A biking holiday in Denmark is not just about the biking. Exploring the country, the nature and the people and tasting the food while learning about the local culture follows naturally with this type of holiday.
This summer I visited 6 unique areas in Denmark and explored each one of them by bike.
6 awesome regions to explore by bike in Denmark
North Sealand is known as the Danish riviera and is located just north of Copenhagen. There are lots of interesting cycling routes and world-class attractions in the area and you’ll find a nice selection of castles and beaches to enjoy along the way.
Here are some of the highlights to visit in North Sealand:
Kronborg Castle is located in Helsingør and was built in the late 1700 by Frederick II. It’s listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the finest renessaince castles in Northern Europe. The location of the castle, in a narrow road only 4 kilometres from the Swedish coast, was strategically planned as it allowed Frederick II to collect Sound Dues from every ship passing by, filling the castle with treasures, decorations and paintings. The castle is also known as Hamlet’s Castle and it is said to have inspired Shakespear to write the play with the same name. Today there are live performances of some of the most important scenes from Hamlet all over the castle during summer season.
Esrum Abbey is from 1151 and located in the newest Danish national park, the Royal North Sealand National Park. The abbey used to have a huge number of brick houses but today only a few are left. When the houses were knocked down the bricks were used to build new, local castles, including parts of the Kronborg Castle. Surrounding Esrum Abbey there’s a huge park with walking paths, a small lake, forests and also an Abbey garden containing over 200 different medical plants that were present in the monks’ original gardens. Enjoy a meal at the Mill Cafe serving courses inspired by medieval culinary traditions based on mostly organic products.
Gilleleje is one of the small traditional fishermen villages in North Sealand and a great place to unwind and relax. Everything is within walking distance and the village has a beautiful harbour, a long sandy beach with dunes and an old town with charming old fishermen houses from the mid 1700s.
- Where to eat: In Helsingør you can find one of Denmarks interesting street food markets, Værftets Madmarked, located in an old shipyard by the harbour. Visit the street food market for traditional Danish dishes mixed with a selection of international street food stalls and a great cocktail bar. In Gileleje, try the local place at the fish restaurant «Far til 4» located just between the harbour and the beach.
- Accommodation: In Helsingør there are lots of nice beachfront hotels. We stayed at the Marienlyst Strandhotel which has a small beach just in front of the building, perfect for a morning dip. In Gileleje one of the most central and cozy hotels is the Hotel Gilleleje Strand located in the middle of the city center just a short walk from the beach and harbour.
Fyn is an archipelago with over 1200 kilometres of bike routes and a very varied terrain. Fyn consists of 90 different islands but only 13 are inhabitated. The coastline is filled with charming coastal towns and fishermen villages while the inland has rolling hills, forests, open fields and a lot of interesting buildings.
Actually, in the Fyn area there are as many as 123 castles and mansions in different sizes and styles. There’s also a huge focus on local food and food production in Fyn and to experience this there are lots of different culinary routes for you to follow by bike.
Here's some of the highlights to visit in Fyn:
There are 5 different culinary routes in Fyn covering beer, wine, honey, distillery and chocolate, and you can follow one of them or mix and match as you like, visiting different local producers. The Skaarupøre Winery and Nyborg destillery are two of the 36 stops along the main route. The great thing about Fyn is that you don’t even have to follow the culinary routes to experience the local food produce. All over the island there are these small self service stalls with fresh vegetables, fruits and berries. You find what you want to buy, pay with your mobile or leave the money in a box and your purchase is done! It's very easy and accessible all over Fyn.
Faaborg is a small coastal town where you can find the real maritime Danish atmosphere. Life in these kinds of towns has a slower pace and people take time to relax and enjoy. In Faaborg there is a lot of charming and colorful old houses, giving it a bit of soul and personality. Visit the harbour and enjoy an ice-cream while watching the boats come or take a stroll in the narrow streets with old houses and lots of beautiful flowers.
The Egeskov Castle is one of the most significant renaissance buildings in Europe and Fyn’s most impressive castle. It is located in the middle of the main island and has a huge property surrounding it. Built in 1554. Perfect for a romantic picnic and you don’t even have to bring your own basket. In the cafe you can order a picnic set containing a basket with local food, wine of your choice and a blanket for you to sit on - creating a perfect outdoors meal in the garden.
Ærø is an island where you can experience the true idyllic island atmosphere. There are lots of small towns and villages spread out on the island and it's easy to get around by bike. Ærø is famous for its beach huts originally built as ladies changing rooms but are now very attractive properties.
