Planning a road trip? Denmark is a magical little corner of Europe that’s perfect for self-driving. In this post you’ll find 7 tried-and-tested Denmark road trip itineraries to help you plan the best 2-5 day adventure.
Most travelers only visit Copenhagen, and that’s a shame because there are SO many beautiful places in Denmark. Like Funen, which is the most romantic mini destination you’ve never heard of, or North Jutland which is blessed with enchanted forests and a watery and rugged beauty.
With your own car, you can cover the entire country (minus the small islands) in less than a week. Here’s everything you need to know!
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Renting a car in Denmark
If you’re looking for a rental car in Denmark, I highly recommend using Sixt or RentalCars. Sixt has locations all over Denmark, while RentalCars easily lets you find the cheapest and best rental options. Both rental companies offer a full range of price and date options so you can find the best value for money.
Read next: How to rent a car in Denmark
Denmark road trip – the 7 best itineraries
Denmark is a small country, which means you can do each of these itineraries in 1-2 days. But if you want to have time to actually enjoy your Denmark road trip, I recommend adding a few more days.
Here’s a list of the best routes for a road trip in Denmark:
Read next: What to pack for your road trip
- Duration: 2-3 days
- Distance covered: 220km (approx. 3-4 hours of driving)
- Where to stay: Safine B&B
- Highlights: Middelfart, Odense, Faaborg, Egeskov Castle, Valdemar Castle
One of the best Denmark road trips is Funen. Funen is best known for H.C. Andersen, the father of Fairytales who said those famous words: “To travel is to live”. Well, a trip to Funen will reveal where he got his inspiration.
The southern part of Funen is lush, hilly and charming. Its most popular spot is Egeskov Castle, which is one of Europe’s best-preserved Renaissance castles with an extensive collection of vintage cars and motorbikes.
We have quite a few castles and mansions in Denmark. I haven’t been able to find the exact number, but on Funen alone there are 123 – which is a lot considering everything on the island is less than 2 hours drive away.
Thomas had booked us a room at one of the castles (Hvedholm Castle in Faaborg) and it kind of blew me away. The surroundings were so serene and nature-rich. We had waiters serving us for the same price as a hotel room in Copenhagen, Aarhus or just about any other town in Denmark.
I also recommend Valdemar Castle, which used to be owned by baroness Caroline Flemming. If you’re a Dane, you know her for sure because she’s often on Television. Now, she lives in London and the castle is open to the public. That’s how it is with most of the Danish castles – they’re part of the Danish heritage and therefore open to visitors.
Valdemar Castle is Denmark’s largest manor house museum, on the tiny neighbouring island of Tåsinge.
The castle we stayed at is located right next to the most quaint and charming little town. It’s called Faaborg, and it’s the highlight of Funen!
In the summer, you’ll see flowers and hollyhocks everywhere, bikes in the streets, people are out and it’s so cosy – or hyggeligt as we say in Denmark. Do stay here for at least a day.
During a Funen road trip, I also recommend heading to the northern part. Make a stopover in Middelfart, which is on the border between Funen and Jutland island.
We have three major bridges in Denmark: Øresundsbroen (the largest) connecting Denmark and Sweden, Storebæltsbroen (the second largest) connecting Funen and Zealand, and Lillebæltsbroen (the smallest) from Jutland to Funen. In Middelfart, you can go below the bridge – it’s super fun!
No Denmark road trip is complete without a visit to Odense – the island’s capital and home of H.C. Andersen.
You can visit his childhood home, the school for the poor, and maybe even one of the open-air plays outside his house in the summer, which is now a museum.
2. South Jutland
- Duration: 2-3 days
- Distance covered: 380km (approx. 6 hours of driving)
- Where to stay: Den Gamle Købmandsgaard
- Highlights: Hvide Sande, Blåvand, Ribe, The Wadden Sea, Møgeltønder, Sønderborg, Dybbøl Mølle, Christiansfeld
If you’re planning a road trip in Denmark, don’t discount West and South Jutland. The coastline is rugged and scenic as in the north, but there’s still something different about this part of Denmark.
Start your trip in Hvide Sande (White Sands) by the West coast and follow the coastline down to Blåvand (Blue water). In Blåvand, make sure to visit the lighthouse for a terrific view of the scenery. It’s really nice from the top.
Continue south until you reach Ribe, where you can spend a night or two at a Bed and Breakfast → If you’re visiting Denmark, this is by far the cheapest accommodation, plus you get to stay in a Danish home.
Although I love the coast and the sea, my favourite stop on this road trip is Ribe. Now, let me tell you something about this old, medieval Danish town. Founded around year 700, it’s in fact the oldest town, not only in Denmark, but in all of Scandinavia. It’s incredibly charming and definitely one of the best places in Denmark if you ask me!
