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Road trip around Denmark Guide (I): Zealand and Funen

Road trip around Denmark Guide (I): Zealand and Funen

Denmark is an ideal country for exploring by car, at your own pace. Small, with good roads, a variety of landscapes and well distributed cities to discover, perfect for taking a break and continuing driving the following day. Of course, you have to spend several days in Copenhaguen, but due to the Danish condensed geography, there are many other places that you cannot miss.

Getting closer to Denmark

Now that we are going to Denmark, we must learn something about its geography. Its location is special because it is the most southerly of the Nordic countries and it has a land border with Germany, with which it shares the Jutland Peninsula. In addition to that part of mainland Europe, more than 400 islands belong to Denmark, and about 80 of them are inhabited. The two principal ones are Zealand and Funen, where Copenhagen and Odense are situated, respectively. We are going to move around these areas by car. The trip includes the autonomous regions of Greenland and the Faeroe islands, but we will leave them for now.

Many travellers during their stay in Copenhagen decide to go to Malmö, in Sweden, because it’s just 45 minutes away driving through the Øresund Bridge (the same bridge that serves as location for The Bridge, the Netflix crime series).

Public transport by bus, by train and by ferry work perfectly, but we will not need them for our trip. Either way, they are quite expensive. Denmark does not use euros, they use Danish krones and the high cost of living will affect your trip, so this is not a destination for tight budgets. However, you can find flights and rent a car at a good price.

Denmark is a really cold country, but temperatures are quite moderate when compared to the other Nordic countries. In any case, summer is the best season for a road trip to discover the north of Jutland. From June to July there are more flight connections and tourist services operate at full capacity. Do not forget the umbrella, because rains are common in Denmark even in summer.

Regarding the accommodation, availability depends on the city. To serve as an approximation, there are hotel chains with rooms starting from 80 euros, and since we are travelling by car, we are free to choose Airbnb apartments on the route.

Looking for a flight and a car for Denmark

So let’s start planning our trip.

1. A cheap flight

Flight search engines show direct flights in summer from Spain to Copenhagen, Billund, Aalborg, Aarhus and Karup. The most economic ones are to Copenhagen and Billund, but it may be better travelling to Aalborg due to its location in the north of Jutland.

2. Renting a car

If you book it several months ahead, a cheap vehicle for the summer is about 200 euros per week. If you add an insurance with extended coverage and if you plan on returning it to a different station from the one you got it, you will have to add another 2000 krones. And, of course, you have to add the price of the fuel. To serve as an approximation, in 2018 the litre of fuel is around 11 krones (1,5 euros). The Danish road network is really good and there are no motorway tolls, except in the bridges of Øresund and Storebaelt, this is, for entering and leaving Zealand (where Copenhagen is).

3. Planning your route

Now that you already have your flight and the car, you only have to draw a route on the map. I will leave you the different destination marked in the following Google map to give you some ideas:

Road trip around Denmark: Zealand

Copenhagen

There are many places of interest in Copenhagen. As this is probably the start or the end of your road trip, in two days you have plenty of time to visit the most important ones:

  • Tivoli Gardens. It is one of the most beautiful amusement parks in the world, with a unique atmosphere that attracts kids and adults.
  • The Little Mermaid is the symbol of Copenhagen. This small statue is on one of the rocks of the port, at the Langelinie promenade.
  • Two palaces: Christiansborg Palace and Amalienborg Palace.
  • Do as Copenhageners do, walk around the Nyhavn canal, full of restaurants, bars and old boats. And go shopping around the pedestrian street of Strøget.

North of Copenhagen: Helsingor and Fredensborg

Since you have a car, there are two castles at the north of the island that are must-sees: the Frederiksborg Castle, in Hillerød, which is huge and has extensive gardens, and the Kronborg Castle, off the coast of Sweeden, in Øresund. It is famous because Shakespeare set in here Elsinore, in Hamlet.

South: Møn Island

Møn Island is relatively close to Copenhagen, just 130 kilometres away via the E47 road, and it is a rural and nature destination. Its principal city, Stege, is just a small village with cared streets and some restaurants and cafés.

The farming lands, the calm atmosphere and, of course, the famous Møn cliffs, over the beach and the crystal clear waters on a sunny day, form an unforgettable picture of the Danish nature. Many visitors make a one-day trip from Copenhagen just to see them.

Before leaving Møn, the Nyord Island is worth a visit.

Road trip around Denmark: Funen

During your road trip you are going to pass through the Fiona island, so you can spend the night in Odense and visit some of its must-see places.

Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales are well known (The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, etc.). However, not everybody knows that its author was native to Odense. It is a nice city for walking around its historic centre and near the river and to visit the birth house of the famous writer.

The Funen Village is a living museum located near Odense. The goal of this open space is to represent the rural life in the Funen Island during 18th and 19th centuries. And you really feel like that when walking through its paths, its crops and the houses from that time.

Of all the Danish castles, many travellers agree that the most beautiful one is the Egeskov castle. Its original structure dates back to the 16th century; after some restorations, its Renaissance style looks just like the first day: impressive, surrounded by water and accessible through bridges.

The archipelago in the south of Funen is composed by 55 islands. Surrounded by the Baltic Sea, these islands are a haven of peace in which you can practise water sports and discover picturesque places. If you do not have time for that, you should at least drive to the city of Faaborg.

Road trip around Denmark: Jutland

And if you still want more, in a forthcoming post we well continue the route around Jutland.

Where can I change my money in Denmark?

As we have already told you, the currency in Denmark is the Danish krone. You can exchange it for yours with Global Exchange, a company that has more than 200 branches in 20 countries. You can do it at Kastrup International Airport in Copenaghen or at Billund Airport.

Juan Ayala

Economist and professional travel blogger. Early in 2013, I decided to break with my routine and I now live a never-ending adventure around the globe. I gave up my seat in an office so that I could wake up in a different place every day. I collaborate with Global Exchange and I share my trips in hiworld.es and celiacglobetrotter.com.

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