What you need to know before traveling to Denmark

Denmark, located between the Baltic Sea and North Sea, is one of the four Scandinavian countries. Dispersed over the mainland peninsula (Jutland), which is connected to Germany, and 443 islands, Denmark has a strong maritime heritage. Once a Viking stronghold, today Denmark combines shipping and fishing with the latest technology and contemporary design. Most travel to Denmark begins in Copenhagen, the capital city, but make sure that you get out into the countryside, too. Here you'll find charming bed and breakfast inns, historic castles, forests and ruins from the days of the Vikings.

  • Key facts
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    Copenhagen is the most popular tourism destination in country. This city of around 1.18 million residents is the center of Danish government and commerce as well as the country's cultural center. The Danish royal family resides in Copenhagen. Major tourist sites in the city include the Little Mermaid statue, Tivoli Gardens, the restored and colorful waterfront warehouses of the Nyhavn district, and Amalienborg and Christiansborg palaces. Other popular tourist destinations in Denmark include:

    • Aarhus -- Denmark's second largest city, Aarhus is located about 115 miles northwest of Copenhagen in the center of the country. The city is also a popular cruise port during the summer season. Major attractions include the city's Old Town, the ARoS Art Museum and Tivoli Friheden, an amusement park.

    • Odense -- Odense, Denmark's third largest city, is best known for its connections to the writer, Hans Christian Andersen. Located about 100 miles southwest of Copenhagen, Odense is home to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and boyhood home, the Danish Railway Museum and Saint Canute's Church, which dates back to the 13th century.

    Denmark tourism is one of the country's primary industry. The country welcomes more than 8.5 million visitors each year.
    Danish is the official language of Denmark, although German is also widely spoken, particularly in the southern portion of the country. The majority of Danes (as many as 85 percent) speak and understand English.
    The official Danish currency is the krone. American dollars and euros are also widely accepted, particularly in tourist areas.
  • Weather & when to go
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    Spring, summer and fall are the best times to visit Denmark. Unlike other parts of Europe, Denmark rarely gets too hot. The average high temperature in Copenhagen in July is 70 F (21 C). Hotel and airline prices are usually at their peak during June, July and August. While prices drop in the winter, January and February can be frigid in Denmark. The average high temperature in Copenhagen during January is 36 F (2 C).
  • Getting around
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    Getting around Denmark is easy, given the country's compact size. Danish State Railways operate trains between all of the major Danish cities as well as to Sweden via bridges. Copenhagen has an efficient and economic subway system, and light rail systems are under construction in Aarhus and Odense. Cycling is also a popular form of transportation within the cities and bicycles are available for rent in most tourist areas.
    Copenhagen Airport, located five miles south of the center of the city, is the busiest airport in Scandinavia, serving more than 24 million passengers each year. The airport, a hub for Scandinavian Airlines, offers more than 60 non-stop flights daily, to destinations all over the globe. There is a train station located in the lower level of the airport, which connects to the city center as well as points throughout Denmark.
  • Know before you go
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    One helpful thing to know when you visit Denmark is when the public holidays occur, since all government buildings and offices as well as most retailers and attractions are closed on Danish public holidays. These include:

    • January 1 -- New Year's Day

    • The Thursday before Easter (March/April) -- Maundy Thursday

    • March/April -- Easter Sunday

    • The day after Easter -- Easter Monday

    • The fourth Friday after Easter -- Great Prayer Day

    • Thirty-nine days after Easter -- Ascension Day

    • Seven weeks after Easter -- Pentecost

    • The day after Pentecost -- Whit Monday

    • June 5 -- Constitution Day

    • December 25 -- Christmas Day

    • December 31 -- New Year's Eve

    Emergency services throughout Denmark can be reached by dialing 112. Calls are answered in English as well as Danish, Swedish and Norwegian.
    Denmark is a very clean and hygienic country. Although bottled water and other bottled beverages are readily available, you don't have to be concerned about tap water.
    All visitors to Denmark are required to have a valid passport. Citizens of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and most EEC countries are not required to obtain a visa. Citizens of most other countries need to apply to a Danish consulate or embassy in advance of their trip for a tourist visa.
  • Travel tips & recommendations
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    • Denmark is divided into five regions, similar to American states or Canadian provinces.

    • Denmark is home to more than 5.6 million residents.

    • Denmark is known for its distinctive cuisine. Danish breakfasts, unlike those in much of the rest of Europe, are hearty and often include herring, cold meat, yogurt and cheese as well as pastries and bread. Other signature dishes include open-faced sandwiches with meat, cheese and fish; meatballs; and stegt flaesk, the Danish national dish, a combination of bacon, boiled potatoes and a parsley, butter, cream sauce.

    • Denmark is home to Tuborg and Carlsburg beer.

    • Although vegetarians won't go hungry in Denmark, Danes are meat eaters, with the highest consumption of meat of any country in the world.

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