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Cycling in Denmark
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Denmark is quite a cycle friendly nation and has a wide and extensive network of cycle routes throughout the country. There are long distance national routes, regional cycle routes and local cycle routes which are very clearly marked. There are cycle paths on most major roads and in most towns, these are sometimes partitioned edges of the actual road although the width is a lot more generous than in Britain. Be aware that in some regions the cycle routes quite often use unmade up tracks with gravel surfaces and wider width tyres might be advisable although not essential.

Most of the cycle paths that run alongside main roads are well laid tarmac paths and good to ride on and are well maintained. If you are lucky you might find yourself on a an old railway line which has been utilized as a cycle path like Route 29 between Havbro - Aars - Nibe which takes you away from the roads through some delightful countryside, this is an excellent ride with easy gradients. (See right)

 

Cycling the old railway line between Havbro & Nibe

Cycling the old railway line between Havbro & Nibe

Cycle Routes

The National Cycle Route sign

The Regional Cycle Route sign
The Local Cycle Route sign
The National Cycle Route sign. The Regional Cycle Route sign. The Local Cycle Route sign.

There are 15 main National Cycle Routes and you can find a map of and detailed descriptions of the routes at www.trafikken.dk. (click on the 'Cyklist' link) you will also find there a download link to a 34 page pdf guide to the main cycle route descriptions in English.

Campsites

There are numerous campsites in Denmark and you are seldom far from one. To use one you will need an International Camping Carnet, if you don't have one you can buy a annual Danish Carnet from the first campsite that you stay at (30 kr for one adult, 60 kr for a family). The sites are generally all of a good standard and are rated according to the Danish Camping Board star system of 1 - 3 stars according to the facilities offered. As follows:

  • 1 star - minimum standards i.e. running water,toilets,at least one shower and one electric shaver socket.
  • 2 star - minimum of 1 shower for every 25 pitches, a kitchen with hot water and a hot plate for every 50 pitches, as well as a playground for children and to be within 2 km of a grocery store.
  • 3 star - must include hot water in the wash basins, a communal lounge, a larger play area, nursing rooms for babies and sinks or washing machines for laundry and be within 1 km of a grocery store.
  • 4 star - these offer first class facilities with such things as saunas, solariums etc.
  • 5 star - You name it it's got it site, tropical leisure pools, computer playworlds for kids etc.

Prices varied with the star rating, a 3 star would be about 40 - 50 kr per adult a night and 20 - 25 kr per child.

There is a book called 'Camping Danmark' which lists all the campsites with descriptions in English. This is available from tourist bureaus, bookshops and campsites. More information on the campsites in Denmark is availble at DK Camping.

It was interesting that all the campsites we visited had a kitchen for cooking your own meals in. This saved squatting around on the grass to cook and was brilliant for when it was chucking it down with rain, however they don't always provide anywhere to sit down and eat your meal! Oh well you can't ask for every thing.

Most campsites have huts or cabins for hire these can sleep from 4 - 6 people depending on size. These can be hired by the night or at weekly rates and accommodation can vary depending on price, a one night stay in a 4 bed basic hut cost us 250DKr which for 4 persons is only a little bit more expensive than camping. We used this hut due to arriving late after a torrential day of rain and finding a flooded campsite!. We were lucky there was was one available that night as in high season they are nearly always booked up in advance. A basic hut usually will have bunk beds (you will need your own bedding/sleeping bags), table and a small stove, pans, plates, mugs and cutlery. There is no sink, toilet or running water and any ablutions are done using the normal campsite facilities. Most sites offer the more basic cabins but some sites have cabins that are much more spacious and luxurious with fitted kitchens, proper beds, TV etc. obviously the price increases pro rata.

Typical Danish camping Cabin

Typical Danish camping Cabin

Nature Camp Sites

According to the Danish Cyclist Federation nature camps have become extremely popular, apparently there are over 600 farmers throughout the country that offer camp sites at a very low cost, and the sites are for hikers and cyclists only.
The purpose of nature camps is to provide cyclists and hikers with new places to camp, where they will come in closer contact with nature. A book with addresses is available from the Danish Cyclist Federation

In Denmark there are also the 'Teldsplats' or 'Primitive overnatningspladser' these are basic bivouac sites, they are marked on the Danish tourist board cycling maps with a scout style tent icon rather than the wigwam style icon of the main campsites. They are usually off the road in small woods and generally have a hand pump for water, a fire place and an earth closet. Some even have sleeping huts as well. There are also some free bivouac sites (teltningsområder) around the country. These usually have very few or no facilities, there is some information on this Danish site Overnating i det fri.

You can find an interactive map showing the Primitive overnatningspladser at the 'Ud i naturen' site here. In the the 'Kategori' link on the left side click the 'Overnatning' box and the locations of the sites will be shown in the map you can then zoom into the map to see the locations and also download the GPS co-ordinates for each site.

