Amazing west coast of Denmark ☀️
Amazing west coast of Denmark ☀️
The three of us have made it to Denmark, the 15th country we'll explore on our 5 year tour! We are parked up at the end of a single track road, with fields all around us, looking out over puddle pocked sands to the distant island of Rømø.
We didn't need to travel far to get here, in fact we haven't left Wadden Sea National Park. The wind is blowing a fine spray of rain in from the sea but we managed to fill and empty the van before it started and set off from our two day camp at Südwesthörn. We have two bags of rubbish sitting in our shower cubilce because the bins have only been small at our last couple of stopovers. We'll need to keep a keener eye out for disposal opportunities for a while.
Five flags and the familiar blue sign with its circle of 12 golden stars were placed at the side of the small road to herald our entry to 'Danmark'. Routes through the little villages seemed narrower than on the German side and we continued to see large cottages with well maintained thatched rooves. There is a ready supply of reeds that grow in the wetlands around here. We'd been keeping our eyes open for a bread shop but now began looking for a bank in order to withdraw some Danish kroner. We didn't manage to find either before arriving at our overnight spot, but we can get by fine without them while we are here.
On the way in to our wild camp, the van passed within a metre of an Oyster Catcher perched on a post, 50m or so from where we parked. On a reddish brown, wooden picnic table were oyster shells; these shellfish thrive in the mudflats and in turn, draw thousands of wading birds to the area.
After lunch we went for a walk, following the mown track on top of the low dyke. We are really enjoying the network of walking and cycle tracks in this area - they seem to be everywhere! Passing a potato field in flower we saw the small village of Vesterdende Ballum in the background. We had already looked on maps.me to see if there were any shops, but there were only a few guesthouses and a church. Continuing on along the coast we allowed our senses to soak up the surroundings. Redshanks and Oyster Catchers with their high pitched pips to seaward and the multi-toned melody of warbling from what our friend Jenny calls SBJs (Small Brown Jobbies), joined with the chirping of cicadas to landward. The scent of pink shrub roses infused the air as we passed small bushes and visually, the 360° views beneath the steely grey clouds seemed to go on forever.
We came accross a path layed in rounded stones, leading out 100m or so onto the mudflat. Following it out we found and foraged a little samphire to taste, but sticking to our rule of 'decimate don't obliterate', decided there wasn't enough to gather for a meal. A few oyster shells lay further out on the mud but knowing that winter is the time for oyster gathering, we didn't delve any further.
Miles of wideopen countryside and shoreline may not be everyone's idea of paradise, but if our experiences today are any sort of indication, we are going to really enjoy our time in Denmark!Read more
This summer we spent over 9 weeks touring Denmark. 6 of them were spent on Jutland (the mainland) in July and August, then after a little break we returned for 3 weeks in September to island hop between Funen, Zealand and the smaller islands south of here.
We hadn't originally planned to spend so much time in Denmark but changes in circumstance led to changes in our plans and we are so glad we got to extend our stay. Having spent a month in the country several years back we knew we liked the place, but having toured Sweden and Norway last summer we feared we may find it rather tame. Instead, as we got to know it better, we found ourselves slowly falling in love with Denmark. In no particular order, here's why:
🛣 Driving and Roads
Main roads are smoothly tarmacced and well organised. Drivers are polite, facilities are well signposted and the roads could rarely be described as busy. Many of the more rural places we stayed were down long gravel tracks, but despite the rougher surface, they too were well maintained. The summer drought had the disadvantage of making these very dusty and Martha motorhome was rarely clean. Diesel is a little cheaper than in the UK and motorways are free, although there was a hefty toll of £45 to cross the Storebælt Bridge between Zealand and Funen islands. The ferry from Germany was even more expensive. We almost always found free parking in towns and cities, some of which had dedicated motorhome spaces.
Places to stay:
Wild camping is permitted in Denmark and we found plenty of wonderful free places to stay on the Park4Night app. As such we only payed to stay overnight in 3 places over the 9 weeks. The only difficulty we found was that sleeping was prohibited in some National Parks, but we didn't see signs to tell us this, only finding out when a ranger knocked on our door to let us know (in a very friendly way). As water and nature lovers it was great for us to be able to stay at so many lakeside, seaside and rural parking areas. These would often be beside a free campground, provided for walkers and cyclists to pitch their tents or sleep in the shelter. There are free stellplädz in some towns and harbours will often have paying places for vans. From what we saw, campsites tended to be for caravans.
Filling and emptying was free or inclusive. Water was easy to come by and after we got used to the system, we found that many motorway service stations signposted an area where you could empty your toilet and grey water. We did miss the provision of public recycling bins which were few and far between, however litter bins were numerous. One big disadvantage of Denmark is that it only has 5 places that sell LPG. We almost got caught out with this, but were able to find the closest one on the MyLPG.eu app.
