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Denmark's Camino: From Viborg to Jelling 39

Hærvejen: Denmark’s Camino from Viborg to Jelling

Overview

Few know that Denmark has its own Camino route called Hærvejen (“The Army Road”, also known as “The Oxen Road”), which is the most famous hiking trail in the country. It was established in the Middle Ages as an important route for the transport of animals and goods, as well as for pilgrims and armies. The trail runs all the way from the historic town of Viborg to Hamburg in Germany. Hærvejen was designated a European Cultural Route in 2010. On this section of the route from Viborg to Jelling you get up close with both nature and history, as you walk between two of Denmark’s most beautiful historic towns: Viborg with its famous cathedral and medieval streets and Jelling with its 10th-century stones with runic inscriptions proclaiming Dane’s conversion to Christianity.

Highlights

  • Enjoy historic Viborg
  • Experience the beautiful landscapes of Lake Hald, Lake Bølling and the hills of Dollerup
  • Walk along the beautiful inland dunes of Sepstrup and Vrads Sande
  • Explore the kings’ town of Jelling with its famous rune stones and burial mounds

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Viborg

Your hiking holiday starts in Viborg where you stay in a B&B in the town centre. Viborg is an old episcopal residence and was Jutland’s most important city during the Middle Ages. Take time to explore the old town centre and cathedral and walk down the lovely cobbled street St. Mogens Gade, where you will find several houses dating from the Middle Ages. You can also visit Søndermarks Church, where you will find a 10 m long tapestry embroidered with scenes from your upcoming hiking route Hærvejen.

Day 2: Viborg – Dollerup Bakker

Leaving Viborg, you follow Hærvejen south into Liseborg Forest. For the next 8 km you will be walking along quiet forest paths through Viborg Hedeplantage, Viborg Krat and Langskov, before reaching the old inn Niels Bugges Kro (Inn), situated on the banks of Lake Hald (in Danish Hald Sø). North of Niels Bugges Kro, you can see the remains of a castle from the Middle Ages and from here there is a beautiful view over the lake. 300-400 m north of the inn you will find Hald Hovedgård, where there is an exhibition of the area’s landscapes and culture. You continue about 3 km along the lake and reach the beautiful hills of Dollerup Bakker. Most of the area around Hald Sø and Dollerup Bakker is protected as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 4 hours, ↑157 m ↓132 m
  • Overnight in Hasselgren B&B or similar

Day 3: Dollerup Bakker – Ulvedal Plantage

Having enjoyed the view over Dollerup Bakker and Lake Hald, you continue through the little village of Skelhøje and along quiet forest tracks through Stendal and Havredal Plantage, where you will see many protected burial mounds. You then walk along Ulvedal Plantage passing a 4000-year-old burial tomb known as The Cave of Jens Langkniv (Jens Langkniv was an outlaw – a Danish Robin Hood). You will be picked up at Ulvedal Plantage and driven to your accommodation in nearby Kjellerup.

Day 4: Ulvedal Plantage – Lake Bølling

From Ulvedal Plantage you continue to the Haller Å stream, where the deep tracks from old carts are still visible leading down to the stream. After a few more kilometres you reach the idyllic Grathe heath, where Svend Grathe was killed in the famous royal battle with Valdemar the Great, marking Jutland’s victory over the armies of Skåne and Zealand. Continue through Kompedal Plantage, where conscientious objectors were once doomed to forest work. Another forest path, through the beautiful Stenholt forest, takes you toward the northern shore of Lake Bølling, where you leave Hærvejen. After a few hundred meters you reach Bøllingsø Camping, where you will overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 5 hours, ↑104 m ↓76 m
  • Overnight in Bøllingsø Camping or similar

