Island hopping by bicycle.

Island hopping by bicycle.

Many people associate island hopping with backpacking. It’s also a great way to travel for tour cyclists though. Denmark is one of the best places to go island hopping by bicycle.

Did you know that Denmark has a longer coastline than India? And we are not including Greenland or the Faroe Islands here. Denmark has 406 islands, plus the peninsula of Jylland (Jutland in English).

Roughly 70 of these islands are inhabited, making Denmark a perfect place for those of us who like to combine tour cycling with island hopping.

If you do this in combination with a visit o Copenhagen, then you will find out that Denmark is probably a little more diverse than you first thought.

Island hopping.

Denmark has many islands making it ideal for island hopping.

There is more to Denmark than the Jutland peninsula.

Unfortunately, many tour cyclists only see the western part of Denmark, as it is part of a longer trip going from Norway to the mediterranean countries. But if you have the time for it, then you should really consider exploring other parts of Denmark by bicycle.

Once you are away from the Jutland peninsula, then Denmark becomes a country that is littered with tiny little cute islands. Many of these islands has surprisingly well functioning societies, considering their tiny populations.

In my opinion it’s a lot more charming to visit those islands than going from one mid sized provincial town to the next.

Skarø

The island of Skarø, which has nice trails and less than 30 inhabitants.

Island Denmark.

Island life in Denmark. This is an island called Hirsholm.

Denmark is a maritime nation.

Denmark is in many ways a country that is connected to the sea. No one in Denmark lives further than 53 kilometers away from the sea. Historically trading with the world by sea has been a big part of Denmark’s identity. The largest shipping company in the world these days, Maersk, is actually Danish. And Maersk is just following a long tradition of Danes being connected to the sea, because of the proximity to it.

If you visit the island of Ærø, then you will notice that the maritime past is a big part of the history. The town of Marstal used to be one of the most important maritime centers in northern Europe, even if it was located on a fairly small island.

Denmark maritime nation.

Denmark is a maritime nation.

Denmark sea

Denmark is connected to the sea.

I have relatives myself on some of these tiny islands. I visit my two cousins on the island of Skarø very often for instance. That is an island that only has around 20 inhabitants. But it has a functioning society, with a couple of cafes and a little ice cream factory that produces ice cream for Singapore Airlines as well as to many happy visitors to the island.

Ferry Lyø Avernakø

Denmark has many ferry routes. This one Connecting the 3 islands Fyn, Lyø and Avernakø.

Ferries and bridges are almost everywhere in Denmark.

Because of the many islands, Denmark has 53 domestic ferry routes. There are also many many bridges and dams connecting islands around the country. The ferries are not free. But they are subsidised, as they are part of the infrastructure. So you will not break the bank just because you go island hopping by bicycle in Denmark.

Can you bring your bike on ferries in Denmark?

Yes. These ferries are also used to having bikes on board. So you do not need to worry about whether you can bring our bike on a Danish ferry.

Ærøskøbing

The main street in Ærøskøbing.

The islands are very bicycle friendly.

Many of these islands take bicycle tourism quite seriously and have very good infrastructure for two wheeled traffic.

Some islands are so small that they barely have motorised traffic. But some of the larger islands, such as Samsø, Ærø, Bornholm and Als for instance, have an excellent network of bicycle paths, making it a bliss to cycle there.

Bornholm bicycle path.

Bicycle paths are very common on islands like Samsø, Ærø, Bornholm and Als. Hopefully decision makers around the world will soon realise that this is how you attract tourists who can help the local community to prosper financially.

Island hopping bicycle

Island hopping by bicycle is great in Denmark.

Accommodation on the small islands when island hopping by bicycle.

Shelter Denmark

Shelters are common in Denmark.

Some of the small islands are so tiny that they have no hotels, guest houses or commercial campsites. But they almost always have a place where you can pitch your tent. And that is what most tour cyclists are asking for. Just be aware that wild camping is technically not allowed in Denmark, So ask permission before pitching your tent. 

Do not expect that wild camping is accepted, as it is not common in Denmark, due to the high population density. But you have many quite a few forests where wild camping is allowed.

Most islands have an assigned place for tenting though. Denmark has also seen a big increase in basic shelters in the past few years. These shelters are often free to sleep at, as long as they are not occupied by others. Some of them are bookable on a site called www.bookenshelter.dk Others are bookable on the Shelter app. If you nook in advance you might have to pay around 4-5€ to stay the night in a shelter. But if you arrive at night and they are not occupied, then you can use them for free.

In my experience it’s mostly totally fine to pitch your tent next to the shelters, should they be occupied. Just make sure to leave a little early the next morning if you do. And make sure to clean up after yourself. You should always do that, no matter how you spend the night, anyway.

Now this was a few recommendations in regards to island hopping by bicycle in Denmark. Should you want to see a few more photos and read a little more about one of these islands, then I have a blogpost about the tine island Skarø on this link.

Cafe Samsø

Nice little cafe on the island Samsø.

3 Comments

  1. It seems strange to think of a factory supplying ice cream for Singapore Airlines on an island of only 20 inhabitants! I love the look of that street in Ærøskøbing – perhaps weirdly it reminded me of some Spanish colonial towns in Latin America, like Antigua Guatemala 🙂

    • The ice cream factory only supplies ice cream for the Copenhagen – Singapore route, which is about 1000 ice creams a week. That is doable, even for a small factory.

  2. Thanks Claus for the information and nice photos or the countryside. I can see the landscape of Denmark countryside is great for photographer too

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