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Hidden Gems
Denmark's Lake District 37

Walking in Denmark’s Lake District

Overview

With more than 50 lakes and a forest area that stretches on more than 224 square kilometres, the Silkeborg Lake District (Søhøjlandet) is the largest natural area in Denmark – perfect for a relaxed walking vacation. Walk to the top of Himmelbjerget, which with its height of 147 m, is one of the highest natural points in the Danish landscape, offering lovely views over the entire lake district. Experience the famous Danish hygge in the old inns. Hygge is a unique Danish and Norwegian word that means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a hiking trip in Denmark’s lake district with gorgeous lakes and woodlands
  • Climb to the top of Denmark’s most famous ‘mountain’ with a stunning view of the lake district
  • Explore charming Silkeborg, which is one of the most beautiful towns of Denmark and its outdoor capital
  • Follow Trækstien along the banks of Gudenåen, Denmark’s longest stream
  • Experience true Danish hygge in the old inns on the banks of Gudenåen

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Ry

Your hiking holiday starts in Ry, where you stay in Knudhule Badehotel, situated by lake Knudsø about 2 km from the centre of Ry. Knudhule Badehotel was named the best ‘badehotel’ (sea or lakeside hotel) in Denmark in 2019. It is possible to swim in Knudsø. Dinner is available at the hotel restaurant (not included).

Day 2: Ry – Himmelbjerget – Gammel Rye | 14 km

The first day’s walk begins with a pleasant stroll along the shore of Lake Knudsø into the village of Ry. From the centre of Ry, you cross the bridge that divides the lakes Lillesø and Ry Mølle Sø. You then turn westwards along forest paths toward Himmelbjerget. After about 9 km, a steep path takes you from the shore of Lake Julsø, the top of Himmelbjerget (147 m). Visit the small shops selling souvenirs and snacks and read about the historical folk meetings on the “mountain”. You might also climb the Himmelbjerg Tower to get the ultimate view over the Lake District. To reach your accommodation in Gammel Rye, you will walk a further 3 km southwards along forest paths to the village.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 4 hours, ↑197 m ↓142 m
  • Accommodation: Lyng Dal Hotel or similar in Gammel Rye

Day 3: Gammel Rye – Silkeborg | 21 km

Today’s route will take you through the Lake District along a well-marked path, which meanders through the forest and along the serene shores of numerous lakes. From Himmelbjerget, you descend to the edge of Julsø lake, where the ferries dock at Hotel Julsø. From here, you continue along a small path that runs along the banks of Julsø with stunning views over the lake. Shortly after, you reach the Skyttehuset campsite at the Svejbæk passage. Here you can enjoy a refreshment in the café that has a lovely lake view. You can also take a small solar-powered ferry or rent a rowing boat and row to the other side of the Svejbæk passage (88 m) to have a bite to eat at Ålekroen – an old inn with tables by the water, which is renowned for its great food. The next section takes you along the lakes of Borre Sø and Slåen Sø. The water in Slåen Sø is said to be so fresh and clean that you can drink it! Next, you continue along a narrow strip of land between lakes Brassø and Vejlsø to the banks of Denmark’s longest river – Gudenåen. You follow the riverside path along Gudenåen into the heart of the beautifully located town of Silkeborg. If you wish to shorten your walk today, you can jump on one of the historic steamboats and enjoy a gentle cruise to the Lake District capital of Silkeborg.

Day 4: Silkeborg – Svostrup | 12 km

From Silkeborg, you continue along Gudenåen following Trækstien. Historically, the trail was created for horses and bargemen, who once pulled great barges filled with goods between the towns of Silkeborg and Randers. Over the last few years, the trail has been extensively renovated with a raised gravel track enabling you to walk with dry feet in this flood-prone area. On the first part of the track, you walk along the lake Silkeborg Langsø before continuing along Gudenåen. Shortly before Svostrup, the river widens out in the lake Sminge Sø, famous for its birdlife, which you can observe from a bird tower. Shortly after that, you reach the old inn, Svostrup Kro, where you overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 4 hours, ↑48 m ↓48 m
  • Accommodation: Svostrup Kro or similar in Svostrup

Day 5: Svostrup – Kongensbro | 10 km

Today you continue towards Kongensbro. Shortly after having left Svostrup, you will see Tvilum church on the opposite side of the river. The church was built in 1250 as an abbey for the Order of Saint Augustine. It was also used for an overnight stay by the king of Denmark in medieval times, on his travels around Jutland. You continue your walk along the river in an idyllic and peaceful landscape, finishing up at Kongensbro Kro, another charming inn with an atmosphere of times long gone by.

  • Walking for the day: 10 km, 3 hours, ↑41 m ↓44 m
  • Accommodation: Kongensbro Kro or similar in Kongensbro

Day 6: Kongensbro – Bjerringbro and Departure/Extra Night | 18 km

From Kongensbro Kro, you continue along Trækstien, pass a bridge to the village of Ans, where it’s possible to take a small detour for lunch at the local inn. After Ans, you reach Tange Sø and follow the trail along the eastern side of the lake, and you reach Gudenåcentralen – the largest hydroelectric power station in Denmark, which opened in 1921. The power station is now home to an Energy Museum, with cafés and a variety of experiences for the whole family. After another 4 km along Gudenåen, you reach Bjerringbro, where the tour ends. From Bjerringbro, you can either take the train back to Ry or take an extra overnight stay in Bjerringbro or Silkeborg or take the train to Viborg (17 minutes) for an extra stay. As one of the oldest towns in Jutland and as an old episcopal residence, Viborg has many places of interest and is a charming lakeside town.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 5 hours, ↑94 m ↓104 m
  • No overnight included, but can be optionally booked

What to Expect

Accommodation

On this walking holiday, you will be staying in comfortable hotels and charming local inns (kro in Danish) – all with ensuite facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. 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. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should be bought from local shops. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required, no steep ascents or descents) and requires a basic fitness level. 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 on any day from Tuesday to Saturday from the middle of April until the middle of October. 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 Ry (departing every hour, journey 30 min).
  • 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 Ry, with change at Skanderborg (departing every hour, journey time less than 1 hr).
  • From Copenhagen Airport – take a train to Ry, with a change in Skanderborg (departing every hour, journey time 3 hrs).
  • From Aalborg Airport – take bus 71 to Aalborg Busterminal. Then take a train to Ry, with a change in Aarhus (departing every hour, journey time 2.5 hrs approx). From Ry train station you can either walk the last 2,5 km to the hotel or take a taxi.

Departure

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

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
  • 5 nights accommodation in private rooms
  • 5 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 pc up to 20 kg per person)
  • 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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