Denmark's Tourism Industry

Denmark is the oldest kingdom in Europe. The country lies on the peninsula of Jutland and over 400 islands, 72 of which are inhabited. The largest and most populated island is Zealand, home of the country's capital, Copenhagen. Denmark borders Germany to the south, and the majority of its tourists come from there, and from the neighbouring Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden. The latter has a connecting bridge. In 2011, Denmark's tourism industry contributed to six per cent of the country's GDP, with 9.5 million overseas visitors. Of those, 60 per cent were visitors from Germany, Norway and Sweden, with the biggest non-European market being the USA.


While Denmark is the smallest of the Scandinavian countries, it has the largest capital. Copenhagen is the economic and cultural centre of Denmark, and 22 per cent of the population live there. It lies on the east coast of Zealand and the island of Amager, and features many bridges, canals and waterfronts. The city contains many of the most visited attractions in the country, including the Little Mermaid statue and the Tivoli Gardens, a centuries-old amusement park in the city centre. Another amusement park that lies close to Copenhagen is the Dyrehavsbakken, the oldest in the world and the second-most visited attraction in Denmark. The third most visited place in Copenhagen is Christiana. This is an alternative community, or freetown, that was founded in 1971. It is collectively controlled by its 1,000 residents and has an edgy, anarchic feel. The picturesque harbour area of Nyhavn also attracts many tourists, and the city contains many museums, galleries and palaces. Copenhagen is known as one of the greenest cities in the world and was the world's first carbon neutral capital. It is particularly attractive to cyclists as it has nearly 400 kilometres of cycle paths.

World Heritage Sites

Denmark has three UNESCO World Heritage sites. The most famous is Kronborg Castle, which lies to the north of Copenhagen at Elsinore. This well-preserved Renaissance castle was the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet and was built in 1574. The other UNESCO sites are Roskilde Cathedral in West Sealand, a Gothic brick cathedral that houses the mausoleum of the Danish royal family, and the Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church in East Jutland, relics of pagan Nordic culture from the tenth century.


The most visited tourist attraction outside Copenhagen, and the third most-visited in the country, is LEGOLAND. This lies at Billund in Jylland, where the LEGO toy factory was founded in 1934. In 1968, the LEGO Company opened a display area, called LEGOLAND, near the factory. This has since expanded to include rides and other attractions, and is now no longer owned by the LEGO Company but by a British organisation, Merlin Entertainment. Over half of the 1.9 million visitors that came to the park in 2011 were Danish nationals.

Southern Denmark

Many visitors come to enjoy the extensive coastline of Denmark, particularly in southern Zealand. This area features numerous sandy beaches, coves and cliffs. Several islands in the south of Denmark attract visitors, including Mon and Falster, and the area contains many tourist attractions, including the Knuthenborg Safari Park and a living history museum of the Middle Ages, Middelaldercentret.

National Parks

Denmark has three national parks. The largest and oldest, Thy National Park, lies on the North West coast of Jutland. As well as wildlife and natural scenery, the park contains the remains of a large bunker network from the Second World War, together with a museum dedicated to its history. It also has a North Sea Aquarium. The Wadden Sea National Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and protects a vast area of wetlands that extends into Germany and the Netherlands. The Mols Bjerge National Park lies in East Jutland and is named after the hills in its centre. Several villages lie within the park boundaries, including Ebeltoft, which has a Glass Museum and the Jutland Frigate, the world's longest wooden warship.

Other Places of Interest

Other areas of Denmark that attract large numbers of visitors include Bornholm, Mors and Aalborg. Bornholm is an island to the north of the country, in the Baltic Sea. It has many picturesque villages and towns, and contains the ruins of the largest castle in Europe, Hammerhus. Bornholm has its own airport and regular ferry services to Copenhagen. Another popular northern island is Mors, which is famous for its deposits of diatomite, or 'moler,' which contain plant and animal fossils, and for Jesperhus Flower Park, which has over a million species of plant. Aalborg is considered the capital of the north of Denmark, and is the 'second city' of the country. Lying in Jutland, it is sometimes called the 'Paris of the North' and has many historic buildings, museums, churches and universities.