If there's one thing North Jutland, Denmark seems suited towards upon flying in over the rugged coastline and across the Aalborg city harbour, it's outdoors activities. Hiking, backpacking, cycling, fishing, canoeing. All of these activities are never more than an hour's drive away no matter where you are in the region. Perched at the very top of Denmark where the Skagerrak and Kattegat seas meet, North Jutland is a nature lover's paradise, and fortunately for nature lovers, it's not yet on the radar of many outdoor enthusiasts, making the unspoiled wilds of the forests, dunes, and coastlines that much more inviting.
Beach huts near Skagen
The dunes at National Park Thy
The best place to start your outdoor adventure in North Jutland is the pristinely rugged National Park Thy on Denmark's northwest coast. The oldest national park in the country, National Park Thy consists of 244 square kilometers of hiking and cycling trails, camping sites, fishing spots and more through forests, dunes, glacial hills, plains, and beaches. All 30 official attractions in the park are free and easily reachable by either driving, horseback, or for the adventurous, cycling or backpacking.
Torben Juul-Olsen, Director of National Park Thy
Click here to explore North Jutland's wild outdoors with Torben.
Located within National Park Thy is the historic fishing village of Stenbjerg. Here visitors can head out to sea with local fishermen (like Bent Quaade, pictured below) for fishing trips in this famously abundant region of the North Sea. After a long morning on the sea, head over to nearby Vorupør for some classic Danish seafood or stop by the North Sea Aquarium. There are several excellent summer cottages and camping options in the immediate area, as well as the historic Stenbjerg Kro, an old Danish inn nestled right in the national park overlooking the sea.
Bent Quaade fisherman at Stenbjerg Beach
All along the National Park Thy area's coast, you can find sandy trails leading you through the dunes to an often secluded beach, like the one below.
Trails to the beach in National Park Thy
Windsurfing at Klitmøller
The next place to visit while heading up the coast from Stenbjerg up is Klitmøller, more commonly known as "Cold Hawaii" for its popularity with surfers and windsurfers and because, well, it's a bit colder than the real Hawaii. Nevertheless, the beach area has seen an explosion in popularity in the past five to ten years, not only with regional watersport enthusiasts but people from all over the world who have come for the World Cup for Windsurfing or simply just to try their hand or rather feet at the sport themselves. If you're looking for a surf town in Scandinavia, this is the place!
Cold Hawaii Surf Camp
Rubjerg Knude's neighbors
One of the most famous sites in Denmark, Rubjerg Knude, lies just over an hour northeast along the coastline from Klitmøller in the municipality of Hjørring. The lighthouse, built in 1900, is famous for its precarious position perched atop a quickly eroding dune, seemingly in peril of sliding into the sea. In fact, it's expected to do just that within the next ten years, so it's worth making the trip while you still can!
Rubjerg Knude, overlooking the North Sea
Råbjerg Mile at Sunset
Continuing northeast from Rubjerg Knude, almost at the very tip of the Jutland Peninsula, you'll find Råbjerg Mile, the largest migrating sand dune in Northern Europe, with an area of two square kilometers and a height of 40 meters above sea level. This natural wonder moves 15 meters northeast every year, swallowing up anything in its path including trees and even an entire church (the steeple of which can still be seen), attracting tourists who come to witness the sheer force of nature.
Walking Råbjerg Mile
Throughout the region, old WWII era bunkers lie hidden among the dunes, a relic from less peaceful times, and are interesting sites to explore for any history fan.
An old WWII bunker in National Park Thy
Grenen as seen from the air
Continuing on from Råbjerg MIle means finally reaching the very further north you can go in Denmark, and it's quite a dramatic finale. Grenen, or "The Branch" is a spit of sand reaching out like a finger from the top of the Jutland peninsula, defiantly standing in the midst of where two seas, the Skaggerak and Kattegat, meet. Not only can you see the swirling colors of the two seas side-by-side, but it's also a fantastic place to watch birds or look out for the local seals who frequent the beaches. From the Grenen Art Museum, you can take the Sandormen, a local tractor that's been ferrying tourists out onto the sandbar for more than 50 years.
Grenen at sunrise
How to get there: North Jutland is easily reachable via London Stansted, with Ryanair flying to Aalborg 3x weekly. Click here to look at flight options.
Fly to Aalborg Airport (AAL) from London Stansted (STN) with Ryanair, 3 flights per week, 1.5 hours flight time.
Once there, North Jutland is easily traversed by rental car, also the most scenic way to around.