DENMARK DIARIES: A DAY IN ODENSE
Because of the pandemic, this summer definitely looks a lot different. Originally we had plans to do a tour of Eastern Europe, ending with a week in Italy (which I was sooo excited for). After learning that this probably wouldn’t happen, we revised our travel plans for the summer a few more times before deciding that it was best just to cancel it all and wait to see how everything was when summer started. After canceling all plans to travel abroad, we decided to take a hemester (staycay) here in Sweden and Denmark, and explore parts of the countries we hadn’t had the opportunity to see yet.
In addition to a few day trips around Skåne, this is when we took some time off to go to Stockholm and Gotland. We had originally talked about going to the very north of Sweden too, but those plans quickly changed when Denmark opened its borders again. The only city in Denmark we’ve seen much of is Copenhagen, so we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to do a more comprehensive tour of our neighboring country.
Our trip lasted 8 days, and included stops in Odense, Billund, Esbjerg, Fanoø, Aarhus, Aalborg, Göteborg, and Stockholm (posts on these to come!). It was so much fun, and I’m so glad we got to see and learn more about the beautiful country of Denmark!
If you want to see what we got up to at our first stop in Odense, keep scrolling!
WHEN TO GO
We traveled the second week of August, and had amazing weather! We were also lucky in that we were in Denmark during the last few days that most museums/attractions offered summer discounts on admission – many places were half price!
HOW LONG TO VISIT
We were in Odense about a day and a half, and were able to see everything we wanted to + take excursions outside the city. It would have been nice to be there 2 whole days at a slower place, but it can definitely be done in less!
WHERE TO STAY
Since we spent very little time in our hotels during this trip, we opted for cheap and convenient. Cabinn is a discount hotel chain all over Denmark, and we stayed here most nights! It’s definitely nothing fancy (MacKenzie and I often slept in bunk beds) but it was a comfortable place for us to rest after a long day, and super easy to get to (the one in Odense is right next to the central station!).
HOW TO GET AROUND
The most popular way to get around Odense (and most of Denmark) is by bike. But since most of the things we wanted to do in the city were pretty central, we opted to walk. There are beautiful walking paths, and Odense is definitely a pedestrian city. For our excursions to Egeskov Castle and the Funen Village, we took a bus or train to get to each. Public transit is pretty easy to do; you can either download an app to pay for your ticket, or buy one at the train station. We used Google Maps to plan our trips, and didn’t have any issues!
WHAT TO DO IN ODENSE
WALK THE FOOTSTEPS OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON
Odense’s biggest claim to fame is as the birthplace and home of the great Danish storyteller, Hans Christian Anderson. With one ticket, we were able to access the H.C. Anderson Museum, birthplace, and childhood home. It was interesting to learn more about his life, but I definitely thought the museum could have been more interactive by weaving his stories in a bit more. Overall it took us about 1.5 hours to experience the three locations.
TRANSPORT BACK IN TIME AS YOU WANDER THROUGH THE OLD QUARTER
Located on the way to the Hans Christian Anderson museum, the Old Quarter is hard to miss. Colorful old buildings with roses line the streets, and transport you hundreds of years back in time. Get there early if you want to take pictures and experience this beautiful area without the crowds. We arrived around 9 am on a cloudy morning, and were completely alone!
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO EGESKOV CASTLE
One of the few existing castles in Europe with a functional moat, Egeskov Castle was out of a fairytale. This beautiful castle is actually privately owned and used by the family on holidays, but open to the public most other days. We spent the afternoon wandering around the beautiful gardens and grounds, exploring the castle corridors, and surprisingly discovering the extensive museum collections of cars, toys, taxidermy (yikes), and old time buildings. The castle grounds also host an amazing playground for children that includes a huge bouncy toy (we definitely jumped!), moon cars, and a treetop bridge with stunning views of the grounds.
LIVE OUT YOUR FARMGIRL DREAMS AT THE FUNEN VILLAGE
I don’t think I’d ever been to an open-air museum until I moved to Scandinavia – but I’m a fan! The Funen Village is the most elaborate and comprehensive open-air museum I’ve been to. It features 25 buildings from Funish villages, most of which date to the 18th and 19th century. In addition to a school, watermill, inn, and several homes, the village includes animals and agriculture that were existing and popular in Denmark at the time. We spent quite a few hours here, and were lucky enough to pet some of the animals (a cow licked me?!), catch a few reenactments, and experience life in 1700’s Denmark!
WHERE TO EAT
Try the variety of cuisines at Storms Pakhus Street Food. MacKenzie had the most beautiful (and spicy) hotdog I’ve ever seen, I opted for a tasty pita.
Chill out with a burger from Burger Anarchy. I had a tasty veggie burger, and MacKenzie tried the chicken. There was a problem with our order, so they brought over free drinks – can’t be mad about that!
All in all we had a great first day of our Denmark adventure. Next stop: Legoland!
Have you been to Odense? Do you have a favorite Hans Christian Anderson Fairytale? Let me know below!