TIP OF DENMARK & OFFSHORE ISLANDS

PART I - the dramatic clash of mainland Europe and Scandinavia

> Hiking and camping excursions to "the tip" of Denmark and its 13 unique islands < 

 

If we only had to pick one place to go in Denmark it could be the tip of Denmark – from Thy National Park in North West along the ocean to Skagen in North, where the landmass juts dramatically out into the sea on all sides. This is the expiration of mainland Europe, where mainland Europe meets Scandinavia. Or to be more precise: this top part of Denmark is actually an island, the northernmost island in mainland Europe, split from mainland Jutland by the enormous fjord, Limfjord.

 

This part of Denmark is breathtakingly beautiful with a dramatic coastline and beaches of which parts can seem incredibly remote and empty, especially offseason. These windswept western and northern coasts are a windsurfer’s paradise with beautiful but harsh landscapes, endless white beaches, sand dunes, cliffs, and forests. The sight of trees bending east from the sheer force of the prevailing wind and sand dunes eating away houses and churches is bizarre. This region also offers many small picturesque settlements, some of the freshest seafood in Denmark, and several on-the-beach shelters where we have camped for the night.

 

Oh, and that special luminous light! We have found many times that this part of Denmark produces a very special light and more hours of sunshine than the rest of Denmark. 

 

In addition to the Tip of Denmark there are 12 distinct islands in this area that are all must-visit destinations for savvy island-hopping nerds.

 

In the Limfjord, a number of small islands invites for treks along a hilly and very distinctive landscapes. They are Venø, Mors, Agerø, Fur, Livø and Jegindø in the Central-Western part of the fiord. In the Eastern part, the single island Egholm, which is nice for fishing trips, lies is solitude. Close by in the fiords of Stadil and Nissum, the remote islands of Hindø and Fjandø, respectively, are located and can only be visited by kayak or SUP.

 

Finally, in the wind-swept Kattegat Ocean lies three magnificent islands. The largest is Læsø known for great nature and it’s otherworldly local houses with roods made of seaweed. Next by is a small unpopulated outcrop in the ocean, Nordre Rønner island, with a beautiful lighthouse. Finally, Hirsholmene is a small cluster of stony islands – the Northernmost islands in Denmark – which resemble more a piece of the rocky coastline in Sweden than anywhere in Denmark.

 

Check our Danish Ø-dyssey introduction page to read about our ongoing travel project to visit all unique islands in Denmark, of which there are more than 100 in total.

For more fascinating islands in Denmark, check the other Ø-dyssey travel sites:

- I: Tip of Denmark & offshore islands

- II: Islands off Central & Southern Jutland

- III: Islands in the Belts, North Funen, Ærø & Langeland

- IV: South Funen Archipelago 

- V: Islands off Zealand & Bornholm

- VI: The South Sea Islands

Ø-dyssey part I
Ø-dyssey part I

Asterisks denote islands visited so-far, updated August 2020

Sunset at Doverodde Harbour...
Sunset at Doverodde Harbour...

...with a wonderfulll view to Limfjorden - the largest Fjord in Denmark, cutting across the nortern part of Denmark and the sourthern part which is connected to mainland Europe.

Hiking from Løkken to Skagen
Hiking from Løkken to Skagen

Along the entire cost on the tip of Denmark the beaches are beautiful with whiter than white sand, while the sea changes from clear and inviting to hostile and windblown in a few hours. The trail from Løkken to Skagen is part of the 5000 km "North Sea Trail" that makes up a long path that has been established on old historic remains all the way around the North Sea. Since we were kids, we have done 10+ hikes on this trail in various section on the tip of Denmark, and it has never been boring.

The sanded church, Skagen
The sanded church, Skagen

Located in the enormous landscape of the drifting white sandy dunes around the coastal town of Skagen - on the very top of the Jutland Peninsular and Denmark's most northerly point. The original tower of the sand covered church was 22 metres high - and at the present only 18 metres are visible. The last service took place in 1795.

Hiking at Råbjerg Mile desert
Hiking at Råbjerg Mile desert

We have done multiple hiking tours around the "tip of Denmark". part of the scenery. Nature in the tip of Denmark is very varied: forest and beach, valleys, fields with cows grassing and a real desert. But we have found that the region’s characteristic scenery of sand dunes and stony plains is the most dramatic as it is in a state of constant movement and flux. Perhaps, the most beautilful is the Råbjerg Mile desert where we have camped a couple of times, both during winter and summer.

Northern Jutland has a fishing population that lives off the riches of the sea and we alway dive into seafood while we are here. In most small villages are access to small shops offering freshly caught fish.

Yes, Denmark has deserts
Yes, Denmark has deserts

During a hike on the tip of Denmark

Hiking the coast of Salling - day 1
Hiking the coast of Salling - day 1

The northern part of Denmark - what we refer to as the tip - is separated from mainland Denmark by the vast Lim Fjord (Limfjorden). One of the most beautiful peninsula that cuts deep into this fjord is Salling. The picture is from a 2-day trek from Struer to Glyngøre along Salling's west coast. This part of the coast is very idyllic with many beautiful vistas in between colorful small villages and manor houses.

