JOURNEYS

A Family Adventure in West Denmark

A young girl holds a seashell to her nose

A VISIT TO WEST DENMARK BRINGS SMILES ALL AROUND.

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.

Visit Denmark

Trip Designer

Visit Denmark

VisitDenmark welcomes all travelers to the Land of Everyday Wonder. On visitdenmark.com, the official travel site for Denmark, you’ll find everything you need to plan the ultimate trip, from inspirational planning ideas to links to tourism partners to information on vendors and attractions throughout the country.
people walk on a town road

Trip Highlight

The Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Take an immersive journey into the magical universe of the author who brought “The Little Mermaid” and countless other fables to life, at the spectacular, brand-new Hans Christian Andersen Museum that includes H.C. Andersen’s House. (Photo by VisitOdense)
A family walks into Legoland

LET THE FUN BEGIN AT LEGOLAND®

PHOTO BY JESPER GRØNNEMARK

DAY 1Arrive in Billund and visit LEGOLAND®

Fly direct to Billund from Amsterdam, pick up your rental car, and head directly to the original LEGOLAND®. It’s a land that more than lives up to its meaning: LEGO®, short for “leg godt,” is Danish for “play well.” Indeed, this amusement park has been entertaining children and adults alike ever since it opened in the 1960s right next to the original factory.

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.
A group of Vikings judge you

THE VIKING CENTER

PHOTO BY RIBE VIKINGECENTER

DAY 2Discover Ribe

Get ready to get in touch with your inner Viking today, as you depart for the historic town of Ribe, which dates to the 700s when it was a trade town for the Vikings. Your guide will take you through the cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses.

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.
A boy jumps into a river with a net

KIDS WILL BE THRILLED TO FIND MAGIC HERE.

PHOTO BY NICKLAS JESSEN

DAY 3Explore the Wadden Sea

Today is all about taking in the wonders of nature while day-tripping to the nearby Wadden Sea. The Island of Fanø, the most northern of the Danish Wadden Sea Islands, will set kids’ imaginations alight as they hunt for trolls or treasures. There’s no shortage of adventures for all ages too. Enjoy the beach, and while you’re there, be sure to try Blokarting, a beach cruiser, driven by a sail. Next, head into the National Park, an UNESCO World Heritage site, to go on a seal, eagle, or wolf safari.

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.
A family walks through a town road

THE COBBLESTONE STREETS OF ODENSE

PHOTO BY VISIT ODENSE

DAY 4Spend a day in Odense

This morning, make the 90-minute drive to Odense, on the island of Funen, also known as Denmark’s Garden Isle and home to the Hans Christian Andersen Childhood Home—a must-visit for anyone who loves fairytales. The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and Thumbelina are just a few of the treasures bestowed on the world by the iconic Danish writer. In addition to mementos, furniture, and letters from throughout the author’s colorful life, you’ll find samples of his work as a collage artist and some of the charming paper silhouettes he cut to illustrate his stories.

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!
A bridge over a wide river

ENJOY THE VIEW FROM A BRIDGE-WALKING EXPEDITION.

PHOTO BY DANIEL VILLADSEN

DAY 5Check out Middelfart, the Hindsgavl Nature Reserve, or Koldinghus

Today, you will depart for Aarhus, finding adventure and wonder all along the route. A literal high point: In Middelfart, the whole family can get a bird’s eye view of the area, with an exhilarating bridge-walking experience. After strapping into a safety harness, begin your climb up the bridge to the summit at 200 feet. The bridge is active with car and train crossings and the vehicles rumbling below only add to the excitement.

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.
A couple walk through a purple and orange glass walkway

YOUR RAINBOW PANORAMA, OLAFUR ELIASSON, 2006-2011, AROS AARHUS ART MUSEUM.

PHOTO BY ROBIN SKJOLDBORG

DAY 6 Experience Aarhus

On your final leg of your wild West Jutland tour, you’ll explore the charming city of Aarhus, which will give the family a fun tour throughout the ages of Danish life and folklore. First stop: Den Gamle By, an open-air museum that takes guests through three centuries of Danish history. Step into the homes and business of the past—from the 1800s to 1920s, and onto the 1970s. The 75+ historic buildings were relocated here from all over Denmark.

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.