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Things to do in Denmark

  • Rosenborg Castle Rosenborg Castle Copenhagen, Denmark
    The Rosenborg Castle located in Copenhagen, Denmark is a renaissance castle that was constructed to be a summer house in 1606 and is one of the many architectural projects that were initiated by Christian IV. Built in the Dutch renaissance style, much the same as most of the houses of this period, the massive mansion has been enlarge numerous times, and then being finished in 1624, in the shape it now is. It was used to house the royal families until 1710, and beginning in the reign of Frederik IV, it was used only twice to house the royal family; but only in dire emergencies. The first experience came after the mansion was burned down in 1794, and the other time was during the British attack on the city in 1801. The long hall on the first floor was finished in 1624, where it had been thought to be used as a ballroom, and in 1700, it was used as the Royal Reception Room and for banquets, but not until the end of the 19th century was it changed and finally called the "Knight's Hall". Christian V would begin modernizing the hall by adding 12 tapestries that highlighted the king's victories in the Scanian War, and the stucco ceiling was done in the start of the 18th century. It contains the Danish coat of arms that is encompassed by the Orders of the Elephant and Danneborg, with side reliefs showing historical events during the first period of Frederik IV, that contained the liberation of the serfs, the land militia and start of the dragoons. There are frescoes in the ceiling that have been created by Hendrick Krock, that represents the Regalia. The coronation chair is one of the most important features here, along with the throne of the queens that have three lions standing guard in front; and the most exquisite silver furniture that was created in the 17th century. The castle is open for tours, and houses a museum that displays the Royal collections that include relics from the latter part of the 16th century, and go to the 19th century. Many pieces belonged to the royal families and aristocracy, housing the Crown jewels and the Danish Crown regalia; with the coronation carpet placed in a preservative area. During the summer months, visitors are greeted in the front of the castle with many beautiful blossoms; the entire castle sitting in the Kongens Have or in English "the King's Garden". It is the oldest royal garden in the nation, having been improved during the reign of Christian IV. It is believed that over 2.5 million people come here every year to visit the castle and walk along the majestic paths that flow through the garden and all its marvelous trees, shrubs and other plants.  The Danish Crown regalia are considered to be the most valuable symbols of the Danish monarchy, and contain three crowns, a scepter, orb, sword of state and ampulla. The oldest piece is the sword of state from 1551 and belonging to Christian III; and also contain King Christian IV's pearl, diamond and gold embroidered saddles, brooches in the form of unique animals, exquisite items carved from ivory and rock crystal, and lapidary items of precious stones. The castle also contains four other sets of Crown jewels that are still worn by Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark and the accompanying regalia that give the queen her authority to rule.

  • National Museum (Nationalmuseet)National Museum Copenhagen, Denmark
    The National Museum of Denmark is located in Copenhagen, Denmark and is the nation's biggest museum of cultural history, that blend the histories of Denmark and other countries as well. The museum is housed in a classical 19th century mansion that is considered to be just a stone's throw from Stoget at the middle of the city. It is a museum for the entire country, and you will be able to see it from the beginning of Danish history right up to today. The museum also sponsors SILA, the Greenland Research Center at the National Museum of Denmark to continue anthropological and archaeological research in Greenland. The museum has other commitments, that are national in scope and include; ethnography, archaeology, conservation, ethnology, natural science, communication, numismatics and building antiquarian events in connection with the churches and handling the Danefae (National Treasures). Inside the museum you will discover 14,000 years of Danish prehistory, that include the reindeer hunters that lived during the ice age, all the way to the journeys of the Vikings. There are numerous works of art that were made to praise God during the middle ages, when the church played a big part in the nation's life. There are thousands of coins housed here, with some from the age of the Vikings, to the current day and many coins coming here from ancient Greece and Rome, plus the coinage from other countries. The museum contains the country's biggest and most varied collection of relics from the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, Italy, the near east and Italy. You can find out about the many peoples that have visited here, who the Danes were and are, or the stories of everyday life or occasions, stories of the nation and state, with the majority of them coming from different stories of many peoples lives from 1560 to 2000. Some of the most famous artifacts that reside here include; the Seikilos epitaph, which is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition that includes the notations, anywhere in the world. There are older musical notations, but only fragments were able to be saved; and the Seikilos was discovered in or near Aidin, Turkey.

