Denmark tourist information
Tourists in Denmark consist mainly of people from neighboring countries, especially Germany, followed by Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. With 4.7 million visitor arrivals in 2007, Denmark ranked 43rd in the UNWTO's World Tourism rankings. Statistics show, however, that the total annual number of overnight stays in Denmark is currently declining.
Denmark has many sandy beaches which attract mainly German tourists. Swedish and Norwegian tourists often come to visit the relatively lively city of Copenhagen while many young Scandinavians come for Denmark's cheap and readily accessible beer, wines and spirits.
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As Europe's oldest kingdom and the home of Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark is often marketed as a "fairytale country". The term is so ingrained that it is still used in international news reports, especially when the news is of a nature contradicting the image such as the Copenhagen riots or the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.
In 2004 Copenhagen Region had 136 hotels with a total of 4.9 million nights spent. There were 250 cruise liners calling at Copenhagen Port with more than 350,000 passengers.
Among the major tourist attractions are Tivoli Gardens, the Freetown Christiania and The Little Mermaid, all located in Copenhagen. A survey conducted by the newspaper Berlingske Tidende in July 2008 listed The Little Mermaid as the most popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen.
The old road north from Copenhagen to HelsingĂ¸r follows the scenic coastline passing through Klampenborg with its vast Dyrehave Park and the Bakken amusement fair, Rungsted with the Karen Blixen Museum and Humlebaek with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The most impressive sight is however Kronborg Castle in HelsingĂ¸r, famous for its associations with Shakespeare's Hamlet.
In view of its proximity to Germany, one of the most popular areas of Denmark for visitors is the South of Sealand and the neighbouring islands. MĂ¸n, with its magnificent chalk cliffs, Liselund Park and its sandy beaches is one of the main destinations. Falster has a number of sandy beaches including those at Marielyst. The area also has several tourist attractions including Knuthenborg Safari Park on Lolland, BonBon-Land near NĂ¦stved and the GeoCenter at MĂ¸ns Klint.
The island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea to the south of Sweden offers tourists a variety of attractions including rocky seascapes, picturesque fishing villages and sandy beaches. Among the quaint towns worth visiting are Gudhjem, Sandvig, Svaneke and RĂ¸nne. The magnificent ruin of Europe's largest castle, Hammershus, is the island's most famous monument. There are ferry services to Bornholm from KĂ¸ge near Copenhagen, from Ystad in the south of Sweden, from RĂĽgen in the north east of Germany and from KoĹ‚obrzeg and ĹšwinoujĹ›cie in the north west of Poland. There is also an airport at RĂ¸nne.
Funen, linked to Sealand by the Great Belt Bridge, has strong associations with Hans Christian Andersen who was born in Odense. The small coastal towns of FĂĄborg and Svendborg are popular with tourists both as attractions in their own right and as centres for visiting the surroundings, particularly the castles of Egeskov and Hvedholm and the unspoiled islands of ThurĂ¸, TĂĄsinge and Ă†rĂ¸ with their narrow streets and thatched cottages.
The cities of Aalborg, in the north, and Aarhus, in the east, attract a considerable number of visitors, whether for business or pleasure. Aalborg's 14th century Budolfi Church, 17th century Aalborghus Castle and the Jomfru Ane Gade (a lively old street close to the city centre) are major attractions. In Aarhus, Den Gamle By (the Old Town) is in fact a museum village in which old houses from various parts of Denmark have been brought together.
Among Jutland's regional attractions are Legoland close to Billund Airport, the easterly village of Ebeltoft with its cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, Skagen in the far north famous for its seascapes and artist community and the north-west beach resorts of LĂ¸kken and LĂ¸nstrup. Finally the island of Mors, famous for its natural beauty, attracts tourists to its Jesperhus Flower Park and to the cliff at Hanklit which overlooks the sea.
Jelling, near Vejle in the south-eastern part of Jutland, is a World Heritage Site, famous for its two great tumulus mounds erected in the late 10th century and its runic stones erected by King Harold.
Near Esbjerg on the west coast stands Svend Wiig Hansen's enormous sculpture of four chalky white figures gazing out at the sea. Known as Mennesket ved havet or Men at the Sea and standing 79 m high, it can be seen for miles around.
Copenhagen Airport is the largest airport in Scandinavia. The airport is located at Kastrup, 8 km from central Copenhagen. It is connected by train to Copenhagen Central Station and beyond as well as to MalmĂ¶ and other towns in Sweden.
For the west of the country, the major airport is Billund although both Aarhus and Aalborg have smaller airports with regular connections to Copenhagen.
Denmark has a good national railway network. There are also frequent train services to MalmĂ¶ and other parts of Sweden. Germany is connected both by rail services using the ferries from Puttgarden to RĂ¸dby and by services across the Flensburg-Padborg land border in the south of Jutland.
Motorways are well developed across the country, the only tolls being on the major bridges (over the Great Belt and to MalmĂ¶).
Outside of the towns and cities there are often bicycle tracks parallel to, but separated from, the roads between towns. During the summer months, there are free "city bikes" stationed at various spots in the downtown area of Copenhagen. The idea is that anyone can take a bike from one of the spots, ride it to another spot and leave it there for the next person.
