During one of the hottest summers in Europe 2018, I flew over to Denmark to embark on a road trip that looped around the country. Starting from the Island of Zealand (where Copenhagen is located), across The Great Belt Bridge, Storebaelt, to the large peninsula, Jutland.
Road tripping across this incredible country you will find ancient Viking ruins, giant expanses of sand dunes, surfing towns like Hawaii, eerie WWII remnants from the Nazi occupation, top tier arts and culture that the Scandinavians are famous for and historical towns renowned for attracting artists due to their sublime picturesqueness and unique lighting.
The first destination was Esbjerg, and the famous Men by the Sea.
I’d say I’m just about taller….
The beach here is also famous for Amber! Take a walk along the shoreline and keep your eyes peeled for these precious stones!
Close by in Blavand is the Tirpitz museum, which among having some cool history around the west coast, is also host to one of the worlds largest intact Nazi bunkers to explore and go into!
An eerie walk into the dark bunker.
There are some interesting Nazi artefacts on display outside too.
With that done, we rested for the night and next morning made our way to Hvide Sande.
Hvide Sande is a small town that is situated in the middle of a narrow strip of land called the Holmsland Dunes.
The town is very homey and a great place for peace and quiet. The sand dunes and beach nearby are also a hotspot for water sports activities, but as it all faces directly west, gives way to a stunning sunset too.
Keep your eyes peeled for historic ships!
I highly recommend making a day of it, staying for a picnic and watching the sunset, as the colours against the dunes are just stunning.
And of course on the far side you can see the wind turbines placed scenically, capturing wind power that Denmark uses so efficiently.
The next day we made a pitstop at Bovbjerg, which is a picturesque lighthouse at the top of a cliff, and is also a spot known for paragliding.
The paragliders sprint at the top off the cliff and take off!
The next destination to reach was Klitmoller, aka cold Hawaii! This is a famous spot in Denmark and Europe for surfing and water sports in general. The town has a great vibe!
Also one of the best places to learn to wind surf! The wind is ample enough to get you at decent speeds, without it being too uncontrollable either. There’s a huge amount of space to practice aswell.
After spending a few days here enjoying learning to windsurf, we headed north to the tip of Denmark, Skagen. On the way we would stop over at Loekken, to see the little white cabins on the beach.
Close by is the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse, this is really something interesting to check out. The surrounding migrating sand dunes have been slowly consuming the lighthouse, and eventually will consume it in a decade. The progress of this is starkly visible.
You can see the sand dunes creeping into and taking over the neighbouring forest.
The lighthouse will be swallowed in a decade.
It’s definitely worth it to go into the lighthouse via the entrance that isn’t covered up by sand, and climb up to the top for a view of the dunes.
Even I was being consumed…..
Finally we would set off and arrive at Skagen.
There are two museums I recommend here. The Arts Museum of Skagen, which has paintings from the famous artists that flocked to Skagen during the end of the 19th century. The other, Anchers Hus, home to Anna and Michael Ancher, one of the most celebrated Scandinavian artists in history. The home has been preserved as it was at the time of Anna’s death in 1935.
As Skagen is located at the northmost tip of Denmark, it actually penetrates into the divide of two seas, the North Sea and Baltic sea. This creates a turbulent sandbar, and you can have one foot in each sea, whilst looking at this unique natural phenomena. However the clash of two seas also do mean very strong currents and turbulent water, so swimming is not recommended.
There is also the ruins of a Nazi bunker on the beach that you can climb up and into, for those of you feeling adventurous.
It’s actually not the easiest thing to climb into due to the lack of grips and angle you have to get your body in. Worth it though once you get in and have a crawl about!
Once you get in, you can head towards the top!
Skagen is home to a 14th century historical landmark called the sand buried church (den tilsandede kirke). Yet another victim of sand migration, initially when this was occurring the congregation had to dig their way through to attend service. Now only the tower remains visible…
The tower itself also has a tilt to it when you get a close up.
Stick around the coast for a great view of the sunset in Gammel Skagen, a town close by.
The dunes that consumed this church are called the Raabjerg mile, a migrating coastal dune that looks like its out of the Sahara and Denmark’s largest moving dune.
Get your cardio on, as its quite a walk to explore these massive dunes, and some of them are a full on climb up!
And do remember to keep your bearings, as its quite easy to get lost….like we did!
Heading back down south, stop over at Lindholm Hoeje, which is a major Viking burial site, north of Aalborg.
Its on a hill, and quite expansive. The type of stones and arrangements pertain to what kind of role the person played in Viking society.
The city of Aalborg is home to a famous museum showcasing the work of the Danish architect, Joern Utzon. You know his most famous work as the Sydney Opera house. Worth a visit! The city is very neatly sat along the riverside and has some interesting architecture.
You can kayak here, or alternatively as we did, head down south to Mariager to Kayak in the Mariager Fjord.
You can head far into the Fjord, and naturally as it’s a Fjord, you’ll get closer to the sea. The waves and environment will start to change, kayak as far as you feel comfortable!
Keen for more Viking tourism, we headed to Fyrkat, which is a Viking ring castle, and has a viking village to explore too!
Next stop, the second largest city in Denmark, Aarhus!
Aarhus museum has several floors of cool art installations, and right at the top is a rainbow ring tube. Makes it hard to miss this building! It should be on the top of your list to check out!
The rainbow pavilion panorama at the top of the museum is great for some funky photos!
The city itself has interesting art installation pieces across which are worth travelling to. You get to explore the city that way too!
In the centre of Aarhus is a street called Mollestien, which is just a very picturesque cute cobbled street with hollyhocks and rambling roses spread across.
Leaving Aarhus and going down south, you should stop by and see the Jelling Stone in Jelling. Over a 1000 years old and erected by King Harald Bluetooth (yes that bluetooth), in memory of his parents and his achievements, such as conquests of Denmark and Norway.
On the way back, naturally you will drive over the Storebaelt bridge again, its worth stopping over by the beach nearby to see it from land and in all its glory!
And finally when you’re ready, drive on it back to Zealand, and home!
That’s a two week road trip done!
Photo Credits : Elisabeth Gram