ISLANDS OFF CENTRAL & SOUTH JUTLAND

PART II - natural variation and a tales of the islands scattered around the Jutland Peninsula

> Hiking and camping excursions to 22 exceptional island destinations off Jutland in Denmark  < 

The small islands off Jutland's peninsula in Denmark are remarkably varied. There are 22 key island destinations that are not to be missed for the intrepid island-hopper.

 

In the North Sea, the islands of Rømø, Mandø and Fanø offer expansive beach, mud flat and sand dune landscapes in the so-called Wadden Sea  - this is the largest tidal flats system in the world. On the other side of mainland Jutland, in the Kattegat Ocean facing Sweden, the most remote island in the Danish Archipelago, Anholt, is located. Anholt boasts remote beaches, old forests, lobster festivals, and the largest desert in North Europe. Getting there takes about three hours on a slow ferry.

 

Closer to central Jutland there is a handful of smaller islands in Kattegat Ocean with unique communities, colorful houses, sandy beaches and that rare sense of isolation - they are Tunø, Endelave, and Samsø, and in the bay of Horsens, the islands of Alrø, Hjarnø and Vorsø lies closer to the coast. Two islands, Vorsø and Hjelm, are unpopulated and needs to be visited by private arrangements. Samsø island has to be highlighted with its local produce, charming villages, and beautiful countryside including Stavns Bay which hosts a mini-archipelago in the central part of Samsø Island, with a handful of green islets and traces dating back to the Stone Age.  

 

In the vicinity to Samsø island, a number of small islands that are unknown to most of Danes lies scattered in the Kattegat Ocean. Vejrø, Lindholm and Kyholm are the most significant of these with beautiful raw nature and complete isolation having very few visitors per year that come by private boat. These islands used to be inhabited about hundred years ago, however today only old remains are a testimony of harsh human communities in the past.

 

Closer to Sourthern Jutland and in the Lillebælt Ocean, the small islands of Barsø and Aarø offers great coastal walks and idyllic sceneries. Lille & Store Okseø are two small forested islands in beautiful Flensborg Fjord close to Germany, both of which can be circumnavigated in 5 minutes

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

Selected pics from our Danish Ø-dyssey - Part II:

Ø-dyssey part II
Ø-dyssey part II

Asterisks denote islands visited so-far, updated August 2020

Ribe, gateway to the Wadden Sea
Ribe, gateway to the Wadden Sea
Grene Sande - on the way the Wadden Sea
Grene Sande - on the way the Wadden Sea

Grene Sande is a vast sand drift which is more than 12.000 years old. During its movement is has buried houses and woods. Today, it i a small but beautiful inland desert in central Jutland. We love to go hiking here.

Hiking expedition on Wadden Sea
Hiking expedition on Wadden Sea

Also know as "the northern desert in the sea", the Wadden Sea is an odd sight. Stretching for more than 500 km along the coast of northwestern Europe and the range of Frisian Islands if forms a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. This national park is huge and stimulating – a top spot in the north to do mudflat hikes, camp on the beach and explore wildlife. The tides makes a huge impression when twice a day 1,000,000,000 m3 of water is moved back and forth through the depths.

Rømø Isl. coast line
Rømø Isl. coast line

Sand dunes flank the sandy beaches. The ocean shows signs of heavy stream and whirl pools, caused by the Waddensea emptying and being filled duing the high tide/ebb cycle

Hiking across Rømø Island
Hiking across Rømø Island

Rømø Island is part of the Wadden Sea National Park, and is mostly known for its 10+ km white sand beach and outdoor beach activities. We have been here a couple of times to visit seal colonies off the island near and across the German border. One of the most charming parts however is the interior of the island with vast expanses of muddy bogs and wind-swept forests. Camping here in spring and autumn is very charming.

Establishing our camp on Rømø
Establishing our camp on Rømø
Seals off Rømø Isl.
Seals off Rømø Isl.

