A week in the Danish wilderness in National Park Thy


We spent a week inthe Danish wilderness in National Park Thy – Denmark – in April 2020, during our Easter break. National Park Thy was the first Danish National Park, and we had been looking for an opportunity to visit a place so close to our home.

The west coast of Denmark is known for the very wide sand beaches, for the sand dunes, the flat country and for the wind that seems to blow continuously from west, causing all trees to lean towards east. The sky is high, and you feel close to nature. Thy is one of the most remote parts of Denmark and among the least densely populated. It is as close to wilderness as you get in Denmark.

Beach and dunes at Nørre Vorupør
Beach and dunes at Nørre Vorupør

We were surprised of how varied the nature was. The coast itself varies from north to south and in particular the inland areas of the national park is very diverse. We really liked national park Thy, and there are plenty activities for a week.

We made excursions from the summerhouse. You can do those in any order, so instead of an itinerary, we will show you where we went and how we liked it.

Using the map: Use the mouse to zoom and pan. Click the button in the top-left corner to open a navigation menu. There you can select or de-select specific types of content we have added to the map.

Accomodation

We rented a summerhouse in Nørre Vorupør – called Vør by the locals – where we stayed the entire week. We chose Nørre Vorupør as it is in the middle of the national park, which means that most parts of the park can be reached in an hour by car.

There are many summerhouses on the west coast of Denmark, and this is the most common type of accommodation for families. Hotels, hostels, B&B’s and campgrounds are also available.

Coastal fishing boats at Nørre Vorupør
Coastal fishing boats at Nørre Vorupør

Arrival

We arrived by car from our home outside Copenhagen, a four-hour drive.

Nørre Vorupør was a small town focused on coastal fishing. Recently tourism has become important. The town still has a lively fishing community. We went down to the central beach the day we arrived, and saw fishing boats on the beach, and the cable the fishers use to pull their boats onto the beach.

Landscapes around Nørre Vorupør – beaches and dunes

The long pier of Nørre Vorupør is a good place to get an overview of the place. The beach seems to continue endlessly both north and south. The dunes are steep, and you need to find a trail (or climb the dunes as out boys did) to get back to the city from the beach.

The wide beach inspires for walking and running. It is full of colourful stones that almost glow in the sun when they are wet.

Patterns of sand, stones, water and sun
Patterns of sand, stones, water and sun

We searched for stones with holes, shark eggs and crab shells. One night we went to the beach with a UV lamp, which is supposed to make amber stand out from ordinary stones. That was more difficult than it sounded! It was a full moon and not pitch black, and many stones shone in the UV light. It was fun, but we didn’t have any luck.

Searching for amber after dark
Searching for amber after dark

In the dunes behind the beach we passed an area of low tress, withered and crooked. They were very beautiful and reminded us just how rough the weather can be here.

Withered trees
Withered trees

Fish shops

It is a family tradition to use the local fish shops when we are on the west coast of Denmark. Our favourite is the shop in Hvide Sande.

We went to the local shop in Nørre Vorupør the day we arrived. We bought fresh fish for dinner, and smoked salmon and mackerel for lunch the following day. The fish was fresh and of good quality. We made it part of the daily routine to visit the shop and feasted on delicious fish every day.

Tobias has celiac disease, and needs a gluten free diet. Most supermarkets in Denmark have basic gluten free products, including bread and biscuits. We find it easy to find the gluten free products we need, but we are locals and biased! You’re welcome to share your experiences below about traveling gluten free in Denmark. You can find our experiences traveling gluten free here.

A simple feast
A simple feast

Stenbjerg historical fishing community

Stenbjerg fishing community is a historical site that preserves the history of Danish coastal fishing, as it looked around the year 1900. The small buildings were homes and workshops for the community and bear witness of how rough life was not long ago. It is easy to include in the plan during a week in National Park Thy – Denmark.

Stenbjerg coastal fishing historical site
Stenbjerg coastal fishing historical site

There are exhibitions and also a small visitor centre for National Park Thy.

