Dining

Exploring South Jutland, the Denmark Destination You've Never Heard Of

Venture beyond Copenhagen for a Danish cultural escape
Photos: Colin Seymour

Copenhagen reigns as Scandinavia's unofficial capital of cool, with its signature storybook charm, chic design and award-winning culinary scene. But there's much more to discover in Denmark beyond the boundaries of its capital—and South Jutland is the perfect place to start.

The low-lying peninsula in western Denmark divides the North and Baltic seas, bordering Germany to the south. Jutland's idyllic landscapes are marked by its vast amount of open space, windswept dunes, pristine coastlines and cozy, thatch-roofed villages tucked into undulating hillsides. Drastically different than Copenhagen, Jutland is still unmistakably Danish (and drenched in hygge).

"South Jutland is one of Denmark's most enchanting hidden gems and has long lured in-the-know Danes looking for a relaxing retreat," Kathrine Simonsen, VisitDenmark's PR and Press Manager for North America, says. Jutlanders are a hospitable bunch, quick to welcome a new face and prove that Denmark's capital city isn't the only draw worth exploring—and why this under-the-radar destination should be your next European escape.

Find World-Class Cuisine

Copenhagen is filled with well-known restaurants (think Noma, Geranium, AOC), but Jutland has plenty gastronomic superstars of its own. For an unforgettable meal, book a table at Henne Kirkeby Kro. Housed in a 300-year-old inn and helmed by chef Paul Cunningham, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant highlights seasonal ingredients and local producers (including their own 43,000-square-foot garden). Other award-winning spots include Café Stranden, Sønderho Kro in Fanø and Frederikshøj in Aarhus.

Take a Trip to Tirpitz

The Tirpitz Museum in Blåvand is one the latest additions to Jutland's cultural attractions. Designed by celebrated Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, the underground museum is set in an old military bunker and brings to life stories of the WWII Atlantic Wall. Get a glimpse of what life was like during the war while learning about the area's local heritage.

Go On an Oyster Hunt

Nobody's exactly sure how Pacific oysters first showed up off the shores of Fanø, but the invasive species continues to swell at incredible rates. The small island even holds the Guinness Record for the world's largest oyster. To help curb the growing population, join an oyster safari at the Wadden Sea Centre. Led by special guides, hungry guests can wade out to collect, shuck and eat as many oysters as possible before the tides come in. It's sustainable tourism at its most delicious.

Hang Out at LEGO House

The LEGO is another one of Jutland's impressive claims to fame. First invented in Billund in 1932, the town is home to the original LEGOLAND theme park as well as the newly opened LEGO House. Filled with 25 million LEGO bricks, the creative space is teeming with interactive experiences for children and adults alike, and has three on-site eateries.

Visit a Viking Village

History buffs should carve out some time to explore Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark. With roots that date back to 700 AD, it originally served as a Viking marketplace. Despite a tumultuous history of plagues, fires and floods, the enchanting medieval hotspot is surprisingly well-preserved. Spend the night at Hotel Dagmar (the country's longest standing hotel) and visit other record-holding sites, such as the oldest cathedral in Denmark.

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