Denmark’s so called ‘Whiskey Belt’ is the gold coast of Denmark. A world of beaches, luxury villas, green verdant forests and high life attractions. In an egalitarian nation which loves it’s beer (think Carlsberg and Tuborg) it is said that the regions affluent residents prefer a tipple of whiskey – hence the name. Stretching along some 40 kilometers of coastline north from Copenhagen, the region is a refreshing and easily accessible alternative to city sightseeing. Here are some of the highlights.
1. The Daisy Route
The 40 kilometer Strandvejen (beach road) from Copenhagen through to Helsingor runs the full length of the Whiskey Belt. It is also known as the Daisy route. This is because it’s road signed with the ‘Daisy’ of Margrethe II (popularly known as Queen Daisy) which indicates an area of outstanding natural beauty. The road runs parallel to the narrow Oresund strait which separates Denmark from Sweden.
Although hire cars are readily available, it’s just as easy to explore the route by train (the ‘coastal line’) and bicycle. Bicycles can be hired cheaply locally and may be taken onto trains.
2. Bellevue Beach
Possibly Scandinavia’s most glamorous beach, Bellevue is the place for Denmark’s ‘Beautiful People’ to see and be seen every summer. The chic and charm extends to the stylish architecture of the resort. Much of this was created in the mid 20th century by ‘Danish Modern’ architect and designer Arne Jacobsen. Even the blue and white striped lifeguard towers and white beach side kiosks are his work. At the ‘Restaurant Jacobsen’ everything from the building, interior design, furniture and cutlery bears his mark.
3. The Deer Park
Chill out in this cool, dark, fairy tale forest of majestic oaks. Indeed, even Bambi himself would feel at home here. The Dyrehaven (deer park) was formally the royal hunting grounds. It was first fenced off by the King of Denmark in 1669. Today it is home to around 2,000 deer and a favorite haunt of walkers and picnickers. And be sure to enjoy some traditional Danish cuisine in the oldie-world restaurant ‘Peter Lieps Hus’, a former gamekeeper’s cottage.
4. Bakken Amusement Park
Located deep in the depths of the Deer Park, the world’s oldest carnival park is a blaze of light and sound. This is where the Copenhageners loosen up and have fun in a bawdy, burlesque environment. The park features over 100 rides and amusements, food stalls, dancing, ice cream, cabaret, open
air restaurants and bars. Not to be missed !
5. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
With delightful gardens overlooking the sea towards Sweden, the Louisiana museum features one of the largest and finest modern (20th century) art collections in the world. A large part of the museum’s charm lies in it’s unique location. Spaciousness and the relaxed outdoor environment of the gardens make this a popular family destination. The name Louisiana stems from the former estate owner’s three successive wives, each of whom was called Louise !
6. Karen Blixen Museum
Set in a densely planted 40 acres park lies the charming manor house of Rungstedland. This is the former family home of Karen Blixen, famed romantic authoress of ‘Out of Africa’ and other works. Since her death in 1962, the estate serves as both 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 own horticultural talents and her vision of beauty.
7. Hamlet’s Castle
At the end of the Whiskey Belt, where the Baltic and North Sea meet, lies the magnificent renaissance castle of Kronborg in Helsingor. This is actually better known as the castle of ‘Elsinore’ 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 medieval Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus.
Best time to plan a visit to the Whiskey Belt is mid June through late August, when the weather (and beach life) is at is best and the scenery at it’s greenest. Out of season it’s still a pleasure to visit – with the benefit of less crowds.