A Whistle-Stop Tour of Denmark’s Railways

In Denmark, a culture of hygge celebrates simplicity and the finer things in life. Take a leisurely stroll in parks adorned with colorful blooms or sit down to a plate of classic smorrebrod and irresistible Danish pastries.

Sample local delicacies while traveling comfortably by train on this independent itinerary. From Copenhagen to Solvang, discover the exquisite symbiosis of traditional flavors and modern gastronomy.


For centuries, this vibrant city has been a hub of commerce, education and culture. Copenhagen’s central district contains Frederiksstaden, an 18th-century rococo complex housing Denmark’s royal family’s Amalienborg Palace and Christiansborg Palace. It’s also home to Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle, surrounded by gardens and displaying the country’s crown jewels.

The city’s cosmopolitan vibe is reflected in its buzzing culinary scene. Indulge in Danish specialties such as buttery, flaky rye bread or indulgent smoked meats with a side of mustard and pickles—all of which you can buy at one of the many delis and markets.

If you’re a fan of modern art, check out the world-class shows at Kunsthal Charlottenborg. The gallery is one of the city’s main cultural spaces and features a rotating collection of contemporary works from both local and international artists. Right next door, the picturesque red Warehouse 9 juts out into Nyhavn canal and serves as the Nyhavn Visitor Centre, where you can learn about the area’s seafaring heritage. Just a short walk along the waterway brings you to Den Bla Planet, Northern Europe’s largest aquarium. From swaying coral reefs to the icy waters of Greenland, this five-story “oceanarium” offers a glimpse into the marine life of these chilly northern waters.

With its storied landmarks and hygge-fueled relaxation, it’s no wonder that Copenhagen is such a popular destination for travelers. But this cosmopolitan capital boasts plenty of hidden gems to uncover for the adventurous traveler, too. From the photogenic streets of the harbor-side borough of Nyhavn to the alternative enclave of Christiania, this city has something for everyone.

With the help of a local guide, discover Copenhagen’s inner-city neighborhoods and their unique blend of artisan coffee shops and breweries. For a distinctly Danish experience, strap on a helmet and bike the streets like a local—over half of all Copenhageners commute to work by bicycle each day, with some even donning heels or suits for the ride! With Copenhagen’s bike-friendly roads, it’s a safe and convenient way to navigate this charming city. And if you don’t feel up to the ride, the city has a robust public transportation system, including electric railways (S-baner) and a network of bus lines.

The Aebleskiver

Aebleskiver are spherical pancake-like snacks that are popular in Denmark, especially around Christmas. They are sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with raspberry jam for dipping. They are not a traditional breakfast and are more likely to be eaten during the day as a snack or treat with coffee, tea or glogg. Aebleskiver are typically made in a special Aebleskive pan and are most often sold by street vendors during the winter months.

They are not as sweet as a doughnut hole but taste like a cross between pancakes and a donut. Aebleskiver are a common snack during Advent but can be enjoyed at any time of year. They are also popular at charity markets, open-air events, scouting functions and local sports gatherings.

The name “aebleskiver” translates to “apple slices” but the modern version of this dish does not actually have any apples in it! Instead, it is made in a special cast iron pan with multiple hemispherical indentations. The batter is poured into the indentations and then cooked until golden brown. The aebleskiver are then flipped and cooked on the other side.

While frying these little treats might seem intimidating, it is really quite fun and easy once you get the hang of it. Just be sure to turn them frequently as you make them to ensure a well-cooked, evenly browned, round final product. It’s also important to wipe the pan out with a paper towel in between batches to avoid burning the batter.

Once they’re fully cooked, remove the aebleskiver from the pan and serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar, with a scoop of jam for dipping. Common Danish jams include strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry, black currant and lingonberry.

