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 an 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 two 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 and two charming inns. Where possible, we book rooms with en suite facilities, although not all of the B&Bs have these.
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 October 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: 15 km | Ascent: 150 m | Descent: 150 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). You continue about 3 km along the lake and reach the beautiful heather-clad hills of Dollerup Bakker. Most of the area around Hald Sø and Dollerup Bakker is protected as an area of outstanding natural beauty. As you make your way along the ridge, you will enjoy wonderful views over the lake down below.
Overnight: Dollerup Bakker
Day 3: From Lake Hald to Thorning
Distance: 16.5 km | Ascent: 124 m | Descent: 86 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. After Ulvedal Plantage, you will take a detour of almost two kilometers away from Hærvejen to the village of Thorning, where you can visit a Blicher’s former rectory, which now houses a museum dedicated to him and the surrounding area. Your accommodation is located a further 2 km away along a quiet country road. You can either walk this or else your hosts will be happy to pick you up from the village.
Day 4: From Thorning to Lake Bølling
Distance: 21.5 km | Ascent: 135 m | Descent: 120 m | Time: 5 hrs approx.
From Thorning 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 and make your way to your overnight accommodation in the village of Engesvang. Along the way, you can check out the Klosterlund Museum with findings from some of the oldest settlements in Jutland dating back 8,000 years.
Overnight: Engesvang, Lake Bølling
Day 5: From Bølling Sø to Sepstrup
Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 177 m | Descent: 145 m | Time: 5 hrs approx.
You start the day by making your way back town to the shore of 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.
Your walk finishes in the tiny village of Sepstrup, where you will be picked up and transferred to your accommodation in a nearby inn.
Overnight: Paarup Kro
Day 6: From Sepstrup to Nørre Snede
Distance: 21 km | Ascent: 244 m | Descent: 257 m | Time: 5 hrs approx.
Today begins with a short transfer back to Septstrup. From here, you continue your walk southwards through 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 enter 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 afterwards, you will reach your accommodation just outside the town of Nørre Snede.
Overnight: Nørre Snede
Day 7: From Nørre Snede to Kollemorten
Distance: 19 km | Ascent: 190 m | Descent: 155 m | Time: 5 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, through beautiful forest and heathlands closed to Rørbæk Lake, then following a protected stretch along gravel roads and old wheel tracks which exude history. Via a small detour, you can visit the trickling springs from which 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 due to its healing powers.
The final stretch is along a quiet country road to the town of Kollemorten. Shortly before entering the town 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.
A pre-arranged transfer will take you from Kollemorten to your accommodation in a nearby B&B.
Overnight: Give B&B
Day 8: From Kollemorten to Jelling
Distance: 17.5 km | Ascent: 70 m | Descent: 80 m | Time: 4 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 origins of the Danish monarchy.
Today’s walking route is not as varied as the previous days, but it can easily be shortened by public bus if you wish to have more time to spend in Jelling.
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.