The so-called “whiskey belt” of Denmark is the golden coast of Denmark. A world of beaches, luxury villas, green forests and high-life attractions. In an egalitarian nation that loves its beer (think Carlsberg and Tuborg) the wealthy residents of the region are said to prefer a shot of whiskey, hence the name. Stretching along some 40 kilometers of coastline north of Copenhagen, the region is a refreshing and easily accessible alternative for visiting the city. Here are some of the highlights.
1. The route of the daisies
The 40-kilometre Strandvejen (beach road) from Copenhagen to Helsingor runs the entire length of the Whiskey Belt. It is also known as the route of the daisies. This is because its path is marked with the ‘Marguerite’ of Margrethe II (popularly known as Queen Margaret) which indicates an area of great natural beauty. The road runs parallel to the Oresund Strait that separates Denmark from Sweden.
Although rental cars are readily available, it is just as easy to explore the route by train (the ‘coastline’) and by bike. Bicycles can be rented locally cheaply and can be taken on the trains.
2. Bellevue Beach
Possibly the most glamorous beach in Scandinavia, Bellevue is the place for Denmark’s ‘Beautiful People’ to see and be seen every summer. Elegance and charm extend to the resort’s graceful architecture. Much of this was created in the mid-20th century by the ‘Danish Modern’ architect and designer Arne Jacobsen. Even the blue and white striped lifeguard towers and white beachside kiosks are his handiwork. In the ‘Restaurant Jacobsen’ everything, from the building, the interior design, the furniture and the cutlery, bears his mark.
3. The deer park
Relax in this cool dark fairy tale forest of majestic oak trees. In fact, even Bambi himself would feel at home here. The Dyrehaven (deer park) was formally the royal hunting ground. It was first fenced off by the King of Denmark in 1669. Today it is home to around 2,000 deer and a favorite spot for walkers and hikers. And be sure to enjoy traditional Danish cuisine at the old world restaurant ‘Peter Lieps Hus’, the country home of a former gamekeeper.
4. Bakken Amusement Park
Located deep within Deer Park, the world’s oldest carnival park is a blaze of light and sound. This is where the inhabitants of Copenhagen relax and have fun in a bawdy and burlesque atmosphere. The park has more than 100 attractions and amusements, food stalls, dancing, ice cream, cabaret, open
air restaurants and bars. Not to be missed!
5. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
With lovely gardens overlooking the sea toward Sweden, the Louisiana museum features one of the largest and finest collections of modern (20th century) art in the world. Much of the museum’s charm lies in its unique location. The spaciousness and relaxed open-air atmosphere of the gardens make this a popular family destination. The name Louisiana comes from the property’s former owner’s three successive wives, each named Louise!
6. Karen Blixen Museum
Set in a densely planted 40-acre park is the charming Rungstedland Manor House. This is the former family home of Karen Blixen, famous romantic author of ‘Out of Africa’ and other works. Since her death in 1962, the farm has served as a museum and bird sanctuary.
The house is a reminder of the privileged elegance of a bygone era. The gardens remain as they were, a tribute to Blixen’s horticultural talents and vision of beauty.
7. Hamlet’s Castle
At the end of the Whiskey Belt, where the Baltic and the North Sea meet, is Helsingor’s magnificent Renaissance Kronborg Castle. This is actually better known as ‘Elsinore’ castle from William Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet – Prince of Denmark’. Hamlet himself is probably based on the Danish legend of Amleth detailed in the writings of the Danish medieval historian Saxo Grammaticus.
The best time to plan a visit to the Whiskey Belt is mid-June to late August, when the weather (and beach life) is best and the landscape is greenest. Out of season, it’s still a delight to visit, with the advantage of fewer crowds.