If you’re looking to try some aebleskiver yourself, you can pick up a box of them from Danish Delights! Their popular Cinnamon Dream with a frosted top was the favorite flavor on their first week of opening, but they’ll keep it in the rotation and will also be selling Chocolate Dream and Raspberry Delight. Check their website for updates on new flavors.

Danish Cheese

Scandinavia isn’t considered an especially cheesy region, but Denmark’s millennia-old dairy industry is famous for churning out some pretty impressive gourmet cheeses. You won’t find raw milk cheesemakers the way you do in France or England, but true dairy purists will still enjoy the country’s pungent triple-creams and blues.

Danablu is perhaps the most well-known Danish blue cheese. It’s a soft, buttery cheese with a rich aroma and a sharp, slightly salty taste. It’s a favorite on sandwiches and salads, and can also be used in America to make a tasty blue cheese dip for chicken wings!

Another Danish blue cheese worth trying is Mycella. This is a veined blue cheese that’s similar to Gorgonzola and made from pasteurised cow’s milk on the island of Bornholm. Like Danablu, it’s a great addition to a cheese platter or salad and pairs well with wine.

Hvid ost is Denmark’s version of feta cheese but it uses cow’s milk instead of goat or sheep’s milk. The result is a milder cheese that’s softer than Greek feta, and it’s often used as a substitute for feta in smorrebrod.

Other Danish cheeses include Danish Fontina, a rectangular-shaped cheese with a smooth and sticky rind that’s sometimes covered in red wax. It has a mild flavor and works well as a table or sandwich cheese, and goes nicely with light wines.

Esrom, another Danish cheese, is made from cow’s milk and has a mild, pleasant taste. It’s also a popular table cheese and can be served with wine or fruit.

There are also a few semi-hard cheeses, including Vesterhavsost, which has a slight salty taste due to the sea air in North Jutland. This cheese is named after the 19th-century local hero, fisherman Amber-Aage, who fought to protect the environment from chemical pollution. Vesterhavsost is also a good choice for sandwiches and salads.

Molbo cheese is a creamery cheese that’s semi-hard in nature and named after the town of Mols on Lolland. This cheese is a bit similar to Emmental and was first made in the 19th century. The cheesemakers at Thise Dairy named it after the hero in honor of his dedication to environmental activism.


Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) is a centuries-old Danish concept that means cozy. It’s more than a feeling; it’s a lifestyle that Danish people practice on a daily basis. Whether it’s curling up in front of the fire with a book or sharing a warm meal with friends, Danes know how to find and enjoy hygge. The term has become so popular that it was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2016, and it was one of the top trending topics on Pinterest last year. It’s even been compared to Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and feng shui.

When in Copenhagen, immerse yourself in the coziness of hygge by enjoying local favorites. Start the day by bakery-hopping to sample the city’s decadent desserts, including signature Scandi treats such as smorrebrod and kodballs (open rye sandwiches and veal meatballs). For something savory, head to Tivoli Food Hall for an all-you-can-eat brunch, where you can indulge in a variety of international dishes and local favorites.

As the sun goes down, grab a drink at a candlelit bar to unwind and enjoy a night of hygge. Or hunker down in a cozy cabin at AEroskobing, Denmark’s largest outdoor ice skating park, where you can ice skate with your sweetheart or make new friends while laughing through tumbles. Either way, be sure to wear your warmest sweater and wrap up in a plush blanket to keep the chill at bay.

Another great way to get into the hygge spirit is by hopping on a bike tour of Copenhagen. It’s not just a cycling-friendly city, but it’s also a bike dominated one—you’ll see more bikes than cars as you whizz along the city’s bicycle paths and lanes. We can arrange for you to hop on a ride with a guide who will teach you biking etiquette while you pedal around Copenhagen’s most iconic sights.

If you’re looking for a full immersion in Copenhagen’s hygge, consider staying at a Scandinavian-style hotel. From traditional Danish rooms to modernist additions, there are many hotels that offer a cozy atmosphere and all the amenities you need to have a comfortable stay.

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