The prospect of going on yet another day trip on a really miserable, cold and rainy day during last year's Easter holidays didn't excite my parents a whole lot, to be honest.
I knew, though, that they'd become much more excited when we'd eventually arrive in what turned out to be Denmark's most enchanting city: Odense!
Just a 2-hour drive from Copenhagen, as well as Aarhus, and perfectly situated in the middle of Denmark, Odense makes for the perfect day trip when visiting the country.
Denmark's third largest city actually doesn't feel like a city at all - more like a quaint, typical Danish small town! Except, that Odense is anything but typical and boring!
Before visiting, I only knew that Odense was the birthplace of the famous Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen (who wrote "The Little Mermaid" and "The Ugly Duckling"), so a visit to the Andersen Museum was the only thing on our itinerary for the day.
Turns out, though, that Odense has managed to maintain that magical fairytale feeling all throughout the city, and a stroll past its pastel-coloured houses (even on a rainy day!) makes you wonder whether Denmark has fairies as well - or is that just Iceland?
Fairies or not, Odense definitely has some of the friendliest locals!
While we were trying to find our way to the Andersen Museum (there was construction work going on in the city centre and loads of road diversions were in place, even in the pedestrian areas), we were approached by locals asking if we needed help - so kind!
Once arrived at the museum, we found out that part of it is actually located in the house where Andersen supposedly was born!
I honestly have to say that it was one of the best museums I've ever visited. Maybe it was just because it brought back memories of all the fairytales I heard during my childhood, but the Hans Christian Andersen Museum really is enchanting - and fun for all ages!
We pretty much spent the entire early afternoon at the museum, learning more about the life of Andersen and his fairytales, and couldn't leave the city without taking a quick peak into Andersen's childhood home at the other end of the city centre as well!
How to get to Odense
Odense is situated 170 km from Copenhagen and 140 km from Aarhus. The easiest way to get there if you're staying in either of the two cities (or anywhere else in Denmark for that matter) is by car.
Whether you travel around Denmark with your own car or with a rental car, the drive to Odense from Denmark's capital and its second-largest city amounts for only 2 hours!
As Odense is situated on the island of Fyn, you'll be able to admire scenic landscapes and stunning fjord/sound crossings via suspension bridges on your drive. If coming from Aarhus, for instance, you'll drive past Vejle Fjord (yes, Denmark has fjords as well!) and cross Lillebælt Sound, while you'll cross the much bigger (and thus, more impressive) Storebælt Sound when coming from Copenhagen!
You can, of course, also visit Odense by train. The train journey from Copenhagen or Aarhus only takes 1 1/2 hours!
What to see and do in Odense
- visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and his childhood home
- stroll around the old town of Odense
- visit the open-air museum Funen Village
- visit the Danish Railway Museum
- visit Brandts Museum of Art and Visual Culture
Where to eat in Odense
I think we read about this cafe on a brochure we found at the museum, but either way, I'm glad we stumbled upon Riceteria By Rice!
This cafe and interior design shop is super quirky and unlike any cafe I've seen before. Plus, it helps that the food was absolutely delicious! The cafe is situated close to Hans Christan Andersen's childhood home, so that you can easily grab a bite to eat here before continuing the history lesson!