10 Denmark

DENMARK COMES IN 10th in the Top 100 Countries index, rating in the Top Ten in low corruption (1st), happiness and personal safety (both 2nd), environment (3rd) and freedom (7th). All of which means it’s a nice place. But it comes at a price. Like all of Scandin­avia it’s expensive.

‘Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen’ goes the famous song from the Hans Christian Andersen movie. And it is indeed a wonderful place. The Danish capital has a pretty center and the wonderful Strøget, the longest pedestrian street in Europe.

The charming and world-famous Tivoli Gardens are also in the city center. The gardens are closed in winter, except for some special Christmas and New Year celebrations. Copenhagen also has supposedly the world’s best restaurant, Noma (a contraction of the Danish words for ‘Nordic food’). It works on a ‘re­interpretation’ of the cuisine. It is over trendy and overpriced.

Copenhagen is not on the European mainland but on the large island of Zealand. It is a great little city and an easy place to hang around for a few days.

But Denmark is a small country and there is not much else to see and do once you get beyond the city, except maybe the original Legoland at Billund in central Jutland. The countryside can be nice and green in summer. But there are no mountains so there’s not even any skiing in the winter.

Denmark owns the Faroe Islands, out in the Atlantic halfway to Iceland. There are only 50,000 Faroese, but they have their own language. Nobody much goes there. Greenland is also Danish but covered in North America in this book

Our view

Three or four days in Copenhagen is easily enough. We like the place a lot, but it’s not exactly oozing with excitement. Our first visit was in winter, which is no fun at all.

The Little Mermaid is very little, and a serious disappointment. The biggest problem is that most things just cost too much. Go to the Tivoli, take a trip to Helsingør, otherwise known as Hamlet’s Elsinore. And you must stroll down the Strøget.