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Eight great places to visit during autumn in Denmark

Autumn is the most "hyggelig" season to be outside in Denmark, and the country's large beech and oak forests make it a perfect place to see the autumn colours. We asked foreigners from Copenhagen for some of their favourite places to go.

Eight great places to visit during autumn in Denmark
A golden corridor of beaches in the Rold Forest in northern Jutland. Photo: Christian Faber/Visit Denmark

1. Bornholm

The sea surrounding Denmark’s most easterly island shifts its summer a few weeks later than most other places in Denmark, with the waters retaining their heat well into September (not that you’ll necessary want to go swimming, this is the Baltic after all!). But it’s still possible to enjoy a visit to some of the stunning beeches which ring the island. 

That’s not the only reason to make an autumn visit to this quaint Danish outpost, which closer to Poland than to Copenhagen. The Almindingen forest in the centre of the island is one of the largest in Denmark, and has huge expanses of beech forest, and patches of the original mixed oak forest. 

The ruins of Hammershus Castle on the north coast of Bornholm, as seen in late August. Photo: Semko Balcerski/Visit Denmark

There are four walking paths through the forest, all about 4km long. Walk one starts at the excellent but pricey Christianshøjkroen restaurant in Aakirkeby, and takes you out to Rokkestenen, seven tonnes of rock left by a retreating glaciers, which you are supposed to try and rock. Walk two takes you through Ekkodalen, Bornholm’s longest rift valley. Walk three takes you through an arboretum, and walk five takes you around several lakes, to the ruin of a Viking-era castle, and to Lilleborg Castle.

A lovely autumn route through the Hareskoven Forest. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

2. Enjoy the autumn colours in Hareskoven Forest 

Hareskoven, which skirts the northwestern fringes of Copenhagen, is the closest place to the capital with a decent stretch of beech forest, which turns satisfyingly golden in the autumn. There are also scattered oak, linden and maple trees, with some majestic examples of the former, such as ‘The Tailor’ or Skrædderen.

4.Visit the beautiful Rold forest near Aalborg. 

Rold forest near Aalborg in the north of Jutland is Denmark’s second largest forest. It’s known particularly for the Troldeskoven, or magic forest, filled with gnarled beeches many of which are as much as 300 years old, close to the maximum age for a beech tree. 

There’s also the ‘old growth forest’ or Kyø Skov, which also has has 300-year-old trees, protected because they once belonged to the Kyø manor house southwest of Sebbersund. Other places worth a visit are the Store Økssø lake and the Hvass Sø lake. 

Rowing on one of the lakes at Frederiksberg Have. Photo: Visit Denmark

5. Frederiksberg Have 

Within Copenhagen, the Frederiksberg Have park is a great place for an autumn walk. with its lawns, beautiful trees, winding paths, lakes and canals. There’s a café right by the entrance where you can either have coffee before or after your walk, or buy a take away to keep you company on your round. 

Artist Malik Mabe takes the Halloween Jack o’ Lantern to a whole other level. Photo: Christoffer Anias Sandager/Tivoli

5. Halloween at Tivoli 

Another urban autumnal thing to do, Halloween at Tivoli, the unique funfair right by Copenhagen’s central station, is quite special, with inventive decorations, over 20,000 pumpkins, and lots of people in scary costumes. 

6. Pick your apples, pears, plums (or pumpkins for that matter)

Pick-your-own is huge in Denmark, and on the Selvpluk website, you can search and find dozens of apple and pear orchards within a day trip of Copenhagen. It’s a lovely way to spend a bit of time outside and come back with your own extremely fresh harvest. 

A man cycling in the the Store Dyrehave in northern Jutland. Photo: Tine Uffelmann/VisitNordsjælland

7. Enjoy the autumn colours in the Store Dyrehave

Store Dyrehave, meaning literally ‘large animal park’ was enclosed by stone walls in 1619–28 as a royal deer park for hunting, and is now comprises 1,230 of forest, mostly beech with some oak. It’s just south of the North Zealand town of Hillerød, and takes less than an hour to get to by public transport from Copenhagen. The park is popular with mountain bikers, and joggers and has a series of marked out routes, making it easy to get around. The geometrical road system laid down by King Christian V for hunting is still in place. 

Stags preparing to rut at Jægersborg Dyrehave. Photo:Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

8. Watch rutting stags at Jægersborg Dyrehave

Jægersborg Dyrehave boasts impressive oak trees and red and fallow deer which have their rutting season in September, which means if you’re lucky you can see the stags clattering their horns together in the hope of winning mates. It’s also possible to go horse riding in Jægersborg Dyrehave. Book ponies at Fortunens Ponycenter


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Who visits Denmark in summer and where do the tourists go?

Tourism in Denmark is still rebounding after the bottom fell out in 2020. But which kind of tourists come to Denmark in the summer? Where are they from and where do they go?

Who visits Denmark in summer and where do the tourists go?

The Local scoured data from Tourism Denmark to learn who it is asking for directions in Copenhagen and hogging beach space on Danish shores. 

Overwhelmingly, it’s Danes that visit Denmark — two thirds of all overnight tourism in 2021 was from Danes spending their holidays in other parts of their own country. 

But as for foreign tourism, Denmark’s neighbours to the south take the lion’s share. Germans spent more than 13.2 million overnight visits in Denmark in 2021. 

Next up is the Netherlands, which sent more than 717,000 overnight guests to Denmark. Swedes and Norwegians spent 604,000 and 412,00 overnight stays in Denmark, respectively, while the UK and the US both contributed about 200,000 stays. 

Country of Origin  Overnight visitors to Denmark in 2021
1. Germany 13.2 million
2. The Netherlands 717,900
3. Sweden 604,000
4. Norway 412,600
5. The United Kingdom 208,900
6. United States 199,300
7. France 164,100
8. Italy 161,500
9. India 18,100
10. China 14,500

Where do they spend the night? 

Forty-two percent of all tourists, including Danes, spent their vacations in rented holiday homes, while 23 percent camped outside. Only 23 percent of all overnight stays in Denmark were in hotels — holiday centers, hostels, and marinas round out the rest. 

READ MORE: Summer houses in Denmark: What are the rules and when can you live in them?

Beaches beat the cities 

A whopping 80 percent of overnight stays were for coastal and nature tourism — that’s the summer house culture for you — while only 11 percent was tourism to big cities. Business tourism accounted for the last 9 percent. 

Favourite destinations by country 

German tourists flocked to a region called Vesterhavet (literally ‘the western sea’ in Danish), spending 5 million overnight stays there in 2021. The distant second and third favorite destinations for holiday-making Germans in Denmark were Nordvestkysten (‘the north west coast,’ which saw 2.3 million overnight stays) and Southern Jutland with 1.6 million. 

As far as the US is concerned, Denmark might as well be a city-state — 77 percent of American visitors stayed in Denmark’s capital city, while 63 percent of UK tourists and nearly half of all visits from Swedes were to Copenhagen. 

Norwegians have a broader palate for Denmark’s diverse charms, with about a third staying in Copenhagen and the other two thirds spread across the Danish islands and beaches.