Day 5: Lake Bølling – Sepstrup

This hiking day starts at Lake Bølling, formed during the ice age about 10,000 years ago. The lake is famous because of the naturally mummified corpse of Tollund Man (displayed at Silkeborg Museum) discovered there, who lived during the 4th century BC. Today’s route takes you along the eastern shore of Lake Bølling, sometimes walking right by the lakeshore. South of the lake you cross the stream Funder Å and walk through Hørbylunde, an undulating area of heather-covered hills and ancient oak thickets. With a terrain that rises nearly 80 meters from the ford to the top of Blaksdal Høj over a distance of only 1 km, this is probably the closest you get to a Danish mountain landscape. About 1,5 km from the route, on the top of Hørbylunde hill, a stone cross marks the spot where the famous Danish priest and poet Kaj Munk was killed by a German SS patrol on January 4, 1944. If taking this little detour to Hørbylunde hill, do not miss the beautiful view at the end of the marked path. Lastly, you walk through Bødskov forest and reach the village of Sepstrup, where you will stay for overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 3-4 hours, ↑160 m ↓140 m
  • Overnight in Møllegaardens B&B or similar

Day 6: Sepstrup – Nørre Snede

Leaving Sepstrup behind, shortly after you reach Sepstrup Sande and then Vrads Sande. Both areas are inland dunes; a result of natural as well as human-influenced sand drifts over thousands of years. Covered in heather, crow-berry and juniper, the two inland dunes lie between large heath plantations and long rows of pine trees dating from the end of the 19th century. South of the village of Vrads you continue between the Torup and Tingdal lakes before entering the Palsgård forest – one of the oldest in Jutland. If you want to learn more about the forest, you can visit the old forester farm, which has been converted into the forest museum Palsgård Skovmuseum. Shortly after, you will reach your accommodation just outside the town of Nørre Snede.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 3-4 hours, ↑180 m ↓205 m
  • Overnight in Hærvejens Ferie or similar

Day 7: Nørre Snede – Kollemorten

Today you start with walking through Nørre Snede, where you can buy provisions for a picnic lunch. You can visit the church of Nørre Snede with its famous granite baptismal font, which is considered one of the finest of its kind in Denmark. You continue your hike south of Nørre Snede, passing Rørbæk Lake and then following a protected stretch of Hærvejen, with gravel roads and old wheel tracks. Via a small detour, you can see the trickling springs from where Denmark’s two biggest rivers – Gudenåen and Skjern Å – rise and flow in opposite directions: east and west. A little further on, you pass Saint Peder’s spring, which has attracted pilgrims for centuries because of its healing powers. Just before you reach your accommodation outside the town of Kollemorten, you will see an old stone with the year 1856 and the names Kolding and Vester mølle carved on it – this witnesses the importance of Hærvejen in the middle of the 19th century.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 3-4 hours, ↑175 m ↓155 m
  • Overnight in Æblebakkens B&B or similar

Day 8: Kollemorten – Jelling

After leaving the village of Kollemorten, Hærvejen leads you through an open agricultural landscape with scattered forest. Shortly after the town of Givskud, you pass the old inn Harresø Kro, which dates all the way back to 1609, making it one of the oldest preserved inns along Hærvejen. In 1759 a group of Germans stayed at the inn. Their payment was 13 strange ”fruits”, which were then planted in the garden of the inn. These “fruits” turned out to be potatoes – a rare sight in Denmark at the time! Your route ends in the kings’ town of Jelling – one of the most important towns of the Viking Age. The Jelling Monuments (a collective term for the church of Jelling, the Jelling stones and the two giant burial mounds) are Denmark’s most important historical monuments. They are also considered Europe’s finest Viking Age monuments and are part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1994. You should also check out the visitor centre “Kongernes Jelling”, where you can learn more about Christianity’s introduction to Denmark and the beginning of the Danish monarchy.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 4 hours, ↑82 m ↓85 m
  • Overnight in Jelling Kro or similar

Day 9: Departure

Your hike along Hærvejen from Viborg to Jelling has come to an end. We recommend that you stay an extra night in Jelling in order to explore the many interesting historical monuments.

