Kystlandet – Denmark’s Coastal Land

Horsens Arts Museum
Horsens Arts Museum. Photo courtesy of Jesper Rais, Destination Kystlandet

After 20 km of adrenaline busting Nordic style exercise, it was time for some serious sugar.

Enter the three-layer Danish pastry, oozing with chocolate and custard in sweet cinnamon roll pastry and topped with mouth tingling icing.

The pastry had been something of a mystery, missing at breakfast and none spotted on menus, leaving me wondering if it had been axed by the calorie police.

It was the perfect end to a great day of exploring the simply stunning landscape enthused by Destination Kystlandet to bring in visitors to lesser-known Denmark.

In reach of the low-cost airline hub in Billund, the area made up of neighbouring cities and islands, is a real gem and the genuine warmth and pride shown by the locals means you are in for a treat.

Nature is mixed with history, culture and classy cuisine and the ideal base is Denmark’s seventh largest city, Horsens on the east coast of Jutland, a friendly place oozing with beauty and expectations.

Horsens State Prison
Horsens State Prison with a newly added conference suite. Photo courtesy of Destination Kystlandet

Dominating the hilltop of the city is one of the country’s toughest prisons and the scene for the country’s last execution in 1892.

Today it is an interactive museum for all the family, complete with a prison van to transport you around and cells available as hotel beds, with the impressive building also used for  major events including Northern Europe’s largest medieval festival on the last weekend in August.

It was here in 1949 that master criminal Carl August Lorentzen hit the headlines after painstakingly tunnelling his way out, only to be caught and sent back just days later.

Horsen’s Jørgensens Hotel, housed in the historic Lichtenberg Palace built in 1744 by Gerhdt de Lichtenberg, is a great place to stay. Modern vibes sit easily with beautifully restored rooms and traditional Danish breakfasts are served up, alongside creative cooking at lunch and dinner.

The landmark is right in the heart of the traffic-free centre and looks out onto a lovely wide main street, adorned with sculptures.

A five-minute drive takes you to the airy Horsens Art Museum, full of Danish contemporary works, ranging from the beautiful to the grotesque, with a collection by locally born artist Michael Kvium.

Famous Danish Tartletter
The famous Danish Tartletter. Photo courtesy of Dennis Ploughmann, Destination Kystlandet

Street art is big in Horsens and to help you spot all the works and enjoy the local architecture, harbour and marina, you can follow the treasure hunt trail.

Foodies are also well catered for and gives you a chance to taste the delights of Korean born chef Jimmy Boye Jensen. Served up at his Café Ella in the art museum, is officially the best beef sandwich in Denmark, with the sublime sauce, helping clinch the honours.

Jimmy prides himself on inventive dishes and he also serves up gourmet tasting dinners at Ji-Mi’s, a tiny restaurant in the heart of the city, with only the finest foods and wine served, from oysters to Chablis.

The old industrial harbour is where you will find Restaurant Dollys, which dates back to 1993 and serves classic dishes such as fried pork rashers with parsley sauce and shooting star, made up of fried fish fillet, steamed white fish and hand-peeled prawns with smoked salmon, roe, dressing and served on toasted sourdough bread.

It’s the great outdoors which is the magnet and north of Horsens and the clean, crisp area of the Sondrup Hills are a great place for exploring.

Guide Kirsten Aagaard from Fyrholt Rejser provides a typical Danish breakfast, with scrumptious rye breads and jam instead of pastries, ready to set you up for the Fjordmino hike around the stunning Horsens Fjord, taking in forests, meadows, villages, marinas and a near empty beach.

Danish tractor taxi in car free Tunø
Tractor taxi in car free Tunø. Photo courtesy of Melissa Villumsen, Destination Kystlandet

Twenty minutes away and you can hop onto an e bike and check out Bakkelandet, which boasts some of Denmark’s highest peaks.

Traffic free bike lanes mean it is safe and easy to whizz along, and Heidi Holm from Holmely E Bikes is there to keep the legs going and take in the sights, like the Uncovered Bridge, which served the railways and was hidden for 85 years inside a dam, before being restored in 2014.

If you are lucky, you might bump into a troll named Jensnej, who lives deep in the forest and was created by artist Thomas Dambo, along with another 100 scattered across Denmark.

A traditional lunch of Tarteletter, a buttery pastry shell filled with creamy chicken and asparagus can be enjoyed at 16th century inn, Sandvad Kro.

Islands always capture the imagination and the Borre Knob Hotel hidden deep in the countryside on a narrow peninsula is the perfect place to rest before exploring.

A magical 60-minute ferry ride takes you to the car-free Tunø, where tractors act as taxis and walkers enjoy a circular stroll along the clifftops, with the reward of sublime fish dishes from Tunø Smokehouse & Restaurant.

Second smallest church in Denmark
Second smallest church in Denmark. Photo courtesy of Melissa Villumsen, Destination Kystlandet

Denmark’s second smallest and prettiest church is on the island of Hjarnø, at the foot of the Horsens fjord and 500 metres away from the mainland.

The 10-minute boat hop lands you in a picturesque harbour and home to 150 residents including visual artist Jane Willumsgaard who has combined her passion with a coffee bar at Det Grafiske Magasin, where you can join in linoleum print workshops.

Nearby is the 7.7 square kilometre island of Alrø which has been inhabited since the stone age and can be reached by the bike ferry.

It’s a haven for kite surfers and food lovers, with the Alrø Købmandsgaard serving up beautiful bison dishes using meat from a nearby farm and mixing modern cuisine with traditional, something this wonderful area of Denmark does with aplomb!

For more tourist information, please visit: and Flights to Billund are available from UK airports via low-cost carriers and can help with airport parking, lounges and transfers.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.

Photographs courtesy of Destination Kystlandet

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