Viking Legends Meet Modern Cities

With Germany to the south and Sweden to the east, Denmark is often overshadowed by its larger neighbours. And yet it is a country with enormous appeal to tourists, especially those chasing the concept of “hygge” (cosiness and a safe, relaxed atmosphere) which is at the centre of much of the contemporary culture. Windswept beaches, largely flat countryside dotted with fairy tale-style castles, and small cities with excellent transport and cycling provisions make this a country with generous amounts of both charm and practicality.

Denmark is covered by the Baltic Sea EU macro-regional strategy and the priorities of the strategy include marine conservation, boosting prosperity and connecting with the wider region. These priorities clearly come across in many of the country’s most renowned attractions. Follow the Danish portions of five fascinating cultural routes to discover the stories of the martyr Saint Olav and modern-day Danes’ seafaring Viking forebears, as well as the architectural and historic influences revealed by the Cistercian abbeys, historic cemeteries and Megalithic sites found throughout the country.

How to get there?

Visitors can get to Denmark by car, bus or plane. You can also take the ferry or train from Germany or Sweden. There are four international airports, in Copenhagen, Billund, Aalborg and Aarhus. Denmark is also known for its excellent cycling infrastructure, with Copenhagen sometimes being called the cycling capital of the world. EuroVelo routes 3, 7, 10 and 12 pass through the country.

  • Time Zone
    GMT +1
  • Population
    5.7 million
  • Capital
  • Official language
  • Currency
    Kr or DKK (1 EUR = 7.46 DKK)

EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Denmark

Cultural Routes in Denmark

Five different Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe pass through Denmark. Although Denmark is part of the Baltic Sea macro-region, which also takes in Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Finland, its cultural routes pass through countries outside this macro-region too. The longest cultural route with stops in Denmark is the European Cemeteries Route, which has an itinerary connecting 20 countries. The other routes in Denmark are the Viking Cultural Route, the European Route of Megalithic Culture, the Cistercian Abbeys route and the Route of Saint Olav Ways.

Viking Routes

The Viking Routes has been designed to reveal the lasting legacy of the Vikings on countries throughout Europe and beyond. From the 8th to the 11th centuries, the Vikings, who originated in Denmark, travelled widely. The length of the route shows the scale of their influence, bringing travellers to sites of historic importance in Denmark, as well as eight other countries on the European continent, and Russia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. Points of interest along the route include everything from museums showcasing Viking vessels to historical societies documenting the Viking sagas.

European Route of Megalithic Culture

Megaliths are huge stones used as monuments, markers for burial sites and sanctuaries by prehistoric communities. 2,500 of these arrangements of stones still stand in Denmark, but they are widespread throughout Europe. The European Route of Megalithic Culture showcases this shared cultural phenomenon by connecting megalithic sites not only in Denmark but in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Along the way there are other places of interest, including museums, interpretation centres and historic buildings, that give deeper context to the megalithic structures.

European Cemeteries Route

Cemeteries and burial rituals have always been at the heart of so much of Europe’s heritage, with each cemetery bringing together cultural traditions, architectural trends and local, national and international history. By following the European Cemeteries Route, travellers can trace those threads through 20 countries and four macro-regions, discovering beautiful churches, scenic green spaces and the graves of historical figures along the way. Every stop on the European Cemeteries route is a fascinating place to explore from a sociological perspective as well as an aesthetic one. The route has two itinerary points in Denmark.

European Route of Cistercian Abbeys

The Cistercian Order was founded in Burgundy in 1098, but would soon expand across Europe, encompassing 750 abbeys and 1,000 monasteries. Today it is still an active order within the Roman Catholic Church, and the European Route of the Cistercian Abbeys has been developed to document that living influence as well as the way the order and its buildings have impacted on history. The route has stops in 11 different countries, including two abbeys located in Denmark.

Route of Saint Olav Ways

This route takes as its basis pilgrimage trail inspired by Olav II Haraldsson, King of Norway from 1015 to 1028 and a martyr and saint. On the Route of Saint Olav Ways, travellers can follow in the footsteps of pilgrims who, for centuries, have walked a path through Scandinavia that reaches its conclusion at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway, where the saint himself is buried. Within the route there are seven different paths and hiking trails to choose from, passing though Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

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