Hungry kids after a full hiking day
Hungry kids after a full hiking day

Sitting in a shelter near the beach in Hostrup, West Salling

Hiking the coast of Salling - day 2
Hiking the coast of Salling - day 2

We did the hike in springtime when we had a sunny weekend. If lucky, springtime in Denmark can bring about temperatures of 18-22 degree Celsius. This can feel quite warm if there is not wind. This is however not very often the case.

Hiking at Råbjerg Knude
Hiking at Råbjerg Knude

Another great place that we have studiet sand migration is at Rubjerg Knude, where the desert is about to swallow a lighthouse.

Dry suit diving during snowfall...
Dry suit diving during snowfall...

...on a very cold January morning. As we were preparing for a trip to Silfa in Iceland we did several dry suit dives in January and Februar to get familiar with more extreme conditions. We picked alle the weekends where we had snowfall and minus temperatures.

Grenen, the tip of Denmark at Skagen
Grenen, the tip of Denmark at Skagen

Grenen is the end of Denmark. Bordered by the Kattegat Ocean to the East and the Skargerrak Ocean to the West,. Here, two oceans clash at the sandbar tip, often creating dramatic views. 115 km North of this point, the coast of Southern Norway starts.

WW2 fortress at Bangsbo Hills
WW2 fortress at Bangsbo Hills
Fjord of Skive during winter
Fjord of Skive during winter

Close to where Anders lives, Skive Fjord is a nice place to easy hiking along the coast of the Lim Fjord. During the summer time, we often bring small fishing nets as it is easy to catch shrimps at the beach.

Preparing food over open fire...
Preparing food over open fire...

...during a hike in Rold Skov, one of the largest and most remote woods in Denmark.

"Wartourism" in tip of Denmark
"Wartourism" in tip of Denmark

Hitler's Atlantic Wall stretched along the coasts of Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France, all the way to the Spanish border. Some 5000 km of shoreline which was - in Nazi propaganda - often depicted as an endless row of impregnable concrete fortresses manned with crack-elite SS troops, packing state-of-the-art firepower. The best place that we have explored these is in the tip of Denmark in Fredrikshavn, Skagen, Hirtshals, Bulbjerg, Hanstholm, and Agger during beach hikes.

Exploring concrete fortresses...
Exploring concrete fortresses...

...on the beaches near Vigsø.

Beware of the shark
Beware of the shark

Hitler's old concrete fortresses turned into art, Vigsø beaches.

Sunset on the Hanstholm beaches...
Sunset on the Hanstholm beaches...

...where hundres of concrete fortresses are placed.

Winterbathing on New Years Day
Winterbathing on New Years Day

In the great coastal nature of Northern Denmark, along the wild coast lines, a favourite winter activity is: Run 10 kilometer, take a good dip in the 2-3 Celcius cold water, and then go in a hot sauna for an hour with a couple of beers or cold Zubrovka Vodka brought back home from Poland or Belarussia. As we often celebrate New Years Eve in Skagen, the tip of Denmark, this has become a key activity a couple of hours before welcoming the new year. A fresh ending and a new begining of good years.

Beach along Hulsig
Beach along Hulsig

One can walk the 20 km from Ålbæk to Skagen, along the Kattegat Ocean, without meeting any other people. In the wintertime the Sun will loom in the horizon the whole day long. Magnificent...

Skagen village
Skagen village

The Northernmost village in Denmark, Skagen, it situated at the end of the Jutland peninsula. The beautiful village can be distinguished by its low, yellow houses with red tile roofs nestled into the beach areas. In the pictured house restaurant, 'smørrebrød' is served (pronounced smuhr-broht): The Danish open-faced sandwhich built on a thin layer of dense sourdough rye bread. In Skagen, with its plenty of fresh caught fish, it's topped with pickled herring, salted salmon and fresh shrimp.

New Years champagne and lobster soup
New Years champagne and lobster soup

The fish market in Skagen village is lively and well-stocked with all the best fish of the Northern Atlantic. It's also like a small family, where regular customers are treated with special attention. Every afternoon on the day of New Years Eve, fresh and creamy lobster soup is served with a glass champagne in the afternoon, while the fish for the evening dinner being discussed, prepared and bought. Great tradition!

Coastal runnning
Coastal runnning

When camping or renting houses along the coast line wilderness of North Denmark we often do strenouous runs along the ocean on migratory dunes and wet grasslands.

Skagen harbor fish shops
Skagen harbor fish shops
Hiking around Skagen, tip of Denmark
Hiking around Skagen, tip of Denmark

Being surrounded by the sea in three directions, Skagen has a cool oceanic climate with a lack of temperature extremes. The maritime and moderated characteristics of the Skagen area means that it's Denmark's sunniest area. Great for outdoor activities

Feast during the summer at Skagens Fiskerestaurant
Feast during the summer at Skagens Fiskerestaurant
Bunker beach, WWII remains in sunset
Bunker beach, WWII remains in sunset
New Years Eve ocean dip 2018/19
New Years Eve ocean dip 2018/19