It is a truth universally acknowledged that having relatives living abroad is an advantage. Apart from the obvious fact that you’ll (probably) get free accommodation when visiting them, there’s also the advantage that you’ll have your own personal tour guide(s) to accompany you on your adventures. In addition, apart from visiting the major tourist attractions, you’ll also, most likely, be taken to places which are rarely frequented by tourists. Thus, you’ll get the opportunity to appreciate the country’s more remote areas whilst fitting in with the locals.
Having said that, this explains why, today, I have decided to share with you my experience in visiting Denmark; the country where some of my beloved family members happen to reside. For most people, at the mention of Denmark, what comes to mind is cold weather, Vikings and most naturally; Copenhagen. I must admit it…Copenhagen is one of the most beautiful capital cities I’ve ever visited with its picturesque harbour surrounded by colourful architecture, its lively cosmopolitan vibes and its innovative restaurant scene.
However, today I am not here to give you a guide around Copenhagen; the Trip-advisor kind of post. Rather I’m here for the opposite purpose, as the title of the article clearly indicates. In this article, I will, therefore, list my top 5 favourite unconventional spots around Denmark, more specifically in Zealand (the orange/brownish area on the map; the part of Denmark in which Copenhagen is situated).
1. Kalkgrav, Karlstrup
This limestone quarry, which boasts a beautiful crystal-clear lake in the centre of it, was formed millions of years ago in the Cretaceous period. Considering the vast amount of greenery surrounding the lake, many locals go there to camp, to hike or even to sunbathe and take a dip in its cold waters. Visiting this place, on a scorching Summer day (it was unusually hot for Denmark) truly felt like a dream; first I found myself surrounded by huge trees and then out of nowhere, this glowing hidden gem appeared beneath me; truly a remarkable experience.
Distance from Copenhagen: 33.8km
2. Trylleskoven, Greve
Photo source: http://soldrom.com/2014/06/18/trylleskogen/
This next location highly intrigued me, not only because it is exceptionally stunning, but also due to the story behind its name. Translated from Danish, Trylleskoven actually translates to something close to The Magic Forest or The Enchanted Forest. It is believed that the forest derived its name after its residents perceived its tall, majestic pine trees, which are a characteristic of the place, as highly enchanting. Coming to think of it, it is not surprising that the world’s greatest fairy tale writer, Hans Christian Andersen, came from Denmark. The Danes must have a fertile and magical sense of imagination! As if our experience in the forest was not dazzling enough, after a while walking around its gnarled pine trees, we found ourselves on a beach with barely any people on it.
Distance from Copenhagen: 33km
3. Dyrehavsbakken, Klampenborg
For all those who know me well, it might come as a shock that I chose an amusement park as one of my favourite spots abroad, since I am not the biggest fan of such parks. However, what I particularly adored about this park, which happens to be the world’s oldest amusement park (since 1543!), is the woods in which this park is situated called Dyrehaven (The Deer Park). As its title implies, the biggest attraction in this park is the large number of wild deer living in it (2000 to be precise). Having a picnic there made me feel as if I’m part of Sound of Music’s picnic scene; no kidding! Judge for yourself…
Photo source: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/3328719
Distance from Copenhagen: 17.2km
4. Smidstrup Strand, Gilleleje
Smidstrup Strand is a peaceful village, located in the Northern coast of Zealand and is a popular summer residence for many Danes. In fact, whilst in Denmark, we did not simply go there for a day-trip but rather, we stayed in this cosy wooden house for about 5 days. Our 5 days there were very well-spent; swimming in the freezing waters of the North Sea, going for long walks to get as much fresh air as we could and visiting small towns close by. Certainly, my favourite spot in this village, which used to be a fishing port, is the beach whose coast is so enormous that looking on either your left or right, it would seem as if the coast is never-ending.
Distance from Copenhagen: 61.6km
Photo source: http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Koge.html
And for my ultimate location, after having discussed 4 destinations all known for their natural beauty, I’ve decided to conclude with the old city of Køge. This city is full of life all year round since it is crowded with stores and restaurants of all kinds; hence it could be easily considered as a quieter alternative to Copenhagen. What was mostly impressive for me when strolling around this city’s streets was the beautiful lake that passes through it which gives the city a sense of tranquillity amidst all its life. The city’s signature half-timbered houses are quite fascinating as well, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. In fact, Denmark’s oldest half-timbered house, built in 1527, is actually located in Køge (the first one from the left)!
Photo source: http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Koge.html
Distance from Copenhagen: 45.6km
Well that brings an end to my article… I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
And if the photos above haven’t convinced you yet of Denmark’s beauty, here are a couple more photos I took whilst walking around Solrød Strand, the city in which we were based:
How we got from Malta to Denmark: A direct Norwegian Air flight from Malta to Copenhagen
How we moved around Denmark: Trains/ Car
PS: All photos are mine unless stated otherwise.