While Denmark is best known for its bicycle-friendly capital and colourful central harbour, numerous quaint towns and villages, stunning natural formations and an impressive royal residence are all within easy reach of Copenhagen.
Many of these places are waiting to be discovered by those in search of under-the-radar destinations. Set out on the road in your car rental to see the quiet side of Denmark.Car hire copenhagen
Uncovering the charming villages that afford you a taste of traditional Danish life is as easy as taking a 20-minute drive from the centre of Copenhagen. Cobbled streets flanked by colourful thatched cottages welcome you as you reach the small fishing village of Dragør.
Visitors can trade their automobiles for bicycles and take in the picturesque Amager Fælled moorland and coastline along the 12km cycle trail. Circling back to the scenic harbour, you’ll find the Dragør museum set along the waterfront, an ideal place to stop in for a picnic lunch and bask in the surroundings of what is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in Denmark.
In summer, make the most of the open-air markets selling a variety of freshly caught fish and local produce. Hiring a car is the ideal way to make the short journey to Dragør, a hotspot for arts and music festivals in the warmer months due to its proximity to the capital.
The cosy city of Odense is the third-largest in Denmark, a cultural highlight and home to famous fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen. 165km west of Copenhagen, Odense resides on the island of Funen and enjoys a profusion of Anderson-related attractions, from museums to statues.
The cobbled lanes and multi-hued buildings that adorn the compact city make it easy to feel inspired by the quaint surroundings. An idyllic and pretty town, visitors can explore the history of Odense peacefully.
Beyond Odense’s fairytale history, though, exists a green oasis. A hire car will give you the freedom to explore the small island of Funen’s many sights outside Odense, including the Funen Village, the seaside town of Kerteminde and Egeskov Castle.
Of all Denmark’s royal residences, the Renaissance-style Frederiksborg Castle with its Baroque gardens is perhaps the most magnificent. Just a 30-minute drive from Copenhagen and set across three small islands, Frederiksborg Castle has housed the Danish National History Museum since the late 19th century.
Often touted the ‘Nordic Versailles’, much of the original structure was lost to a fire in 1859, with the exception of the castle church and audience hall. Visitors can acquaint themselves with the lavish interiors of the castle, which have been remodelled in the original style, including the exquisitely furnished ballroom.
The seaside fishing village of Helsingør is easily reached in just 40 minutes by car from Copenhagen. Considered a must-visit town for those in search of excursions beyond the capital, Kronborg Castle is the town’s most popular attraction, just a 10-minute drive from the centre. The opulent palace features a number of luxurious tapestries and was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Elsinore in Hamlet. In December Kronburg also hosts a cosy Christmas market.
Helsingør town is also home to the beautiful churches of Sankt Mariæ and Sankt Olai, and visitors will find the Maritime Museum of Denmark there as well as uninterrupted views across the Øresund Sound. A truly beautiful example of a traditional Danish town, it’s worth spending some time exploring the cobblestone streets of the city by foot.
More than just quaint villages and towns, Denmark also offers spectacular natural landscapes. One hour and 45 minutes’ drive south of Copenhagen, you can discover the stunning island of Møn. Known as Møns Klint, the chalky white cliffs, which dramatically plunge 120m into the Baltic Sea, are the highest in Denmark and home to a unique variety of flora and fauna, including 18 species of wild orchids.
The cliffs are best explored on foot, either from above or by making your way down to the beach below. 30 minutes’ drive to the other side of Møn will bring visitors to Fanefjord Church, best known for its chalk wall paintings.
On the way to Møn, Stevns Klint is a worthwhile pit stop to see the UNESCO World Heritage geological area. The 15km-long cliffs are an exemplary preservation of the ash cloud caused by a meteorite hitting Earth some 65 million years ago. A key point of interest for visitors is a complete fossil record showcasing the recovery from the mass extinction following the impact.