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Local Restaurants in Denmark
  • Noma
    Voted the top restaurant in the world, this is one place you will want to visit just to see what the best tastes like, feels like, smells like, and whatever else you want to know. The menu is rather sparse, but certainly different; dried scallops and watercress, biodynamic cereals and beech nut; vintage potato and whey, lovage and prastost; salsify and truffle from Gotland, milk skin and rape seed oil; pickled vegetables and bone marrow, herbs and bouillon; ox cheek and endive, pickled pear and verbena; celery and celeriac; cooked barley and birch syrup, herbs and frozen milk. Main courses; musk ox and smoked marrow, apple and beetroot; pike perch and unripe elderberries, cabbage stem and watercress; small potatoes and sautéed lobster, lovage and whey.

  • Conditori La Glace
    Menu includes; marinated filet of herring, curry spiced filet of herring, fried filet of herring, Christian Island herring, King Frederik's herring, Luxury shrimps from Greenland, fried filet of plaice, fried filet of plaice with shrimps and lemon, homemade rissoles from salmon, Grand Cru sardines, homemade marinated salmon, smoked Norwegian salmon, smoked eel with scrambled egg and chives, salmon variations.

Pike perch Noma Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

 

 Fried Fillet of Plaice Conditori La Glace Copenhagen, Denmark

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  • National Art Museum (Statens Museum for Kunst) National Art Museum Copenhagen, Denmark
    The Danish National Art museum is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and collects Danish and foreign art works that date from the 14th century up to the present day. The collections were started by the royal monarchs and housed in their art chambers; with the real start happening around 1750, when Frederik V's keeper of the art chamber, German Gerhard Morrell suggest that the king create a separate place to keep his paintings. Not wanting his collection to be anything less than the other European monarchs, Frederik made big item purchases of Netherlandish, German and Italian paintings, with enough Danish and Flemish artworks to keep it all balanced. The most prominent piece that Morrell acquired was the painting of Christ as the Suffering Redeemer by Andrea Mantegna; and since that day, there have been many large purchases made. In the 19th century, the works acquired were mostly Danish, and because of these purchases, the museum houses the best collection of paintings from the Danish golden age. The fact that the nation could produce such beautiful and stirring works of art has been attributed to the creation of the Royal Danish Academy in 1754. The collection has been able to grow during the last century because of generous donations and long-term loans, like the Johannes Rump collection that was donated in 1928 with his marvelous collection of French modernist paintings, along with recent French acquisitions in paint and sculpture. The museum building was constructed in 1889-1896, and is considered to be Historist Italian renaissance revival architecture, which was enlarged in 1998, by adding a long glass covered walkway into the new building that was constructed in the park behind the old museum. The collection contains 9000 paintings and sculptures, with about 300,000 works on paper, and over 2,600 plaster casts of figures from the olden times, middle ages and renaissance. The majority of the older collections has come to the museum from the coffers of the old art chambers that were preserved by the Danish kings. Their art collection dates from the 12th century, with representations of the older European and Danish artists like Titian, Breugal, Rubens, Rembrandt, Jordaens, Mantegna, Tintoretto, Loemaert, Frans Hals and Gysbrechts. In the modern works, artists like Picasso, Emil Nolde, Braque, Modigliani, Leger, and Matisse. Danish artists include; Haral Giersing, Oluf Host, C. W. Eckersberg, Olaf Rude and Edward Weihe; plus the Danish sculptor Carl Bonnesen.

