Cycling around Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula

“It’s summer. Holidays. What are you going to do with your free time?” The answer to this question was quite easy: cycling! I’m still pursuing my long-term goal to cycle the North Sea cycle route R1, which is basically a 7000 km long route around the North Sea. I’ve already covered most parts of the German leg (Ostfriesland and Nordfriesland) in the years 2018 and 2019 but as we all know, COVID-19 happened in early 2020 and all travelling plans had to be cancelled and postponed.

Four years later, it was about time to continue the journey. My plan was to cycle Denmark by bike and tent. I’ve never been to Denmark before and I had no idea what to expect there. The concept of Nature Camping Sites and Shelters was very intriguing and I wanted to give it a try. Prepared a route with OpenCycleMap, packed my stuff and off I went to the island of Sylt where I ended my last bike tour in the summer of 2019.

Getting to Sylt by train…

Travelling to Sylt by train on weekend wasn’t the best idea. The route from Hamburg to Sylt was overwhelmed by tourists. The trains were mostly full, delayed and there was little to none space for cyclists. I had to skip a change in Elmshorn just because the train was hopelessly full and people were travelling like canned fish. After arriving in Sylt on the late afternoon, I had to discard my plans for the first day. I tried to find a camping site near the city of Kampen. I entered a camping site in Wenningstedt, set up my tent and after half an hour or so, I was approached by the security guy. He told me that the camping site was “full” and that I had to leave. So basically I was thrown out because I arrived too late and didn’t book my stay. I’ve never experienced this before, packed my stuff and left speechless. Since wild/stealth camping in Sylt is illegal and there is always a beach police, I was forced to sleep on a bench. This unintended situation gave me a huge pain in my back so I had to use painkillers for the next couple of days. I really disliked Sylt (even back in 2019) and just wanted to leave as quickly as possible. I won’t visit this island anymore. It’s just overcrowded, expensive (FCK KURTAXE) and you get treated like an animal. No thanks.

How to avoid Sylt’s “Kurtaxe”: just get kicked out of the camping site and sleep on a bench like a homeless person.

However, the next morning (Day 1), I cycled to the so-called Ellenbogen (“Sylt elbow”) and visited the List lighthouses and the northernmost location of Germany. The sunrise was really beautiful and rewarding. I cycled back to the List harbor and took the ferry to Havneby (Rømø, Denmark) at around 08:30. After leaving the island Rømø at around 10 o’clock, I started cycling the Route R1 on Jutland.

Welcome to the northernmost location of Germany!

Week 1 – West Coast Route R1 from Sylt/Rømø to Skagen

This route was (officially) about 550 km long and it took me 7 days from Havneby to the northernmost location in Denmark. The west coast route was beautiful. Besides beautiful landscapes (dunes, forests, fjords, bays, sea) and mostly good to excellent cycling weather, the cycling roads were in a very good condition and also varying in quality: asphalt roads, gravel, sand/beach, forest paths, hills. I had little to no trouble with winds because the cycling routes were guarded by wind-stopping forests, dunes or dikes. 50% of the cycling time I had a weak wind, 25% back wind and 25% head wind. Day 3 was very rainy, the rain lasted for several hours but was gone in the afternoon. The route signs on the route were mostly visible, at some points they were either hidden, missing or inconclusive. This resulted in many extra kilometers because I lost track of the route. In the end, I cycled around 620 km.

Camping sites were in a good to very good condition although a bit expensive in the range from 160 to 230 DKK per night which corresponds to 23 to 32 EUR per night. It’s a bit much for cyclists with a tent if you compare it to Germany (price range from 12 EUR to 20 EUR per night). However, the shelters were free of charge so spending every second or third day on a camping site in order to get a shower and to charge up batteries was sufficient. Unfortunately, someone stole my fast charger and power bank during my stay in Ribe on Day 1. Luckily I carried a backup power bank and a charger – albeit much slower to charge – so I had to turn on the flight mode and save energy for the rest of the tour.

