The Best Day Trips from Copenhagen

Egeskov Castle on the island of Funen
••• Manfred Gottschalk / Getty Images

While the city of Copenhagen has plenty of tours of its own and enough entertainment, restaurants, and bars to keep you busy day and night for weeks, there are also a number of great destinations nearby that would be perfect for a day trip.

Some day trips from Copenhagen include lots of interesting history and unique destinations while other day trips offer a more relaxing day in the sun, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Depending on what you want out of your Danish vacation, you'll have to decide where in Denmark or neighboring Sweden you want to go.

From exploring medieval castles (called "slots" in Danish) to relaxing on a secluded island beach or enjoying a day at a museum, you're sure to find a nearby adventure.

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    Take a royals-themed day trip to North Zealand including a tour of Frederiksborg Castle where you can learn about the flamboyant King Christian IV who once lived here, walk through rooms like the Coronation Chapel, and then stroll through the castle’s French Baroque gardens with a guide.

    You also stop for photos outside Fredensborg Castle, the annual summer residence of the Danish royal family. This guided day trip is very informative and interesting. It departs from City Hall Square in Copenhagen at 10:30 am from May to September and takes about 6.5 hours. You can book a reservation online.

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    Canal in Aarhus, Denmark
    ••• Thomas Roche / Getty Images

    One of the most beloved day trips from Copenhagen goes to the city of Aarhus, which offers a great selection of nightlife entertainment and annual events like The Viking Festival. You'll find this historic city on the east coast of​ Jutland (Denmark's western peninsula), about a three-hour drive or 45-minute flight from Copenhagen.

    To plan your day trip, find out how to get from Copenhagen to Aarhus and pick one or two things to do in Aarhus to complete your plan for the day.

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    Egeskov Castle on the island of Funen
    ••• Manfred Gottschalk / Getty Images

    The wildly romantic island of Fyn (Funen) is the home to many fairy tales and also the birthplace of writer Hans Christian Andersen. Fyn is also home to a number of beautiful castles, which are known as slots in ​Danish, like Nyborg Slot, Egeskov Slot, Broholm Gods, Holckenhavn Slot, and Harridslevgaard Slot.

    There is a toll bridge and a direct train connection between Copenhagen and Funen, so accessing the island is relatively easy. Also known as Denmark's Garden Island, you can spend all day wandering through the rolling hills checking out acres of orchards and a variety of old farmhouses or head over to the open-air museum Den Fynske Landsby (Fyn Village) and Odense Zoo.

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    Marielyst on Falster Island
    ••• Marielyst on Falster Island. Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

    One of the best day trips from Copenhagen has to be a visit to the islands of Lolland and Falster. These islands offer things to do no matter which town you are visiting.

    If you're in Maribo, consider visiting the Museumsbanen (Museum Train), Nakskov's Green World Zoo, and the submarine U-359, but you can also visit a 12th-century royal residence, Ålholm Castle, in the town of Nysted, and don't forget Knuthenborg Manor with its Safari Park (open April-October).

    Lolland is connected to Denmark's Zealand by a bridge, and a day trip from Copenhagen to Lolland only takes an hour and a half to drive 80 miles along the E47 road south.

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    Located between Denmark and Sweden, the ferry from Copenhagen takes about 90 minutes to get to Hven Island, but if you're looking to escape all the noise of the cities to a peaceful, secluded location, this tiny island is like a little piece of heaven on earth.

    Local whiskey, pristine beaches, and the remains of Tycho Brahe's 16th-century observatory are the top attractions on the island, but the 360 inhabitants of the island also offer a number of local cuisines, crafts, and shops to browse.

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    'View over Gudhjem ot Baltic Sea, Gudhjem, Bornholm, Denmark'
    ••• Gudhjem, Bornholm. Konrad Wothe / LOOK-foto / Getty Images

    If you're in the mood for long, sandy beaches and a day of relaxation, plan your day trip from Copenhagen to the sunny island of Bornholm. This is the place to lean back, stroll through the sand, or maybe rent a bicycle for an afternoon.

