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.
Why you would want to stand in line (and this is no joke!) at Pulpit Rock, Trolltunga and co. when there's an entire country of over 1600 km in length to explore, is beyond me! Therefore, I've decided to put together a small selection of alternatives to the "must-sees" of Norway - for anyone who'd like to escape the summer crowds in the country and those of you, who are seeking to discover Norway like a local!
Have you ever heard of Aalborg? Granted, Denmark's fourth largest city was a mystery to me for a long time as well - until I hopped on the ferry from Oslo to Denmark and decided that if I'll pass by Aalborg on my way to Aarhus anyway, I might as well make a pit stop for a day and explore what the city has to offer. Turns out, a lot!
This post is long overdue considering the fact that I visited mainland Denmark in 2017 but better late than never. Prior to that, I'd been to Copenhagen several times but you haven't really seen a country until you venture out of its capital, right? So, that's what I did last year. I based myself and my parents for a week in Aarhus and we went on to explore Aalborg, Odense and Ribe from there. Needless to say that I got to know a different side of Denmark on this trip and learnt SO many things about the country that I didn't know before!
Stavanger is one of the oldest cities of Norway and remnants of human settlement in the area date back to the Viking Age. All the more reason to stop obsessing with Pulpit Rock for a moment and have a closer look at the city and its history itself! Often overlooked by tourists coming to visit, Stavanger actually has an abundance of Viking culture to offer - there are old gravestones with runic inscriptions, the former residence of Harald Fairhair at Utstein, and, of course, several monuments paying tribute to the Battle of Hafrsfjord. The biggest and for most people probably also most interesting attraction when it comes to experiencing Viking culture in Stavanger however, has got to be Hafrsfjordkaupangen!