I met many other cyclists on route and it was an amazing experience. Everybody was friendly and supportive and we shared our cycling plans and stories. Two of those amazing cyclists were Tim from UK and Justin from Switzerland. We met on Day 3 (the rainy day) like two times on the road and later in the evening (by coincidence) in a shelter. We talked about our routes and  we jokingly agreed “Our next shelter will be at X, so if you join us, it would be great to have you with us!”. The shelters were 80-100 km apart so it was quite a challenge to get there. So I cycled the next couple of days for 8 hours daily and I was able to meet them at the shelters we agreed upon. As I showed up, they couldn’t believe that I made it! Tim was very excited and sponsored me a beer on each evening. Unforgettable! We parted our ways after Day 6. Tim went on his tour to Norway and Justin continued his journey in Sweden.

Cycling from Hirtshals to Skagen was really amazing. I had about 3 hours of back wind, very good weather and great views. I took some pictures of the area although I didn’t take a walk to the Northern Beach. There were too many tourists present and I was afraid leaving my bike unattended. I noticed a high number of Tesla Electric Cars there but one car really blew my mind: I spotted a DMC DeLorean there (the car from the movie Back To The Future) which really blew my mind.

Week 2 – East Coast Route R1/R5 from Skagen to Kruså/Flensburg

After reaching Skagen and the northernmost point of Denmark, I had to cycle back to Germany – a distance of approx. 620 km. Day 8 (Hulsig – Dokkedal) was a very good cycling day (111 km) with lots of interesting encounters. The following days (Day 9 and 10) were really difficult weather-wise. A bad weather zone called Hans was raging over Scandinavian countries and brought a lot of rain. The situation in Sweden and Norway was very dangerous because some local rainfalls were extreme and flushed away streets and railways. Day 9 (Dokkedal – Fjellerup) was raining the whole day. I was wet both inside and out. This was no problem because I had exchange clothes which stayed dry during the ride. Staying warm and dry during the night is much more important than during the daytime. On Day 10, the rain went away but there were strong winds at 60 km/h in combination with hills. This combination of winds and hills was very tiring and I wasn’t able to cycle large distances (55 to 65 km per day at best). Hans was almost gone on Day 11 (Balle – Aarhus) but I had to fight the terrain: hills after hills. While the West Coast Route was mostly flat and hills were an exception, the East Coast Route was dominated by hills. The hills weren’t very large (maybe 10 to 30 meters) but very frequent. I had to push my bike frequently because of my overweight and because I was carrying too much baggage with me. Nevertheless, I was able to achieve daily distances of somewhat 70 to 90 km per day which were inside of my comfort zone.

The landscape along the east coast route was dominated by cities with harbors, bays, smaller villages and agriculture. On sunny days, the landscapes were beautiful and very varied. The hills were quite a challenge which were a very nice addition to the overall cycling experience. During the last day of cycling from Fredericia to Kruså (Day 14), I was able to cycle another 109 km although the weather got really bad in the afternoon. I visited a camping site in Kruså which was about 10 km away from my destination: Flensburg.

The next day, I cycled across the Danish/German border to Flensburg, bought myself a Flensburger Pilsner beer and celebrated a successful bike tour. The travel back from Flensburg to Braunschweig by train took me another 7.5 hours.


The green marking highlights the (approximate) cycling route. I’ve cycled around 1250 km in 14 days.

I really enjoyed this adventure. My arrival day from Braunschweig to Sylt wasn’t going as planned. I had to sleep on a bench because I was thrown out from a camping site. My charger/power bank was stolen. My back/ass hurt all the time. I got lost many times and had to ride extra kilometers. I had to push my cycle and walk uphill many times… Nevertheless, a 40 year old guy weighing 120 kg (240 lbs) doing a 14 day cycling tour in a foreign country worked out pretty well! I’ve visited beautiful and interesting places and cities (Esbjerg, Hvide Sande, Hanstholm, Blokhus, Hirtshals, Skagen, Fredrikshavn, Fjellerup, Grenå, Aarhus, Juelsminde, Fredericia, Kolding, Hadersleben, Aabenraa), yet I haven’t seen them all. The holidays in Denmark were quite affordable (~500 EUR for 14 days including food and camping and 2 extra days of arrival and departure). I plan to return to Denmark maybe next year and cycle the remaining part from Fredericia via Odense to Kopenhagen.

