Experience South Jutland
As Denmark’s historic borderland, South Jutland is rich in opposing histories and unique culture. It's changed hands more than once over the centuries and you can sense that turbulence when you visit the region’s many diverse, historical sites.
The landscape is at odds with its difficult history and you’ll find South Jutland to be a gentle, open land, bordered by Little Belt beaches to the east and the Wadden Sea National Park to the west. Today, Flensburg Fjord acts as a natural border with Germany, but there is no longer a physical border to cross.
Southern Jutland is, in all senses, a borderland. Its tumultuous history has marked the languages, food, and lifestyle of Southern Jutland in a way unparalleled by any other region of Denmark. The area’s ancient castle towns and villages each carry their own charm. Southern Jutland boasts a wide variety of natural diversity from the harsh Wadden Sea in the west, to the mild landscape of Als in the east. Southern Jutland’s attractions include both relaxed and highly active experiences.
Try seal watching
The Wadden Sea and the wetlands are not just flat marshy meadows but are also ideal spots for seal watching in summer, and also play host to the yearly wonder of starling murmurations in late summer and early fall. Given that the Wadden Sea presents a veritable buffet for birds, it is no wonder that thousands of ducks, geese, and wading birds choose to make it their home for most of the year.
In addition to its unique natural beauty, the western part of Southern Jutland contains amazing cultural and historical sights, such as Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town, and Tønder, a former maritime provincial town. The castle town of Møgeltønder is also a must-see.
Shallow inlets and small islands characterise the eastern coast of Southern Jutland. The inland hills are covered with forests large and small, as well as open fields dotted with stone dolmens and passage graves: a testament to the long history of rich soil in this area.
Aabenraa was originally a fishing village but over time has become an important maritime trade centre. Haderslev, Gråsten, Sønderborg, and Augustenborg all sprang up around a fortress or a castle. The Moravian Church city of Christiansfeld, with its honey cakes and Denmark’s only gender segregated cemetery, is also worth a visit.
Visit Ribe Viking Centre
Southern Jutland boasts a variety of museums with activities for the whole family. Ribe Viking Centre includes a ”living” Viking market and archery enactment. You can also try your hand at digging for fossils at the Gram Lergrav pit at the Natural History and Paleontology Museum or experience Denmark’s pivotal 1864 war at Dybbøl Banke.
The quintessential, opulent Southern Jutland ”kaffebord” (”coffee table”) with homemade cake in abundance is something that you simply must treat yourself to. A true ”kaffebord” must include seven soft cakes (tarts and layer cakes) and seven hard cakes (biscuits). The following locations serve the ”kaffebord”: Dyvig Badehotel, Oldemorstoft, Fruens Vilje, Gram Slot, Krusmølle, Den Gamle Kro in Gråsten, Hohenwarte, and Kommandørgården. It’s a good idea to book well in advance.
Photo: ©Lars Roed
Photo: Niclas Jessen
Get in touch with history and nature
Top 10 activities in South Jutland
- Biking along the Wadden Sea, and make sure to combine your trip with watching the starling murmuration or going oyster hunting if you’re visiting in autumn
- Hiking along the 74 km Gendarmsti path from Flensborg Fjord to Sønderborg Bugt
- Taking a bike ride on the Tunneldal paths in Haderslev
- Swimming or hiking on the vacation island of Rømø
- Fishing at Varnæs
- Mountain biking in the woods around Aabenraa
- Cruising the fjords of Southern Jutland: Als Fjord, Aabenraa Fjord, Haderslev Fjord
- Visiting the east coast beaches: Kærneland on Als and Hejsager Strand
- Enjoying a kid-friendly bike trip on Årø (bikes available for rent on the island)
- Kayaking on Alssund