Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Odense in Denmark, along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Odense is the third most populated city in Denmark and the largest city on the island of Funen. It’s particularly famous for being the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the world’s most famous authors.
However, Odense has a lot more to offer visitors. The city has a rich history and a charming old town with beautiful architecture. It was a thriving city already during the Viking age and later became an important center of commerce during Medieval times.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Odense as well as activities and attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Egeskov Castle is a fairytale-like moat castle that is located just a short drive from Odense. It is one of the best-preserved moat-castles in Europe, featuring an impressive architecture in Renaissance style, built by Frans Brockenhuus.
Its original purpose was to defend the area in times of unrest and political uncertainty. A great example that shows that it was built with defense in mind, are the conical towers, which have holes for dropping scalding oil on invaders at each end.
The castle has been passed to different owners many times, but it still remains one of the most beautiful castles in Denmark. Today, it also houses a Veteran Car Museum that was opened in 1967 as well as a treetop walk.
Funen Village (Den Fynske Landsby)
Funen Open-Air Village, known as “Den Fynske Landsby” in Danish is located less than 3,5 kilometers from the city center. This is a great place to visit in Odense, where you can learn more about rural Denmark and what is used to look like.
It’s often compared to villages from the time when Hans Christian Andersen lived. Visitors can stroll around old farmhouses, shops, and cottages were workers used to live.
Like many other European open-air museums, the staff working at Funen Village makes the old ways come to life by dressing up in traditional costumes. Moreover, visitors can also enter workshops or learn more about cooking and brewing beer like the Danes used to.
Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense in 1805. His birthplace has been open to public visitors for more than 100 years now, and it continues to attract visitors from all over the world.
It is dedicated to the famous Odense author, and visitors can learn more about his life and work through old manuscripts, drawings, and other artifacts on display.
The Hans Christian Andersen Museum is a set of different buildings, located in various places in the city: Birthplace and original museum, Childhood Home, and the new main building at 11 Claus Bergs Gade.
Visit the Danish Railway Museum (Jernbanemuseum)
You’ll find the Danish Railway Museum housed in a rustic building in the center of Odense. This is the former roundhouse where they kept non-operating locomotives in await for their next journey.
Today, it has been transformed into an interesting museum for railway enthusiasts of all ages with various exhibitions on display. What makes it even more fun is the fact that visitors are allowed to enter many of the trains to get an up-close view of their interior.
Don’t miss to check out the old steam locomotive from 1868, which is the oldest in all of Denmark. Visiting the Danish Railway Museum is one of the best things to do in Odense with kids.
St. Knud’s Cathedral (Skt. Knuds Kirke)
The famous Saint Canute’s Cathedral, also known as Odense Cathedral is located next to the town hall and has an interesting story to tell. It was originally built sometime around the year 1100, on order by Knud IV himself.
The original structure burned down in a great fire in the 12th century, after which an extensive replacement started, which lasted for about 200 years.
One of the most important features of the church includes its crypt, where King Canute has his tomb. The church is also considered to be a great example of the architectural style called brick-gothic.
Situated in one of the most beautiful buildings in the city – a Renaissance house with an ornate timber frame and leaded windows – Møntergården Museum covers Odense and Funen’s history from prehistory up to the middle ages.
Back in time, Odense was a gateway between Scandinavia and continental Europe. Therefore, local merchants were able to furnish their homes with items, costumes, ceramics, holy art, toys, silver, clocks, and coins from far and wide.
Brandts Art Hall (Brandts Klædefabrik)
This venue used to be a large textile factory complex in the Latin quarter of Odense but is nowadays covering an area of 1,600 square meters of shopping and cultural activities.
There are several trendy shops that can be found along the Brandts passage, and you can also find exciting exhibitions with contemporary art. Additionally, visitors can enjoy workshops, a cinema, concert halls as well as cafes and studios of various local artists.
Munke Mose Gardens
Munke Mose Park is a lovely green area in the city, where you can rent pedal boats during the summer months. It used to be part of the Monks Mill Factory until 1881 when the municipality decided that it was time to transform it into the lovely recreation area that can be enjoyed today.
What’s more, if you visit Munke Mose Gardens during summertime, make sure to stop by for one of the daily H.C Andersen shows that are performed every day at the open-air theater.
Afgrunden Ved Vissenbjerg
Also known as “Abyss at Vissenbjerg” in English, a nice walking area with beautiful nature and views. If you enjoy spending time outdoor, Afgrunden and the landscapes of Vissenbjerg can be described as one of the most beautiful places in all of Funen.
There are several hiking routes where you can enjoy impressive vistas. The hilly landscape is best seen from the highest steps, which is also where the town of Vissenbjerg is located.
The village of Ladby, 16 km (10 miles) east of Odense, is best known for being home to Denmark’s only ship burial, dating back to the era of the Vikings.
The Ladby ship was discovered in 1934, but unfortunately, only the ship’s imprint and iron rivets remain today. Despite that, the finding gives a great insight into longships from the early 900s.
Visitors at Ladbyskibet can see the 22 meter long remains as well as other interesting findings. There is also a reconstructed Viking ship that can be seen on the site.
The Time Collection
This is an interactive museum that can be described as a time capsule from the 1920s all the way to the 1980s. What makes this different from other museums is the fact that you can wear clothes and hats from various periods.
Moreover, you’re allowed to touch the items on display, which makes this is a fun experience for the whole family. Kids are sure to find many items that they didn’t know even existed, and adults can enjoy a nostalgic feeling.
Arkaden Odense is located directly in the center of the city and opened its doors to the public in December 2017. It’s within the main shopping high street and just a 15-minute walk away from H.C Anderson’s house.
It currently consists of 21 stalls, a wine bar, a beer bar, and a coffee shop, serving over 2,000 people daily. Here you will find anything you fancy from sweet, strong, or bitter food.
St. Alban’s Church (Sankt Albani Kirke)
St. Alban’s Church has a neo-gothic architecture with a grand spire, reaching 54 meters (177 ft) above the ground. It’s the Roman Catholic parish church of Odense, founded in 1867 and later consecrated in 1908.
This church is sometimes mixed up with St Alban’s Priory, which is the site of a former medieval church where King Canute IV was murdered. However, it’s not the same place, even though it holds a similar name.
The Priory where King Canute was murdered stood on a site between St Alban’s church and St Canute’s Cathedral, on the Albani square.
Odin’s Odense Museum
Odin’s Odense is a one-of-a-kind village that shows life in the Iron Age and the Viking Age. Here, you can try for yourself how life was like during the Iron Age and Viking age.
The museum gives an authentic feeling which can be felt as soon as you enter the room without electrical lighting. It’s quite fascinating to compare how our ancestors lived and how we live in the modern world today.
It’s a great activity in Odense with kids as they can learn more about the Iron age and what life was back then. During your visit, I’m sure you’ll encounter several tools that you didn’t even know existed.
Stroll the Old town in Odense
The Old Town can be described as the heart of Odense, dating back to medieval times. It is located on the east side of the city, and here, you’ll find some of the oldest houses in town.
It’s a beautiful area lined with cobblestoned streets, crooked facades, and colorful houses with classic Danish architecture. Many of the buildings are well-preserved, and some of Odense’s main attractions are located here, such as Møntergården.
Museums in Odense
- Danish Railway Museum
- Funen Village
- Hans Christian Andersen Birthplace
- Brandts – Museum for art & visual culture
- Odense Bunker Museum
- The Time Collection
- Montergarden Museum
- Odins Odense
- Carl Nielsen’s Barndomshjem
- H C Andersen Museum
- Funen Art Museum
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