Get ready for serious adventure. Even for Americans who are well-traveled around The Continent, many have never stepped foot in West Denmark—which makes it all the riper for discovery. On this four-day journey (designed to be customizable if you’d rather extend it to seven days) into the heart of Denmark, there’s magic and wonder for the whole family, whether that’s visiting a town built by LEGO®, hunting for trolls and treasures, or enjoying a fairytale visit to the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. Just choose the activities that speak to you and your family’s desires. An easy combination with a trip to Amsterdam, West Denmark is a quick, direct flight to a whole new world of adventure and discovery.
Itinerary / 6 DAYSPLAN YOUR TRIP
DAY 1Arrive in Billund and visit LEGOLAND®
The whole family will get a kick out of the night’s accommodation: LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel looks like an actual LEGO castle and offers a variety of magically themed rooms. For some more serious fun, explore the home of the brick at LEGO® House, a colorful complex of interactive exhibitions, building zones, and LEGO models built with more than 25 million LEGO blocks. Designed by acclaimed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, LEGO House is where creativity meets design.
DAY 2Discover Ribe
Step into the cathedral and climb up the 248 stairs to the top for a wonderful view of the city. And then step back in time as you visit the Viking Center, which recreates a Viking village with traditional Viking buildings. The young ones will thrill to meet the performing jesters, watch the Viking farmers feed the animals, or (for kids ages 7-13) join in the warrior training and try their hand at archery. Your entire group will enjoy learning their trades and sampling their food.
If you visit during the summer months, take the Watchman’s tour in the evening. In the past, the Watchman’s job was to patrol the streets making sure they were safe and no fires were breaking out. Stroll the streets with the watchman and hear his tales of the city’s history.
You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the residents of another time and era: Ribe is the hometown of Jacob Riis, author of the book How the Other Half Lives, documenting the poor in New York City in the late 1800s. Follow the life of Riis from Denmark to New York and learn how he brought to life the tragic details of the New York slums, earning the respect of none other than President Roosevelt.
DAY 3Explore the Wadden Sea
In the island of Mandø, you can board a tractor bus to experience the world’s largest tidal area. While there, grab a bite at the cozy and charming Café Mandøpigen, where local ingredients (such as lamb straight from the island) make up the menu. Or consider a Wadden Sea Food tour, where you’ll collect fresh seafood and edible plants, all of which will be cooked around a fire pit and enjoyed at the end of the four-hour adventure.
If you visit during the spring or fall, you could see the Black Sun. This phenomenon is when thousands of starlings fly and circle synchronized, turning the sky black. Afterwards, head back Ribe for the night.
DAY 4Spend a day in Odense
Continue onto the brand-new museum, H. C. Andersen’s House, which takes you into the author’s fairy tales to become part of the story. Children will love stepping into the stories. Adults will also appreciate the cutting-edge design and immersive experience of this spectacular new museum, designed by noted Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
Finish the day with an afternoon stroll through the historic cobblestone streets of Old Town, lined with charming cottages and shops. Be sure to try an old-fashioned waffle ice cream cone with guf (a pink, meringue-like fluff) on top!
DAY 5Check out Middelfart, the Hindsgavl Nature Reserve, or Koldinghus
For those that prefer to have their feet on the ground, stop in the Hindsgavl Nature Reserve. This Park has plenty of trails for walking, biking or horseback riding. Or go on a whale-watching safari. Yes, there are whales off the coast of Denmark—they are one of the world’s smallest whales, also known as porpoises. Head out into the water to see them in action.
What kids can resist a castle? Make a stop a Koldinghus, where the gang will have fun dressing up in Imperial costumes as you tour the 750-year-old castle. For more Viking history, visit the Kongernes Jelling Viking Center. The museum’s Monument Area features runestones, dating back to 950AD, erected by kings Gorm the Old and Harold Bluetooth. (Find out here why our modern-day technology is named after a Danish king.) This UNESCO site is the founding spot of Denmark and the first place the name Denmark is noted. The Experience Center lets you further dive into the Viking’s history with many sensory exhibits.
DAY 6 Experience Aarhus
Next up, the Viking Museum, a small underground museum located on the former grounds of the city’s Viking origins, showcases artifacts discovered in the 1960s, when the ground was dug for new buildings. You’ll also learn how Aarhus was developed over the past 1200 years.
Stroll through the charming pedestrian-only cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter, the oldest part of the city, dating back to the 14th century when the Viking fortifications were demolished. Enjoy browsing the shops and cafes—a perfect place for a lunch break or afternoon snack—taking in the colorful buildings along the way.
Be sure to hit the ARoS, the Aarhus Art Museum, featuring Danish art from the past 300 years, highlighting the Danish Golden Age and Modernism. Don’t miss the rooftop exhibit created by Olafur Eliasson—children (and the young at heart) will especially love the rainbow panorama of the circular walkway which provides great views of the city, all in different hues of the rainbow.
An evening walk along the riverfront in Åboulevarden, the city’s canal district, will bring you to more shops and plenty of restaurants to enjoy your final meal here. Instead of saying “farvel” (or farewell), say “På gensyn Denmark.” ‘Til next time!
For this itinerary and other wonderous West Denmark trips, let the trusted travel advisors at Exeter International plan your journey. Book now.