Denmark’s a joyful land: it’s second city, Aarhus, is the world’s happiest and Copenhagen comes in at number three.
It’s also the country of Hygge: the art of being cosy and content in winter. And, just to make things even more delightful, Denmark invented the Christina bike, has an international design style all of its own and comes good on everything from family hostels that are like five star boutique hotels to Europe’s hippest neighbourhoods, prettiest fairgrounds, coolest festivals and friendliest people – they’ve a lot to smile about.
In case you’re not entirely convinced about a family holiday: Copenhagen’s beach resorts are half an hour from the city centre, Hamlet’s Castle is here and Hans Christian Andersen was Danish and his homeland’s truly difficult to distinguish from a fairy tale a lot of the time.
There are low cost, direct daily flights from London to Copenhagen all year round and flying time’s under two hours.
Copenhagen’s the world’s safest city to cycle, has 24-hour public transport and gives under 12s unlimited free travel on its City Card.
Denmark’s the smallest and most widely accessible Nordic country. It’s also connected to Sweden by the Øresund Bridge – you can be in Malmo from Copenhagen in 20 minutes.
This is the country that gave the world LEGO, Hans Christian Andersen, Tivoli Gardens, the New Nordic Kitchen and Christina bikes (hire one and you’ll be a convert for life).
Denmark shares the Wadden Sea with Germany. It’s also home to the White Cliffs of Møn, Jaegersborg Deer Park, the South Jutland Islands, Smålandshavet archipelago and Rold Skov aka the Troll Forest.
Almost the entire coastline’s trimmed with white, sandy beaches and has some of Europe’s most spectacular sand dunes.
Kids don’t start school until age six in Denmark, it’s one of the most educationally progressive countries in the world and one of the most child-friendly and inclusive.
One of Europe’s smaller capitals, Copenhagen’s charming and easy to get around, keeps most districts close to the centre and throws in dozens of big, beautiful beaches just for good measure. The historic quarter’s where to find the restored harbour, quaint Nyhavn where Hans Christian Anderson had no less than three homes. Classically lovely Frederiksberg great for shopping and huge parks. Østerbro’s the laid back, green and very Danish, family district. And if you want to feel cool, even with kids in tow, head to Vesterbro: recently added to the world’s top 15 hippest neighbourhoods list.
Just half-an-hour from the city centre, Vestegen is the beachy and barefoot seaside Copenhagen for family summer holidays. But it’s an all-year-round attraction for locals who come for windswept winter weekends, sailing in spring and water sports pretty much any time.
North, south and west Zealand surrounds Copenhagen. It’s an amazingly diverse holiday region, easily driveable from the city centre for a day and with a huge choice of places to stay if you’re tempted to linger – you will be.
Denmark’s second largest city and, officially the happiest on earth, is just three hour’s drive from Copenhagen on the east coast of the Jutland Peninsula. It’s European Capital of Culture 2017 (jointly with Paphos in Cyprus) but, even in an ordinary year, you won’t be starved for things to see and do here.
Wild and romantic Jutland is where Denmark keeps its most remarkable fjords, remote and lovely North Sea islands, vast sand dunes, deserted beaches and ancient forests. It’s a mysterious and enchanting region but even its most remote northern point at Skagen in just over three hours’ drive from Aarhus.
If you’re staying in a city and taking the occasional day trip to the beach or countryside, don’t even think about hiring a car. Danish public transport’s the best in Europe, inexpensive and runs 24/7 in most cities. But touring around is easy, even remote areas are very accessible and, for a few days driving, you can see an enormous amount of small-scale Denmark.