🍎🍞🥗🍩🍺 Food & Drink
We loved the massive range of organic foods for sale in supermarkets and the homegrown or homemade food on offer at little honesty stalls outside people's houses. Beer was good and cheap at supermarkets and despite the food being more expensive than in the UK, we found it affordable and didn't worry about overspending like when we were in Sweden and Norway. Many harbours sold fresh and smoked fish and offered basic seafood meals at an attached eatery. There were plenty of little bakeries selling tasty loafs of bread and of course, the ubiquitous Danish pastry was always available. We had a few lunches out in cities and went out for drinks. The higher price tags bought food that was good quality and tasty, with an emphasis on local produce, carefully prepared and presented. We would have eaten out more had it mot been for the call of the countryside!
With climate change our idea of 'normal' weather may well alter. This summer has been a lot hotter and drier than we are used to and Denmark experienced very similar weather to the UK, although perhaps a little windier. We loved the easy access to water bodies so we could cool ourselves down.
Denmark has left us with so many beautiful memories. The countryside isn't stunning like Norway, or very different from what we know like Spain was, but it is consistently clean, accessible, uncrowded and pretty, with forests, beaches, lakes, islands and even a few cliffs. The island of Møn is a certified Dark Sky Community and treated us to one of the best, if not the best view of the night sky we've ever had. Despite it being high season, we were able to spend a lot of time with nobody else around and encountered wildlife such as hares, birds of prey, dolphins and harbour porpoises. Funnily enough the seals we saw seemed to be drawn to people, such as the one at Skagen (see the video here:https://youtu.be/zDoOwXIv6ZI). There are art installations like the Dodekalitten standing stones (see video here: https://youtu.be/YX6EAdYbjzk) and history to explore such as the ancient burial mound we crawled inside at Klekkende Høj. Denmark's buildings are well maintained and while the quaint thatched country cottages melted our hearts, the modern city architecture was varied and beautiful.
The cost of living in Denmark is higher than in the UK, but lower than in Sweden and Norway. This being said, we actually ended up spending less than we do on average. Let's break it down: we spent more on supermarket food but less on restaurants and cafés because we were so often camped in a rural spot. The overnight stays we payed for were usually 100-150kr (£12-18) for a car park with facilities close to a town, but we did so much wild camping we ended up saving. Entrance prices to attractions were higher than we were used to but we naturally engaged in so many free activities that we felt we could afford the cost on the occasions we drawn to something in particular.
🚴♀️🎣 🚶♂️🏄♂️🏊♀️ 🛶
Cycling and Walking:
With the highest natural point in Denmark standing at 170m you'll not be surprised to hear that the majority of the country is flat, making cycling and walking from place to place easy. Combined with one of the most, if not the most extensive network of excellent quality cycle tracks we've ever seen, this makes Denmark a great place to get around on foot or by bike in towns or the countryside. Drivers are cautious and courteous towards cyclists, probably because so many of them cycle themselves.
We can't count the number of times we (especially Will) swam in a lake, fjord or the sea. The Danes love their swimmimg and there were so many signs pointing you to the nearest bathing place where there was frequently a low pier with steps into the water. Countries like Germany provide numerous freibads (outdoor swimming pools) and these do exist in Denmark but it is far more common to find free facilties at a wild swimming spot. Will spent hours snorkelling, we canoed (see the Velje Fjord video here: https://youtu.be/qNr-gpaeDD8) and he bought a national fishing licence online for £15 which he got his money's worth out of in terms of time.
Denmark has no shortage of galleries (particularly ceramic) and museums. We visited two Viking museums which were both very good, hands on places. We even had a go at crewing a traditional boat at Roskilde's Viking Ship museum! (See the video here: https://youtu.be/UxPB_yiBbaE)
🙋♀️🙋♂️ People and culture
Part of the thrill of touring is to put yourself into situations with which you are unfamiliar and to some extent, challenge yourself with places that sometimes feel uncomfortable. Denmark certainly thrilled us, but we can honestly say that we were never made to feel uncomfortable there. Citizens on the whole seem very happy and we didn't knowingly see any homeless people the entire time we were there. Locals were very friendly, helpful, respectful and engaging without overstepping the mark. We were flabbergasted by how good the average level of English was and how many people spoke it. The Danish are big on their fresh food and we loved the harbourside fishmongers and honesty stalls selling fruit, veg and homemade produce. We rarely went for very long without seeing a sign for 'Loppemarked' or 'Antik', showing how much the Danes love their preloved goods. Perhaps these signs stood out more because the advertising in Denmark is low key. Like in almost every other country we've been to, there were McDonalds but we would come accross one by chance, instead of having its presence shoved down our throats from many kilometres away by huge billboards. You are given space to consider things in your own time and this was a wonderful detox for us. Although a great many visitors flocked to Denmark over the summer, there were very few situations where it felt crowded. The country charges a 25% VAT, but it invests its public funds in facilities for the public, which proliferate. If there are too many people at one swimming area, then you can often just travel down the road to the next one.