We spent half an hour at Stenbjerg. The exhibitions and visitor centre were closed. The dunes and the wind easily made the imagination wander to times gone by. In the meantime, the boys had fun in the dunes.

Steep dunes near Stenbjerg
Steep dunes near Stenbjerg

Hiking around Lodbjerg Lighthouse

The lighthouses on the west coast were essential for the ships navigating close to the coast. Many ships wrecked. Lodbjerg Lighthouse was built in 1883 to assist the sailors.

Lodbjerg Lighthouse
Lodbjerg Lighthouse

The lighthouse is 35 metres tall and very photogenic. It is open to the public, but temporarily closed the day we were there. The view from the top would have been great, but instead of ascending the tower, we used it as the starting point for a short hike.

The beach near Lodbjerg lighthouse
The beach near Lodbjerg lighthouse

We followed a trail to the beach and descended one of the steep dunes to reach the beach. From the trail we could see the lighthouse from time to time, but as the trail is hillier than you might expect, the view and surroundings change continuously. It makes it an interesting and rewarding hike.

When we had reached the beach, we walked south on the beach for some km until we found a place where an opening in the dunes made it possible to leave the beach for the higher ground on the dunes. We followed an in-land trail back towards Lodbjerg lighthouse.

Trees leaning east
The trees lean east on the west coast!

Tvorup

We went for a short walk in Tvorup klitplantage which is typical for the fir and oak trees that were planted out the last centuries to prevent the sand from taking over more fertile farmland. Starting by the lake Tvorup hul, we followed the mountain bike trail through the hilly forests with some nice viewpoints on the way. We passed the ruin of Tvorup church that was abandoned in 1792 as the expanding dunes destroyed the farmland and the area was depopulated. The landscape is a good representation of the area, and recommended as part of a week in the Danish wilderness in National Park Thy.

Trail in Tvorup klitplantage
Trail in Tvorup klitplantage

Bulbjerg and beautiful Troldsting

Bulbjerg is the only cliff in Jutland. It is a 47 metres limestone cliff which several bird species use for nesting. The view from the tope is great. From the beach it is interesting, but not exactly extraordinary. It makes for a good visit.

Bulbjerg limestone cliff
Bulbjerg limestone cliff

From Bulbjerg we drove a little inland for a picnic lunch. We parked the car and went for a short walk towards Troldsting. It was one of the most diverse landscapes we saw in National Park Thy, and very beautiful. It is a very hilly area, where the vegetation varies between moor and forest. Several sections of the trail was flooded as the winter had been very wet. We found alternative routes across the moorland, and even got lost for 15 minutes! The Troldsting area is absolutely recommended and one of the places we liked the most in the national park.

If you have a week in the Danish wilderness in National Park Thy, include Troldsting in your plans!

Flooded trail near Troldsting
Flooded trail near Troldsting
Moorlands at Troldsting
Moorlands at Troldsting

Per Madsens Kær

Per Madsens Kær is a small lake south of Nørre Vorupør. It is popular in the summer for swimming. The lake had swelled over the winter, and the trail around it was flooded several places. It is still an easy walk, and very beautiful.

Tree at Per Madsens kær
Tree at Per Madsens kær
Deforested area near Per Madsens Kær
Deforested area near Per Madsens Kær. It seemed very barren.

Shelters

There are several public shelters in the national park, and we decided to spend a night in the one located in Tvorup klitplantage closest to Nørre Vorupør. It is a small shelter with room for six. There is a pile of wood provided by the rangers for anyone to use, and a good fireplace. Tobias is skilled with an axe and chopped the wood we needed. Nikolaj built and lit the fire with a single match. They are skilled scouts.

The shelter is located in a beautiful location with nice views, but there is not much protecting from wind. It was fine for us as it was quiet the night, we were there but it could be more challenging on cold and windy days.

We made dinner over the fire, and watched the full moon rise over the treetops.

The temperature was just a few degrees above freezing during the night, so we were happy we had brought warm sleeping bags and mattresses. The was a fine layer of frost on the grass in the morning as we warmed breakfast over the fire.

Shelter in Tvorup Klitplantage
Shelter in Tvorup Klitplantage in the morning sun

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