Cycling around Denmark.

Cycling around Denmark.

I just finished a long cycling trip through almost every corner of Denmark.

Normally I am visiting new countries with my bicycle every year. This year has been a little different though, due to a certain virus. Good thing is that I got vaccinated. But I had to wait for a few weeks to be called up. And then wait for another few weeks to get my second jab. This made longer trips abroad a little complicated. So I decided to finally do a long cycling tour around my native Denmark.

Bicycle Hillerød

Stopping by Hillerød castle on my bicycle tour around Denmark.

I have taken many shorter tours around Denmark over the years. But this time I decided to set a goal of visiting every single municipality in Denmark by bicycle. After that I would finally be able to say that I truly know what it’s like to travel Denmark by bicycle.

Bicycle

Entering one of the 98 municipalities of Denmark with my bicycle.

I made the trip over 4 stages, as I had to do a little work as well, in order to finance the trip. Being a freelancer in Travel & Tourism, I have been hit hard on the money the past 16 months. A bit of random freelance work here and there has kept me afloat though.

Hvilsom church

Cycling past a cornfield, with Hvilsom church in the background.

I started the trip in April, hoping that the spring weather would be nice. But a cold northern wind hit Denmark. And my first couple of nights of camping was in minus degrees, where I had to knock off ice from my tent in the morning. So much for nice spring weather in Denmark this year.

Tent

I woke up with ice on my tent when I camped in this spot.

But the weather gradually got better. And it was only at the very end of the trip, 4 months later, that I got a bit of bad weather again, with some strong wind and rain, by the very end of the trip.

Shelter

The weather was much nicer when I camped by this shelter at Møborg.

I started the trip in Copenhagen.

A great cycling trip had to start in a great cycling city. Copenhagen is without a doubt one of the top 10 cycling cities in the world. It’s way more bicycle friendly than car friendly. Actually it’s not car friendly at all. This is a city that has changed from being a car city 40 years ago to being one of the cycling capitals of the world today. I absolutely love the cycling culture of Copenhagen. Mayors from the rest of the world should take note on how they can change their own cities into cycling cities as well. For the benefit of everyone’s health and general well being.

Cycling kindergarten Copenhagen

Copenhagen kindergarten having bicycle lessons.

Copenhagen bicycle city

Copenhagen is a bicycle city.

Denmark has lots of islands.

Denmark has hundreds of islands. 78 of them are currently inhabited. So even if Denmark looks very small on the map and can be crossed in 2-3 days of cycling, it is actually possible to keep cycling for weeks and still see new places. Because of all the islands, Denmark actually has a coastline that is longer than countries like India and Chile.

Ferry Mors

Denmark has lot’s of ferry routes to the many small islands.

Photos from some of the Danish islands where I went cycling.

Many of the smaller islands in Denmark are promoting bicycle tourism a lot. Because of that, they have built some really good bicycle trails. Here is a little mention of some of the islands that I liked the most for cycling.

Cycling around the island Samsø.

Samsø is one of the most pleasant islands to cycle around in all Denmark. It’s an island that for several years has done a lot to become carbon neutral. The island has many inhabitants who are into nature-friendly solutions. Lot’s of small stalls along the road are selling organic fruit and vegetables. People have also been good at preserving the old architecture, not damaging the island with ugly high rise concrete blocks. On top of that there are excellent bicycle trails, making it a joy to be a bicycle tourist on the island.

 

Samsø

Samsø is very idyllic. And also bicycle friendly.

Cycling around the island Ærø.

Ærø is probably the most famous island in Denmark for American tourists. This is all because the American travel writer Rick Steves has taken a big liking to the island. Praising it for decades in his popular guidebooks. His praise is justified though. On top of being a small idyllic island with an important past as a global hotspot in maritime trade, back in the 18th century. The main town on the island, Ærøskøbing, is one of the best preserved smaller towns in northern Europe. The island has also just built a really nice bicycle trail across the island, making it a super place for us cyclists. They even have a nice little micro brewery on the island if you feel like a cold beer at the end of the day.

Ærøskøbing.

Ærøskøbing.

Cycling around the island Bornholm.

This island is actually closer to Poland and to Sweden than it is to Denmark. But it’s a part of Denmark, so I went there. After cycling through Sweden that was. It’s quite different from the rest of Denmark, being one of the only places in Denmark where you find a dramatic nature with rocky cliffs. And even something that can almost resemble a tiny mountain in otherwise flat Denmark. Bornholm has for many years been a favourite place for many artists. So the island has an arty vibe in many of the picturesque villages along the rocky coastline. Once again, this is a place that has decided that they would like bicycle tourism. And have acted accordingly, building lot’s of bike trails. Bornholm might also hold the world record for having the most public picnic tables scattered around the island. Now this is something that we tour cyclists really appreciate.

Bornholm

Bornholm with the many picnic tables.

