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What to Do in Denmark Beyond Copenhagen

If you've ever been to Denmark, you can probably tell your friends all about the Tivoli Gardens, Michelin-starred restaurants, and how crowded the Little Mermaid statue was—in others words, you've definitely been to Copenhagen. But if you're looking to get off the beaten path on your next visit (or even if it's your first time visiting), you should try venturing outside of the capital city. From white cliffs to cultural meccas, here are 13 of the best places to visit in Scandinavia's smallest country.

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse

Located on the North Sea coast, the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse has been

abandoned

for more than a decade, after slowly getting overtaken by the surrounding sand dunes. It first opened in 1900 and remained in operation until 1968, then served as a museum and coffee shop until the rising sands finally forced it to shut down completely in 2002.

Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerød

Built in the early seventeenth century, this stunning

Renaissance castle

sits on three lake islets in Hillerød, just north of Copenhagen. The castle complex is known for its exquisite gardens and for housing the Danish Museum of National History.

Man Meets the Sea, Esbjerg

Standing at 27 feet tall, the giants of the Man Meets the Sea monument guard Denmark's western coast near the town of Esbjerg. The alabaster sculptures were created by artist Svend Wiig Hansen in 1995 to represent the contemplative nature of humans, and have been attracting visitors ever since.

Aarhus

Located on the Jutland Peninsula, Aarhus was named both the European Region of Gastronomy and

European Capital of Culture

for 2017. The small city has three Michelin starred restaurants and museums like the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum art museum, which sports an iconic rainbow walkway.

Jægersborg Dyrehave (Deer Park)

Just a 20-minute train ride from Copenhagen, this pocket of the Danish countryside has remained relatively untouched for some 350 years—here, ancient oaks are left standing until they fall down from old age. Dyrehaven gets its name from the thousands of red and fallow deer that inhabit the park, which hosts horse races and theater performances throughout the year.

Thy National Park

Covering nearly 94 square miles on the northwestern coast of Jutland, this dune and heath landscape is Denmark's biggest and oldest national park. Go here to see rare species of birds,

crystal clear lakes

, and even remnants of German World War II bunkers, which today serve as a museum.

Kronborg Castle, Helsingør

Since the 15th century,

Kronborg Castle

has served as a military fortress, prison, and royal palace. Despite it's rich history, it is perhaps best-known as "Elsinore,” the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet, home of Denmark's most famous (albeit fictional) prince.

Møns Klint

These white chalk cliffs stretch for more than three miles along the eastern coast of Møn, an island in the Baltic Sea. The cliffs and surrounding areas attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, who also come to see rare orchids and nesting peregrine falcons, the world's fastest animal.

Egeskov Castle, Kværndrup

Constructed in 1554,

Egeskov Castle

is known as the

best-preserved moat castle

in all of Europe. The Gothic-style castle complex comprises 280-year-old hedge mazes, and two buildings with 200 windows and 66 rooms (sadly, only six bathrooms).

Lego House, Billund

When you're in the Lego capital of the world, you might as well lean into it. A 40,000 square foot

Lego House

recently opened in Billund, where you can play with 25 million bricks and look and impressive public art. And don't forget about the original Legoland (also in Billund), an amusement park next to the Lego factory with rides and Lego replicas of landmarks around the world.

Ribe

Dating back 1,307 years, Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark—and in all of Scandinavia. The city was established in the early eighth century, and while you can't find any structures that ancient around today, the picturesque cathedrals and half-timbered houses on cobblestone streets are well-worth a visit.

Hammershus, Bornholm

Built around 1300, the largest castle ruins in Scandinavia can be found on the very northern tip of Bornholm. Visitors flock to Hammershus to walk the impressive castle yards and perimeter wall, as well as take in the views of the Baltic Sea.

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