Denmark is renowned for being one of the safest and happiest countries in the world - making it perfect for families.
There’s plenty to suit every type of family in this Scandinavian gem. Active travellers can spend time exploring the Faroe Islands, while those seeking culture can peruse Copenhagen’s many museums.
From wandering through fairytale castles to chasing the traditional Danish feeling of hygge at Christmas, this is our guide to going on a family vacation in Denmark.
If you’re an active family
The Faroe Islands
A self-governing archipelago that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands are often overlooked as a place to visit. Home to rolling moorlands, fairytale castles and viking villages, these verdant islands are the perfect playground for families. The colourful towns and cities here are picture perfect, and the idyllic grass countryside has plenty of opportunity for both young and experienced explorers to get active. In Bøur, adventurous families can discover what life is like in an authentic Viking village. Alongside a local farmer, you’ll go sightseeing and learn about life in the village in the present day and in the past. To get involved with local life, head out on to the water for some fishing and then enjoy your catch for a well-earned dinner after a pleasant countryside hike.
To explore the surrounding waters, active families can head out on a sailing excursion. On board, your captain will prepare a delicious lunch from whatever is caught on the trip. With a variety of fish swimming through the waters, you’ll be able to tuck in to everything from sea urchins to langoustines. For a magical end to the day, travellers can then transfer to a small boat and head out to one of the region’s many grottos. Here, a local musician will treat you to an intimate private concert. After the four hour cruise, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring at your leisure.
For travellers who enjoy hiking, there are few better places to view the surrounding countryside than Klaksvik. The second largest city in the Faroe Islands, this sprawling town boasts around 5,000 inhabitants. After a little sightseeing in the city, avid walkers can head on a short ramble to Archibald’s House, a place that is aptly known as being in the “middle of nowhere.”
The Faroe Islands are also great for birdwatching, with over 300 endemic species flying through the skies. On these wonderful islands, nature enthusiasts can witness swarms of puffins flying overhead, see black sea cliffs painted white with birds and be amazed by the powerful roar of thousands of kittiwakes calling out at the same time. Families wishing to catch a glimpse of these beautiful birds should head to the Faroe Islands during summer – from May to September – as this is the breeding season for Faroese birds.
After working up an appetite whilst exploring, there are few better places to satisfy cravings than capital Tórshavn. Tórshavn’s dining scene is a pleasant mix of traditional cafes, seafood spots and Michelin star restaurants. Awarded the Faroe Islands’ first Michelin star in 2017, Nordic KOKS stuns both locals and visitors with its innovative focus on traditional Faroese food. Ancient practices such as drying, fermenting, salting and smoking are also employed here, adding to the restaurant’s natural leaning towards sustainability and local produce. To sample the incredible 17 course Nordic tasting menu, visit between May to September, as the restaurant shuts its doors from October to April.
On the Zealand side of Copenhagen, a stay at Dragsholm Castle is an enchanting way to keep kids occupied. The surrounding countryside of this beautiful hotel has been designated a Geopark by UNESCO and is the only one of its kind in Denmark. Guests here can go mountain biking or walking through the snowy surrounds, while more laid-back travellers can relax with a yoga class or a leisurely stroll through the herb garden.
For a family discovery of arts and culture
Design Museum Denmark
Copenhagen is a city full of character and one of the most sophisticated capitals in Europe. In the heart of the city, culture abounds; there’s a fascinating array of museums and exhibits to suit all tastes. For an insight into Denmark’s celebrated design tradition, design enthusiasts can head to Copenhagen’s Design Museum. The central exhibition here is a forum for industrial design and applied arts in Scandinavia. A visit here is the perfect starting point for understanding the development of the Danish design tradition. Following the visit, you can carry on the artsy excursion with a trip to some of Copenhagen’s leading design shops, selling both old and new vintage icons.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Located in northern Zealand, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art combines an eclectic collection with a panoramic view over the Øresund Strait. The museum is part of the sculpture park facing the sea, so the intersection between art, nature and architecture here is something to behold. An international museum, and one of the largest in Scandinavia, Louisiana houses over 3,000 works created from 1945 onwards. The collection includes work from notable artists such as Picasso, Andy Warhol and Philip Guston.
For a spot of hygge
A visit to Denmark is all about hygge – a cosy and sought-after feeling of contentment. Found in the people, food and scenery, it’s no wonder the Danish are considered the happiest people on Earth. As it’s a feeling evoked by everything from fairytale castles to Christmas markets, there are plenty of places to spend quality time together as a family while seeking out a spot of hygge. A little way north of Copenhagen, the idyllic Kronborg Castle feels as if it is straight out of a fairytale.
This enchanting castle has been one of the most important Renaissance castles in Europe for centuries, and was even immortalised as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, this well-kept structure combines old world charm and natural beauty. Whiling away the day wandering through the grounds here and looking out onto the Øresund sound is the very definition of hygge.
Aarhus Christmas Markets
There are few things that bring more contentment with them than Christmas, and Denmark’s markets are no different. Christmas really comes to life in Denmark’s second city, Aarhus. Often overlooked for Copenhagen, this coastal city has gradually been gaining increased attention, thanks to Michelin starred restaurants, a regenerated waterfront and excellent art galleries. At Christmas, the city streets are lined with glistening lights, and the feeling of hygge comes out in full force.
Aarhus’ standout feature during this time of year are the markets in Ridehuset, the centrally located multi-purpose hall. During the festive period, this hall is transformed with independent designers and small shops selling homemade items. Taste hygge personified with a glass of mulled wine, or indulge in the traditional Danish Christmas snack æbleskiver.
A veritable playground for kids and adults alike, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens provide a dreamy escape from reality. A lively amusement park in the heart of the city, this charming complex dating from 1843 is filled with both classic rides and modern attractions. Visitors can spend time here reliving their youth on the carousel, ferris wheel and bumper cars or simply take a moment to relax in the pretty landscaped gardens. At night, Tivoli Gardens are transformed with hundreds of twinkling lights, making it the perfect spot to cosy up in.