Maps

The Danish Tourist Board 1:100,000 Cycle touring maps - Cost @ DKr 50 - 80

Although these maps are relatively expensive they are very detailed and show all the national and local cycle routes and the usual tourist information symbols which have a translation in English. As they are produced by the individual regional tourist boards they can vary a little in their content as some have convenient distance charts and others don't. Some of the maps come in a plastic wallet with a 31 page booklet in English, that have detailed descriptions of several long cycle tours in the area and information on accommodation. There are 14 maps that cover the whole of Denmark and they are available in most local Tourist Information Offices and bookshops. To obtain these maps before you go you can contact the Danish Cyclists' Federation - Dansk Cyklist Forbund.

These maps are split into 14 county areas.

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Sønderjyllands Amter
South Jutland county

Fyns Amt
Funen island

Nordjyllands Amt
North Jutland

Vestsjœllands Amt
West Zealand county

 

Storstrøms Amt
Storstrøms county

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Vejle Amter
Vejle county
Viborg Amter
Viborg county
Ringkøbing Amter Ribe Amt
Ribe county
Roskilde Amt
Roskilde county

There are also cycle maps for Århus Amt, Frederiksborg Amt, Københavns Amt & Bornholms Amt. Some of the maps are available as combined maps - the Frederiksborg Amt, Københavns Amt & Roskilde Amt combined map entitled Hovestads, Ribe & Sonderjyllands combined map, Århus & Vejle Amt combined map and the Viborg & Ringkobing Amt combined map. To see a map which shows which areas these maps cover, see the www.trafikken.dk site.

Guides

Denmark a Lonely Planet travel survival kit - Published by Lonely Planet Publications ISBN 0-86442-330-6 A very useful guide to all things in Denmark.

Shops

Denmark is very curious when it comes to shop opening times, it is very much like Britain was 25 years ago. Most shops open from 9.00am to 5.30pm weekdays (occasionally you will find some supermarkets opening later) however on Saturdays most shops close at midday or 1.00pm. Once a month the Danes have a 'Long Saturday' as they call it where the shops will be open until 4.00pm! They usually put out flags along the approach roads to the town to show that it is a 'Long Saturday'. It is unusual to find a shop open on a Sunday unless it is in a touristy area.

Trains & Buses

It is perfectly feasible to take your bikes on the Danish trains, we have used it several times (in fact it is the only way to get from Fyn to West Zealand if you are intending to cross at Kørsor or Nyborg) there is only one slight problem see our page 'Trains in Denmark' to find out. There is a booklet from the DSB 'Bikes and Trains in Denmark' (in English) available at most stations. Contact DSB (The Danish State Railways) for more details.

Unfortunately we haven't meeded to use buses in Denmark, therefore we cannot comment on whether you can transport bikes on Danish buses.

Danish train
Things to watch out for and note
  1. The high season for camping in Denmark is dependent on the school holidays and we found that by the end of the 3rd week of August they were starting to run down the stock in camp shops as the children had gone back to school.
  2. Although Denmark isn't a country with any high hills and is generally flat there are some areas that have heavily glaciated terrain such as south east Jutland, this can give rise to some short but steep hills!
  3. If you ride at night after sunset make sure that you have your bycycle lights working and on, if you don't you could face an on the spot fine of 500 Dkr.
Getting to Denmark from the UK

There are many flights to Copenhagen from the UK using various operators. For those who prefer not to fly then there are the ferry services. There are now 2 operators running ferries from Harwich to Esbjerg:

As most of the 20 hr crossing is over night a cabin is recommended. On arrival at Harwich you check in with the cars and loading involves a steepish ramp to get you up and over the railway line and onto the quay side so take care (if there are a lot of other cyclists then you might be lucky and they will let you across the level crossing). The ramp on to the ferry is straight forward and you will be directed to a place where there will be ropes to secure your bikes to the sides of the car deck. (see also our page on 'Using Ferries').

* Please note - There have been reports on the cycling forums recently that cyclists have had difficulties in booking places on the DFDS Harwich to Esbjerg ferry in the months of July & August.

Contacts
  • The Danish Tourist Board - General tourist information on Denmark. (in English)
  • Dansk Cyklist Forbund - Danish Cyclists' Federation
  • Danhostel Ribe - Bike rental and hostel accommodation in Ribe.
  • DSB - The Danish State Railways. (in English)
  • DK Camping - Information on the DK campsites in Denmark. (in English)
  • Mols-linien - The ferry company operates the ferry routes between Odden-Ebeltoft and Odden-Aarhus and the Kalundborg-Aarhus route.
  • Roskilde Tourist Information - General tourist information about Roskilde and it's surrounding area. (in English)
  • The Map shop, 15 High Street, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcs. WR8 0HJ England
    Tel: 01684-593146 Fax:01684-594559
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