Discover the varied and beautiful landscape along the most famous hiking route in Denmark.
Take in the atmosphere and historic sites of Viborg, Jutland’s old episcopal residence.
Walk through vast forests and tranquil heathland.
Experience the beautiful landscapes around Lake Hald and the Hills of Dollerup.
Finish with a historical exploration of the kings’ town of Jelling, with its famous runestones and burial mounds.
Walk ‘The Ancient Road’ from Viborg to Jelling
Self-guided hiking trip with luggage transportation
Jutland’s Hærvejen trail is the most famous and well-described hiking route in Denmark. Established in the Middle Ages, it was the most important route through Jutland for the transport of animals and goods, as well as for pilgrims, armies, and kings. It remained so until the appearance of the railways.
The trail runs along the watershed of the Jutland Peninsula, known as the ‘Jyske Højderyg’ (Jutland Ridge) all the way from the historic town of Viborg to Hamburg in Germany. By using this route, one could avoid rivers, or ford them close to their origins where they were still shallow. As time went by this route was improved with paved fords, embankments and bridges.
Hærvejen was designated as a European Cultural Route in 2010 and the tourist offices in the surrounding towns have together established a dedicated website with a detailed description of the route, as well as sites of interest along the way: www.haervej.com.
On this stage from Viborg to Jelling you get up close with both nature and history, as you walk between tow of Denmark’s most historic towns. You start in Jutland’s ancient capital Viborg, with its famous cathedral and medieval streets. Then you set out on a hike through a beautiful and varied landscape far away from the world’s hustle and bustle. The route brings you through rolling hills with ancient oak thickets, inland sand dunes and moorland plantations, past the sources of two of Denmark’s greatest rivers; Gudenåen and Skjern Å, as well as numerous lakes, holy springs and historical sites. Your final destination is Jelling; one of the most important historical towns in Denmark. Here you find the famous Jelling stones, dating from the 10th century, with runic inscriptions proclaiming the conversion of the Danes to Christianity by the famous king Harald Bluetooth.
|9 DAYS/8 NIGHTS||From €750 per person sharing*
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo walkers
||You will stay in six B&Bs, one charming inn and one campsite. All B&Bs and inns have en suite facilities. At Bøllingsø Camping you will stay in a comfortable double room or private cabin with access to shared bathroom and shower facilities.
The standard accommodations for this trip are listed below. If any of the places are unavailable, then we will inform you about it and try to find an alternative.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April 15th and September 15th.|
Day 1: Arrival in Viborg
Your hiking holiday starts in Viborg, where you stay in a B&B in the town centre. Viborg is an old episcopal residence and was Jutland’s most important city during the Middle Ages. Take time to explore the old town centre and cathedral and walk down the lovely cobbled street Sct. Mogens Gade, where you will find several houses dating from the Middle Ages. You can also visit Sortebrødre Church, which is the only building remaining from the old Dominican abbey, or Søndermarks Church, where you will find a 10 m long tapestry embroidered with scenes from your upcoming hiking route Hærvejen.
Day 2: From Viborg to Dollerup Bakker
Distance: 16 km | Ascent: 157 m | Descent: 132 m | Time: 4 hrs approx.
Leaving Viborg, you follow Hærvejen south into Liseborg Forest. For the next 8 km you will be walking along quiet forest paths through Viborg Hedeplantage, Viborg Krat and Langskov, before reaching the old inn Niels Bugges Kro, situated on the banks of Lake Hald (in Danish Hald Sø). North of Niels Bugges Kro, on a tongue of land, you can see the remains of a castle from the Middle Ages and from here there is a beautiful view over the lake. 300-400 m north of the inn you will find Hald Hovedgård, where there is an exhibition about the area’s landscape and culture. You continue about 3 km along the lake and reach the beautiful hills of Dollerup Bakker. Most of the area around Hald Sø and Dollerup Bakker is protected as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Overnight: Dollerup Bakker
Day 3: From Lake Hald to Ulvedal Plantage
Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 108 m | Descent: 78 m | Time: 4 hrs approx.
Having enjoyed the view over Dollerup Bakker and Hald Sø, you continue through the little village of Skelhøje and along quiet forest tracks through Stendal and Havredal Plantage where you will see many protected burial mounds. You then walk along Ulvedal Plantage, where you will pass a 4000-year-old long burial tomb known as ‘The Cave of Jens Langkniv’ (Jens Langkniv was an outlaw – a Danish Robin Hood). It was in this area that the famous Danish writer Steen Steensen Blicher lived and walked around picking up stories from the local farmers. His rectory was located in Thorning, just 2 km from Hærvejen, and in the rectory there is now a museum about Blicher and the surrounding area.
You will be picked up at Ulvedal Plantage and driven to your accommodation in nearby Kjellerup.
Day 4: From Ulvedal Plantage to Lake Bølling
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 104 m | Descent: 76 m | Time: 5 hrs approx.
After breakfast you will be transferred back to Ulvedal Plantage to start today’s route. From here you continue along Hærvejen to the Haller Å stream, where the deep tracks from old carts are still visible leading down to the stream. After a few more kilometres you reach the idyllic Grathe heath, where Svend Grathe was killed in the famous royal battle with Valdemar the Great, which marked Jutland’s victory over the armies of Skåne and Zealand. Continue through Kompedal Plantage, where conscientious objectors were once doomed to forest work.