- Where to eat: Fyn is a paradise for food lovers and there are lots of restaurants and cafes to have a local quality meal. Skerning Kro is a nice restaurant located in a historic building by Vester Skerninge. Also try the many lovely places that are part of the Culinary Route for a nice lunch or tasting.
- Accommodation: stay at the Hotel Christiansminde, which is beautifully located by the sea just outside Svendborg city or the cosy countryside hotel Hotel Gl. Avernæs located in Ebberup.
Southern Jutland aims to be the best biking destination in Denmark. It streches from the North sea in the west to the Baltic sea in the east with a great variety of landscape and sights in between. Hilly, rolling landscapes in the east and flat wetlands in the west are just some of the characteristics about this area. Bike repair stations with a selection of different bike tools are available all over the region, so you can fix your bike at a self service stop along the way.
Here's some of the highlights to visit in Southern Jutland:
Tønder and the Wadden sea
Tønder and the Wadden sea area are protected with huge dikes along the coast line, and in fact, a lot of the farming land in the area are below sea level, only protected by the dikes. Because of it’s uniqueness it is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the North Sea Cycle Route enters West-Denmark in the Wadden Sea National Park.
Just 4 kilometres from Tønder you find the small village Møgeltønder. Møgeltønder is said to have Denmark's most beautiful street, The Castle street, and it’s easy to understand why when visiting this small village. The cobbled street has a line of small brick houses flanked with lime trees on both sides, creating a cozy green alley with a charming look. In front of the houses there are lots of colorful roses and flowers and white benches. The houses were originally built for the employees at the Schackenborg Castle to live in.
Take a daytrip to Rømø, an island located in the mudlands and connected to the mainland by a dam. At Rømø you can also find Scandinavia's widest beach, Sønderstranden, where the conditions for blokarting is perfect! Make sure to stop by Enjoy Resorts for a nice spa treatment or rent a holiday home for you and your family.
Universe science park
The Universe science park was created by Jørgen Clausen, the son of Mads Clausen who founded Danfoss. The theme park encourages people to get back into science, and there's no age limit. One of the fascinating outdoor areas in the park is the Dahlia garden, a fragrance garden that inspires all your senses and you can taste, smell and feel the plants, berries, fruits and flowers.
The Haderslev Dam is one of the largest lakes in Southern Denmark. You can find rich bird and plant life around the lake and explore the different areas with an electric dam boat. The Haderslev Dam Boat departs from the inner dam and has 3 stops on the way, where guests can hop on and off. The boat moves almost silently across the water, leaving you to enjoy the fantastic nature experience from the water side. You can bring your bike for free on the Dam Boat, so why not take the boat to one of the stops and bike back to the city center through the deer park?
Årø is just a 8 minute boat ride from Årøsund harbour, outside Haderslev you will find the charming island Årø. This is a nice little island to explore by bike and you can also visit a winery for a wine tasting and maybe a nice lunch made of local products at Årø Vingård.
- Where to eat: A nice lunch at Restaurant Schack in Møgeltønder is recommended if you visit the small village. Don't forget to enjoy a freshly cooked meal at the Øen Restaurant on Rømø owned by the Chef Rasmus Sivebæk Lodahl.
- Accomodation: Hotel Norden Haderslev is located by the Haderslev inner Dam while right outside Sønderborg town there's a lovely hotel called Benniksgaard Hotel located by a golf course.
Horsens is the perfect place to go island hopping with your bike. There are lots of small ferries going to the small islands in the Horsens bay, allowing you to bring your bike for free and explore the nature and area.
Here's some of the highlights to visit in Horsens:
The Uncovered Bridge
The Uncovered Bridge crosses over the Gudenå river, one of Denmarks few approved rivers. For 85 years this bridge was covered with soil and used as a dam, but in 2014 they uncovered it and restored it to it’s former glory. The bridge was used as part of a railway line but now that the train is not using the tracks, they have been transformed to beautiful biking tracks through an interesting landscape.
Fængslet is an old prison located in Horsens. The prison was closed in 2006 after having over 150 years of prison history and is now turned into an interactive museum open for the public. In the corridors and prison cells you can still see the shadows of former inmates and prison guards and a modern system takes you close to the personal stories about life in prison and it’s history. If you really want to immerce yourself to the full prison life experience you can even spend the night in one of the former prison cells.
