Esbjerg (pronounced es-be-air) has a touch of the ‘wild frontier’ about it – a new city (by Danish standards) that's grown big and affluent from oil, fishing and trading. Its business focus lies to the west, to the oilfields of the North Sea, but its ferry link with the UK ceased in 2014.
Kolding is an eminently likeable mid-sized town with a crowd-pleasing mix of old and new, encapsulated in one of its major drawcards, the hilltop castle Koldinghus. After a stroll through the town's old quarters, head to Trapholt to admire the modern furniture design for which Denmark is renowned.
Tønder is an inviting place that’s had a rocky journey through serious flooding to German annexation; strong German links remain (not surprising, given Tønder’s proximity to the border, just 4km south). During the 16th century a series of dykes were erected to prevent the imminent threat of flooding.
Summer sees the large island of Rømø fill with tourists (predominantly from Germany). This is hardly surprising given the entire west coast is one long, sandy beach that’s prime happy-holiday turf, perfect for sun-bathing and sunset-watching or something more active. Rømø is connected to the mainland by a 10km causeway (with cycle lane).
Wadden Sea National Park
One of the new national parks created in Denmark in the last few years is Nationalpark Vadehavet. Stretching along Jutland’s west coast from Ho Bugt (west of Esbjerg) to the German border, and incorporating the holiday islands of Rømø and Fanø, its marshlands provide food and rest for millions of migratory birds.