Round Church Bornholm

Bornholm is also famous for the many round churches.

Cycling around the island Als.

The island Als is located quite close to the German border. If you are entering Denmark via the Danish/German land border, then I would suggest that you cycle to Als. and from there continue by taking the ferry to the larger island Fyn or to Ærø. This is first of all because this is a nicer cycling route than the long straight road going up the Jutland peninsula. But also because Als is really a nice little place. Especially the northwestern part around Dyvig is really pretty. And very doable by bicycle. From Dyvig you can easily cycle up to the village Fynshav, where you have ferries leaving for other Danish islands.

Dyvig

Dyvig on the island Als.

Cycling around the island Fyn.

Fyn (Funen in English) is the last island I will write a little about this time. I went cycling around more islands and might add some more later. But I will mention Fyn right away as this is a big hub for bicycle tourism in Denmark. Fyn connects to both the Jutland peninsula (with two bridges) and with several ferries to other islands. The southern part of the island is particularly nice for cycling, being a little more green than the rest of Denmark. And completely without any large towns. Only Odense on the northern part of the island is a little large and quite congested. I actually grew up on this island near the town Faaborg and still spent a few weeks a year there. So feel free to contact me if you are in the area and I will be happy to show you around. You can camp in my garden too for that matter, if I am not out traveling the world myself.

Faaborg

Faaborg is an old historical town on the island Fyn.

 

Finally the west coast of the Jutland peninsula.

The Jutland peninsula is where many foreign cyclists go when they are cycling around Denmark. It’s part of the Eurovelo 12 cycle route, which most people to or from North Cape in Norway are using, when connecting to central and south Europe. On a sunny day this is also a really really nice part of the world to be on a bicycle. It’s a long coastline with sand dunes. Bays with windsurfers. And nice coastal towns with a fishing vibe. It’s also the windiest place in Denmark though. So it can be quite tough to cycle there. Especially if you have the wind in your face. The wind mostly comes from the southwest by the way. But try to check ahead for wind and rain, as it gets bad out there quite frequently. But if the weather is nice, then the bike trails along the Danish west coast are superb.

Bicycle trail Jutland

Bicycle trail along the west coast of Jutland.

Men by the sea.

Cycling past the town Esbjerg, with the statues called “Men by the sea”.

How was my accommodation on this trip?

Since this was a trip that took a total of 75 days. And since I have been making a lot less money than normal because of the lockdown, I had to do it cheap. So I was mostly camping. Often in peoples backyards for free. Or at primitive campgrounds where you can stay for free. These campgrounds are very basic. Often with no water or toilet facilities. Just some green grass you can camp on. Maybe a shelter and a fireplace if you are lucky. I personally really like these places and use them a lot. They can be found on a website that is unfortunately only in Danish. But if you set your browser to translate it, then you should be able to use it too. You can find it on this link.

shelter camping Denmark

Camping at one of the many free shelter campgrounds in Denmark.

Camping Lillebæltsbroen

Camping by the bridge that connects Fyn with Jutland.

What was the cost of the trip?

As I mentioned above, I was camping for free on most nights during this trip. That combined with being budget conscious during most of the trip made this one of the cheapest trips I have ever taken. My total spending in 75 days of cycling around Denmark was only about 1200€. And that actually includes a few visits to high end coffee houses. Good coffee was the one thing I allowed myself to enjoy 2-3 times a week on this trip. There was no dining out and going to late night bars. Something I normally do a fair bit on my travels. But it was nice with a little detox. And as a bonus I lost 9 kilos of weight during the trip.

This might actually be the single longest bicycle journey that a person has ever taken within Denmark.

Now should you wish to take a cycling tour around Denmark yourself, then you are always very welcome to contact me. Or you can leave a comment below the article. and then I will answer it as quickly as I can.

Happy cycling.

 

5 Comments

  1. My bike trip – pre-Steves – did include Aero, but only because it was close to where we got our bikes off the train in Flensburg. In the mid 80’s it cost 3 or 5 marks extra to put your ride on the train and you got to stay with the bike.
    We rode out past the Dybbol, took the ferry to Aero. Then on to your hometown to ride up through the Alps. Past Egeskov Slot to Odense and a date with a Giraf. Ferry to Korsor – much nicer than the bridge – and a quick ride to Kalundborg for the boat to Aarhus. Rode up to the Ejer Bavnehoj. On to Jelling. We were going to continue down the west coast, but heavy rains washed up back to Vejle. Late September can be kind or unkind to a bicyclist.
    Wonderful country to explore by bike, just remember where the winds come from and save money for the beer.

  2. Great travel story. Sounds like a great place to live or visit.

  3. Well done, Claus! I have read your story with great interest! Good luck in the future!

  4. Amazing trip, I can see you got many beautiful photo of the countryside in Denmark. I hope to do it once like you in my country

  5. Pingback: Tour cycling in Denmark. – Travelling Claus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *