Most interesting wonders of Denmark
Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Denmark.
- Bulbjerg – Nordjylland. Impressive, 47 m tall limestone cliff at the sea. The only cliff in Jutland and the only bird cliff on the Danish mainland.
- Møns Klint – Sjælland, Møn. Beautiful landmark – up to 120 m tall, bright white chalk cliff at the sea.
- Stevns Klint – Sjælland. 12 km long and up to 41 m high cliff at the sea. The best known site to explore the boundary between Cretaceous and Tertiary age – time of great importance in the history of Earth, when mass faunal extinction took place.
Other natural landmarks
- Døndalsfaldet – Bornholm. The tallest waterfall in Denmark, some 20 m high.
- Ekkodalen – Bornholm. Rift valley with granite cliffs. This valley has very fine echo effect. Contains ancient shrine – spring of H.C. Ørsted with healing properties attributed to its water.
- Kongeegen – Sjælland. Very old tree whose age is estimated to be 1400 years. Circumference of the trunk is 14 m – thus it is one of the thickest oaks.
- Ørkenen (Anholt desert) – Midtjylland, Anholt. The largest sand desert in Northern Europe, created by deforestation. Here grow some 300 – 400 species of lichen.
- Råbjerg Mile – Nordjylland. Enormous migrating dune, the largest one in Northern Europe, up to 40 m high. Dune is moving some 18 m every year. Dune is intentionally left active to show its effects to people.
Man made landmarks
- Grønsalen – Sjælland, Møn. Outstanding archaeological monument – 100 m long and 10 m wide long barrow, encircled by 134 large stones. Grave contains just three burials. Possible construction time – 3500 BC.
- Klekkende Høj – Sjælland, Møn. Large megalithic tomb from the Neolithic Age, built around 2500 BC. This is one of the best preserved megalithic tombs in Denmark, with two parallel passage graves inside.
- Madsebakke Stone Carvings – Bornholm. The largest group of stone carvings in Denmark, possibly made as early as in Bronze Age roughly in 1100 – 500 BC. Depicted ships, wheel-crosses and other symbols.
- Nydam Mose – Syddanmark. A bog, former sacred lake. In 200 – 400 AD here were sacrificed diverse items, such as weapons, up to 23 m long ships.
- Aggersborg – Nordjylland. The largest known Viking ring castle, with an inner diameter of 240 m. Ringfort was symmetrically, under right angle, crossed by two roads, forming four gates. The wall was 4 m high and the fort could contain a garrison with up to 5,000 men. Most likely built around 980 AD.
- Fyrkat – Nordjylland. The oldest known Viking ring castle – exact circle with four gates, with an inner diameter of 120 m. It contained 16 longhouses. This fortification could be built some years before Trelleborg.
- Jelling royal burials – Syddanmark. Two largest burial mounds in Denmark, erected in the 10th century AD over Bronze Age burials by Harald Bluetooth. In one is buried his father Gorm the Old, the other one commemorates his mother Thyra. Among the barrows are located Jelling stones – two runestones from the 10th century – the best known runestones in Denmark. First was installed by King Gorm the Old and is devoted to his wife Thyra. The other one was made by his son Harald Bluetooth and celebrates his conquest of Denmark and Norway and conversion of Danes to Christianity. These stones symbolize the time when Denmark was created as a nation state. Site contains remnants of Jelling stone ship – a stone ship under the two barrows. This is the longest known stone ship – 354 m long, by far exceeding the largest known stone ships.
- Lindholm Høje – Nordjylland. Large Viking burial site with numerous and diverse stone settings. Developed in two time periods – in the 5th century AD and 1000 – 1050 AD. Contains some 700 graves.
- Trelleborg ring castle, Slagelse – Sjælland. The best known Viking ring castle – an exact circle with two streets crossing it in right angles. This construction could house up to 1,300 people and was surrounded by a 5 m high rampart with a diameter of 137 m. Ring castle contained 16 longhouses. Built roughly in 981 AD.
Historical cities, towns and villages
- Ærøskøbing – Syddanmark, Ærø. Very well preserved historical town, one of the best examples in the conservation of living historical towns.
- Christiansfeld – Syddanmark. Strictly planned town, founded by Moravian brothers in 1772 and built mostly in 1773 – 1880 in a grid pattern.
- Dragør – Hovedstaden. Historical town with well preserved, seemingly chaotic street network and numerous historical houses.
- Ebeltoft – Midtjylland. Well preserved center of medieval town with numerous half timbered houses.
- Nyhavn – Hovedstaden. Canal in Copenhagen which is lined with brightly colored townhouses and bars from the 17th – 18th century. In the canal are located many heritage ships.
- Ribe – Syddanmark. The oldest existing Danish town, established in the early 8th century AD on an elevated area at Waddensea. City has well preserved medieval street fabric and numerous historical buildings.
- Sønderho – Syddanmark. Historical village on Fanø island with some 300 historical buildings, mainly from the 19th century. Well preserved historical planning of the village.
- Stege – Sjælland, Møn. Charming medieval town with almost unaltered central part, numerous historical buildings. Stege flourished in the 13th – 16th centuries.
- Church of Our Lady in Kalundborg – Sjælland. Very unusual medieval church with five tall towers. Constructed in Romanesque style in the early 13th century.
- Højby Church (Odsherred) – Sjælland. Old church, built mostly in the early 12th century. Contains many valuable frescoes from the early 15th century.
- Jørlunde Church – Sjælland. Very old church, built around 1085 AD. This church is richly adorned with frescoes from the middle of 12th century.
- Ribe Cathedral – Syddanmark. Denmark’s best preserved Romanesque structure, built in the middle of the 12th century. Facade is adorned with some of the most impressive Romanesque carvings in granite.
- St. Bendt’s Church – Sjælland. Oldest brick church in Scandinavia, built in Romanesque style around 1170 AD. Structure has an excellent architectural style and is adorned with medieval frescoes.
- Sulsted Church – Nordjylland. Interesting medieval church, built roughly in 1150 – 1200. It contains well preserved frescoes, which were created in 1548.
- Tuse Church – Sjælland. Medieval church, built around 1200 AD. Richly adorned with frescoes, painted by Isefjord artists sometimes in 1460 – 1480.
- Østerlars Church – Bornholm. Largest of the four round churches in Bornholm. Constructed in Romanesque style around 1160, served also as a fortification. The enormous central column is adorned with medieval frescoes. Round churches of Bornholm are subject to modern legends about Templars and Holy Grail.
- Aarhus Cathedral – Midtjylland. Longest and tallest church in Denmark, 96 m tall. The construction of this Gothic church was started in the late 12th century and contains valuable frescoes from the 15th – 16th centuries and other values.
- Buried Church (Den tilsandede kirke) – Nordjylland. Medieval church, abandoned at the very end of the 17th century, as the sand of Skagen engulfed it. Now the tower of the church is out of the sand.
- Elmelunde Church – Sjælland, Møn. Romanesque – Gothic church, construction started in 1085. This church is adorned with some of the best Gothic frescoes in Northern Europe, most likely from the late 15th century.
- Fanefjord Church – Sjælland, Møn. Magnificent Gothic church with very valuable frescoes from the 13th – 16th centuries.
- Keldby Church – Sjælland, Møn. Red brick Gothic church with very valuable frescoes from the late 15th century.
- Roskilde Cathedral – Sjælland. The main cathedral in Denmark, the first example of Brick Gothic style in Northern Europe. Construction of the current church was started around 1170. Since the 15th century here have been buried Danish monarchs. Many chapels with burials represent high achievements of art.
- St. Canute’s Cathedral – Syddanmark. Fine Gothic church, built from brick around 1300 – 1499.
- St. Peter’s Church, Næstved – Sjælland. One of the largest Gothic churches in Denmark, built sometimes around 1375. Contains interesting medieval frescoes.
- Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke) – Hovedstaden. Large church in Baroque style with a spiral tower, which can be ascended. Constructed in 1682 – 1752, 90 m high.
- Frederick’s Church (The Marble Church) – Hovedstaden. Church with enormous dome, built in 1749 – 1894. Only three buildings in Europe have larger domes than this beautiful structure.
- Grundtvig’s Church – Hovedstaden. Unique church in Expressionist style. Constructed in 1921 – 1940.
Renaissance castles and palaces
- Egeskov Castle – Syddanmark, Funen. The best preserved Renaissance water castle in Europe – a large and beautiful brick building. Current building was constructed in 1554. Around the castle are set gardens with Renaissance part, fuchsia garden and old hedge mazes.
- Frederiksborg Palace – Nordjylland. Former royal residence, built for King Christian IV in 1602 – 1620, with some earlier parts. Palace is an impressive, tall building, the largest structure in Renaissance style in Scandinavia.
- Hesselagergård Manor – Syddanmark, Funen. The oldest Renaissance building in Denmark – massive, tall country house, which was built in 1538 – 1550.
- Kronborg Castle – Hovedstaden. Magnificent and famous Renaissance castle with star fort around it. This castle plays important role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Initially built in the 1420ies, rebuilt in its current form in 1574 – 1585. A place of interesting history and legends.
- Rosenborg Castle – Hovedstaden. Tall Renaissance castle in the center of Copenhagen, built in 1606 – 1624. Royal residence, contains many art values.
- Rosenholm Castle – Midtjylland. Oldest family owned castle in Denmark, built in Renaissance style in 1550 – 1630. Family of the owner – Rosenkrantz – inspired Shakespeare for the play Hamlet. Castle is fully furnished with historical furniture, paintings and tapestries.
Baroque and Rococo palaces
- Amalienborg Palace – Hovedstaden. Complex of four palaces, built in 1750 – 1760 in Baroque – Rococo styles. Beautiful interiors. The area around these buildings is one of the most prominent examples of Rococo architecture.
- Eremitage Palace – Hovedstaden. Small, exquisite palace, built in Baroque style in 1736. This small building was intended for royal banquets in solitude – with hoisting apparatus (not preserved), which elevated the table to the dining room.