Total kilometers cycled
Total time cycled
Average speed
Average cycling duration per day (hh:mm:ss)
1244.96 98:15:26 12.646 6:33:02
Some statistics taken from the distance logger.


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Bicycle Tour 2022

I really love bicycle touring. My last bike tour was back in July 2019 and took like 16 days and approx. 1000 km. The past two years have been very difficult for travelling due to COVID-19 restrictions. The camping sites either closed or the COVID-19 rules were very restrictive and differed from site to site. Travelling in 2020 and 2021 was really difficult and risky. Luckily, the situation changed in 2022 and due to vaccinations, declining COVID-19 pandemic situation and reopening of the tourism and travelling sectors in Germany, it was possible to travel again.

I took the chance and organized a little bike tour during my vacation. My original plan was something like this: travel by bike and tent for 6 days from Hanau to Braunschweig, Germany. It was coupled with a visit to my relatives in Hanau – a mid-sized town near Frankfurt am Main in the state of Hesse. The daily tour distance should be something like 60-80 km and the total distance from Hanau to Braunschweig should be approx. 400 km. Planning the route by was pretty easy but I missed two important factors: the terrain and total weight of me and my bike. While the terrain in Lower Saxony is mostly flat and very easy to manage – this isn’t the case in the hills of Hesse, especially when one has a 40 kg packed travelling bike and approx. 120 kg of muscles fat riding the bike. So yeah… I kinda underestimated the effort which was punished later 😉

However, I was preparing this tour for about a week. Riding approx. 30 km per day helped to build condition and to get used to sitting on a bike for 2+ hours.

Day 1: Hanau – Gelnhausen – Schlüchtern

The tour started on the hottest days of the month. This wasn’t planned at all. The temperatures were around 37-39 °C and there was not even one cloud from early morning until sunset. This was definitely not my cycling weather. Cycling the first 40 km was easy until the heat drained my powers. The last 20 km were exhausting but I managed to reach Schlüchtern. My first camping site was about 3 km outside of Schlüchtern – “piece of cake” I thought. The camping site was on a hill of approx 250 m height. My mistake was using the Google Maps guide. The suggested route was closed and I spent 2 hours in the woods and hills pushing my 40 kg bike at 12% upward slopes. I finally managed to reach the camping site Hutten-Heiligenborn at 8 pm and was wrecked. The camping site was very nice and I was welcomed by the site manager. Tent, shower, dinner, sleep, RIP.

Day 2: Schlüchtern – Fulda – Schlitz

The cycle route downhill was really nice! I was able to go at 40-50 km/h for about 7 km. 26 km later, I reached the city of Fulda. Fulda was very inviting due to very good cycling roads. I visited the central train station involuntarily because I got lost few times due to bad road signs. Nevertheless, the temperatures rose higher and higher up to 39 °C and my performance dropped steadily. In the village of Kämmerzell I got lost again but this was really bad. The route got me into a 7 km lasting agony of steep hills (remember? 12% upward slope at 39 °C and 160 kg of total mass?) which lasted for like 3 hours. Luckily, I was pushing my bike on forest roads where most places were in the shadows at 35ish °C but that’s it. This unintentional route killed my schedule and I was unable to reach my planned camping grounds.  My provisions have been spoiled by the hot weather and I had to resuppy it on the next day. Luckily, there was a small camping site in the city of Schlitz (where I got lost again, thanks Google Maps). Later at night, there was a thunderstorm but this was no problem for my Hilleberg Unna tent!

Day 3: Schlitz – Bad Hersfeld – Melsungen

I think this was the best cycling day I had in a long time. Due to the thunderstorm and colder weather, the temperatures dropped significantly from 39 °C to a cloudy 23 °C. This was like heaven for cycling – the heatwave was gone and the temperatures were ideal for cycling. My performance on this day was OK: my muscles and my butt didn’t hurt much and I was able to cycle 95 km total. I still wasn’t able to catch up to my schedule because I was like 40 km behind. When reaching the city of Melsungen at 7 pm, I thought I had enough power to make it the next 40 km but as soon as I saw the next camping site, I knew it was time to get some rest. Cycling at night in unknown terrain can be dangerous (you get lost very easily, bad sight during night). So I stopped on a small camping site near Melsungen and it wasn’t a bad decision at all.

