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Four of the best outdoor adventures in Denmark

Whether you’re striding across shape-shifting dunes on the surf-smashed coast or hunting for fossils, travelling in Denmark means seeing the world with fresh eyes.

A guide gathers oysters in the shallow waters off Fanø, Denmark.

Photograph by Mads Tolstrup
By Kerry Walker
Published 10 May 2022, 10:20 BST

1. Hike Denmark’s Råbjerg Mile

Tiptoeing softly across the largest migrating coastal dune in Northern Europe, you can’t help but be touched by its beauty. The light is painterly, grasses bend in the stiff breezes that whip across the North Sea and blonde sands ripple into the distance. Here, at Denmark’s northernmost tip, all is sea and sky. Reaching 130ft high, the dune has been on the move since the 16th century and, over time, has buried farms and houses, as well as the church in Skagen. Reforestation has slightly slowed the dune’s advance, but it still moves about 50ft northeast every year.

Come in the hush of morning when the only sound is the trill of migratory birds overhead and the wind whistling across the sand. At this early hour, you can hike in silent wonder, while taking good care not to step in quicksand.

2. Go on a fossil hunt at Møns Klint

Ragged chalk cliffs sheer down to vast scoops of beach and the startlingly turquoise Baltic Sea at Møns Klint. On the east of the island of Møn, this coast has been whittled into form since dinosaurs walked the Earth. It’s ancient and you can feel it, whether you’re cycling through the gnarled beech forest of Klinteskoven or sifting for 70-million-year-old fossils. The area is astonishingly rich in squid-like belemnites and echinoid (sea urchin) fossils.

For greater insight and more impressive finds, sign up for one of GeoCenter Møns Klint’s guided tours. By night, meanwhile, the heavens shine above Scandinavia’s first Dark Sky Park where, using binoculars, you can pick out constellations and planets, but even with the naked eye you can see the glittering sweep of the Milky Way and shooting stars. To stargaze in style, book Fyrhytten, a cliff-edge cabin next to the lighthouse, where you can peer up to distant galaxies from the outdoor hot tub.

3. Glamp in shelters open to starry night skies at Brorfelde Observatory

It’s only an hour west of Copenhagen, but when gazing up at a vaulted sky on a night so silent you can hear your own heartbeat, Brorfelde Observatory seems far, far away. This is a place of unexpected wilderness where the darkness touches deep. Join the pros to identify constellations and distant planets at Denmark’s biggest observatory, then indulge in a little pre-bedtime stargazing from one of the slickly designed new shelters. 

4. Go foraging for oysters in the Wadden Sea

Locals call Jesper Voss the ‘oyster king’ of Denmark’s Wadden Sea. When the tide is low, from October to April, Jesper leads foraging trips to gather oysters in the shallow waters off Fanø, where windswept dunes of yellow sand ease into the brittle-blue North Sea.

Armed with a bucket, you’ll head into the mudflats to look for Pacific oysters, which are invasive, so harvesting them means you’re doing your bit for conservation. Back on the beach, Jesper gets shucking, serving them raw, marinated and grilled over an open fire. Slurp away. Every oyster is a little burst of sweet, creamy goodness. You can eat them in restaurants, but they taste infinitely better here among the brine and the breeze. Waders are included but bring your own wellies.

Published in the June 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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