For all these reasons Denmark has slowly risen past the more beautiful countries, the cheaper countries and the more exotic countries to take pride of place as our favourite country out of the 15 we've toured over the last 2 years and 3 months. We rarely agree on a favourite, but Denmark has worked its subtle magic to win us both over!Read more
Our niece (who is also called Vicky) has been good enough to check the post and let us know that Vicky's next appointment in the UK is on 7th August. We now had a timescale to plan around and decided that 3 weeks was enough to explore the length of Jutland; Denmark's western peninsula. The large islands of Funen and Zealand, where the capital is, could wait until another month.
Last night we'd stayed within sight of the far smaller, but at 50 square miles, not insignificant island of Rømø, somewhere that is flagged up as a highlight of Southern Jutland. Wild camping is prohibited but we decided on a day visit and made our way over the 10km causeway. Like the mainland Rømø is very low lying and sandy. Mature pines helped guard against soil erosion and in pockets of the dune-like land nestled either idyllic looking cottages with thatch rooves or clapboard coated cabins painted in a smart dark grey. Although many of these appeared to be holiday rentals, some had honesty stalls selling products like honey, jam and stawberries (jordbær).
Parking up at Havneby, a harbour settlement on the southern tip, we managed to get a few groceries at a medium sized supermarket, paying by card because we didn't want to fork out for the transaction fee at the atm. The need to convert prices from kroner to pounds in our heads was an extra hurdle on top of the language barrier. We are so used to using euros that we don't usually have to think about conversions, with approximately 8 kroner to a pound, it wasn't an easy calculation for Vicky at least, although it helps to define Denmark as somewhere distinct in our minds.
Taking a stroll along the boardwalk towards the ferry port we passed some smart concrete holiday apartments on stilts. Veering off to visit the harbour we had a look at the large and well maintained fishing boats and the menu for a fish café, but in the end decided against paying 85kr (£10) for a crab sandwich.
Our next destination was Sønderstrand, whose name translates as daylight beach. As the narrow road crested the low dune, what seemed like the biggest beach ever, was revealed. Miles upon miles of fine pale sand stretched out to either side and the sea was a long way off. A troop of Icelandic Horses were making their way back up the beach, while to the left, land yachts zipped back and forth. It was the kite buggies' domain to the right and close to the dune, motorhomes were parked in an orderly fashion, many of which had their own wind powered rigs.
Parking in the small gravel car park to save any risk of getting stuck, we took Poppy down to the sand and let her off the lead. Maybe it was the other dog she saw or maybe she was feeling tired but she chose to turn around and toddle back to Martha Motorhome. Oh well... We had a little walk on our own and marvelled at how, without the normal frames of reference such as houses and trees, distances had become distorted. The flat Sønderstrand reached the horizon in both directions and sometimes, things that appeared far away were actually close and visa versa. Another strange optical illusion was the sight of a large ferry seemingly sailing over the sand, when in fact we knew it must be in the channel between Rømø and the nearby island of Sylt.
We enjoyed our time on Rømø and afterwards drove back over the causeway on route to Ribe, but that's a footprint for another day...Read more
Unsere Gastgeberin in Hamburg haben wir schlafen lassen (kam erst um 6 heim) und fuhren gleich Richtung Norden weiter. Bei Rendsburg machten wir unser Frühstück.
Von dort dann direkt nach Rømø. Die Insel liegt direkt nördlich von Sylt. Von hier geht auch die Fähre nach Sylt. Zuerst sind wir in den Süden, weil Lara an einen Hafen wollte. Danach an den Waldspielplatz und abends an den Familiencampingplatz. Ein riesen Platz mit 350 Parzellen, auf dem Kinder ab 1 schon 7€ die Nacht kosten. Da Freistehen auf der Insel schwierig ist entschieden wir uns zu bleiben.
Wir stehen direkt am Spielplatz und das ist für Lara super.Read more
Eigentlich wollten wir kiten und etwas Zeit am Strand verbringen - doch irgendwie wurde es wieder nass. Dieses Mal von unten und oben - der Strand war voll Wasser und wir mussten schnell wieder runter.
P.S. Gerade sind wir etwas „Schreibfaul“ und unsere Einträge kommen mit etwas Verzug🙈
Für zwei Nächte stehen wir auf diesem Platz, ziemlich teuer.
Da wir am Rand stehen, geht es noch, aber unser Ding ist es nicht.
Den größten Teil des Tages verbringen wir am Strand hinter dem Campingplatz. Wir fahren direkt mit dem Wohnmobil dorthin. Da wir am Vormittag kamen, war alles noch recht leer, aber es dauerte nicht lange, bis es voller wurde.
Ein Kitesurfer nach dem anderen startet im Wasser. Nach dem Mittagessen verlassen wir erst einmal den Strand und die Insel.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Tønder Kommune, Tonder Kommune