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Boat at Boeslum beach

Jutland

What to do in

Denmark's largest region offers a huge variety of things to do and places to see, from pristine beaches to world-class museums

Jutland is the largest, and perhaps the most varied, region of Denmark – boasting superb outdoor landscapes, world-class historical attractions and chocolate-box towns and villages.


From wide, sandy beaches to rolling hills and forests, there's plenty of space for everyone. And with no less than three UNESCO World Heritage sites and one of the world's most famous amusement parks, you can easily fill a week or two.


Here are just a few things to do in Jutland.


Bask on beautiful beaches

With over 7,400km of coastline, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a beach in Denmark.


Jutland is no exception, and the region is home to some spectacular stretches of coastline. Blokhus Beach, to the north west of Aalborg, is believed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Northern Europe, with fine white sand and an area of dunes to explore. This is also a good place to try wind surfing or kite surfing.


Søndervig Beach in West Jutland is one of Denmark's most popular beaches. Backed by rolling sand dunes, the long sandy beach is easily accessible, with a good range of facilities in the adjacent town.

Boeslum beach

Or head east to the Djursland peninsula, where you'll find many lovely beaches – such as Boeslum Strand (above), an undeveloped stretch of pristine white sand and pebbles, bordered by forests and lapped by clear blue water.


Travel back in time at the Moesgaard Museum

The Moesgaard Museum, just south of Aarhus, is a world-class museum exploring prehistory and anthropology. Housed in an architecturally stunning building, the innovative, interactive exhibits bring history alive, with excellent use of light, sound, video, story-telling and holographic images. Allow an entire day for your visit, if you can.

Interactive exhibit at Moesgaard Museum

The visit begins with the Evolution Stairs. As you descend into the museum, you pass a unique collection of seven reconstructed human species. These lifelike sculptures are anatomically correct reconstructions of our ancestors, and include the 3.2 million-year-old Lucy, who was found in Ethiopia, and the Stone Age Koelbjerg Man, based on the oldest skeleton found in Denmark.


Once inside the museum's permanent exhibitions, look out for the realistic model of a Stone Age girl crouching next to a midden (rubbish heap). The model is based on scientific studies of the skeleton of a young girl found in a grave at the marine-submerged archaeological site of Tybrind Vig, to the west of the Danish island of Fyn. The reconstruction of her face is believed to represent her actual appearance with 80% accuracy.

Moesgaard Museum
Stone Age girl Moesgaard Museum

Then there's Grauballe Man, one of the museum's key exhibits. Grauballe Man lived in the Iron Age, more than 2000 years ago, before he was violently killed and placed in a boggy grave. The conditions in the bog meant his body remained remarkably preserved for thousands of years, until he was discovered in 1952 – his hair and facial expressions are remarkably intact.


Entrance to the Moesgaard Museum is included with the Aarhus Card.


Have fun at Legoland

A visit to Legoland is one of the main reasons that many people visit Jutland, and is highly recommended whether or not you have children in tow. There's a fantastic range of rides and attractions, from a gentle jeep safari among the wild animals of the African savannah, to the 65mph Polar X-plorer roller coaster featuring real penguins and a stomach-lurching 5m free fall.


One of our favourite attractions was Miniland – the first part of the Legoland park to be developed when it opened in 1968. It features famous scenes from around the world – built in miniature out of 20 million Lego bricks. It's a delightful and fascinating experience, with the scenes coming to life with hundreds of different moving elements – boats cruise along canals, people emerge from doorways, windmills turn and tiny fountains jet streams of water into the air.

Miniland at Legoland

There are also plenty of craft shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants to visit. You'll notice there are lots of apple ornaments for sale – the name for the town comes from the old Danish for apple. The apple trees that grow in the area are important to the local people, and are celebrated at an annual apple festival.


Get active in the Lake District

Denmark's largest outdoor playground is a 224-square area of hills and forests dotted with more than 50 lakes, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, boating, and other outdoor fun.


A good place to start your explorations is with the short hike up Himmelbjerget – translated as Sky Mountain, it's Denmark's third highest point. At 147 meters above sea level, this is a modest peak – but the stroll up to the tower at the summit is very pleasant, and at the top there are glorious views of lakes, hills and woodland.

