When I first moved to Denmark I was a bit surprised over how ”inaccessible” the nature were. As you might have noticed, Denmark is more or less synonymous with countryside. It is a relative flat landscape, however, not less diverse and challenging. The biggest challenge would according to me be the that there is very poor information about where to go, and how to get there, even for me who understands and speaks the language.
This phenomenon might not be unique to Denmark. I guess that as a “local” you just know where to go, you do not need maps and you sometimes have a hard time to understand why someone would like to come and explore the areas that you call your backyard. Everyone who travels a lot know the feeling of coming “home” and again realise how beautiful and awesome the place where you grew up is. I sure do, every time I visit friends and family in Halmstad I am overwhelmed over the nature and all the opportunities to explore it further. Somehow I just did not notice it when I lived there.
Scandinavia are famous for its “friluftsliv”, directly translated to “open-air-life”, in other words that outdoor activities have been a part of many Scandinavian children’s life since they where very young. These outdoor activities could of course vary from picking mushrooms in the woods, to camping tours, fishing, kayaking, skiing, hiking, climbing etc, etc. Every kindergarten or school (where I grew up) had at least one or two outdoor weeks or days every semester, and a lot of the activity took in the younger years place outside the classroom. We grew up with “allemansrätten”, according to Wikipedia “the freedom to roam”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam
This right does however not apply in Denmark, thus I have heard that changes might be on its way. Denmark have much stricter laws when it comes to using nature as a recreational area, first and foremost since most of the land is private owned..
For example it is only allowed to pitch a tent or sleep in the woods on areas that are set aside for this particular purpose. These areas are often marked on folders with the following symbols, referring to shelter places and areas without shelters where you can pitch your tent.
The same goes for making a fire, and if pitching your tent on private ground, you have to ask the land owner on beforehand.
However, and this is the funny part, if you decide to sleep outside on state owned ground you can do so, as long as you do not pitch a tent or the thing you decide to cover yourself with (tarp, etc), nd I quote the Danish Ministry of Environment, “Do not have the character of something that may resemble a tent”…
Furthermore some places do not have restrictions on where to pitch your tent. There areas are to be found in the following link (in Danish):
Additionally, if you are used to hiking or being outside in mountainous areas, you might also be used to getting your water from a small stream which is perfectly fine to drink. As you might have noticed, there are not so many mountains in Denmark, thus getting water suddenly becomes a bit problematic since not all of the shelter or tent places do have water. Always carry extra water if you are out for a several day hike, and check before you leave if you will pass by places where you can refill your bottle.
Referring back to the lack of information of where to go and how to get there, one solution would be to get a car and learn the language, the everything becomes so much easier. However, as a student that might not be possible, and especially not if you are an international student or a tourist visiting. However, there are information to get if you are ready to embark on the never ending google expedition. But it takes time and you are not sure if the timetable over buses that you find are up to date or not. At the main library (Hovedbiblioteket) in Aalborg, and at the tourist information in Nordkraft, you should be able to pick up some folders about hiking trails. However, I doubt that the people at the tourist information have ever sat their feet on one of the trails…
In this blog, I will do my best in order to explain where to go, and how to get there. I aim to mainly cover some recreational areas within Aalborg city, the outskirts of Aalborg, parts of the west coast of Northern Jutland and the Top of Denmark, in other word, areas within 1.5h from Aalborg.
To start with, some links to have in mind when planning your day(s) outside:
Some trail folders in English http://naturstyrelsen.dk/publikationer/vandretursfoldere/engelsk/
The Danish National Parks
How to get there
Rain or sun?
Outdoor equipment (When living in Aa I only bough my stuff in one of the stores, the one with nice and attentive personnel. You´ll probably figure out which one that is..)
Don´t forget to check out the used market! A lot of nice stuff to get your hands on!