Aside from a cute little harbour, Ribe has a majestic cathedral, a viking museum, lovely Danish cafés and a truckload of history. It’s also the birth place of Maren Spliid, the last and most famous Danish woman, who was burned at the stake for witchcraft in 1640. It’s a horrible story and even more horrifying to know that my countrymen burned so many innocent women. Luckily, those days are long over.
The Wadden Sea
Right next to Ribe is the Wadden Sea (Vadehavet). It’s a national park and UNESCO site, where the North Sea water flows into the Wadden Sea twice a day, flooding the mud flats with seawater. During low tide, you can go or drive out there and experience how it feels like to stroll on the sea bed.
If you visit in the spring or autumn, you might be lucky to see a special Danish nature phenomenon. It’s called Sort Sol (Black Sun) where hundreds of thousands of starlings turn the sky black when they’re circling around creating fascinating formations in the air.
After spending the night in Ribe, continue to South Jutland. Your first stop will be Møgeltønder, which is where our prince and princess lived until recently. Møgeltønder is super, super small and has less than 1,000 inhabitants.
It’s a quaint little village with an old cobbled road lined with linden trees and thatched cottages from 1700-1800. This street (Slotsgaden) is known as the most beautiful street in Denmark.
Next stop is Sønderborg. It’s very close to the German border and there’s a lot of war history in the area. Make sure to pass by Dybbøl Mølle on the way. It’s a famous war site, located just a few kilometres from the city centre.
We have 7 UNESCO sites in Denmark, but Christiansfeld is the only UNESCO town.
Christiansfeld is unique because it was built with homogenous architecture in perfect symmetry by the Moravian Church. If you stop by – 2 hours is enough – do make sure to get a honey cake. They’re known as the best in the country!
3. North Jutland
- Duration: 3-4 days
- Distance covered: 250km (approx. 4 hours of driving)
- Where to stay: Caféhaven
- Highlights: Rebild Bakker, Rold Skov, Blokhus, Tornby, Rubjerg Knude, Råbjerg Mile, Skagen, Sæby
If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know how much I LOVE North Jutland. It’s by far my favourite place in Denmark, aside from my soul-city Aarhus of course. Here’s what to see:
Troll Forest (Rold Skov)
Next to Rebild Bakker is Rold Skov. And inside Rold Skov you’ll find the troll forest.
Just park the car at the entrance and walk about 7 minutes. You’ll start noticing the crooked trees and you’ll know you’ve arrived.
After Rold Skov, continue north to Jammerbugten.
Jammerbugten covers a bay area along the West Coast, and it’s where you’ll find the best beaches in Denmark.
Some of the most noteworthy beaches are Løkken, Blokhus and Tornby. Jammerbugten is the most rugged and beautiful part of North Jutland because of the coastline. On your way north, make sure to stop by Rubjerg Knude and Råbjerg Mile, which are huge sand dunes worth exploring!
Skagen is one of the most popular places in Denmark – and for good reason. It’s the top of Denmark where two seas collide, nature is beautiful and the area is packed with history.
Because it’s so popular, I recommend not spending the night here. It’s quite expensive. Spend a day exploring Grenen, Skagen centre and the sand covered church and then be on your way.
Next up is Sæby; one of the most charming towns in Denmark. Sæby is quaint with half-timbered houses, and it has a really great seafood restaurant at the harbour (Jacobs Fiskerestaurant). We visit every year and it’s great value for (very little) money.
4. North-west Jutland
- Duration: 3-7 days
- Distance covered: 190 km (approx. 3.5 hours of driving + ferry to Fur island)
- Where to stay: Klitmøller Hotel
- Highlights: Bulbjerg Klint, Hanstholm, Klitmøller, Thagaards plantage, Vorupør, Lodbjerg, Hanklit, Fur island
We did this Denmark roadtrip last summer when I was pregnant with Toby. It’s one of the better trips we’ve taken around Denmark because you’ll see a different side of the country.
Thy National Park
I recommend starting in Bulbjerg, which borders National Park Thy, but you can do it the other way around – you decide.
Thy National Park is the oldest national park in Denmark. It has the wildest nature in the country and there’s a lot to see! Think unique landscape: sand dunes, dune heaths, wetlands and lakes, charming fishing villages and tasty local food & crafts beer.
Mors is located between Thy and Fur island, so you’ll pass it on your way there or back. When you do, head north to Hanklit. There are several pretty cliffs in this area, and Hanklit is one of the best ones.
You should dedicate a whole day to Fur island. It’s a very small island, but there’s just a whole lot to see. The thing about Fur is that it has landscapes unlike any other parts of the country. Like the two beautiful cliffs (Knudeklinterne), the vibrant colours, the moclay and you can go fossil hunting.
