Denmark offers many attractions that kids enjoy, none more notable than the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Perhaps your main concern with having children along is pacing yourself with museum time. Our suggestion is to explore Copenhagen for 2 days with family in tow, then spend Day 3 visiting "Hamlet's Castle" in the north. Then head over to the island of Funen, centering at its capital, Odense, birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, whose work is known to children around the world because of his massive number of foreign translations. Finally, we go to Jutland, which is Denmark's mainland link to the continent (via Germany). Here we visit its two major attractions, Århus and Aalborg, both containing Tivoli-like amusement parks of their own, plus numerous other attractions.
Days 1 & 2: Arrival in Copenhagen
Before renting a car to explore the countryside, you can take in the glories of Copenhagen itself, the most kid-friendly of all Scandinavia capitals. After your arrival and after you've checked into a hotel for 2 nights, take one of the bus and boat tours to orient yourself. Follow this up with a guided tour of Amalienborg Palace, where Queen Margrethe II lives with her royal family. After lunch, descend on the Tivoli Gardens, where you and your kids can wander for hours and also eat dinner.
On the morning of Day 2, pay a call on Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid), the most photographed statue in Scandinavia. After that, explore Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, one of the greatest art museums in Europe. If your child is older, he or she will find much art to fascinate here, perhaps a prehistoric sculpture of a hippopotamus. In the afternoon, visit Frilandsmuseet, an open-air museum and reconstructed village that evokes life in the 19th century, lying at Lyngby on the fringe of Copenhagen.
When you return to Copenhagen, you can do as many families do and pay a final visit to Tivoli Gardens, or else you can visit another amusement park, Bakken, on the northern fringe of the city. If you like merry-go-rounds and roller coasters, Bakken is even more fun for some families than the more carefully manicured Tivoli.
Day 3: Helsingør & Roskilde
On the morning of Day 3, check out of your hotel and drive 40km (25 miles) north of Copenhagen, taking the E4 express highway. Once at Helsingør, you can pay a morning visit to the Dutch-Renaissance-style Kronborg Castle, legendary home of Shakespeare's fictional Hamlet. Kids may think that Walt Disney created this dank, spooky place, which is surrounded by a deep moat.
After a 1-hour visit, you can head for our final destination of the day, the cathedral city of Roskilde, lying 72km (45 miles) southwest. It's reached by following Route 6 all the way. Check into a hotel in Roskilde for the day and set about to explore this ancient city. Call first at the Roskilde Domkirke. Kids delight in seeing the 16th-century clock where a tiny sculpted St. George on horseback marks the hour by charging a dragon. Afterward, drive 20km (12 miles) north of Roskilde to see the Viking Ship Museum, displaying the remains of five wrecked Viking-era ships. Return to Roskilde for the night.
Days 4 & 5: H. C. Andersen's Odense
On the morning of Day 4, drive west from Roskilde for 134km (83 miles) until you reach Odense. To do so, you have to cross the Great Belt Bridge into Nyborg, lying west on the Funen side. From Nyborg, E20 will carry you to Odense, where you can check into a hotel for 2 nights. In Odense, you can take in some of the major sights of the city, including the H. C. Andersen's Childhood Home. If it's summer, you might even hook up with a 2-hour walking tour, taking in all the highlights. Check with the tourist office.
Visit Funen Village, an open-air regional museum depicting life in Denmark in the 1700s and 1800s. In a busy afternoon you can visit both Egeskov Castle, one of the grandest in Denmark, and Ladbyskibet, 19km (12 miles) northeast of Odense, to see the ruins of a 10th-century Viking ship.
Days 6 & 7: Denmark's Beautiful Island of Ærø
Leave Odense on the morning of Day 6, driving south to Svendborg, a distance of 43km (27 miles), following Route 9. Once at Svendborg, take a car ferry over to the island of Ærø, a distance of 29km (18 miles) from Svendborg. Once here, check into a hotel in the tiny island's capital, Ærøskøbing, for 2 nights and set about to explore this Lilliputian town, with a driving tour of the island to follow on Day 7.
Begin first on foot by walking the cobblestone streets of this most enchanting of Danish villages, saving the driving tour of the island for the following day. The main attraction of the town is Ærøskøbing itself, although there are specific sights of minor interest, including the Ærø Museum and an 18th-century church, Ærøskøbing Kirke. Dine in an old kro (inn), and later walk down by the water to watch the yachts and other boats bobbing in the harbor at night.
On the morning of Day 7, while still based in Ærøskøbing, set out on a leisurely motor tour of the island, stopping at random to enjoy anything that fascinates you. We'd head east to the "second city" on Marstal, really just a modest port town. After a 2-hour visit here, you can take the southern road all the way to the little port of Søby in the northwest. From Søby, you can drive southeast back to Ærøskøbing for the night.
After a visit to Ærø, you can easily return to Copenhagen the following day, using a bridge and a ferryboat. Copenhagen lies 176km (109 miles) to the east of Ærø.
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.