- Fredensborg Palace – Sjælland. Large royal palace, frequently used by Danish royal family. This large Baroque – Rococo structure was built in 1720 – 1753. Surrounded by the finest Baroque styled gardens in Denmark.
- Glorup Manor – Syddanmark. Exquisite manor complex in Baroque style, rebuilt in its current form in 1763 – 1765.
- Great Belt Bridge – Sjælland and Syddanmark, Funen. Giant suspension bridge, 6,790 m long, up to 254 m high. Third longest span for a suspension bridge in the world – 1,624 m long. Constructed in 1998.
- Øresund Bridge (Öresund Bridge) – Hovedstaden and Sweden, Scania. Enormous suspension bridge, 7,845 m long, with 57 m clearance. Pylons are 204 m tall, main span is 491 m. Built in 1995 – 1999.
- Queen Alexandrine Bridge – Sjælland. Beautiful, 745 m long bridge, built in 1939 – 1943. This steel arched bridge is one of the most beautiful large bridges in Denmark.
- The Marble Bridge and the pavilions at Christiansborg Palace – Hovedstaden. Beautiful bridge and pavilions at it, built from white marble.
Other man made landmarks
- Aarhus City Hall – Midtjylland. Unusual example of Functionalist architecture, constructed in 1941. Especially unusual is the 60 m tall clock tower.
- Bellavista housing estate – Hovedstaden. Large housing complex – example of Bauhaus architecture. Designed by Arne Jacobsen and constructed in 1934, these structures look surprisingly modern up to this day.
- Børsen – Hovedstaden. Historical stock exchange building, constructed in Renaissance style in 1619 – 1640. Special feature of this ornate building is a 56 m tall tower, shaped like tails of four dragons twisted together.
- Copenhagen City Hall – Hovedstaden. Headquarters of municipality in a massive building, constructed in National Romantic style. Construction took place in 1893 – 1905. The 105.6 m tall clock-tower is one of the tallest structures in the city.
- Hotel d’Angleterre – Hovedstaden. One of the earliest deluxe hotels in the world. Current building is constructed in Neo-Renaissance style in 1873 – 1875.
- Liselund Park – Sjælland, Møn. One of the finest romantic gardens in Northern Europe, set in the 1790ies. Park is rich with garden architecture, including two smaller manor houses.
- Rundetårn – Hovedstaden. A tower in Baroque style, built in 1637 – 1642 as an astronomical observatory. The 34.8 m high observation deck can be accessed by a spiral ramp, which makes 7.5 full turns. Such access rout was built to enable transportation of heavy items by horse cart.
- The Little Mermaid – Hovedstaden. Small, unimposing statue, devoted to the fairy-tale of Hans Christian Andersen. In spite of its size this is one of the best known monuments in the world.
- Tivoli Gardens – Hovedstaden. Second oldest amusement park in the world and one of the best known. This amusement park opened to the public in 1843 and has brought many innovations to the amusement parks, it provided inspiration also to Disneyland.
Described wonders of Denmark
Denmark includes Bornholm – comparatively distant island which here is reviewed separately.
Denmark is truly noble European country with rich heritage. While its nature offers few spectacular sights (such as Møns Klint), country has some very interesting archaeological monuments and a huge wealth of exquisite architecture monuments. It seems that with every century Danes got better and better at architectural design.
Highlights of Denmark are:
- Viking heritage. Denmark has preserved the heritage of Viking times – the times when the state of Denmark was born. Some of the most interesting are Jelling royal burials with Jelling stones and a group of ring fortresses – Trelleborg and others.
- Renaissance palaces and country houses. Although Denmark is small country, it has many beautiful and impressive palaces and castles. Kronborg Castle ("Hamlet castle") is renowned in the world, but not less impressive are Egeskov Castle, Frederiksborg Palace and many other palaces.
- Medieval churches. Many medieval Danish churches have distinct style, creating some part of the Danish identity. They have rather austere design from the outside – but beautiful medieval frescoes adorn the light colored interiors. Some churches though are very special – such as the Roskilde Cathedral with royal tombs or the unique Church of Our Lady in Kalundborg with five towers.
- Bridges. Denmark is one of world pioneers in the design of enormous bridges and in the country are located two giant bridges – Øresund Bridge and Great Belt Bridge.
Featured: Church of Our Lady in Kalundborg
There is no other church like the Church of Our Lady in Kalundborg – at least in Northern Europe.
This five towered structure is not a whim of modern architects – it is one of the first brick buildings in Denmark, constructed some 800 years ago!
Part of a world-renowned travel series, this acclaimed, award-winning guide features one of Europe’s most magical destinations, Denmark. Demonstrating the success of its high-end collection, this handbook is distinguished by outstanding photography and informative, engaging commentary, making it perfect for tourists and armchair travelers alike.
Rick Steves covers the essentials of Copenhagen and the best of Denmark, including Roskilde, Frederiksborg Castle, Legoland, and Ærø Island. Visit Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens or appreciate the classical architecture of the Cathedral of Our Lady and Copenhagen University. You’ll get Rick’s firsthand advice on the best sights, eating, sleeping, and nightlife, and the maps and self-guided tours will ensure you make the most of your experience.