A great number of Atlantic seals live on the sand banks between the islands of Rømø and Sylt. We rented a local fishing boat to sail aorund the area at high tide

Kayak trip on the Wadden Sea during winter times
Kayak trip on the Wadden Sea during winter times
Empty expanse between Rømø and Mandø
Empty expanse between Rømø and Mandø

On a hiking expedition between the two Wadden Sea islands of Rømø and Mandø in Southern part of Denmark. One had to pass a lot of water trenches and mud flats and holes. Luckily we had our knee-high, black rubber boots for the trek - a pair of simple boots we acquired for a muddy jungle trek in Uganda some years earlier, and which now has become essential stuff on our packing list for trips into the wild involving passing of water

View to Mandø and Fanø islands
View to Mandø and Fanø islands

From one of our many Billund - Amsterdam flights which always crosses the Wadden Sea islands

Driving across the seabed at low tide to Mandø
Driving across the seabed at low tide to Mandø

It's an adventure to travel to Mandø. There is no bridge or dam or ferry. Only way to get to the island is to drive 6 km on the bottom of the Wadden Sea at certain time points linked to flow and ebb

Arrival at Mandø Island, totally isolated and pristine
Arrival at Mandø Island, totally isolated and pristine
Mandø, view to the Wadden Sea
Mandø, view to the Wadden Sea
Mandø village, 40 inhabitants live on the island
Mandø village, 40 inhabitants live on the island
Mandø island mill
Mandø island mill
Traditional fishing village house, Mandø
Traditional fishing village house, Mandø
Oysters for lunch, picked in the Wadden Sea, Mandø Island
Oysters for lunch, picked in the Wadden Sea, Mandø Island
Driving into the Wadden Sea to the large sand island of Korreand
Driving into the Wadden Sea to the large sand island of Korreand

Koresand is an approx. 20 km² large sandbank in the Wadden Sea southwest of Mandø. Korresand is a contemporary example of a high sand bank in growth towards a possible development of a barrier dune island. In 20 years from now this could be a new, real island in Denmark with vegetation and a larger biosystem.

Korresand island, Wadden Sea
Korresand island, Wadden Sea
Driving back from Mandø - tide is getting higher, so last minute to cross back to the mainland
Driving back from Mandø - tide is getting higher, so last minute to cross back to the mainland
View of Bovbjerg Fyr before the hike
View of Bovbjerg Fyr before the hike

One of the best places to go hiking on the western coast of Denmark. From th lighthuse the vertical distance to the beach is more than 40 meters.

Bovbjerg cliffs
Bovbjerg cliffs
Hiking along the cliffs of Bovbjerg
Hiking along the cliffs of Bovbjerg

The layers of the cliffs consists of clay, sand and gravel which were deposited during the ice ages when glaciers spreading from Scandinavia repeatedly covered Denmark. During the ice ages Denmark was covered by an ice cap similar to the one found on Greenland today.

Climbing 40 meter high cliffs at Bovbjerg
Climbing 40 meter high cliffs at Bovbjerg

The layers of the cliffs consists of clay, sand and gravel which were deposited during the ice ages when glaciers spreading from Scandinavia repeatedly covered Denmark. During the ice ages Denmark was covered by an ice cap similar to the one found on Greenland today.

Winter view to Hjelm Island
Winter view to Hjelm Island

Remote, isolated and uninhabited - lying off the coast in Kattegat Ocean. The view to the island reminded us of The Black Island (French: L'Île noire) which is the seventh volume of The Adventures of Tintin

Tunø Island – the island without car
Tunø Island – the island without car

The are no cars on the island, only tractors that will pick up visitors and transport them around. Tunø has only one village with farms and well kept houses built in the traditional style.

Bridge on Tunø Island
Bridge on Tunø Island

Also close to where Jakob used to live, Tunø has a narrow path, following the coast, which has taken us around the island a few times on beaches, coastal plains with mulberry and fig trees. Tunø is less than one hours sailing from Hou. It is our experience that the weather on Tunø is, on average, better than other places in the country due to the geographical position of the island

Alrø Island, Fjord of Horsens
Alrø Island, Fjord of Horsens

The island of Alrø in Horsens Fjord can be reached by hiking over a 1 km long dam. Legend says that the island got its name in the viking time when the viking King Hjarne lived on the nearby island Hjarnø. He married a young girl called Alrune and gave her Alrø (Alrune's island). Their son Lave was given the island Endelave. Jakob used to live nearby for a few years, and we used to do several hikes in the area.

Traditional farmer house, Alrø
Traditional farmer house, Alrø