  • Copenhagen ZooCopenhagen Zoo Copenhagen, Denmark
    The Copenhagen Zoo opened in 1859, becoming one of the oldest zoos in Europe and sits on almost 40 acres of landscaped exhibits. Welcoming over a million visitors a year, it is the most visited zoo in the nation, and the 4th most visited attraction. It is well known for its elephant house that was designed by world renown British architect, Sir Norman Foster; and maintains, as well as promotes, numerous European breeding programs and helps quite actively in the protection of many endangered species. Ornithologist Niels Kjaebolling, was given the summer garden of Princess Vilhelmine and housed here were various animals like the seal in a bathtub, turtle in a bucket, eagles, rabbits, fox, chickens, ducks and owls. One of the most unique creatures that lived here was the male slow worm that was here from 1892 to 1946, which is unheard of in lizards, and it is the world's record for longest living reptiles. In the last quarter century, the zoo has gone through various stages of renovation, especially where they can change a cage into an enclosure that is closer to the animal's habitat. The elephant house and the hippo house are evidence of this and the hippos can even be viewed under water. The zoo has tried to keep many of their historical structures, like the stable for the yaks that was built in 1872 and now houses the camels. The herbivore house was constructed in 1875, and still contains the herbivores, mainly the tapirs. A tower up high held the owls and is from 1885, but is more of a memorial than a house or cage. The Zoo Tower, that was constructed in 1905, is still there, being used to give visitors a high platform to view the park in panorama; and it is made of wood.  It is the only zoo outside Australia that houses Tasmanian devils, as well as Amur leopards and Amur tigers; which are both very rare animals.

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  • H. C. Andersen HusHans Christian Andersen House Odense, Denmark
    Hans Christian Andersen was born in this house in 1805, although there is no real evidence other than the people who said he was, and no one contradicted them. He was a world famous poet and writer, considered to be one of the nation's golden age protagonists. The church records at the St. Hans Church in Odense states that Hans was born there, either on the 1st or 2nd of April, 1805, since newborn were baptized right after birth because so many died of a high infant mortality rate. The deputy minister performed the baptism, and it was confirmed by the church records as to have occurred on the 15th or 16th of April. His birth certificate was first seen in November, 1823, evidently in reference to his grandfather's death, but a note was placed in the margin stating that the birthplace was the corner house, Hans Jensen Straits 43, which has become part of the museum today. But he isn't running for President of the United States, so it really doesn't matter, does it? Hans' father, also called Hans, was a shoemaker and soldier, who married Anne Marie Donald in February 1805, just two months before the birth of their first child. Must have been a shotgun wedding, but the family moved into their own house in 1807, in Klingenberg 664, which is known as Hans' childhood home. The house had 12 people living in it, with the Andersens living in one room, with a kitchen. Hans is believed to have went to a Jewish school by the age of six, although it was one of the poorer school's in the city. He found most of his enjoyment at home with his father telling him stories about Holberg's comedies which seemed to spark a love for theater and culture. Over the years, Hans would visit the Odense theater as often as he could, watching the plays and then going home and rehearsing various parts. His father had passed away by the time he was 10, creating a very poor environment to grow up in, but with his imagination and love for culture, Hans was never bored with his life. He would be forced to go to work though in a cloth factory as an apprentice, then as a tobacco laborer, but he wasn't built for hard work, and because it took a great toll on his health, he went back to school; getting a good education in math and religion. His mother remarried in 1818, to a shoemaker's apprentice, and that forced them to move into another house down the street from his childhood home. By the time he was 14, Hans had left home and headed to the capital of Copenhagen, getting there with just $13 in his pockets. He stayed at an inn while looking for work, getting help from a woman he had met in Odense on her way to the capital also. He would be able to join the company of the Royal Theater, under the tutelage of Mr. Siboni, who told him he would be paid with room and board and singing lessons. Hans moved into a new place, and began taking German lessons as well. Siboni gave up on Hans singing lessons, but Hans went on to try his hand at dancing. He had a walk on role for one of the plays, but continued to be part of the choir, all the while writing to other artists, writers and people that could help him along. In 1821, he wrote his first play, called "Robbers of Certain Berg", which was rejected, and wrote his first book, which did get published, but not in big numbers. He was noticed, after his second play called "Alfsol" which didn't get much attention, although the director of the theater believed Hans had some hidden talents that would surface if given the proper education. He petitioned the king, Frederik the 6th, who donated enough funds to sent him to a well known grammar school in Slagelse. Hans got to Salgelse in 1822, and stayed with a widow lady named Mrs. Henneberg. He didn't seem to get along too well, and had some trouble learning to write poetry. In 1831, he published his first collection of poems, and went to Germany, where he met the poet Chamisso. Hans would then publish his first novel in 1835, called "Improviser", and his first two story collections. He went on a tour in 1840 to 1841, that went to Turkey, Greece, Malta and Italy, he then published a travel story called "A Poet's Bazaar". In 1857, Hans met Charles Dickens and in 1862-1863, he would visit Spain and Morocco, describing it in his book "In Spain".

