We were joined by a couple of friends for our cycling adventure to Scandinavia. We picked Denmark and mapped out an adventure that included trains and ferries as well. This trip was in July so we could enjoy even more daylight, as well as the Jazz Festival and we just missed the Roskilda Rock Festival. There are many cyclists and a nice network of cycle lanes and dedicated paths. We were able to easily cycle into Copenhagen from the Airport; even with jetlag. We hooked up with our friends at the Hotel and did a little exploring before we settled in for a good night’s rest.
Stage One: Copenhagen to Helsingør 46,2 km
Next morning we all sought fortification at the breakfast buffet. What a treat! We then loaded the bikes for a ride up the coast to Helsingør. This is route #9. We were staying on the scenic Nyhavn canal, so we rode along the canalside, before turning off north to make our way out of town. After about 9km, we were beside the sea on a dedicated cycle path. Then in about 3km we turn off and into the woods. The rail tracks run parallel for stretches and we cross back and forth several times over the roadway. At Vedeaek, we head toward the Rungstad strand to ride beside the sea, once again. We made a special stop at the Lousianna Museum of Modern Art, which overlooks the sea on a small hill. This was a nice break and a lovely place to have our lunch on the grounds.
Then we were off again for the final leg into Helsingør. The last bit can be very busy, depending on auto and ferry traffic. We picked a central location in town that was just a short walk to 13th century Kronenberg castle. This is a must visit. Although Shakespere never visited here, he used this as the location for Hamlet. We explored the interior rooms, dungeon and the grounds, overlooking Sweden across the sea.
The weather was great today, as well as the scenery; a perfect start to our trip.
Stage Two: Helsingør to Hillerød 50,8 km
We headed out of town on the roadway beside the sea and a level ride through some lovely little beach towns. Then we were away from the sea and into some woods. After Gillerud, we were on Route 33, which had both paved and dirt sections. We needed to be very watchful and trusting that we were still going the right way and that this was still Route 33. This next area is known as the “Heather Hills” and we are crossing the highway and into the woods. This is a very popular route for cyclists. As we approach Fredricksburg Palace, or Slot, this is our beacon, straight on and over the moat to the palace. Be sure to make time to visit the historic Palace, museum and exhibits, as well as the grounds.
The pleasant little town of Hillerød is just beyond and offers choices for lodging and restaurants.
Stage Three: Hillerød to Roskilde 40,4 km
Next morning we were off to Roskilde and we chose the most direct route, as this was still a bit complicated and long. We picked a less scenic route that entailed riding on a designated bike path, just beside the highway for part of this route. We left town and rode beside highwar 53. Today will be mostly rolling hills, except for a climb into Roskilde, itself. Eventually we turned off south, beside Highway 6. It’s not all beside the highway and there are picturesque stops, such as an old windmill.
After Ostuka’s rail station, we cross the rail tracks and then there is a nice stretch of pastureland. For about the last 12 km, we are following signs to Roskilde. When we glimpse the Fjord on the right, we know we are nearly there; just a climb into town. Next morning we visited the Dom Kirk, which is the resting place for the crypts of 37 Kings and Queens of Denmark. For us, the real draw was the Viking Museum on the Fjord. There, you can view some of the recovered vessels that were sunk in the Fjord to protect the town from invaders by sea. This is a good place to learn more of the Viking heratige.
Today, craftspeople are constructing new vessels near the museum, replicating the old methods.