Day 4: Melsungen – Kassel – Hann. Münden – Hemeln

Oh yeah, I overdid it on Day 3. The daily goal was set to 90-100 km but I managed to get only 78 km total. The weather was very good (cloudy, 25 °C) and I was progressing very well until I reached the city of Kassel. Here I got lost multiple times due to construction sites and spend like 2-3 hours cycling through Kassel. I stopped here and there to take photographs but wasn’t able to do a sightseeing tour. Kassel was very stressful because I had to take routes on busy roads for a while until I found the correct cycling route. This set me further back in my schedule. The route from Kassel to Hannoversch Münden was very nice and relaxing. I met another elder cyclist which cycled with me for about 12 km. Having company was nice because we were very fast and could talk about the usual stuff (small talk). Hann. Münden was a very nice city – this is the place where the rivers Fulda and Werra combine into the river Weser. I wish I could have stayed there longer. However, I left Hann. Münden at 2:30 pm and at about 3:30 pm, my performance started to decline due to muscle and rear pain. I didn’t want to ignore the pain signs and I visited a camping site in a village called Hemeln. Good decision (as usual). I needed some rest and as soon as my tent was up, I went inside and slept for like 2 hours. Then shower, dinner, sleep 8h.

Day 5: Hemeln – Höxter – Holzminden – Stadtoldendorf – Braunschweig (by train)

Unfortunately the final cycling day. I got up very early in the morning and left the camping site at about 8 am. All the muscle pain was gone and I was able to cycle at a fast pace again. The weather wasn’t very bad and this got me excited because I felt like I could do 100+ km on this day. My goal was Seesen, a small town near the Harz mountains. The distance was calculated at about 140 km. Since 100 km are no problem, an extra 40 km should be possible, too. Wrong! The first 60 km weren’t bad at all. My speed was OK but the temperatures started to rise again. By noon, the temperature was at 28-30 °C and my rear started to hurt every few kilometers. So I had to push the bike for a while until the pain went away but this set me back in my schedule. After visiting few cities such as Bad Karlshafen, Höxter and Holzminden, I left the Weser cycling route and set the route towards east (R1). At 80 km distance, I was really exhausted and had to take breaks every few kilometers. I reached a place called Stadtoldendorf at 4 pm and still had to cycle 50 km to Seesen. At 13 km/h, this would have taken 4 hours at least. I resupplied my water and food in Stadtoldendorf and I got lost again due to a major construction site. Unfortunately, Google Maps calculated a wrong route directing me into steep hills and I gave up.

I re-routed Google Maps to the next train station and started the adventure back home to Braunschweig by train. Luckily, I was able to travel with my 9-EUR-Ticket and the trains were not full at the time. After spending 3 hours in regional trains, I was able to reach home safely. My daily distance was 110.95 km, my new personal record (my highest was at 110.68 km in the year 2019). I must admit, I had to use Ibuprofen due to muscle pain.


It was a very interesting and adventurous cycling tour 2022 (as usual). I’ve seen many wonderful landscapes and places, cycled about 425 km total. The weather was good and bad and I got lost many times (as always). I learned a bit about planning routes and learned a lot about my cycling performance. Using petroleum jelly for skin lubrication was a winner. I packed the wrong stuff which I never used on tour (gas stove, blanket, accessories, food) but which added to the total weight. My provisions got spoiled by the hot weather so this is an important issue to consider for future routes. I hope to reduce my body weight by winter so I’ll be able to do another cycling tour at the North Sea. I’ve done this before and it was one of the best cycling tours I had so far.

I would recommend everyone to participate in such cycling tours. If you’re not a cyclist, go hiking instead! It’s a challenge to travel alone over the course of many days. For me it’s important to realize that travelling from A to B takes time and effort. Sure, one can drive into holidays or fly by airplane with little to none effort. This behavior has two negative effects: people just don’t realize how hard it is to move things from A to B and we take many modern things for granted. Cars and airplanes may be the foundation stone of our modern civilization but our civilization will have to change significantly in the next few decades or we’ll have really difficult times here on earth (climate *cough* change).


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