  • Viking Ship Museum
    During the last half of the 11th century AD., five Viking vessels were sank at a small fjord in Skuldelev, Denmark so that a barrage could be created across the narrowest part of the channel; to keep heavier attacking ships away. It would be centuries, as the memory of the ships faded, before parts of them would be discovered by a ship's captain, who then donated them to the National Museum, in 1898. Although the local fishermen remembered the ships, because they believed them to include the ship of the medieval Queen Margaret that reigned around 1400 AD. In 1924, many more pieces of the sunken ships would be found when widening the channel, and then, in 1953, a professional diver named Jan Uhre discovered remains of a ship in the dark waters. In 1956, two sports divers named Hartvig Conradsen and Age Skjelborg discovered an old ship's frame in murky water 7 feet down; and they told the National Museum about the find. The museum's representatives would start looking over the site in 1957, and they soon realized that the ship was of Viking era, but not Queen Margaret's. Numerous stones had to be removed so that the ship was more visible, and then finally in 1962, the area was drained using a cofferdam, thus making it more of a dirt excavation, that went on until 1969. All the vessels would be recovered and conserved with PEG; with every piece drawn in full scale on transparent sheets of paper. PEG is polyethylene glycol, which is used to displace the water in the wood, actually replacing the cellulose that was destroyed from the wood over the years. The vessels are presently exhibited at the Viking ship museum, and although they believed there were six, there was only five, with one being so long that it looked like it was two ships. They were numbered, 1-6, without a number 4, since that belonged to number two ship, that turned out to be almost a 100 feet long and constructed in Ireland sometime during the 11th century, which it turned out was when all of them were made. Number 1 is a big cargo ship 50 to 60 feet, many think it was a knarr, number 2 was the long warship from Ireland, 3 was another big cargo ship 30 to 40 feet, 5 a long warship 50 to 60 feet and 6, a long fishing boat 30 to 35 feet. Because the ships were discovered in the Roskilde Fjord, the city has become the hub of the marine archaeology in the nation, and a museum was constructed specifically for the five ships. Over the years, it has continued to grow and increase in size, and the museum is now a ship yard and harbor the holds these numerous ships. The Skuldelev wrecks are still the main exhibit, and has been used as models for other ships that are constructed in Denmark and other nations.

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  • Kronborg Castle (Kronborg Slot)Kronborg Castle Helsingor, Denmark
    The Kronborg Castle is located close to the town of Helsingor, Denmark, on the farthest northeastern tip of Zealand, the nation's biggest island, on its smallest place of the Oresound, which is the sound that flows between Denmark and Sweden. The sound is about 1400 feet wide at this point, making this fortress strategically important so that no marauding ships could get by it to attack the villages and towns along its inland route, and one of the few outlets to the Baltic Sea. The castle has become one of the most prominent renaissance structures in the area of northern Europe, and became part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2000. The castle's early beginnings were those of a fortress called Krogen, that was constructed in the 1420s by the Danish king, Eric of Pomerania, who forced all ships entering the sound to pay a sound dues if they wanted to come in or leave the Baltic Sea. Wanting to make sure his laws were adhered to, he had the fortress built, so that the ships would pay the dues. The fortress was only a few buildings with a fenced wall around it, with cannons inside to bombard anyone failing to comply. In 1585, Frederick II had the structure rebuilt, transforming it into a spectacular castle, very unusual for its size and looks, and called it Kronborg. A fire broke out in 1629 due to the carelessness of two workers, and most of the castle would be burned, only the chapel saved because it had strong arches. Christian IV made sure that it was rebuilt, which it was in 1639, but the interior never regained its former magnificence. In 1658, Carl Gustaf Wrangel, the Swedish king, conquered the castle, showing that it could be taken over, but the defense work was then strengthened a lot. During the last decade of the 17th century, the line of defense was increase outside the castle, which became known as the Crownwork, and then another array of ramparts were built around the line of defense. Once all this work was finished, many considered the castle to be the strongest in Europe. Kronborg became a prison from 1739 until the 1900s, and the prisoners guarded by the soldiers stationed there. These inmates were sentenced to do the construction work on the fortress and separated into two groups; those with minor offenses, called "honest", and permitted to work outside the castle walls, while the ones that had committed murder, violence, arson or similar crimes, called "dishonest" and served the full terms of their sentence inside the castle. All these prisoners wore chains and spent the time in cold and damp cells or dungeons. Queen Caroline Mathilde, also known as the Princess Caroline Matilda of Wales, was the sister of King George III of England was imprisoned here from January 17, 1772 until April 30, 1772. As the years passed, the castle's strategic importance waned, and the military began to impose a greater role at the fortress, and during the period from 1785 to 1922, it was completely under military rule. Many renovations happened during this period, and every ship that passed into or out of the channel had to pay. It was up to the ship's captain to say what the cargo was and how much it was worth, and the king has the right to buy the cargo at the stated price; which kept the captains from making the price too low. The castle is known as Elsinore, from the play Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and it was performed in the castle at the 200th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. There is a statue of Ogier the Dane, who will arise and save the country if it should get into grave danger; according to the legend, but he didn't show up during the German occupation of the 1940s, so perhaps that means that a greater danger might befall the country?