Stage Four: Roskilde to Sorø 54,9 km
Today’s route is very technical and we could have benefited by having a GPS. We didn’t have one and had to rely on our compass, a few signs, some dead reckoning and some luck. We made our way out of town on the roadway and after several kilometers, the bike path picks up. There are all sorts of surfaces today from paved to gravel to dirt paths. Also, there are many dips and climbs. What can I say, it was challenging to stay on course. A highlight was a Viking monument; in the shape of an overturned boat, that dates to 900AD and held 60 burials. It was just off Route 6, which we followed most of the day. At least we tried to follow, as signage was not in much evidence. At one point we turned off on the tiniest path we have ever taken on our rides and this took us down into the woods. It was dirt and mud at some points; but, we found this truly was the way to go. Who knew! On this route today, we reach the highest point of our travels in Zeeland. Finally we leave Route 6 before Gersting and then pick up a cycle path into Soro. This quiet town is home to the Royal Academy of Knights, as well as the church with the remains of the Bishop who founded Copenhagen.
Stage Five: Sorø to Nyborg 57,14km
Today is an easy and short day. We head west out of town and follow highway 150. There is a bike path and since we are heading West, we are heading into the wind….always a consideration when going West. We stopped for lunch today in Slayelse’s cathedral square. It was a nice break in a lovely setting. Then we were off again. The bay comes into view after Halsboo and we ride beside it and then through neighborhoods until the signs for Korser. Here we bypass the town and head directly to the rail and bus station. We are heading to the island of Fyn. Access is by and 16km bridge across the bay. Bikes are not allowed. Of course the Danish have thought of everything. At the Rail and Bus station there is a bike bus. After buying our ticket we load our bikes into the bike trailer, attached to the bus and board the bus for the crossing. Easy peasey.
Before we know it, we’re at the Nyborg station and from there we road into town and found our hotel; overlooking the Bay. Nyborg is realy the gateway to Fyn and was once the Medieval capital. There are a number of royal and religious monuments to visit. So we did the town tour.
Stage Six: Nyborg to Odense 34,0 km
Today and another westerly ride and we follow Route 6 on rolling hills and through farmland. The bike paths are well marked; even though there are a number of twists and turns. This is classic Danish countryside with lots of thatch roofed cottages of white and ochre color. As we get closer to Odense, we meander quite a bit in order to avoid a major highway interchange and safely make are way via Route 6, into Odense. This is a very cycle friendly town. It is also the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson and a highlight is a visit to the museum and village park. This transports us back to the setting when Anderson was creating his still famous fairy tales and artwork.
Stage Seven: Odense to Fåborg 55,8 km
Today we head south out of Odense to Fåborg. All the routes are posted at the Rail Station. We will be taking Route 55. It is mostly rolling with a bit of a climb and then down into Fåborg.
One thing to always mention is that road signs are generally for the benefit of cars and direct to autoroutes. Don’t be misled, as there are plenty of routes with cycle paths beside and small roads to get us to our destination in our leisurely pace, allowing for lots of sightseeing. We pass through the pretty village of Aesluff and through beautiful countryside with half timbered and thatched roof cottages. We make a stop in charming Ring for a picnic lunch in the park and then we head off for a visit to Egeskov castle, which was build in 1554 and is still occupied. You can tour parts of the castle, which has it’s base of 1000 oak trunks, as it rises from the moat. There is also the garden and maze to visit. It’s a perfect photo op.
From here we are on Highway 8 for a bit, before we leave on a nice route through the “Alps of Denmark”, which were not challenging. Then is it down into the quaint port town of Fåborg. We stayed right on the square. The town was once surrounded by a wall and only remnants remain. For a great view, there is a tower to climb as well as a visit to the Merchant’s House Museum. It makes for great strolling past the painted building to the harbor, with a visit to the shops and a pastry break.
We will be taking the Ferry from here to Ærøskøbing, on the small island of Ærø. There are plenty of passengers and cycles and reservations are required. It’s good to take care of this bit of business the day before to assure you and your bike make it on board.
Stage Eight: Fåborg to Ærø 15,8 km
Next morning we boarded the ferry to the small island of Ærø and we had lots of company. We were glad we had made our reservations the day before. The crossing takes about and hour. This island is only about 5km x 30km and to navigate full circle is about 60km.
