Copenhagen is regularly ranked among the world’s most livable cities. Certainly the international popularity of the Danish capital is well-deserved, thanks to its fine museums, grand architecture, great shopping and cutting-edge restaurant scene. However, few travelers discover the delights of Denmark beyond its largest metropolis. As I recently found on a 10-day trip through the countryside, this pretty, polite, peaceful country, roughly half the size of Maine, is a wonderful destination for delicious food, impressive castles and charming country house hotels. For many years, Falsled Kro, a longtime favorite on the island of Funen, was the only property I recommended outside Copenhagen, but now it’s been joined by several other addresses, which collectively form a splendid touring itinerary.
Travel in Denmark is easy, convenient and comfortable. The country has excellent infrastructure, with well-maintained roads and ferries. Kastrup, Copenhagen’s main international airport, is so attractive and efficient it inspires immediate envy. Just to the north, the countryside resembles a vast and lovingly tended garden. In late spring, the rolling green fields were interspersed with bright-yellow bands of flowering rapeseed, while huge high-tech windmills — the country has been a pioneer in the generation of wind power — were arrayed on the crests of the hills.
Kokkedal Slot Copenhagen
In need of a rest after the transatlantic flight, we stopped first at Kokkedal Slot Copenhagen (“slot” is the Danish word for “castle”), a 62-room hotel located on the scenic eastern shore of the island of Zealand, the so-called Danish Riviera, 35 minutes to the north of Copenhagen. This handsome white 18th-century manor house sits on a low hill, affording views of the surrounding estate (including a nearby 18-hole golf course) and the distant Baltic Sea. It proved to be a quiet, gracious place. The ground floor of the hotel is occupied by a large lounge with Bohemian crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors, a conservatory veranda used as the main restaurant during summer months — from September to May, dining moves to the vaulted cellar — and a cozy bar with a fine selection of aquavit, the signature Scandinavian spirit.