- Duration: 2-3 days
- Distance covered: 114km (approx. 2.15 hours of driving)
- Where to stay: Baghuset
- Highlights: Fjellerup, Sangstrup Klint, Ebeltoft, Mols Bjerge, Kalø Vig, Gl Estrup Manor
When planning a Denmark road trip, do include Djursland. It’s a beautiful little peninsula with raw, untouched nature, lovely beaches, the best ice cream in Denmark and Mols Bjerge; a national park where you can hike, bike and relax.
Let’s begin with Fjellerup – the town with the country’s best ice cream and probably the place where I’ve spent most summers in Denmark.
Fjellerup town is small and not a particular reason to visit, but the beach and Vaffelbageri (ice cream place) are. Bring your swimsuit.
A little further to the east is Sangstrup Klint or Cliffs of Sangstrup in English. This beautiful cliff is 17 meters tall, 5 km long and made of limestone. Bring rubber boots or waterproof boots if you plan on walking along the cliffs (which you really should!).
Now, drive south towards Ebeltoft.
Ebeltoft is probably the most visited town on Djursland, yet I’ve never experienced the crowds of Copenhagen or Aarhus (yet).
It’s a charming little town with half-timbered houses, a medieval vibe and winding cobbled streets, not to mention the fact that it’s surrounded by the ocean, nice beaches and a lively culture scene during the summer.
Next up is Mols Bjerge (Mols Hills), which is basically right next to Ebeltoft.
Mols Bjerge National Park covers quite a large area and it’s ideal for picnics, hikes, bike trips or a Denmark roadtrip. Make sure to visit Poskær Stenhus, which is the largest round barrow in Denmark, dating back to 3.300 B.C. Next to Mols Bjerge is Kalø Castle; a castle ruin in the sea. It’s placed in Kalø Vig and was built in 1313 as one of at last four similar strongholds in Jutland.
For more things to do in Djursland, read my post: 10 fantastic reasons to visit Djursland
Old Estrup Manor (Gammel Estrup)
A little further north is Old Estrup; a manor dating back to 1340. In the museum, you can view the development of Danish nobility through the ages, and there’s a baroque garden with apple trees, vegetables, an orangery and many beautiful flowers.
Absolutely worth a visit.
- Duration: 2-3 days
- Distance covered: 230km (approx. 3.40 hours of driving)
- Where to stay: Skovfogedens Hus
- Highlights: Copenhagen, Dragør, Roskilde, Faxe Kalkbrud, Stevns Klint, Møns Klint
Chances are, if you’re not local, that you’ll start your Denmark road trip in Copenhagen. You might even pick up your car here. So, I suggest spending a day or two exploring the capital BEFORE you pick up the car.
In Copenhagen, rent a bike, walk or take the bus/S-train/Metro. It’s very easy to get around from one attraction to the next.
After Copenhagen, head south to Dragør. It’s a small fishermen’s village just 10 kilometres from the centre. Dragør is an easy day trip from Copenhagen and you can spend a whole day walking in the small alleys and streets while admiring the quaint houses.
This is a little detour, but it’s worth it if you want to see the BEAUTIFUL gothic Roskilde Cathedral, which is where the Danish royal family is buried. It’s a UNESCO site. I also recommend stopping by the Centre for Historical-Archaeological Research and Communication, a few kilometers west of Roskilde. These are replica homes and farms from the Iron, Stone, and Viking eras.
Continue south until you reach Faxe Kalkbrud (limestone quarry). This nature sight is off the path even for Danes (I just recently discovered it myself) so you’ll have it to yourself.
The limestone quarry is 63 million years old and you can go fossil hunting here. Or swim in the beautiful blue lake (it’s cold).
At Stevns Klint you’ll find crisp blue water and contrasting white chalk cliffs. The place has 65 million years of history and is without doubt one of the most unique places in Denmark. When you’re here, don’t miss the Cold War Museum, 7 minutes drive from the cliff.
If you have time, I suggest driving a little more south to Møns Klint (1.5 hours by car). It’s similar to Stevns and just as breathtaking.
Planning a Denmark Road Trip? Ask me anything in the comments!
More stuff you’ll love:
- Must-see: 25 best places to visit in Denmark
- Summer: Summer in Denmark: 25 amazing activities
- Winter: Winter in Denmark: 15 hygge cold-weather activities
- Beaches: 12 best beaches in Denmark
- Nature: 12 mind-blowing places for nature in Denmark
- Camping: Camping in Denmark for beginners
- Wild camping: The ultimate guide to wild camping in Denmark
- UNESCO sites: Experience the 7 UNESCO sites in Denmark
- Bornholm: 12 amazing reasons to visit Bornholm island, Denmark
- Danish food: 20 amazing dishes you must try in Denmark