Hotels

On this walking holiday, you will be staying in six B&Bs, one charming inn and one campsite. All B&Bs and inns have en suite facilities. At Bøllingsø Camping you will stay in a comfortable double room or a private cabin with access to shared bathroom and shower facilities, all linen, towels and blankets are provided. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels: Klosterpensionen, Hasselgren B&B, Gyvelhøj B&B or Impgård B&B, Bøllingsø Camping, Møllegaardens B&B, Hærvejens Ferie, Æblebakkens B&B, Jelling Kro

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Travel

Timezone: GMT +1. Language: Danish. In the bigger cities, many people speak English, and most of the hotel staff where you stay speak English and are ready to help you. Electric supply and plugs: 230V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs. Currency: Danish Krone (DKK), pegged to the Euro (1 Euro equals 7.5 DKK) and therefore fluctuates directly with the Euro/GBP rate. Banks and ATMs are available and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted; still, we recommend bringing some cash with you. Up-to-date FCO travel advice on Denmark is available here.

Our recommended arrival and departure airports for this holiday are Aarhus, Billund, Aalborg, Copenhagen or Hamburg in Germany.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

Arrival

  • From Aarhus Airport – take bus 122 to Aarhus Rutebilstation (departing every 2 hrs, journey time 1 hr). Then train from Aarhus H to Viborg (departing every hour, journey ~ 1 hr).
  • From Billund Airport – first take bus no. 43 to Vejle (bus runs every 30 min, journey time 30 min). From there, you take a train to Viborg, with change at Aarhus (departing every hour, journey time ~ 2 hrs).
  • From Copenhagen Airport – take a train to Viborg with a change in Aarhus (departing every hour, journey time 4,5 hrs).
  • From Aalborg Airport – take bus 71 to Aalborg Busterminal. Then take bus 960 to Viborg (~1,5 hrs)

Departure

  • There is a train station in Jelling, where you can catch a train for your onward journey.

See up-to-date train schedules here: https://www.dsb.dk/en/. You can plan your trip in Denmark here: https://www.rejseplanen.dk/webapp/index.html?language=en_EN

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance WorldNomads

We strongly recommend protecting the cost of your trip and other non-refundable travel expenses with travel insurance. Our Signature Travel Insurance allows you to insure all of your expenses. While a Signature Travel Insurance policy can be purchased at any time, purchasing a policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit gives you the widest range of policy options, including a Cancel for Any Reason coverage. For complete peace of mind, we also recommend enrolling with Global Rescue, the worldwide leader in field rescue, evacuation and security extraction services.

Read more and get a quote online

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for walkers with limited experience and requires a basic level of fitness. Walks have a relaxed pace with time to take in the views and surroundings (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The trails are very well marked and easy to follow. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from the middle of April until the middle of September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season.

Weather

Denmark’s weather is mild in the summer and cold in the winter, with western winds blowing warm air across most of the country. The warmest month is July with an average temperature of 17-18 degrees Celsius.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included

  • Pre-departure pack and detailed road notes and maps
  • GPS tracks
  • 8 nights accommodation with breakfast included
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • Transfers to/from the accommodation in Kjellerup (day 3 & day 4)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative

Supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums
  • Ferry, train and bus tickets not mentioned in the itinerary

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Lunches and dinners on all days
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Extra nights along the way and at the end of the tour can be booked on request.

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Hærvejen: Denmark's Camino from Viborg to Jelling
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by Chester on King Ludwig Way

Delightful moderate walk building up slowly to an interesting climax over the days. Varied and friendly hotels. Kirchberger in Wildsteig deseerves... Read full review

We are a retired couple of 73 and 70 years old. We enjoyed the trip very much. The trip was well organised; all went smooth, the accommodation... Read full review

This holiday not only had erupting volcanoes, fabulous hospitality and a plethora of dramatic landscapes to walk in, it also featured gorgeous... Read full review

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We just completed the Catalan Coast and Mountain week-long self-guided walking tour. February was perfect in the off-season! [The] itinerary... Read full review

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