Denmark is perhaps not the first place that springs to mind when one thinks of hiking destinations. It does not have the mountain terrain of other European countries, but there are nevertheless plenty of good reasons to consider Denmark for your next walking holiday.
Easy walking in surprisingly varied landscapes
Yes, Denmark is relatively flat (its highest point is just 172 m above sea level), but it has a beautiful and varied landscape. Think rolling hills, pristine forest, dune plantations, heathland, marshes and gentle countryside. Water is a big feature, with more than 400 islands, 7,300 kilometres of coastline and many fjords, lagoons and lakes. The beautiful Lakeland region of Central Jutland (Søhøjlandet) has an especially high concentration of great hiking routes. Denmark is also a haven for beach lovers and lovers of coastal hiking. With many kilometres of wide sandy beaches, the most beautiful stretch is perhaps in the northwest of Jutland, along the North Sea Trail between Løkken and Skagen. Here, the migrating sands have created such spectacular features as the sand-covered church and the mini desert of Råbjerg Mile. The iconic Rubjerg Knude lighthouse even had to be moved in 2019 to prevent it from falling into the sea!
Denmark’s relatively flat terrain makes for pleasant, undemanding walking holidays which are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The Danes love the outdoors and there are many excellent marked hiking trails throughout the country. A walking holiday in Denmark is the perfect way to discover the most remote and beautiful corners of this surprisingly diverse country.
The summer climate is perfect for hiking
Ok, so Denmark is perhaps not a winter walking destination, but the summers are surprisingly warm. Although Denmark is in northern Europe, the warm waters of the Gulf Stream keep the climate mild. Summer in Denmark typically means lots of sunshine and temperatures in the low-to-mid-20’s Celsius – perfect conditions for comfortable walking. The amazing translucent light makes the colours of the countryside appear especially vibrant as you enjoy stress-free walking under big blue skies.
The famous Danish ‘Hygge’
Roughly translated as ‘cosiness’, the concept of hygge plays a hugely important role in Danish life. It is about spending quality time with close friends and family and enjoying the good things in life. Enjoying a lazy picnic lunch on a riverside or lakeside walk in the Danish countryside definitely qualifies as hygge! The concept of hygge is even reflected in the surroundings themselves. It can be seen in the impossibly charming thatched cottages, the quaint cobbled streets and the seaside fishing villages with brightly coloured houses.
So, what is Denmark’s most hyggelig hiking trip? My vote would go to walking in Jutland’s Lake District, where you stay in the most charming waterside hotels and inns, with the added possibility of taking a boat trip on the world’s oldest original coal-fired paddle steamer.
Historic hiking routes rich with heritage
The most historic walking route in Denmark is around 4,000 years old. Haervejen – also known as ‘Denmark’s Pilgrim Route’, ‘The Ancient Road’ and ‘The Ox Road’ – follows the Jutlandic Ridge, a watershed that runs down the spine of the Jutland peninsula. The most interesting and popular section leads walkers along woodland and heathland paths between the ancient cathedral city of Viborg and Kongernes Jelling, home of the Viking Kings. Here, you can see the 1,000-year-old burial mounds of two famous Vikings, Gorm the Old and Harold Bluetooth, as well as the famous rune stones which are considered to be Denmark’s ‘birth certificate’. The Jelling Monuments are considered Europe’s finest Viking Age monuments and they enjoy UNESCO World Heritage patronage.
More recent heritage can be experienced on Traekstien (The Towman’s Path) where barges were once pulled by horses along Denmarks longest waterway, the gently flowing Gudenåen river. Today you can walk this scenic riverside path through idyllic countryside and stay overnight in the charming traditional inns that were used by the bargemen in times gone by.
It is also possible to combine part of the Haervejen route with Traekstien by walking Jutland’s Heritage Trail.
Discover magnificent castles and palaces
Denmark is one of Europe’s oldest monarchies and is home to dozens of castles and palaces. The area of Northern Zealand (including Copenhagen) is home to a particularly high concentration of these. Copenhagen’s Amalienborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle are perhaps the best-known, but the most impressive is probably the magnificent Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød – the largest Renaissance-era castle in Scandinavia. Shakespeare fans should not miss Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, the inspiration and setting for his famous Hamlet. A couple of hidden gems are the Royal Hunting Lodge (Ermitageslottet) in Jaegersborg Deer Park and Fredensborg Palace, the spring and autumn residence of the current royal family. You can visit all of these on a wonderful week-long walk from Copenhagen to Elsinore.
Excellent public transport links
Denmark’s public transport system is excellent and easy to use, meaning that even the most remote trails are relatively easy to access. Trains and buses are frequent and punctual. Because Denmark is quite a small country, it only takes around 7 hours to get from one end to the other. The website journeyplanner.dk makes it easy to plan a route between any two points in Denmark. When looking for train tickets, make sure to look for Orange tickets, which are much cheaper than regular ones. All of our walking holidays can be reached with public transport, and It is also very often possible to shorten the daily walks by using public transport for part of the journey.
View all of our self-guided walking holidays in Denmark.