There are numerous national and regional bicycle routes throughout Denmark. They are all marked and include rest areas with benches and other necessities.
International overnight ferry services connect Oslo, Norway, to Copenhagen (every day) and Harwich, south-east England, to Esbjerg, west Jutland, (three times a week).
The climate is in the temperate zone. The winters are not particularly cold, with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 Â°C, and the summers are cool, with a mean temperature in August of 15.7 Â°C. Denmark has an average of 121 days per year with precipitation, on average receiving a total of 712 mm per year; autumn is the wettest season and spring the driest.
Because of Denmark's northern location, the length of the day with sunlight varies greatly. There are short days during the winter with sunrise coming around 9:00 am and sunset 4:30 pm, as well as long summer days with sunrise at 4:00 am and sunset at 10 pm The shortest and longest days of the year have traditionally been celebrated. The celebration for the shortest day corresponds roughly with Christmas (Danish: jul), and modern celebrations concentrate on Christmas Eve, 24 December. The celebration for the longest day is Midsummer Day, which is known in Denmark as sankthansaften (St. John's evening). Celebrations of Midsummer have taken place since pre-Christian times.
Hans Christian Andersen is known beyond Denmark for his fairy tales, such as The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. Karen Blixen (pen name: Isak Dinesen), Nobel laureate author Henrik Pontoppidan, Nobel laureate physicist Niels Bohr, comedy pianist Victor Borge and philosopher SĂ¸ren Kierkegaard have also made a name for themselves outside Denmark.
Copenhagen is home to many famous sites and attractions, including Tivoli Gardens, Amalienborg Palace (home of the Danish monarchy), Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen Cathedral, Rosenborg Castle, Opera House, Frederik's Church (Marble Church), Thorvaldsens Museum, RundetĂĄrn, Nyhavn and the Little Mermaid sculpture. Copenhagen was ranked the most liveable city in the world in 2008 by Monocle magazine, (currently it is their third most liveable city).
The second largest city in Denmark is Aarhus. Aarhus is an old Viking Age city and one of the oldest cities in the country. The largest cathedral in Denmark and the second largest cathedral in Northern Europe is Aarhus Cathedral.
Historically, Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbours, has been one of the most socially progressive cultures in the world. For example, in 1969, Denmark was the first country to legalise pornography. And in 1989, Denmark enacted a registered partnership law, becoming the first country in the world to grant same-sex couples nearly all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
The cuisine of Denmark, like that in the other Nordic countries as well as that of Northern Germany, consists mainly of meat and fish. This stems from the country's agricultural past, as well as its geography and climate of long, cold winters.
Danish food includes a variety of open rugbrĂ¸d (Rye-bread) sandwiches or smĂ¸rrebrĂ¸d traditionally served for the mid-day meal or frokost (lunch). An ordinary frokost consists just of 2 to 6 pieces of simple smĂ¸rrebrĂ¸d prepared during breakfast and packed in a lunch box. A luxury frokost usually starts with fish such as pickled herring, smoked eel or hot fried plaice. Then come meat sandwiches such as cold roast beef with remoulade and fried onions, roast pork and crackling with red cabbage, hot veal medallions, Danish meat balls (frikadeller) or liver patĂ© with bacon and mushrooms.
Some typically Danish items are Sol over Gudhjem, literally "sun over God's home" (Gudhjem is a town on Bornholm where a lot of herring is landed and smoked), consisting of smoked herring, chives and with raw egg yolk (the "sun") on top; or DyrlĂ¦gens natmad, 'vet's late-night bite', with liver patĂ©, saltmeat (corned veal), sliced onions and jellied consommĂ©. Finally cheese is served with crackers, radishes, or grapes. Lager beer accompanied by small glasses of snaps or aquavit are the preferred drinks for a Danish frokost. An other Danish meal is Danish Pastry. It is not made other places than Denmark. In Danish it is called 'WienerbrĂ¸d'.
The large hot meal of the day is called middag and is usually served in the evening. It normally consists of meat (pork, beef, lamb or fish) with gravy and a source of starch (non-sugar carbohydrates) such as boiled potatoes, rice or pasta, sometimes supplemented by salad and/or cabbage. This may be followed by a dessert such as ice cream, mousse or rĂ¸dgrĂ¸d. The meal may be preceded by soup or hot porridge.
Popular meat dishes include pork steak with crispy skin, frikadeller (fried pork and veal meatballs), fried meat patties made from minced beef, beef tenderloin, "million-beef" (minced beef in gravy), karbonader/krebinetter (breaded and fried minced meat, typically pork), all kinds of roast etc. Popular combined meat and starch dishes include Spaghetti alla Bolognese, hash etc.
Fish is traditionally more widely eaten on the west coast of Jutland, where fishing is a major industry. Smoked fish dishes (herring, mackerel, eel) from local smoking houses or rĂ¸gerier, especially on the island of Bornholm, are increasingly popular.
In recent years, Copenhagen restaurants like Noma, Geranium and MR has played an important role in re-inventing the Danish and Nordic cuisine, making Copenhagen a centre of gourmet dining with a Nordic twist.