    A popular summer travel destination, Bornholm's nickname is the Pearl of the Baltic. The biggest town on the island is Rønne, which is also the point of arrival for travelers to Bornholm, and there are direct 35-minute flights from Copenhagen that fly into Rønne-Bornholm Airport.

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    For an even more intimate day-trip, perhaps for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend getaway, the small village of Dragør offers a bit of Danish history with all the amenities of the modern day.

    Located just southeast of Copenhagen, this preserved village was founded in the 12th century as a fishing port for Denmark. For a closer look at early life in Dragør, spend the day at the Amager Museum, an open-air recreation life in the old days or the Dragør Museum in the harbor.

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    Located near city of Borre on the island of Møn, the Møns Klint is a three-mile stretch of chalk cliffs considered to be one of Denmark's natural wonders.

    You can spend the night at a campsite just above the cliffs or down by the beach, or if you're interested in geology and science, visit the GeoCenter Møns Klint, Northern Europe's most modern science center. 

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  • 09 of 14

    Not far from Helsingør in Humlebæk, the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art houses one of the region's largest collections of Danish art. When opened in 1952, the museum was originally intended for exclusively Danish art pieces but expanded soon after to include famous works from all around the world.

    This museum served an important role in developing Denmark's cultural history and has been credited with teaching the Danish citizenry to look at and appreciate art. The city of Humlebæk is also a great destination for some traditional Danish restaurants, but you'll have to travel up to Helsingør if you hope to stay the night nearby.

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    Located just southeast of Copenhagen in Kastrup, Denmark—near the Danish end of the Øresund Bridge and the Københavns Lufthavn airport—Den Blå Planet is easily accessible by train from the city.

    Den Blå Planet is Northeastern Europe's largest aquarium and allows guests to get up close with sharks, sea otters, and all manner of ocean life. For a little extra, you can also take a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium or even get a chance to dive with sharks.

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    One of the most popular ways to really experience the history, culture, and architecture of Denmark's capital region is to take the Grand Day Trip, a small group guided tour of three major castles including the UNESCO heritage site Kronberg Castle, which was the setting of Hamlet.

    On the tour, you'll get to visit Roskilde Cathedral, the burial place to more Kings and Queens than anywhere on earth, before heading to Frederiksborg Castle, the biggest Scandinavian Renaissance-era castle still standing. Bring your camera to photograph the beautiful nature of the Danish Riviera.

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    Not far from Kronberg Castle, you could spend an entire day at the Maritime Museum of Denmark, which tells the story of Denmark's seafaring history through permanent and rotating exhibitions like "In the Shadow of War" and "Ships of all Times."

    Almost invisible from the street, this underground museum is worth the trip to see the architecture alone, but you can also learn more about how Denmark became known as one of the world's leading maritime nations.

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    A little off the beaten path but worth the trip if you're a fan of elegant architecture and Denmark's rich cultural heritage. A little more than an hour away from Copenhagen, the town of Kalunborg is home to the Church of Our Lady, a five-towered church built in the late 1100s.

    This historic church has experienced many renovations, updates, and additions over the centuries, but spending the day in Medieval Old Town Kalundborg combined with a tour of this stunning chapel make for a great day trip back in time.

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    Oresund bridge linking Sweden and Denmark.
    ••• Oresund Bridge linking Sweden and Denmark. Anders Blomqvist / Getty Images

    If you'd rather take a break from Copenhagen entirely or just have a few extra days to add to your itinerary, you should consider taking an escorted day trip to Sweden.

    With group transportation services to the Swedish cities of Helsingborg, Lund, and Malmö in one day, these tours are a great way to catch a glimpse of the nearby but entirely different Swedish culture. Once you're done exploring these cities during the daytime, a bus takes you back to Denmark via the famous Øresund Bridge in the early evening.