Home to Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, the island of Zealand draws more visitors than any other region. The largest island in Denmark, Zealand is also the wealthiest and most densely populated. Other cities include Roskilde, about 30km (19 miles) west of Copenhagen, which is home to a landmark cathedral (burial place of many kings) and a collection of Viking vessels discovered in a fjord. In the medieval town of Køge, witches were burned in the Middle Ages. One of the most popular attractions on the island is Helsingør ("Elsinore" in English), about 40km (25 miles) north of Copenhagen, where visitors flock to visit "Hamlet's castle." Off the southeast corner of the island lies the island of Møn, home to Møns Klint, an expanse of white cliffs that rises sharply out of the Baltic.


The peninsula of Jutland links the mostly island nation of Denmark with Germany. It is the only part of Denmark on the European continent. Jutland has miles of coastline, with some of northern Europe's finest sandy beaches. Giant dunes and moors abound on the west coast, whereas the interior has rolling pastures and beech forests. Jutland's more interesting towns and villages include Jelling, heralded as the birthplace of Denmark and the ancient seat of the Danish kings; here you can see an extensive collection of Viking artifacts excavated from ancient burial mounds. The Viking port of Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark. It's known throughout the world as the preferred nesting ground for numerous endangered storks. The resort of Fanø, with its giant dunes, heather-covered moors, and forests, is an excellent place to bird-watch or view Denmark's varied wildlife. The university city of Århus is Jutland's capital and second only to Copenhagen in size. Aalborg, founded by Vikings more than 1,000 years ago, is a thriving commercial center in northern Jutland. It lies close to Rebild National Park and the Rold Forest.


With an area of 2,980 sq. km (1,150 sq. miles), Funen is Denmark's second-largest island. Called the "garden of Denmark," Funen is known to the world as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. Orchards, stately manors, and castles dot its rolling countryside. Odense, Andersen's birthplace, is a mecca for fairy-tale writers and fans from around the world. Nearby stands Egeskov Castle, resting on oak columns in the middle of a small lake. It's Europe's best-preserved Renaissance castle. Funen has a number of bustling ports, including Nyborg in the east and Svendborg at the southern end of the island. Ærøskøbing is a medieval market town that's a showplace of Scandinavian heritage.


In the Baltic Sea, southeast of Zealand and close to Sweden, lies the island of Bornholm. Prehistoric monuments and runic stones pepper the countryside, and numerous fishing villages dot the shoreline. On the northern coast, near Hammerhus, the Bornholm Animal and Nature Park is home to many native species as well as some that have been introduced from other parts of Scandinavia. Some of Europe's largest castle ruins dot this region of the island. The town of Rønne is the site of Denmark's oldest regional theater; it stages numerous concerts and shows year-round. The island of Christiansø, off the coast of Bornholm, was the site of Denmark's penal colony. Criminals sentenced to life imprisonment were deported to the island, where they spent their lives in slavery.

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