Upon arrival, we headed directly to Ærøskøbing on route 90. For most of the way, the water is on our left, with a few places where the path diverts from the sea. We encountered a number of other cyclists on this popular route. We pass by small farms; some of which offer some of their produced for sale at roadside stands. The honor system is in effect at all we passed and we stuffed our money into the appropriate container and enjoyed the lovely fresh fruit that was on offer. We also made a stop at a secluded beach to beachcomb along the sand, searching for pieces of ancient amber, which washes up. We all found a little and this made a nice keepsake. Route 90 offers rather diverse riding on paved sections, as well as dirt and gravel and a climb, before the downhill into Ærøskøbing. We found our lodging and then went our a tour of this village. The cobbled streets and lined with colorful, tipsy building; all of which are protected by law.
In the harbor are a multitude of vessels. In the old days, the harbor was filled with classic schooners. A must stop in town is the Bottle Museum, where “bottle Peter” used whatever bottles were available to fill his with his tiny sailing ship models. There are also carvings and ceramics from voyages across the seas to the far east. We took an extra day on the Island to relax and take our time exploring a loop of the Island
Stage Nine: Ærøskøbing to Ærøskøbing-loop ride 56,0 km
This was a 30km pleasure loop ride around part of the island. We enjoyed sleeping in and after a lovely breakfast, we were refreshed and ready to explore. We leave along the beach and then follow Route 91 uphill to the ridge. Our first stop was at the tiny little church in Brenning. Then we stopped to take in the sea view and the ancient site of Bogram. Then on to Stor Reese where we stopped at the church, which honors the seafaring past with it’s tiny sailing ship hanging in the nave. Behind the church is a 5000 year old Neolithic monument to explore.
Then we were off again, riding through a few small villages and then returning to Ærøskøbing on a downhill with lovely sea views.
Stage Ten: Ærøskobing to Nyborg 54,6 km
Today starts with another ferry ride back to the island of Fyn. This time we leave directly from Ærøskøbing for about an hour and a quarter sail to Svenborg. We exit the ferry and ride next to the harbor on the road. The bike path picks up from Nyborg Way and this is route 50. We pass through a stretch of woods, then rolling hills on quiet country roads and dirt paths. We are heading up the east side of Fyn, with the water to our right. We divert from the coast for a bit and then we are back again. This route takes has past campgrounds and a number of farms and classic cottages and quaint villages. There is a small climb to Hesselager. We are now watching for signs to Nyborg. After Tarup, the road heads downward and the sea views are spectacular. Route 50 and 51 join for the last part of the ride into Nyborg and we are welcomed back to our previous lodgings, once again.
Stage Eleven: Nyborg to København
This last stage is by rail, back to København. We are wisked away via Danish rail on a clean and comfortable bicycle rail car for the return journey to København. Soon we are back in København main station, where we exit and ride to our hotel. Then it’s time to sightsee in earnest. The famous Tivoli Garden Amusement Park is just across from the Station. The city has many monuments and sculptures, including a large scale seated Hans Christian Anderson. Another photo op.
A short ride from town is the famous little mermaid statue in the harbor.
The Rosenberg Slot (castle) houses the crown jewels and is open for visitors. Also worth seeing is the National Museum and the New Carlsburg Museum.
If museums aren’t your thing, then just stroll the pedestrian only streets and work up an appetite for one of the famaous Danish hot dogs or a sweet Danish, or visit some of the lovely parks. In the Christianhaven area of town, the Vor Frelsors Kirke (church) has a spiral staircase to the roof for an awesome view of Copenhagen.
We were in town during the annual Jazz Festival, so free entertainment abounded. Our convenient hotel was right on the busy Nyhavn Canal and restaurants and bars were abundant.
Armed with a refreshing beer on a hot day, we relaxed and just enjoyed the people watching on our last day in town. Next day, we retraced our route to the airport for our return home. We so enjoyed sharing this experience with friends and we all have fond memories of this Danish fairy tale trip.