It’s easy to fall in love with Copenhagen. Ticking so many boxes, this Scandinavian charmer is often the main reason people choose to visit Denmark. Whether for a long weekend or part of an epic Scandinavia trip, you’ll be properly occupied if you spend a few days in Copenhagen sightseeing. But Copenhagen is just the beginning of what Denmark has to offer and day trips are the best way to explore beyond.
Surprisingly, there aren’t all that many day tours from Copenhagen, so if you want to see many of the best places to visit from Copenhagen you’re going to have to make your own way. Regardless, the best day trips from Copenhagen are well worth the effort.
From Copenhagen one of the best places to visit in Denmark is the port city of Helsingør. Most visitors immediately make their way to the city’s most famous landmark, Kronborg Castle. Though best known as the setting for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, this coastal castle is a UNESCO world heritage site with a proud royal and military history. Not far away along the harbor lies the M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark, which takes you through Denmark’s lengthy seafaring heritage. Back in the historic center, walk the cobblestone streets and admire the traditional seaside houses, the best of which can be found on Strandgade where the waterfront once was. Otherwise, there are landmarks like the Helsingør Cathedral and the City Museum.
Getting there: To get from Copenhagen to Helsingør, take one of the regular trains that make the 45 minute trip. However, if you’re only interested in seeing Kronborg Castle, you could take a dedicated castle tour.
2. Malmö, Sweden
Across the Øresund Bridge in Sweden, the city of Malmö is one of the best and most popular Copenhagen day trips. After all, it’s not every day you can pop over to another country for the day. Begin your trip to Malmö with the Stortorget Square in the historic center of the city to see the stately city hall, before finding the far more quaint square of Lilla Torget with its half-timbered houses. Another great historic sight to see is the Malmöhus, a 16th century fortress surrounded by a moat and gardens. Once you’ve explored this old Renaissance castle and visited the city museum inside, continue on through the Castle Gardens and Kungsparken to see the picturesque Castle Windmill. More modern additions to Malmö include the unusually designed Turning Torso tower, which offers great views, and the blended style of the Malmö City Library.
Getting there: There are frequent trains between Copenhagen and Malmö, with the trip only taking 40 minutes. If you’d like to see other destinations alongside Malmö, such as the city of Lund, it’s better to go with an organized tour.
One of the easiest day trips you can make from Copenhagen is to head west to the city of Roskilde. No matter your interests, Roskilde likely has something for you. If you’re at all curious about the vikings, you won’t want to miss the city’s Viking Ship Museum. Down by the harbor, this much lauded museum has several intact viking ships from the region as well as modern recreations which you can watch people work on. Roskilde also has strong ties to the Danish royal family, as the Roskilde Cathedral has tombs of many of Denmark’s monarchs from the last 500 years. And while the ever-popular Roskilde Festival happens only once a year, you can see the city’s love of music clearly at Ragnarock, the Museum of Rock Music.
Getting there: In terms of easy train trips from Copenhagen, it doesn’t get easier than the 25 minute train ride to Roskilde, with frequent departures available. If, however, you want to combine Roskilde with other places, a guided tour is the way to go.
Over on the island of Funen, the city of Odense has to be one of the best side trips from Copenhagen. Hans Christian Andersen, author of the Little Mermaid and the Ugly Duckling, is the most famous name to come out of Odense. As such, many of the city’s attractions revolve around him. You can visit the house in which he is believed to have been born, as well as his childhood home. To learn more about the author though, it’s best to visit the H.C. Andersen Museum. Beyond the city’s favorite son, you should explore the Old Town quarter for its adorable houses, not to mention the excellent Møntergården cultural history museum. You can also visit the city center and St. Alban’s Church, plus the beautiful riverfront park.
Getting there: There are regular trains which make the 1 hour 40 minute journey from Copenhagen to Odense.
5. Frederiksborg Castle
If you have any interest in castles, then one of the best things to see in Denmark outside of Copenhagen is Frederiksborg Castle. Located in the small town of Hillerød, this majestic castle was once a residence for the Danish royal family. Of course, you’re going to want to begin with the castle itself, first admiring its Renaissance design before heading inside. The castle now hosts the Danish Museum of National History, with plenty of portraits and art which reflects Denmark’s history. The most impressive parts of a castle tour is the elaborate Castle Chapel as well as the cavernous Great Hall. Afterwards, you’ll want to take a walk across the lake through the expansive castle grounds to see the lovely formal gardens and walking trails.
