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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Denmark


Jutland and its 400 surrounding islands form one of Europe's smallest countries. Denmark has an abundance of picturesque villages and towns, historic castles and monuments, and a coastline that varies from broad sandy beaches to small coves and gentle fjords.Throughout the country, low rolling hills provide a constant succession of attractive views; there are cool and shady forests of beech trees, extensive areas of heathland, a beautiful lake district, sand dunes and white cliffs resembling those of Dover; nor should one forget the Danish islands, each of which has its own unique attractions.The Danes have taken strong measures to keep their coastline clean and tidy, keen for visitors to sample the many unspoilt beaches. Inland from the 4,800km (3,000 miles) of beaches and unspoiled islands, you'll find a landscape eminently suitable for cycling. Ferries ply between the mainland and the islands, competing with awesome bridges like the 16km (10 miles) Øresund link to Sweden. Ranks of huge white wind turbines are a feature of the modern Danish landscape.Amidst such tranquillity, it now seems almost surreal to consider that this country once spawned a notoriously violent seafaring race of people, the Vikings, feared throughout northwest Europe. Today, visitors to Denmark find a country that is peaceful, introspective, neutral and egalitarian. Its hallmarks are world-class design and uniformly high standards that apply equally to its accommodation and transport. Cuisine is excellent, especially in the realm of dairy products and scrumptious pastries. Add to this a people both amiable and helpful, with a facility for languages, and the result is an overwhelming sense of welcome.

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