Endelave is a small island located about one hour ferry ride from Snaptun harbour just outside Horsens. The island is also known as the island of wild rabbits and is perfect to explore by bike. There's only 167 inhabitants on the island but in the summertime there are lots of visitors coming to enjoy the cosy and charming country-style village with farms and houses. The island also has a dedicated herb route to walk if you want to pick your own herbs for cooking.
- Where to eat: Have your lunch at Lægeurtehaven (Medical Herb Garden) on Endelave, a nice restaurant offering meals made from local products. In the garden you can get to know hundreds of medical plants, herbs and wild growing plants from Endelave. In Horsens there are lots of small restaurants and cafes in the city center, so take a stroll and enjoy a meal of your choice.
- Accomodation: Fængslet is one of the places you must stay if you are in for a special prison experience.
The Ancient Road/Hærvejen
The ancient road is as the name suggests a historic road from thousands of years ago, when wandering people followed the river up through Denmark from the German boarder. Today, The Ancient Road is perfect for a biking holiday as it is a relatively flat route, leaving you to enjoy and explore unique historic sites and breathtaking scenery. Some of the old Viking monuments discovered in Denmark are located along the Ancient Road.
Here's some of the highlights to visit along the Ancient Road:
Jelling is a quaint little town which boasts some of Europe's most prominent Viking Age monuments. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds two mighty burial mounds and two old rune stones. The Kongernes Jelling experience centre is an interactive museum that allows you to learn about the Viking life, beliefs and world. From the top of the building you have a fantastic view to the burial mounds and Jelling Church.
Vejle and Rørbæk Lake
Bike one of Denmarks steepest hills in Vejle and experience that biking can also be challenging and fun in the Himmelpind Bike Park, a mountain bike park located in a hilly forest area just in the outskirts of the town. Take a scenic hike or stop for a picnic in the Rørbæk Lake area where you can follow 13 marked hiking trails covering a total of 49 kilometres of beautiful nature, wildlife and scenic views.
Viborg is often the start or end place for people following the Ancient Road and it's a cozy town with lots of culture and history to offer. Jump on the bike and head to the terrain of the Dollerup Hills where you can enjoy the view of Hald Lake. Some of Denmark's most beautiful and varied terrain is located here. Formed during the ice age of kilometers of thick glaciers where melted water created tunnel valleys and the Hald Lake with great force.
- Where to eat: Taste a modern Viking meal and hear live storytelling of Viking myths at the Cafe Sejd in Jelling.
- Accomodation: Best Western Hotel Torvehallerne is located in the city center of Vejle. The hotel has three different restaurants and a Gin bar that holds over 100 different types of gin! In Viborg the Palads Hotel is located near the city centre with all its attractions.
West Coast of Jutland
The West Coast of Denmark stretches from the most northern point of Denmark, Skagen, all the way down to the German boarder and the Wadden Sea. The coastline offers numerous beautiful small biking options or you can follow the full Danish National Cycle Route number 1 with its total lenght of 560 km along the coast!
Here's some of the highlights to visit at the West Coast of Jutland:
Slettestrand is located in the northern part of the coast and is a beach area containing lots of beautiful, white, sandy beaches. The area has Denmarks first, and one of the best, mountain biking trails going through lush forrests, on dirt roads, on top of high cliffs and close to the white beach. Here's an option for everyone who likes going off the wide tracks and flat roads. Make sure to visit the Slettestrand beach with the iconic boats draged up from the water when not in use.
Bulbjerg Cliff is the only rock formation and bird cliff in Jutland and is made of limestone. The Bulbjerg Cliff contains a 2nd World War fortification made by the Germans which now contains an open exhibition for visitors to the cliff.
Bovbjerg lighthouse is one of the few red lighthouses in Denmark. Usually they are white but since the Bovbjerg lighthouse was located between two white churches, it needs to stand out, and was painted red. The lighthouse is situated in the midle of the Geopark of West Jutland.
Henne is a small seaside village located along the number 1 bike route. It's surrounded by sandy beaches, sand dunes and has a cozy harbour and it's a perfect place to stop for a meal or an ice-cream. If you visit Henne make sure to take your bike up to the Filsø lake for a calm and quiet moment or to watch the birds. The Filsø lake used to be a lake up until 1951 when it was drained and the bottom of the lake was turned into farm land. For centuries farmers used the land but in 2011 the area was bought by a nature fund from the owners with the intend of bringing it back to lakearea. Today the bird and plant life in this area is quite unique and has been restored in only a few years.
If you need tips to more great biking areas to check out in Denmark, take a look at our Cycling the Baltic Sea Route video here.
Happy biking in Denmark!
Travel tip shared by Janicke for Travel Dudes.