The peninsula Djursland on the Danish East Coast is one of the best holiday destinations in the entire country – here's why.
When coming to Denmark for the first time, many visitors make the mistake of only visiting Copenhagen and then heading back home to check our little country off on their bucket lists.
What most tourists don't know is just how much they're actually missing out. Copenhagen is a wonderful city and well worth a visit – but if you really want to experience Denmark, you need to venture out and discover its cities as well as its beautiful nature.
Djursland is the perfect destination for doing just that.
When looking at Denmark on a map, you'll see that it kind of looks like a face in profile. Djursland, located on Jutland's East Coast just outside of Aarhus and Randers, makes up the nose of that face. Can you see it?
The peninsula is said to have over 100 little beaches and bays and they're combined with a remarkably hilly landscape for Danish standards. This is what makes Djursland such an amazing holiday destination – it's extremly varied, and even though it sounds like just another travel article truism, it really does have something in store for everybody.
Beautiful little towns, great nature, kid-friendly beaches and great surf spots. Djursland is the right place for families, nature lovers, museum goers, water sport enthusiasts, fishermen, hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
But it's time to get a little more specific, so you can plan out your trip – here are some of the greatest activities and experiences on the peninsula Djursland in Denmark.
The charming town Ebeltoft
If you ask me, Ebeltoft is among the most beautiful towns in Denmark with its winding cobblestone streets, crooked half-timbered houses and hollyhocks growing in front of them.
It also has an old town hall, Det Gamle Rådhus, that attracts people from all over the world to get married in. And, because Ebeltoft literally means a piece of land with apple trees on it, after the ceremony, the newly weds get a beautiful green glass apple to take home as a souvenir.
And that it's made out of class is certainly no coincidence. Glass works are a big deal in Ebeltoft. A particularly beautiful one is the open workshop Pust by the water front. Here you cannot only buy the beautiful vases, glasses and, lamps and, of course, apples, but you can see them being made by Leif and Christina.
Next to Pust you'll find Glasmuseet, the glass museum. It's well worth a visit!
In 2018 the exhibition Scandinavian Glass - Starting All Over shows glass art by 70 artists from the Nordic countries.
Make sure to visit the Cosmic Room by the Faroese artist Tróndur Patursson.
It's made up of coloured glass and mirrors and has a slightly dizzying but definitely mesmerising effect.
When in Ebeltoft, you should also visit the museum Farvergården, it is the only urban dyeing house still preserved in Northern Europe and a particularly good example of a typical crooked, colourful Ebeltoft house.
Another lovely, quirky detail in Ebeltoft are the watchmen. They used to patrol the streets in Danish market towns to make sure that everything is in order.
They also alarmed the citizens in case of fire and lit the street lamps when it got dark. In Ebeltoft you can still experience them from July until the middle of August.
The Museum Ship Fregatten Jylland
Fregatten Jylland is the world's longest wooden ship and it dates all the way back to the year 1860.
It was used by King Christian IX for expeditions to Iceland, Saint Petersburg and the Faroe Islands and many princes and princesses have sailed aboard this ship.
Today it's a magnificent museum on Ebeltoft's coast, and a great holiday activity for the entire family.
Everything from the mainmast to the steerage-, gun- and lower deck can be explored, as well as the royal chambers on the ship.
The friendly guides on board let you in on the secrets of life on board the frigate and they even fire one of the canons – don't forget to cover your ears!
Kids can go on a treasure hunt, make their own rope, climb to the top of the mainmast and help with the preparation of the canon.
Connected to "Jylland" there's also an exhibition of model ships with exciting histories. Make sure to bring some time for this, too.
The Stories of the Mols Fools
When you're strolling around Ebeltoft's sights and shops you may notice some books with the title Molbohistorier here and there – the stories of the fools of Mols.
These loonies' tales are a big part of the areas history and play on the foolishness that was attributed to the inhabitants of the Mols area on Djursland back in the day.
They evolved due to teasing and rivalry inside the community and they were passed on by oral tradition for ages and later written down by those who could write.
Since Ebeltoft is also known as the capital of Mols, you'll find these entertaining stories being told on guided tours and sold in different languages at places like Farvegården, the old urban dyeing house and Det Gamle Rådhus, the old town house.
The Mols Bjerge National Park
As many of you may know, Denmark in general is a rather flat country with loads and loads of fields.
On Djursland, however, that's different – here you'll actually find a national park dedicated to mountains – the Mols Bjerge National park. Mols Bjerge literally translates to "Mountain's of Mols".
The area got it's name due to it's remarkably hilly landscape for danish standards, created by the Ice Age. In fact, the Mols Bjerge National Park is the most complete Ice Age landscape in Denmark.
Of course, what we call mountains in Denmark others would probably call hills, but believe me, you don't want t miss out on the nature out here.
There's the Mols Berge-Sti, a 20 kilometres long hiking route (which can be cut in half, if so desired), plenty of beautiful nature walks, great places to bike or explore the landscape on horseback and there's a rich animal life all around you.
Horses, cattle and sheep graze around you as you enjoy the sunset from one the area's most beautiful viewpoints – Trehøje, for instance. which you can see on the picture above. The three hills reach 127 metres above sea level and make for an amazing view over the park.
So does Agri Bavnehøj. It is 137 metres high, the highest peak in the National Park, and it is also the point from which all measuring for the old geographical maps of Denmark was done.
Kalø Castle Ruins and the scenic Iron Hat
And there's more still to discover inside the Mols Bjerge National Park.
One of the highlights on a trip to Djursland is visiting the 700-year-old castle ruins, Kalø Slotsruin and walking the best-preserved and longest Medieval road in Denmark to get there.
