Denmark is prime family holiday territory, especially in high season when family-filled camper vans hit the road to celebrate the summer break. Theme parks, amusement parks, zoos and child-friendly beaches are just part of the story – businesses go out of their way to woo families, and children are rarely made to feel unwelcome.

Best Regions for Kids

  • Copenhagen

Capital attractions include funpark-meets-fairy-tale Tivoli, the swimming polar bears at the zoo and the insanely colourful fish of Den Blå Planet.

  • Møn, Falster & Lolland

Chalk cliffs and a mind-bending geology centre on Møn, beaches and a medieval village on Falster, and a safari park and water park on Lolland.

  • Funen

Odense pays homage to the tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Plus there’s a moat-encircled castle with mazes and marvels, and bunkers and battleships at a 1950s fort.

  • Central Jutland

Plastic fantastic Legoland and new Lego House – need we say more? Close by are a water park and safari park, plus family canoeing opportunities, beaches and loads more amusement parks.

  • Northern Jutland

Endless sandy strands and shifting sand dunes that will put your sandcastles to shame, plus a mega-aquarium that reveals just what lies beneath.

Denmark for Kids

Entry to most museums is free for kids, and you won’t have to minimise your time in cultural attractions lest your offspring start climbing the walls – almost everywhere has displays and activities designed especially to keep kids entertained.

Travellers with children should enquire at local tourist offices – all regions have places where kids are king, from huge indoor swim centres to play centres and petting farms.

The larger theme parks and animal parks aren't particularly cheap, but most attractions have family passes and packages. Free entertainment can come in the form of long sandy beaches, parks and playgrounds.

Cultural Kids

Copenhagen Nationalmuseet has a brilliant hands-on children’s section, while kids are spoiled at Louisiana with a wing of their own, where they can create artistic masterpieces.

Zealand The superb Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde displays five Viking ships; there’s also Viking shipbuilding and the chance to go on a longboat cruise. M/S Museet for Søfart, the national maritime museum in Helsingør, has vivid interactive exhibitions.

Funen At Fyrtøjet, in Odense, kids get to explore the world of Hans Christian Andersen through storytelling and music. Egeskov Slot is a must – the summer program includes evening concerts, ghost hunts and fireworks.

Central Jutland Aarhus’ art museum will wow kids with its giant Boy sculpture and awesome rooftop rainbow walkway. Kvindemuseet has hands-on kids’ exhibits in its ‘History of Childhood’ section.

Funparks & Theme Parks

Copenhagen Tivoli is a charming combination of amusement rides, flower gardens, food pavilions, carnival games and open-air stage shows. Bakken is its poorer relation but still provides loads of old-fashioned fun.

Møn, Falster & Lolland Lalandia on Lolland undersells itself with the label ‘water park’.

Central Jutland Legoland is the big daddy of Danish theme parks, joined by Lalandia as its neighbour. Aarhus has Tivoli Friheden for rides and games, and Djurs Sommerland has the blockbuster combo of water park and amusement park in one super-popular attraction.

Northern Jutland Djurs Sommerland’s northern sister is Fårup Sommerland, equally popular and home to a water park and amusement rides.

Animal Encounters

Copenhagen The zoo houses a multitude of critters, and some lovely architect-designed homes for them – including a polar bear enclosure with glass tunnel. Den Blå Planet takes its fishy business seriously.

Møn, Falster & Lolland Knuthenborg Safari Park on Lolland has a drive-through savannah area for a taste of Africa (but with lousier weather).

Bornholm The Sommerfuglepark showcases jungle climates and has more than 1000 butterflies.

Funen Odense Zoo has an African area for junior explorers.

Central Jutland Randers Regnskov is a sultry, dome-enclosed tropical zoo taking you to Africa, Asia and South America. At Skandinavisk Dyrepark you can assess a full collection of Scandi species, including polar bears and brown bears. Silkeborg’s Aqua has an abundance of fish and cute otters.

Northern Jutland Aalborg has a quality zoo, while Hirtshals is home to one of the largest aquariums in northern Europe.

Time Travel

The Danes have a seemingly limitless enthusiasm for dressing up and recreating history, and they do it well in countless open-air museums and recreated Viking camps and medieval villages, all with activities for youngsters.

