Located in the heart of the garden island, Funen, Odense is its largest city and a hotbed of Danish culture, which is full of serene palaces and manor houses.
Named after Odin, the Norse God of wisdom, war, and poetry, Odense is the birthplace of fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen and composer Carl Nielson, who was born in the 19th century.
Odense is a culturally rich town, which has no lack of inspiration for literacy and the magical land of craft. Of course, there is no lack of things to see in Odense where you can visit several attractions for Odense sightseeing.
One of the best places you should not miss is the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, where you can explore his rich imagination.
Visiting his childhood home is also one of the best things to do in Odense. You can easily get there from Copenhagen, either through direct train, which passes along the serene, unspoiled countryside or two hours’ drive.
There are several Odense landmarks to explore Danish culture to the fullest. So, let us explore some of the best activities in Odense.
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Top 7 BEST Things to do in Odense (Denmark)
Danish Rail Museum
For all the railfans out there, it is time to pack your bags and rejoice! They will be happy to hear that Odense has the largest Scandinavian railway museum. This beautiful attraction exhibits the evolution of freight and passenger trains in Denmark.
This converted roundhouse shows over 50 carriages and locomotives, including the E Class loco which pulled the funeral train of King Frederick IX in 1972.
You can also spot the 1869’s H40, which is known as the oldest ever locomotive in Denmark. You can also enjoy the ride of a working steam train and see the exhibit of the lost charm of train travel in the 20th century.
Hans Christian Andersen Museum
It’s been over a century when this birthplace of a beloved author has officially declared a museum. Hans Christian Andersen is the son of a failed cobbler and born in this small abode in the year 1805. Get a glimpse of the past when this author grew up and worked by checking out its modest furnishings and this home.
It displays a lot of his manuscripts and drawings, along with personal belongings that show up his personality and how his social life was. You can also buy his book in different languages at the shop.
Childhood Home of Hans Christian Andersen
After visiting his birthplace, it is time to witness the place where Hans Christian Andersen spent his childhood from 2 to 14. It is a half-timbered, small home, and you will learn how his family didn’t manage it.
They even shared with the family of glove maker who lived in the living room. In this home, exhibits tie Andersen to Odense and the furniture settings, which have been devised to conform to the personal collections of the author in his childhood.
The word ‘dazzling’ is too small to describe the beauty of Egeskov Castle. It is one of the most stunning landmarks in Europe. It is a renaissance water castle, which looks the same today as it did when it was initially built in the year 1554. Located in the heart of the small lake, Egeskov Castle forms the moat and is raised from lakebed using piles of oak.
This stately home has fortifications as it dates back to the times of civil disputes in the Protested Reformation buildup. In each end, the conical towers have machicolations and arrow slits (with holes to drop water or scalding oil on the attackers).
Visiting this castle is one of the best things to do in Odense. You will fall in love with the interior. There is also a vast collection of vintage bikes and cars if you love old vehicles.
Once a huge textiles factory in the Latin Quarter, Brandts Klædefabrik has been turned into a cultural and shopping hub. You can easily find unique shops here, along with cafes, cinema, artists’ studio, concert halls, cavernous venue for learners, workshops, several cultural units, and a catalog, which features exhibition rooms.
It features lively, vibrant, and larger than life environment where you can go dancing, explore contemporary art exhibitions, or enjoy the treat to some plush shopping with Brandts Passage.
Carl Nielsen Museum
Nielsen was a legendary classical musician in the early 20th century, and it has been an icon of Danish culture. He was also born only a few km south of the city. You can also explore the chronology of his work and life in his museum and feel the enriched display of his belongings.
You will also see whiting implements and writing tables of Nielsen, which are all donated by his children to the museum. Another interesting thing is that it changes its opening hours according to the schedule of the Odense Symphony Orchestra, so you can easily match your trip to the museum with one of its events at the same time.
The Funen Village
Another on the list of things to do in Odense is exploring The Funen Village. It has its high origins as an open-air grand museum, which brought 30 historical landmarks together from across the island. It was built during the period of German occupation, and it was a gathering place for locals in 1944 where they used to sing patriotic songs.
The museum was aimed to recreate the era of Hans Christian Andersen, and it has an idyllic setting. The staff at the museum dresses up in a traditional outfit to get into the character and start their day hammering away in workshops, rearing animals, or brewing beer.