Getting there: The town of Hillerød can be reached from Copenhagen by train in just under an hour. From there, you’ll need to walk about 20 minutes or catch a local bus. Alternatively, to see the castle, as well as others near Copenhagen, you can join a guided Castle tour.
6. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
You won’t have any problem finding world-class museums in Copenhagen, but a great one well outside the city is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Only a short trip from Copenhagen, the museum is home to a substantial collection of modern and contemporary art. Its exhibits range from classics of the 20th century to modern works by current artists. Besides artwork, the museum has sought to expand its collections by including cultural and ethnographic exhibits of different mediums, best shown through its temporary exhibits. It’s not only the artwork inside that will capture your attention, but also the building’s modern architecture, not to mention its outdoor sculpture garden.
Getting there: To reach the museum, take one of the regular trains out of Copenhagen that stop at Humlebæk, the closest station to the museum. The trip out, including the walk, should take you around 50 minutes.
For a chance to step back in history, look no further than the historic fishing town of Dragør. With over 70 historic buildings dating from the 1700s and 1800s, the Dragør Old Town is considered one of the best preserved in all of Denmark. On a visit, all you need to do is walk through the quaint town’s cobblestone streets to experience its best sights. To learn more about the town and its development from a tiny fishing village, head to the Dragør Museum by the harbor. From the waterfront you’ll also be able to get a pretty good view of the Øresund Bridge as it crosses over to Sweden.
Getting there: To get from Copenhagen to Dragør there are frequent suburban buses that make the 35 minute trip down the coast.
8. Cliffs of Møns Klint
Denmark is made up of many islands which means that there are great stretches of coastline like the cliffs of Møns Klint. These picturesque chalk cliffs stretch 6 km along the Baltic Sea and are part of a protected nature reserve on the island of Møn. At certain points along the coast the cliffs of Møn reach up to 120 meters, making them quite imposing when standing on the beaches below. On top of the cliffs you’ll find forests, with walking and cycling trails that weave their way through. But ultimately, the sight of these pale cliffs covered in lush forest by the sea is why you’ll want to visit.
Getting there: Because of its distance from Copenhagen and remote nature, public transport is overly long and complicated. That means that your best option to reach the cliffs is to rent a car and make the 1 hour 40 minute drive yourself.
9. Lyngby Open-Air Museum
Just on the outskirts of Copenhagen, the Lyngby Open-Air Museum or Frilandsmuseet is another of Denmark’s most acclaimed museums. Focusing on rural life in different regions of Denmark across the centuries, it is home to over 50 farms, some of which are over 300 years old. The museum itself is quite historic and is one of the oldest and largest open-air museums in the world. With farms from as far apart as the Faroe Islands and northern Germany, visitors can see the differences of life for people from areas that were once part of Denmark. Besides visiting traditional and fully-furnished farmhouses, you can also learn about how peasants looked after their livestock and gardens.
Getting there: While it is possible to take a train out to the Frilandsmuseet, a better option is the local bus as the bus stops right outside the museum. On the #184 bus it will take 30 minutes from the city center.
10. Egeskov Castle
One last castle that you’ll be thrilled to see is Egeskov Castle, on the island of Funen, south of Odense. This enchanting Renaissance castle was originally built in the middle of a lake and has become one of the best preserved moat castles in the world. Built in 1554 during a turbulent part of Danish history, defense was first and foremost on the mind of its noble owner Frands Brockenhuus. Perhaps the most fascinating exhibit to see inside the castle is Titania’s Palace, an incredibly detailed and lavish dollhouse. Taking 15 years to build, this dollhouse for the daughter of painter Sir Nevile Wilkinson has over 3,000 components.
Getting there: Making your way to Egeskov Castle by public transport involves catching the hourly trains via Odense to Kværndrup and then taking the #920 bus to save yourself a 30 minute walk.
Copenhagen really opens the door for you to explore much of what Denmark and even Sweden have to offer tourists. You won’t regret making time to see one, or all, of these fantastic places.