Discover varied and beautiful landscapes along two of the most famous hiking routes in Denmark.
Explore charming Silkeborg, which is one of the most beautifully located towns of Denmark.
Walk in the footsteps of the old bargemen along Denmark’s longest river.
Experience true Danish ‘hygge’ and traditional cuisine in the old inns on the banks of Gudenåen.
Take in the atmosphere and historic sites of Viborg, Jutland’s old episcopal residence.
Follow Hærvejen (the Danish Camino) in the footsteps of kings, soldiers, traders and pilgrims.
Walk through vast forests and tranquil heathland and visit legendary historical places like Grathe Heath.
Combine the Trækstien and Hærvejen routes for the perfect heritage trail in central Jutland
Self-guided walking holiday with luggage transportation
Your trip starts in the beautiful Lake District capital of Silkeborg. It is worth spending some time exploring the town that has many tourist attractions, including Hjejlen, the world’s oldest original coal-fired paddle steamer still in operation, as well as the AQUA Aquarium & Wildlife Park and a museum dedicated to the famous Danish painter Asger Jorn.
From Silkeborg, you follow the old Trækstien (The Towpath) along Gudenåen and the adjoining lakes. Historically, the trail was created for horses and bargemen, who once pulled great barges filled with goods between the towns of Silkeborg and Randers. Today it is a beautiful walking trail through Jutland’s tranquil lakelands. You will stay overnight at two of the charming old inns used by the bargemen in the 18th century.
On the last part of the track towards Bjerrringbro you will walk along the lake Tange Sø, which is the largest artificial lake in Denmark. At the north end of the lake you find the largest hydro-electric power station in Denmark, where you can visit Energimuseet (The Energy Museum), which offers a variety of experiences for the whole family. After another few kilometers along Gudenåen you reach Bjerringbro. From here you take the train to Jutland’s old capital Viborg, which is the starting point for the next part of your trip along Hærvejen – Denmark’s most famous and well-described hiking route.
Established in the Middle Ages, Hærvejen was the most important route through Jutland for the transport of animals and goods, for pilgrims, for the armies and for the kings and their followers. 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 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.
The route 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 the stage from Viborg to Lake Bølling you will find many historical sites. The surrounding landscape is scenic and tranquil as you wander through woodland and heath, over rolling hills and along serene lakes.
|8 DAY TOUR||From €670 per person sharing*
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo walkers
||You will stay in selected B&B’s, inns and hotels.
You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April 15th and September 15th.|
Day 1: Arrival in Silkeborg
Your hiking holiday starts in Silkeborg, where you stay in a B&B in the town centre. Take some time to explore the town that has a lot to offer tourists. We recommend a trip on the beautiful lakes with Hjejlen, which is the world’s oldest original coal-fired paddle steamer. You can also visit the AQUA Aquarium & Wildlife Park or the museum dedicated to the famous Danish painter Asger Jorn.
Day 2: From Silkeborg to Svostrup
Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 48 m | Descent: 48 m | Time: 4 hrs approx.
On your first hiking day you start out from Silkeborg and walk along Gudenåen (Denmark’s longest river) and its adjoining lakes following Trækstien, which is the old towpath of Gudenåen. Historically, the trail was created for horses and bargemen, who once pulled great barges filled with goods between the towns of Silkeborg and Randers. Barge traffic on Gudenåen had its heyday in Silkeborg after the opening of the paper mill in 1845. Back then, it was the only way of transporting large quantities of goods to and from the town. The barges could be seen sailing on Gudenåen right up until the beginning of World War I.
The trail has been extensively renovated over the last few years, with a raised gravel track enabling you to walk with dry feet in this flood-prone area. On the first part of the track you walk along the lake Silkeborg Langsø, before continuing along Gudenåen. Shortly before Svostrup the river widens out in the lake Sminge Sø; famous for its bird life, which you can observe from a bird tower. In Sminge Sø, Gudenåen is joined by another big stream: Gjern Å. Shortly after that you reach the old inn, Svostrup Kro, where the bargemen traditionally stopped for a well-deserved rest and refreshment!
Overnight: Svostrup Kro
Day 3: From Svostrup to Kongensbro
Distance: 10 km | Ascent: 41 m | Descent: 44 m | Time: 3 hrs approx.
Today you continue along Trækstien towards Kongensbro. This part of Trækstien was previously susceptible to flooding by Gudenåen, but in the spring of 2019 the path was renovated and raised, so that it now remains dry throughout most of the season.
Shortly after having left Svostrup you will see Tvilum church on the opposite site of the river. The church was built in 1250 as an abbey for the Order of Saint Augustine. It was also used for an overnight stay by the king of Denmark in medieval times, on his travels around in Jutland, as evidenced by some newly discovered murals dating from 1350.
You continue your walk along the river in an idyllic and peaceful landscape, finishing up at Kongensbro Kro, another charming inn with an atmosphere of times gone by. In earlier times the inn was an important junction for the traffic between Silkeborg/Randers and Aarhus/Viborg.
Overnight: Kongensbro Kro
Day 4: From Kongensbro to Bjerringbro
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 94 m | Descent: 104 m | Time: 5 hrs approx.
From Kongensbro Kro you continue along Trækstien, which at some places due to flooding has been diverted into the woodlands along Gudenåen. After seven kilometers you pass a bridge to the village of Ans, where it’s possible to take a small detour for lunch at the local inn.
After Ans, Gudenåen runs into Tange Sø, which is the largest artificial lake in Denmark. The old towpath now lies at the bottom of the lake together with the remains of an old rural hamlet. You follow the trail along the eastern side of Tange Sø and at the north end of the lake you reach Gudenåcentralen (Tangeværket), the largest hydro-electric power station in Denmark, which opened in 1921 and once provided 25 % of the electricity used in Jutland. The power station is now home to an Energy Museum, with cafés and a variety of experiences for the whole family. From 2019 you can experience a new exhibition “Life in Change”, which illustrates the life of the Danes in a world of climate change. The new exhibition is intended to stimulate discussion on how to make a contribution. After another four kilometers along Gudenåen you reach Bjerringbro.
From Bjerringbro you take the train to Viborg where you check in to a lovely B&B in the centre of town. 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 5: 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 6: 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 just outside Thorning.
Day 7: From Ulvedal Plantage to Lake Bølling
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 104 m | Descent: 76 m | Time: 5 hrs approx.
From Ulvedal Plantage you continue 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 the route ends at Bøllingsø Camping, where you will be spending your last night. Relax with a cold drink and enjoy your achievement. 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 8: Departure from Lake Bølling
From Bøllingsø Camping there is only 3 kilometers to Engesvang Station. From here you can take a train to Silkeborg and continue your onward journey.