Zealand The experimental archaeology centre of Sagnlandet Lejre, ‘Land of Legends’, is fascinating. Danmarks Borgcenter in Vordingborg lets kids explore medieval castle life and the world of kings using iPad technology.

Møn, Falster & Lolland Falster’s Middelaldercentret recreates an early-15th-century medieval village.

Bornholm Oh look, it’s another ye-olde village: Bornholms Middelaldercenter recreates a medieval fort and village.

Funen Den Fynske Landsby is a recreated olden-days country village with the requisite costumes and farmyard animals.

Southern Jutland Ribe VikingeCenter recreates the Viking era in Denmark’s oldest town; finish the day with a walk alongside the town’s nightwatchman.

Central Jutland Den Gamle By, 'The Old Town', in Aarhus is a photogenic open-air museum. Hobro has a Viking-era farmstead to complement its Viking fortress.

Fresh-Air Fun

Copenhagen Amager Strandpark is a sand-sational artificial lagoon, with acres of sandy beach. Playground facilities and shallow water make it ideal for children. Plus, you can’t visit Copenhagen and not take a canal boat trip.

Zealand Roskilde's Viking Ship Museum runs sailing trips on the fjord. The beautiful beaches of northern Zealand are great for summertime fun.

Møn, Falster & Lolland On Falster, Marielyst is home to family-oriented activities as well as a seemingly endless sandy beach; take a boat trip to see the white cliffs of Møns Klint.

Bornholm The calm and shallow waters of the sweeping beach at Dueodde suit families to a T.

Funen The grounds of Egeskov Slot are full of fun diversions, while Svendborg offers sailing trips and a forested park full of ropeways and zip lines.

Southern Jutland The Wadden Sea National Park has ace tidal tours exploring the mudflats, while for older kids, Rømø’s southern beach is full of windblown speed treats.

Central Jutland Canoeing and camping in the picturesque Lake District make for undeniably wholesome family fun.

Northern Jutland Loads of beaches, mega-sand dunes at Rubjerg Knude and Råbjerg Mile, and a tractor-pulled bus ride to Denmark’s northernmost tip.

Planning

When to Go

The best time for families to visit Denmark is the best time for any traveller – between May and September. Local school holidays run from late June to mid-August. On the plus side, at this time, good weather is likely (though never assured), all attractions and activities are in full swing, and your kids are likely to meet other kids. On the downside, beaches and attractions are busy, and camping grounds and hostels are heavily in demand (and also charge peak prices).

Where to Stay

In high season (mid-June to mid-August) camping grounds are hives of activity, and many put on entertainment and activity programs for junior guests.

Hostels are exceedingly well set up for, and welcoming to, families. Rooms often sleep up to six (usually in bunks); there will invariably be a guest kitchen and lounge facilities. Farm stays may offer a rural idyll and/or the chance to get your hands dirty.

In resorts, summer houses are available at a reasonable price (usually by the week). In cities that are emptier due to the summer exodus, business hotels may drop their rates and add bunks to rooms to woo family business.

Where to Eat

On the whole, Danish restaurants welcome children with open arms. Virtually all offer high chairs, many have a børnemenu (children’s menu) or will at least provide children’s portions, and some have play areas. Two family-focused chains to look for are the steak chain Jensen’s Bøfhus (www.jensens.com) and the US-influenced Bone’s (www.bones.dk), with a menu of spare ribs, burgers and barbecued chicken. Both chains offer extensive kids menus and all-you-can-eat ice-cream bars – bonus! Food halls are a good choice, too, as they cater to all diners.

Self-catering will be a breeze if you are staying somewhere with kitchen facilities – larger supermarkets will stock all you’ll need (including baby items). There are oodles of prime picnic spots.

Transport

  • Having your own set of wheels will make life easier, but public transport shouldn’t be dismissed – on trains, children under 12 years travel free if they are with an adult travelling on a standard ticket (each adult can take two children free).
  • A cycling holiday may be doable with slightly older kids, as the terrain is flat and distances between towns are not vast. Larger bicycle-rental outfits have kids trailers and kids bikes for rent.

Useful Websites

The official websites visitdenmark.com and visitcopenhagen.com have pages dedicated to family holidays – lists of kid-approved attractions, child-friendly restaurants, ace playgrounds in the capital and much more.