It has been a number of years since I visited Denmark. Back in the day, I did not think about culture or cuisine, unless that culture and cuisine was soaked in beer. I was young, in my early twenties and living a fast pace when not glued to an oversized rucksack covered in patches of the different countries I had visited.

Denmark Boats by Denmark TourismOnce I found a spot to set my backpack, I was off to the races. Preferring the darkened, smoky rooms, which rumbled of clinking glass beer steins and the laughter of dizzy partiers, I spent a good portion hitting the bars in Copenhagen and Aalborg. One street in particular in Aalborg had flags waving every thirty, which stretched across the street. And yes, I did manage to check out the Little Mermaid. Although there is little to regret and much to savor about my visit, there is a wishing to have experienced a little more of the tradition and peacefulness of Denmark. I hope to go back in the near future to re-explore what I missed or forgot the first time around.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with a friend, and top banana, from Denmark Tourism who could offer not only the allure of tulips and wooden shoes, but suggestions on enjoying a quieter, relaxed side of Denmark.

Aalborg in Denmark by Devin Galaudet of In The Know TravelerShe let me know of three favorites that she loves to do on her own time. Here are her suggestions. Take the canal tour as she puts it, “I love to watch Copenhagen from the water.” There are loads of tours available.

For a little bit of fun, a great self driving tour is the beach road along the East Coast of Denmark, also known as "Strandvejen." The entire drive includes a view of nearby Sweden’s west coast and fantastic Danish architecture along the sides of the road, which include roller-skating Danes. It’s great for a Sunday trip. A wonderful stop is Kronberg Castle in Elsinore, known as Hamlet’s house, immortalized by Shakespeare. It's about an hour from Copenhagen.

Denmark Canals by Denmark TourismFyn Island has farms and castles and of course, is the birthplace and home of Hans Christian’s Anderson, one of Denmark's most beloved citizens and storytellers. There are several museums, the Odense Zoo, and ferries connecting to the cobble-stoned streets of Island of Ærø, just south of Fyn.

In my own exploring, I offer an honorable mention to Öresund Bridge, the bridge to Malmö, which connects Copenhagen to Sweden’s southwestern city. I bring this up not to suggest a need to escape from Copenhagen, but a consideration that Copenhagen is a great leaping off point and travel hub for both land and sea "“ it is frequently used for the starting point for several cruise lines touring the Baltic.

Written by Devin Galaudet

For more on Denmark at ITKT