Legoland Billund

When we visited Legoland, in mid-September, we found it crowd-free with very little queueing – on many occasions we were able to enjoy the ride and then go straight back on for another go! If you're visiting at busier times, and have a hidden disability such as autism that makes it difficult for you to queue, you can request a 'Show consideration' wristband.


It was lovely to see so many trees and colourful flower borders – the latter packed with nectar-rich, pollinator-friendly plants – dotted all around the park. This has created an attractive environment with plenty of shady places to sit and rest.


Appreciate art in Aarhus

ARoS is a stunning art gallery that houses Denmark's largest art collection outside Copenhagen. Here you will find some fantastic, immersive installation art, featuring dramatic light and visual effects. Other highlights include Boy by Australian artist Ron Mueck – a massive, unnervingly lifelike sculpture of a crouching youth. Measuring 4.5m high and weighing 500kg, this breath-taking sculpture has been created with astonishing attention to detail – the skin, for example, has veins and hair follicles that are clearly visible.

ARoS

It's also impossible to miss Your Rainbow Panorama, a permanent work of art by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.  The circular walkway sits on top of the museum, and is a colourful creation that allows visitors to walk through a rainbow. The spectacular 360-degree views of the city from the artwork are given a whole new perspective by being viewed through the coloured glass.


Entrance to ARoS is included in the Aarhus Card.


Browse boutiques in Ebeltoft

Ebeltoft is considered to be one of Denmark's prettiest towns – and a wander through this charming settlement feels a little like stepping back in time. Winding cobbled streets are lined with pastel-painted, half-timbered houses, and gardens are filled with traditional cottage garden flowers such as hollyhocks and sunflowers.

Ebeltoft
Lake District, Denmark

Silkeborg is the jumping-off point for many outdoor activities in the Lake District, and the town is also home to the unassuming Silkeborg Museum. Housed in an attractive yellow and white building, the museum's star exhibit is the famous Tollund Man – an astonishingly well-preserved bog body, dating from the Iron Age around 400BC.


Enjoy small-town charm in Ribe

Another contender for Denmark's prettiest town, Ribe scores points for being another superlative – it's the oldest town, not just in Denmark, but in the whole of Scandinavia.


Founded in around 700, it was an important trading post for the Vikings. Now it's a picturesque, bustling little place with cobbled alleys, rose-covered houses, an attractive riverside harbour and a magnificent main square.

Ribe Cathedral

In the main square you'll find Ribe Cathedral, an architecturally impressive giant that was built around 1200 – making it the oldest cathedral in Denmark. The cathedral towers over the town, and can be seen for miles around. You can climb the 248 steps in the tower for a fantastic view across the town and surrounding countryside.


Ribe is a good base for visiting the Wadden Sea – a national park and UNESCO site featuring mud flats, where, in spring and autumn, you can see murmurations of hundreds of thousands of starlings. This spectacular sight is known as the 'Black Sun', and is one of Denmark's most famous nature experiences.


Stand between two seas at Skagen

The seaside resort of Skagen (pronounced 'skane') is the closest town to Grenen – the northernmost tip of the Danish mainland.


At Grenen, a sandy spit jutts out into the water, separating two seas – the Skagerrak and the Kattegat. It's possible to stand on the spit and watch the waves from each sea rolling in from two different directions and colliding into each other – a unique natural phenomenon.

Ribe street

The area is also a protected nature reserve, home to seals, a rich variety of plants, and many bird species – including birds of prey in the spring.


It's not a place for swimming, as the currents here are strong and dangerous. There are beaches to enjoy around Skagen, however. This vibrant tourist town is renowned for its amazing quality of light which has inspired artists for generations and is a pretty place of yellow houses and terracotta roofs.


Don't miss the sand-covered church just outside town. This church was gradually covered up by movement of the sand dunes – for a while, during the 18th century, the congregation had to dig their way into the church to attend services. Eventually in 1795 the church was closed – and now only the tower is visible above the sand.


Grenen Mette Johnsen

Green Adventures February 2021

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