a great stop in between site seeing. Aarhus prides itself on its culinary scene, with four Michelin starred restaurants and a number of other award-winning eateries to suit all palates.
Next stop is Odense, just a two hour drive from Aarhus on the island Funen.
The birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen is a true fairy tale city, filled with pretty houses and palaces. Visitors can enjoy the Hans Christian Andersen Trail, a self-guided tour of manor houses and castles connected with Andersen’s work. The Hans Christian Andersen Museum is wonderful for both adults and children alike. The museum is packed with artefacts from the writers life, as well as personal drawings by Andersen himself.
Egeskov Castle is a half hour drive from the city, and looks as if it has been torn from one of Andersen’s tales. It is the best preserved moat-castle in Europe, with beautiful grounds that include a treetop walkway.
From Odense, the next top on this Danish road trip is Roskilde, less than two hours away by car.
The home of Vikings and kings, Roskilde is a great destination for learning all about Denmark’s deep history. The famous Viking Ship Museum near the harbour is home to five Viking ships that were discovered in the fjord, and visitors can even enjoy a trip out on the water in a replica longboat. Visitors to Roskilde should also take time to see the city’s beautiful cathedral, an UNESCO World Heritage site, and the official burial site of Danish Royal Family. With ancient crypts and ornate chapels, the cathedral is a great spot for learning all about Danish royal history and more.
To finish off this Danish journey, it’s time to drive to Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. The journey is a short 40-minute drive.
The jewel in Denmark’s crown is undoubtedly the beautiful capital city, Copenhagen. Hop on a bike and cycle across the city like the locals, stopping at the many tourist hotspots along the way.
Classic stops in any tour of the city include the beautiful Rosenborg Castle and the brightly coloured buildings at the waterfront Nyhavn – perfect for stopping to grab a drink. Tivoli Gardens, the world’s oldest theme park, makes for an enjoyable visit even if you’re not interested in hitting the rides! With beautiful sparkling lights and greenery, as well as regularly hosting concerts, Tivoli is a must-visit for any visitor to Copenhagen. Christiansborg Palace, home to Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister’s office, is a perfect place for history buffs, who can take a guided tour of the palace’s ornate rooms.
Alongside the classics, Copenhagen is made up of a number of quirky and unique neighbourhoods. From trendy Vesterbro with its buzzing nightlife and cool shops to affluent and green Østerbro and the delicious multi-cultural restaurants and boutiques of Nørrebro – there’s something for everyone in these creative districts. Visitors to the city should also be sure to enjoy some classic Danish cuisine at one of the city’s many great restaurants. From world renowned Michelin starred eateries like Noma, to Aamanns, famous for their gourmet smørrebrød, the Danish open-faced sandwich. At the lower end of the market, Torvehallerne market and Paper Island are two unique and wonderful food markets that serve a mix of Danish and European cuisines.
After conquering the very best of Denmark, why not take your travels further? Denmark is the gateway to the rest of Scandinavia, with Sweden, Norway and beyond, all easily accessible by car.