Copenhagen has already beaten Amsterdam and Utrecht twice as the best city for cycling in the world. Is Denmark really such a bicycle country as the Netherlands? We traveled through Denmark on skates last summer and followed various national and regional cycling routes. Denmark cannot compete with the bicycle facilities in the Netherlands, but it is a beautiful country for cycling. Moreover, Denmark has a number of advantages that the Netherlands cannot offer: much more open space and beautiful places to spend the night in nature.
Denmark uses the Danish Krone. In 2020 the exchange rate was € 1 = 7.5 Danish krone.
Denmark is an expensive country compared to the Netherlands and Belgium. Prices in supermarkets are at least 30% higher than in the Netherlands. Denmark is one of the most digitised countries in the world. All Danes have an app (Mobile Pay) to make payments, even at small fruit stalls along the road. You won't need cash.
We cycled from south to north through Jutland, the peninsula that is attached to Germany and covers by far the largest part of Denmark. Jutland is relatively sparsely populated with a lot of agricultural land. The largest cities are Aarhus and Aalborg.
Denmark many national and regional cycling routes that are very well signposted. The cycle routes are mostly on quiet roads, although sometimes you cannot avoid a dangerous intersection or a busier road. Many routes are on cycle paths and large parts of the routes are unpaved.
Denmark has no mountains. The highest hill in Jutland is only 147 meters high. All Swedes and Norwegians claim that Denmark is flat, but it is anything but flat. The island of Seeland where Copenhagen is located is flat, but Jutland certainly not. Only when you have cycled in the Netherlands do you know what flat means. Certainly the center and east of Jutland there are some tough climbs.
The best known cycling routes through Denemarken:
- EV12: North Sea cycling route
- EV3: Pelgrims route
- Jutland route: a nice cycling route through Jutland
On the following website you will find all cycling routes, from international to regional: Waymarked cycling routes
Denmark's greatest trump are the overnight places in nature. There are more than 1,000 locations where you can find shelters or pitch your tent freely. You will find all overnight locations in the Shelter app. The app is only available in Danish, but Google Translate will help you. Many of these locations are managed by the government, but there are also individuals who offer their yard. You often have to call in advance and you pay a few euros for a night.
There a different types of overnight locations:
- wild camping: these are areas in forest where you can pitch your tent. There are no other services available.
- camping spots: these are predestined camp spots for tenting. There is often a fire pit, trash can and a simple toilet
- shelters: these are usually simple wooden structures consisting of three walls. There is usually a picnic bench, fire pit, simple toilet and sometimes even firewood. There are a number of unique shelters such as the cylinder in the photo below.
On this government website you'll find all the free tenting areas. Not all of these are in the shelter app.
Danish cuisine is very similar to Dutch. Salmon, eel, pork and potatoes are traditional ingredients. Just like us, the Danes eat bread for breakfast and lunch. The big difference is that the Danes prefer sourdough bread.
Supermarkets. Aldi, Lidl and Rema1000 are the cheapest supermarkets, but you often find them in bigger towns and cities. Brugsen (Coop) and Netto are more expensive stores, but have a wider range. The Brugsen supermarket is the one you will see most often in Denmark.
You can find drinking water and public toilets at all churches in Denmark. These are usually open until October and then close for the winter.
We cook with an MSR petrol burner. White gas is called Rense Benzin and can be found in hardware stores. For half a liter you pay about 30 krones, which is a lot more expensive than in the Netherlands.
As mentioned above, Denmark is an expensive country. Denmark has a sugar and fat tax, which makes unhealthy products more expensive. Cookies and chocolate are therefore a lot more expensive.
Some basic products:
Bread: 20 krones (€2,5)
1 kilo of bananas: 18 krones (€2,4)
1 liter milk: 9,5 krones (€1,2)
500 grams of cheese: 45 krones (€6)
a dozen eggs: 25 krones (€3,3)
Our average daily spend in Denmark was barely € 13. We traveled through the country for 19 days and almost always slept in our tent, in the shelter or in the house of families.
Free wifi at Brugsen: All the Brugsen (Coop) supermarkets have free Wifi available.
Respect on the bicycle: Danes have much more respect on the bicycle than we have in the Netherlands and Belgium. They stop for red lights, wear yellow jackets and almost always wear a helmet. Children always wear a helmet and it is considered irresponsible for parents not to wear a helmet when cycling with the children.