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Hidden Gems
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

  • The historic city of 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

Click to view map

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 | 15 km

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: 15 km, 4 hours, ↑150 m ↓150 m
  • Accommodation: Hasselgren B&B or similar in Dollerup Bakker

Day 3: Dollerup Bakker – Thorning | 16.5 km

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). After Ulvedal Plantage, you will take a detour of almost 2 km away from Hærvejen to the village of Thorning, where you can visit a Blicher’s former rectory, which now houses a museum dedicated to him and the surrounding area. Your accommodation is located a further 2 km away along a quiet country road. You can either walk this or else your hosts will be happy to pick you up from the village.

  • Walking for the day: 16.5 km, 4 hours, ↑124 m ↓86 m
  • Accommodation: Impgård B&B or similar in Thorning

Day 4: Thorning – Lake Bølling | 20 km

From Thorning, you continue along Hærvejen 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 and make your way to your overnight accommodation in the village of Engesvang. Along the way, you can check out the Klosterlund Museum, with findings from some of the oldest settlements in Jutland dating back 8000 years.

  • Walking for the day: 20 km, 5 hours, ↑135 m ↓120 m
  • Accommodation: Engesvang B&B or similar in Engesvang

Day 5: Lake Bølling – Sepstrup | 20 km

This hiking day starts by making your way back to the shores of 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 a German SS patrol killed the famous Danish priest and poet Kaj Munk 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. Your walk finishes in the tiny village of Sepstrup, where you will be picked up and transferred to your accommodation in a nearby inn.

  • Walking for the day: 20 km, 5 hours, ↑177 m ↓145 m
  • Accommodation: Paarup Kro or similar in Sepstrup

Day 6: Sepstrup – Nørre Snede | 21 km

Today begins with a short transfer back to Septstrup. From here, you continue your walk southwards through Sepstrup Sande and then Vrads Sande. Both areas are inland dunes, a result of natural and human-influenced sand drifts over thousands of years. Covered in heather, crowberry 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: 21 km, 5 hours, ↑244 m ↓257 m
  • Accommodation: Hærvejens Ferie or similar in Nørre Snede

Day 7: Nørre Snede – Kollemorten | 19 km

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 bears witnesses to the importance of Hærvejen in the middle of the 19th century. A pre-arranged transfer will take you from Kollemorten to your accommodation in a nearby B&B.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 5 hours, ↑190 m ↓155 m
  • Accommodation: Give B&B or similar in Kollemorten

Day 8: Kollemorten – Jelling | 20 km

After leaving the village of Kollemorten, Hærvejen leads you through an open agricultural landscape with scattered forests. 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 inn’s garden. These “fruits” turned out to be potatoes – a rare sight in Denmark at the time! Finally, 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 have been 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: 20 km, 5 hours, ↑70 m ↓80 m
  • Accommodation: Skovdal Kro or similar in Jelling (Important: Skovdal Kro is 2 km from the train station in Jelling. During the summer season, there is a free shuttle bus to take you to the train station on departure. At other times the hotel will be happy to order a taxi for you – fare not included. There is a restaurant here that is closed on Sundays. If you stay here on a Sunday, we recommend you have your dinner in Jelling before coming to the accommodation.)

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.

What to Expect

Accommodation

On this walking holiday, you will be staying in seven B&Bs and one charming inn. Where possible, we book rooms with en suite facilities, although not all of the B&Bs have these. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*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. For lunch, you can either order a picnic lunch pack from your hosts (not included), or you can purchase lunch at a shop or café along the way. This is not possible at every stage, but your route notes will contain details of all facilities along the route. For dinner, you have various options in the towns of Viborg and Jelling. On the other nights, you will stay in remote areas, so there are often very limited dining options. Your hosts at the B&Bs will either be able to arrange dinner or inform you about local options. Further information will be included in your route notes. Skovdal Kro has a restaurant that is closed on Sundays. If you stay at this guesthouse on a Sunday we recommend that you have your dinner in Jelling first before coming to the accommodation.

Difficulty & terrain

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). 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 October. 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. 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

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

By train or bus

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. Skovdal Kro is 2 km from the train station in Jelling. During the summer season, there is a free shuttle bus to take you to the train station on departure. At other times the hotel will be happy to order a taxi for you (fare not included)

See up-to-date train schedules here: https://www.dsb.dk/en/.

Inclusions

Included

  • Pre-departure pack and detailed road notes and maps and GPS tracks
  • 8 nights accommodation, at some places the rooms will be with shared facilities
  • 8 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 pc up to 20 kg per person)
  • Transfers to/from Paarup Kro from/to Sepstrup on days 5 & 6
  • Transfers to/from Give B&B from/to Kollemorten on days 7 & 8
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Ferry, bus and other public transport
  • Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights

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