Around The North (Denmark)
86 Mi.(138 KM)
% Rideable (time)
Tobias Christensen was born in Helsingør and has been riding BMX since childhood. After a collarbone surgery, he decided to try bikepacking in 2015 and instantly got hooked after a 1,200 km ride. He has since ridden in Swedish Lapland, raced the Italy Divide, and just as the US closed its borders in March 2020, he was in Oklahoma, racing The Mid South gravel race. Follow along @tobi.rides.
Denmark is known for its great cycling culture. You see photos of the busy streets of Copenhagen all over the world, but what makes them busy is not cars like many capitals. It’s bikes! However, riding around big noisy cities is not what this route is about. Just 45km north of Copenhagen lies Snekkersten, a small coastal town, neighbouring Elsinore, known for the Kronborg Castle from Shakespeares’ Hamlet. This makes the perfect starting point for a good adventure along old gravel road, all reachable within 10 minutes of riding out of town!
The route goes by small communities, some tiny, with abandoned houses and a few farms, and others full of restaurants, bars, and life. The woods are full of wildlife; be careful of deer jumping out in front of you. They are everywhere! And in some parts of the route the giant red deer roam, especially in Gribskov where I’ve been waken up by their haunting sounds in the middle of the night several times.
If you find yourself in need of an adventure in Denmark, come ride this route. You’re guaranteed to have some fun!
I have given this route a 5 out of 10, as it is mostly easy rolling gravel roads, flowy singletrack, and secluded bike paths. There are a couple of sections that can sometimes be flooded. In fact, I’ve only experienced one of them dry on a single occasion. Water is never hard to find in Denmark. You will ride through small towns with shops, and one of the campgrounds has running water.
Route Development: The route has been designed over the last couple of years. Denmark was pretty much deforested back in the day, so I joined every little piece of forest I could find and connected them all. Most forests in Denmark have shelters and campgrounds, and I made sure that the route would pass by them. As new locations were discovered, they were added.
- Riding the 500-year-old cobbled Kings Road through the woods. Built in the 1500s, the road was made for the king, connecting Copenhagen and the castles spread around the area.
- Free roaming Icelandic horses in Gribskov. Horses and cows roam a big patch in the woods here, and don’t miss the little lookout over the lake. Save a beer for this spot!
- The Troll forest in Tisvilde Hegn. Twisted trees on either side of the forest road with the beach right next to it. Stealth camp here if you can. It’s magic!
- Great camp spots. In winter I pretty much rely on the wooden shelters, avoiding the hassle of a wet tent.
- The cabin you can sleep in for free at one camp spot. It’s pretty basic, but after a rainy day, you can at least be dry.
- The beautiful beach in Tisvildeleje. Go for a swim!
- The bakery in Tisvildeleje is a must. Try the “birkes” with some butter for breakfast. Or a great panini for lunch. They serve beer and wine too!
- The route can be ridden all year long. Winter will be wet, but summer means more people.
- Getting to and from the route is very easy. From Copenhagen you take the train towards Helsingør and get off in Snekkersten. It takes 40 minutes and the train has several bicycle cars. You could also ride to the start, a nice 45km cruise along the coast, going by some of the most expensive areas in Denmark.
- The route doesn’t require permits or anything like that. The only thing you have to be aware of is cows when crossing through certain areas. Keep your distance.
- Traveling in Denmark is very easy. All kinds of public transportation allow bikes. Infrastructure is very bike friendly, and the bike paths are generally in pretty good condition.
- Rideability: Only a few hike-a-bikes on route, but would it be an adventure without some hiking?
- Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hiking, bikepacking and camping has become very popular. This means that at least this summer, the shelters are booked, therefore you are now allowed to pitch a tent in many of the woods. You don’t need to book anything if you plan to sleep in a tent.
- Stealth camping is also an option. Just make sure to leave no trace.
- To book a shelter go here: https://booking.naturstyrelsen.dk/Home/Kort
- For a map of the woods you are allowed to pitch a tent in go here: https://naturstyrelsen.dk/naturoplevelser/overnatning/fri-teltning/
- Water and is never hard to come by. In summer, carrying two bottles should be enough.
- The same with food, a few of the shelters are even close to small towns where you can shop for a proper meal and some cold beer.