A Gastro Tour of Western Denmark

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Western Denmark offers travelers the opportunity to explore cities and nature, all within short drives. The lively cities of Aarhus and Aalborg offer a mix of history and contemporary vibes, while the smaller cities of Ribe and Odense will charm visitors with their cobblestone streets and history-from the Viking Age to Hans Christian Andersen. Explore the coastline line for its UNESCO National parks, plenty of beaches and its delightful seafood! And be sure to visit LEGOland-this is home to the original Legos!

The following is just a sample itinerary focusing on the highlights of west Denmark.

For custom luxury travel and tours to Copenhagen, Denmark or Scandinavia, please contact one of our travel experts.

Day 1
Aalborg |

Upon arrival into Aalborg on your KLM flight, pick up your rental car and head to your hotel.

This afternoon, your guide will meet you to explore Aalborg. Fans of architecture will want to visit Utzon Center, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the same man who designed the Sydney Opera House. The Center has a critically acclaimed restaurant, Restaurant Jørn.

Sitting near the Utzon Center on Aalborg’s waterfront is the Musikkens Hus, home to the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. You may also want to visit the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, designed by famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The museum displays modern and contemporary pieces from international artists as well as Danish artists. Brasserie Kunsten, located in the museum, is a great spot for lunch.

Your guide will also show you Hjelmerstald, Aalborg’s colorful Old Town, the town is picture perfect with its cobblestone streets lined with crooked houses. Located below one of the busiest streets in Aalborg, you will find the Franciscan Monastery. Dating back to 1250, walk among the medieval ruins, viewing artifacts from the city’s history.

This evening, we suggest a stroll along the waterfront, which has been revitalized in the past few years.  Here you will find the restaurant Tabu, where you can enjoy New Nordic Cuisine.

If you did not have a chance to see the House of Music earlier today, Restaurant Fauna is another dinner option with great views over the harbor.


Comwell Hvide Hus

Day 2
Aalborg-Skagen |

This morning, depart for Skagen, which is a 1.5 hour drive.

As you make the drive, just north of Aalborg, you will find Lindholm Høje, an ancient burial site.  There are several hundred stone circles indicating the tombs from both the Iron and Viking Ages.  The location served as a trade center and remnants of this have been found scattered through the land.

For lunch, we suggest a stop at Villa Vest with a lovely setting along the sea.  The simplistic restaurant setting lets the food and scenery speak for itself.

Skagen is dotted with postcard pretty yellow houses and has been home to an artist colony that has shaped the city. Grenen is a must-visit, as this is the top of Denmark, and you can stand with your foot in two different oceans at the same time. Here you will find Denmark’s Northernmost restaurant “Restaurant De 2 Have”.

Explore the harbour, where the former red warehouses have been transformed into restaurants. Restaurant Pakhuset is the most famous. Try a local organic beer from the country’s most northerly brewery, Skagen Bryghus.


Ruth’s Hotel

Day 3
Skagen- Svinkløvvej-Thy |

Today drive down along the west coast to Råbjerg Mile, where you will find a large migrating sand dune. The drive is about one hour.  In this area, you will find the Rubjerg Knude Light House. The lighthouse began operation in 1900, serving as a beacon for almost 70 years.  The coastline has been eroding and the lighthouse and several other nearby historic buildings were moved further back to prevent falling into the North Sea.   One building that did not survive the sand migration is the St. Laurence Church. Parishioners had to dig through the sand to enter the church until it was closed in 1795.  Today only the tower stands as a reminder of mother nature’s force. 

Afterwards, head further south, to the Thy National Park. Your drive from Skagen takes about 2 and half hours.

Before entering the park, you may want to stop into Stenbjerg Kro for a lunch of regional dishes.

In Thy National Park options include fishing tours from the town of Stenbjerg, foraging tours in the dunes, where you can find mushrooms and berries dependent on season, and visits to local shops and restaurants.

You can also enjoy hiking, biking, paddleboarding, horseback riding and even surfing!  Surfers have flocked to this area, aptly named “Cold Hawaii” for its excellent surfing conditions.

Tonight, stay at the Svinkløv Badehotel, set right on the dunes.  Svinkløv is home to one of  the world’s best chef Kenneth Hansen, winner of the Bocuse d’Or in 2019.


Svinkløv Badehotel

Day 4
Thy-Wadden Sea-Ribe |

Today explore the Wadden sea National Park, which features one of the world’s largest tidal flats.  The Park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site and has a rich ecosystem and is a breeding ground for birds and seals. Be sure to visit the Wadden Sea Center, with its thatched roof and timber siding, the thoroughly modern interior is quite a contrast! The center provides a great overview of this remarkable area.

Head to Mandø, a small island in the Wadden Sea, accessible only during low tide via a road that is placed on the very bottom of the sea. This is the best place for oyster picking in Denmark. Strap into some wadders and learn how to pick oysters from the seabed and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Or maybe you prefer to visit Vester Vedsted Vingård, and for a guided walk on the island of Rømø, where you learn about local foraging.

Drive to Ribe (3 hours) for an evening in Scandinavia’s oldest town, a cobblestone town with half-timbered houses and a long Viking history, not to mention a beer brewing tradition at Ribe Bryghus that is traditional and historical. Ribe is also the hometown of Jacob a Riis, who immigrated to the US and wrote the book “How the Other Half Lives”. Visit the Jacob a Riis Museum. Visit Ribe Cathedral and Ribe Vikingcenter, where you can learn some medieval Viking cooking skills.


Hotel Dagmar

Day 5
Ribe-Odense |

Today depart for Odense on the island of Funen.  Funen is known as Denmark’s pantry, where you will find lots of gardens and orchards.

Along the way, visit the historic Gram Castle to uncover the Danish cake table experience. This tradition goes beyond the classic afternoon tea and is all about preparing a special cake table with 21 different cakes (seven dry, seven soft and seven hard) and has a strong historical connection going back to the Prussian War of 1864.

Afterwards, continue to Odense.  This afternoon, be sure to taste the local brunsviger cake and visiting the new HC Andersen Museum. Follow in the great fairytale writer’s footsteps and try a hindbærsnitte at a local bakery – these raspberry slices were his favorites.

Tonight, dine in one or the city’s fantastic restaurants or make it casual with a visit to one of the food markets-Storm’s Pakhus or Arkaden Food Hall. Or course, a visit to Denmark is not complete with sampling smørrebrød- the famous open face sandwiches.


Hotel Odeon

Day 6
Odense-Aarhus |

Today depart for Aarhus, 1 hour 50 minute drive. Denmark’s second city is known for its sustainable food initiatives and/or high-end dining and boast options including Moment, a Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant.

This afternoon, your driver will greet you to take you outside the city to visit Ebeltoft Gårdbryggeriet, a local brewery. Or if you prefer wine, visit fruit winery Cold Hand Winery. Do not expect cider here but a more complex wine.  With a driver arranged you can indulge without worry!


Comwell Dolce Wyndham

Day 7
Aarhus-Onward |

Today head to the airport for your departing KLM flight.

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