Around the castle ruins cows are grazing peacefully by the water, unimpressed by the visitors and the sight of the ruins.
Another beautiful viewpoint to visit in the National Park is Jernhatten, the iron hat. It's a little farther up the coast in the Southeast of Djursland.
The preservation is 49 meters above sea level and it makes for the most beautiful view over the sea and towards the island Hjelm. You can park close by and walk through the forest to the secluded spot – it's great for picknick, so make sure to bring some drinks and snacks with you.
Generally it's lovely just to walk around the landscape in the park and to enjoy the plant- and animal life around you, discover little beaches, hills and views.
And don't worry if the weather isn't picture perfect with blue sky and pure sunshine – this simply gives you the authentic Denmark experience AND makes for amazing dramatic scenery in the Ice Age coined landscape of the Mols Bjerge National Park.
By the way – Ebeltoft is actually part of the National Park, as well.
Situated in the North of Djursland, Fjellerup Strand is a popular beach for families with children. The beach is wide with soft, white sand and dunes for the kids to play hide and seek in.
The water is shallow and the bottom is sandy, and it doesn't get deep as quickly as in many other beaches, making it safe for the little swimmers in the family.
Those who do not want to jump in can use the wooden pier to spot crabs, little fish and maybe even sea stars under the water surface.
On windy days, Fjellerup Strand is also a great place for surfers.
The beach itself is surrounded by summer houses and campsites, giving the venue a cozy, holiday feel. There's a parking lot and bathrooms right by the beach.
Aside from the beautiful white sand and blue water, however, the real attraction here are the massive Danish ice cream cones of the Vaffelbageriet (waffle bakery) right by the beach.
If you wish to get a traditional Danish ice cream cone, you order your desired flavours of ice cream (as many as possible) with guf on top – a pink version of the stuff that's inside small chocolate covered cream cakes. And on top of that some strawberry jam.
The cliffs of Karlby & Sangstrup
If you want to see something really cool, head up the coast to the Northeast of Djursland – a little further up than the areas biggest town, Grenå, to check out the cliffs of Karlby and Sangstrup.
They are up to 17 meter tall coastal lime cliffs – making for a dramatic and beautiful scenery in any kind of weather. They stretch out for kilometres along the coast.
If there's a little archeologist hidden inside you, this is the right place for you – spend some time on the beach looking for fossils.
It's not unlikely that you find a petrified urchin among the vast amount of flint stones, for instance.
The cliffs aren't that known, so more often than not, you've got the beautiful view all or almost all to yourself.
Grenaa & the Kattegat Centre
If you feel like venturing out and exploring a bit of the area, Grenaa is a great place to visit.
It's Djurslands biggest town and it has plenty of cozy cafés, restaurants and shops for you to try out and go shopping in – among other things, it has plenty of nice little shops with local specialties.
If you want to learn more about Djursland and Eastern Jutland in general, head over to the Museum Østjylland (Eastern Jutland Museum) and check out the exciting exhibitions close to the city center.
Grenaa is also where you find the popular Kattegat Centre – an exciting aquarium and the right place to learn all about the ocean.
You can walk through a tunnel aquarium surrounded by sharks, see real life Nemos and Dories and learn about the underwater world in interactive exhibitions. There are more than 250 species of aquatic animals waiting for you at the Kattegatcentret.
If you prefer to explore the sea by swimming in it, there's a great family friendly beach in Grenå. It's very wide and long and it's the only beach on Djursland with a life guard tower.
There's also plenty of dunes to take cover at if the Danish weather happens to be a bit windy every now and then. They say it happens...
Adrenaline kicks and animal life
If you and the family are looking for a bit of an adrenaline kick, Djursland is the right place to go – there's fun parks, zoos and other exciting activities ad libitum.
Djurs Sommerland, for instance, is one of the biggest fun parks in the North, with more than 60 rides for children of all ages, a massive Aqua Park and Denmark's biggest roller coasters – and more are coming as we speak.
So how about a ride on the new DrageKongen (The Dragon King)? You drive up 30 metres, then dive down at 85km/h.
Or you can try Denmark's longest roller coaster, Juvelen (The Jewel) which arrives at the same speed.
Now you've gotten your adrenaline kick at Djurs Sommerland – how about a safari for your next day trip in the area?
At Ree Park Safari you get to go on Land Rover rides through the savannah and see giraffes, rhinos and other animals up close.
Or you can ride a steam train through the North American prairie and encounter moose, black bears and bisons.
Out here it's all about the animals and fascinating experiences for the entire family. Don't miss out on it!
A trip to the rainforest in Denmark
If you haven't gotten enough of exotic animals just yet, a very popular place to visit is Randers Regnskov (Randers' Rainforest) just west of Djursland.
It's a tropical zoo inviting you in for a major nature experience that gives you the feeling of being in the middle of the real rainforest. The climate is tropical, jaguars roam around, manatees swim in the water and monkeys jump around above you.
You can also explore the so-called snake temple from March to October, where pythons roam freely, or you can discover some of the beautiful butterflies flying around the South America dome.
Don't forget to stop by the huge nature playground DanmarksParken before you head back home.
Holiday homes on Djursland
Djursland is one of the greatest holiday destinations in Denmark and definitely worth a visit, whether you're a water sports enthusiast travelling on your own or you are bringing the entire family for an amazing summer holiday.
To make the planning easier for you, Campaya has collected a wide variety of holiday homes on Djursland – you can see them in our search engine, where you can quickly and easily book the one that suits your trip best.
If you need help finding the right holiday home, our customer service is ready help you any day of the week.
We wish you a great holiday!