Kystlandet, a coastal region embracing the Horsens Fjord and other attractive, unspoilt coastal and countryside spaces is fast emerging as a popular destination in Denmark.
Its popularity is based on a charming mix of interesting towns, a natural unspoilt coastline and easily accessible small islands.
The Towns of Kystlandet
The Kystlandet landscape is sprinkled with the white buildings of small villages but the area also boasts three lovely towns, very different in character and all worthy of a visit. Horsens is the ‘capital’ of this area and the seventh largest town in Denmark.
Horsens in Kystlandet, Denmark
Although Horsens is renowned as the site of the first iron foundry and tobacco and textile factories outside Copenhagen it is now metamorphosing into a fascinating cultural centre. The Vitus Bearing Park in the centre of town is dedicated to the famous Danish explorer, Vitus Bearing. Visitors to Horsens can learn more about this explorer in the Horsens Museum.
Other museums include the Industrial Museum and Horsens Art Museum. The latter also features some exciting art installations in the Caroline Amalie Lund park that surrounds it. Inside, the Café Bella offers some interesting dishes created by its award-winning chef, Jimmy Bjerregaard.
The Prison Museum occupies a genuine prison building. Fængslet, the old Horsens State Penitentiary housed all kinds of criminals from 1853 until it closed in 2006. It was subsequently converted into a museum and function venue. Prisoners housed here ranged from those serving life sentences to bikers.
The bikers were housed in their own prison within the prison. It is the largest prison museum in Europe and offers a variety of experiences including a night behind bars. A stroll through the building offers a real insight into the life of a prisoner here. Visitors can read stories of people who were actually imprisoned here and see the tunnel that was excavated by its most famous escapee Carl August Lorentzen.
Horsens also boasts a marina, City Beach and Langelinie (promenade) on its seafront. Two trolls, Laura and Julian live on the large, grassy play area. They were created by Thomas Dambo who has built many different kinds of troll, some hidden away, around Denmark. One if his most famous creations lives in a forest in Brædstrup.
The commercial centre of Brædstrup is surrounded by the beautiful Ring Forest. And, hiding in the tall trees of this forest is the huge troll Jensnej. He arrived in 2023 and it is said he holds something beautiful over his head. Could it be his reflection? Maybe the clue is in his name.
A huge activity park and a playground in the forest complemented by some large sports halls make this little town a centre of excellence for all generations of sports enthusiasts. Lovely leafy trails weave their way through the trees and eventually emerge close to the town centre. The old post office dominates the town centre and is home to the excellent Restaurant Det Gamle Posthus.
Not far from the town centre is the highest point in the area, Klovenhøj. It is an ancient burial mound and from the top, accessed by a short flight of steps, visitors have lovely views across the surrounding countryside, including Ring Sø (Ring Lake). Although Brædstrup Is not close to the sea it does have a bathing lake and jetty fringed by a sandy beach nearby.
The Uncovered Bridge is an iron bridge that spans the River Gudenåen close to Brædstrup. This bridge has become a popular attraction due to its story. The red steel latticed bridge was engineered in 1899 – a fine example of the period. In 1929 it was covered by a dam and lay hidden for 85 years until it was discovered in 2014. As it was in very good condition it was completely restored to its former glory. Juelsminde, a seaside town in Kystlandet also features an interesting bridge on its extensive coastline.
Juelsminde in Kystlandet, Denmark
Juelsminde has developed from a fishing village to one of Denmark’s most popular maritime harbours. Visitors can trace this development at Havnemuseum, the harbour museum. Also, along its scenic coastline, there is still evidence of its origins, the old barge jetty and a chain bridge nearby. This lifting bridge is operated by a web of chains.
Juelsminde harbour is still operational but also features tourist attractions including a playground and lanes for crab racing. A wide range of eateries here include the Nior Bistro which offers an excellent Shooting Star – a favourite dish in Kystlandet. Inland, visitors of all ages can enjoy one of the largest playgrounds in Denmark. The impressive Juelsminde Naturlegepark, includes a play ship and tall play towers. It is a paradise for children and ‘young at heart’ adults.
Open all hours this is an unusual, after-dark activity. Juelsminde is at one end of a 22-kilometre trial to the little port of Snaptun. It passes through a typical Danish landscape featuring mansions, yellow fields of rape and some hilly forest paths. Another long-distance footpath is the Fjordmino.
Fjordmino Around Horsens Fjord in Kystlandet, Denmark
Fjordmino is a long-distance bicycle and hiking trail around Horsens Fjord and includes some island hopping to complete it. It is a total of 52 kilometres long and passes through all the elements of the diverse landscape of Kystlandet. There are many access points for those wanting to experience a small section of it.
For example, a 10-kilometre stretch from Amstrup Meadows to Sondrup Beach. A gently undulating path through a private forest embracing several viewpoints with trees on one side and the sea and the islands on the other.
The Islands of Kystlandet in Denmark
Island hopping is a popular activity off the coast of Kystlandet. The proximity of the islands of the East Jutland archipelago makes this an attractive proposition for visitors to the area.
Tunø Island of Kystlandet in Denmark
Take a boat from Hou Harbour to Tunø Island and spend a day exploring the beautiful, unspoilt countryside on foot or in a traxi. Cars are not allowed on this island so the only form of transport for visitors is a tractor pulling a trailer with seats inside. As the island is very small it is a pleasant walk around its perimeter delighting in a profusion of wild roses and enchanting sea views. At the end of the walk enjoy an open air lunch at Røgeriet Tunø the Tunø Smokehouse featuring a variety of smoked fish.
Hjarnø Island off Kystlandet in Denmark
Hjarnø Island is very close to the mainland so it is a short boat ride from Snaptun Harbour. This little island definitely has its own character derived from its Viking history. It features a picturesque harbour and one of the smallest churches in Denmark. Large, open agricultural spaces proved a contrast to the wilder landscape of Tunø Island.
A level path encircles this island and offers a pleasant stroll to enjoy the landscape – but traxis are available for those who prefer not to walk. Although cars are allowed here they are not intrusive. Visitors can take a break and enjoy a coffee under the trees that surround Det Grafiske Magasin – a micro studio that also offers creative workshops. Those wanting to explore another island can take the ferry from Hjarnø to Alrø Island – an island with scenic views of Horsens Fjord and an opportunity to try a bison burger at Alrø Købmandsgaard.
Several airlines, including British Airways and Ryanair offer regular flights to Billund Airport. Options from this airport include public transport to the main towns of Kystlandet, taxi and a hire car.
More information about Kystlandet here.
Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller
An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 26 years ago. After publishing four books she turned to online travel writing.