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  • KoldinghusKoldinghus Kolding, Denmark
    Koldinghus is one of the nation's royal castles that sits on the southern central area of the Jutland peninsula near the town of Kolding, Denmark, and was constructed in the 11th century; going through various stages of construction to increase its size and importance. It was a fortress at the beginning, then a royal residency, a ruin and then finally, a museum; as well as the location of many wartime negotiations. Christoffer I began the castle, but in 1268, his grandson, Christoffer III, would construct buildings on the north side of the castle, facing the lake, and the western side would be constructed by king Christian I. Christian III, would then construct the south side and the smaller towers that sit in the courtyard. The castle has been converted into a museum, with a huge collection of furniture from the 16th century and onward, with Gothic and Roman church cultural items, old Danish paintings and crafts that showcase silver and ceramics.  During the 16th century, cannons became more important tools of war, and the thick walled castles like the Koldinghus would lose some of their defensive advantages, which caused Christian III added more buildings to the castle and it would evolve into a royal residence. It soon became popular with the royal family, and after Christian IV became king, he would expand it more by adding a large tower, and it became named the "Giant Tower" because it had 4 statues of giants from the Greek and Roman mythology that included Hector, Scipio, Hercules and Hannibal. Today, only Hercules remains, as the images of Hector and Hannibal were crushed in the 1808 fire and Scipio fell to the ground during a terrible storm in 1854. As Copenhagen became the center of political power, the outlying fortresses and castles were used less for the royal residences, and after Frederik IV was made king, the outside walls were taken down, leaving the castle as it is today, which can be seen in the picture to the right. In 1808, during the Napoleonic wars, Denmark had made an alliance with France and Spain. 30,000 French and Spanish soldiers were sent to Denmark to help them get the Scanian lands back that were lost to Sweden 150 years before. The Spanish troops arrived in Koldinghus in the winter of 1808, under the supervision of a French commander named Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who would eventually become the king of Sweden and Norway. The climate of the Scandinavian nations were much colder than that of France and Spain, causing the troops to hang around the fires in the stoves and furnaces, using furniture when necessary. This may have led to the fires that burned during that period, although fire guards had been stationed around the castle just for this reason. It was unfortunate that the fire guards had various reasons for not being on duty at that time, and the fire was discovered too late for many of the buildings, which saw only the giant tower being saved. The Spanish soldiers soon left since they didn't look forward to spending the remainder of a cold winter without the buildings to comfort them. With the war continuing, and funds needed elsewhere, the castle would sit in its ruins for many years. It became a popular landmark just the same, even bringing Hans Christian Andersen out to look it over, and it wasn't until 1991, that it was reconstructed.

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May 09, 2011