Another forest path, through the beautiful Stenholt forest, takes you toward the northern shore of Lake Bølling, where you leave Hærvejen. After a few hundred meters you reach Bøllingsø Camping, where you will be spending your night. If you have more energy, you can check out the nearby Klosterlund Museum with findings from some of the oldest settlements in Jutland dating back 8000 years.
Overnight: Lake Bølling
Day 5: From Bølling Sø to Sepstrup
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 160 m | Descent: 140 m | Time: 3 hrs approx.
This hiking day starts at the 360-acre lake Bølling Sø formed during the ice age about 10,000 years ago. The lake is famous because of the discovery here of the naturally mummified corpse of Tollund Man (displayed at Silkeborg Museum), who lived during the 4th century BC.
Today’s route takes you along the eastern shore of Lake Bølling, sometimes walking right by the lakeshore. South of the lake you cross the stream Funder Å and walk through Hørbylunde, an undulating area of heather-covered hills and ancient oak thickets. With a terrain that rises nearly 80 meters from the ford to the top of Blaksdal Høj over a distance of only 1 km, this is probably the closest you get to a Danish mountain landscape. The old sunken laneways indicate that the ford has been a historically important crossing. In fact, the place name dates all the way back to 1503; hørby is a conversion of hårdvad, which means ‘ford with hard bottom’ and lund means ‘small forest’.
About 1½ km from the route, on the top of Hørbylunde hill, a stone cross marks the spot where the famous Danish priest and poet Kaj Munk was killed by a German SS patrol on January 4, 1944. If taking this little detour to Hørbylunde hill, do not miss the very beautiful view at the end of the marked path.
Lastly, you walk through Bødskov forest and reach the village of Sepstrup where you will be spending the night.
Day 6: From Sepstrup to Nørre Snede
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 180 m | Descent: 205 m | Time: 3 hrs approx.
Leaving Sepstrup behind, you shortly reach Sepstrup Sande and then Vrads Sande. Both areas are inland dunes; a result of natural as well as human-influenced sand drifts over thousands of years. Covered in heather, crowberry and juniper, the two inland dunes lie between large heath plantations and long rows of pine trees dating from the end of the 19th century.
South of the village of Vrads you continue between the Torup and Tingdal lakes before entering the Palsgård forest, which is one of the oldest plantations in Jutland. If you want to learn more about the forest, you can visit the old forester farm, which has been converted into the forest museum Palsgård Skovmuseum. Shortly after, you will reach your accommodation just outside the town of Nørre Snede.
Overnight: Nørre Snede
Day 7: From Nørre Snede to Kollemorten
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 175 m | Descent: 155 m | Time: 3 hrs approx.
Today you start by walking through Nørre Snede, where you can buy provisions for a picnic lunch. If you want to, you can visit the church of Nørre Snede with its famous granite baptismal font, which is considered one of the finest of its kind in Denmark. Pilgrimage to the nearby Saint Michael’s spring probably explains the existence of this relatively big church in an otherwise poor heathland region.
You continue your hike south from Nørre Snede, passing Rørbæk Lake and then following a protected stretch of Hærvejen, with gravel roads and old wheel tracks exuding history. Via a small detour you can see the trickling springs from where Denmark’s two biggest rivers – Gudenåen and Skjern Å – rise and flow in opposite directions: east and west. A little further on you pass Saint Peder’s spring, which has attracted pilgrims for centuries because of its healing powers.
Just before you reach your accommodation outisde the town of Kollemorten, you will see an old stone with the year 1856 and the place names Kolding and Vester mølle carved on it; this bears witness to the importance of Hærvejen in the middle of the 19th century.
Day 8: From Kollemorten to Jelling
Distance: 19 km | Ascent: 82 m | Descent: 85 m | Time: 3½ hrs approx.
After leaving the village of Kollemorten, Hærvejen leads you through an open agricultural landscape with scattered forest. Shortly after the town of Givskud you pass the old inn Harresø Kro, which dates all the way back to 1609, making it one of the oldest preserved inns along Hærvejen. In 1759 a group of Germans stayed at the inn. Their payment was 13 strange ”fruits”, which were then planted in the garden of the inn. These “fruits” turned out to be potatoes – a rare sight in Denmark at the time!
Your route ends in the kings’ town of Jelling; one of the most important towns of the Viking Age. The Jelling Monuments (a collective term for the church of Jelling, the Jelling stones and the two giant burial mounds), are without doubt Denmark’s most important historical monuments. In fact, the Jelling Monuments are considered Europe’s finest Viking Age monuments, and since 1994 they have enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage patronage. In other words: If you are interested in Viking heritage, Jelling is the place for you. You should also check out the visitor centre ‘Kongernes Jelling’ where you can learn more about Christianity’s introduction in Denmark and the beginning of the Danish monarchy.
Day 9: Departure from Jelling
Your hike along Hærvejen from Viborg to Jelling has come to an end. Consider staying for an extra night in Jelling so you have plenty of time to explore the many interesting historical monuments.