The Best Small Towns and Villages in Denmark
Dragør: At the doorstep of Copenhagen, this old seafaring town once flourished as a bustling herring port on the Baltic. Time, however, has passed it by, and for that we can be grateful, because it looks much as it used to, with half-timbered ocher and pink 18th-century cottages topped with thatch or red-tile roofs. The entire village is under the protection of the National Trust of Denmark. A 35-minute ride from the Danish capital will take you back 2 centuries.
Ærøskøbing: This little village on the country's most charming island (Ærø) is storybook Denmark. A 13th-century market town, Ærøskøbing is a Lilliputian souvenir of the past, complete with gingerbread houses. You expect Hansel and Gretel to arrive at any moment.
Odense: The birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen is Denmark's third-largest city, and still has a medieval core. You can walk its cobblestone streets and admire its half-timbered houses. Other than its associations with the writer, Odense is a worthwhile destination in its own right, filled with attractions (including St. Canute's Cathedral). On the outskirts, you can explore the 1554 Renaissance castle, Egeskov, as well as a 10th-century Viking ship at Ladby.
Ribe: On the Jutland peninsula (the European mainland), this is the best-preserved medieval town in Denmark, and is known for its narrow cobblestone lanes and crooked, half-timbered houses. An important trading center during the Viking era, today it's known as the town where the endangered stork -- the subject of European myth and legend -- nests every April. The National Trust protects the medieval center. From April to mid-September a night watchman circles Ribe, spinning tales of the town's legendary days and singing traditional songs..
Ebeltoft: On Jutland, this well-preserved town of half-timbered buildings is the capital of the Mols hill country. It's a town of sloping row houses, crooked streets, and local handicraft shops. The town hall looks as if it had been erected for kindergarten children; in Ebeltoft you can also visit the 1860 frigate Jylland, the oldest man-of-war in Denmark.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.