Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

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Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby looserlama » 5 Feb 2015, 5:08pm


This summer I'm planning a trip across Europe, and one of the legs will be going up from around Luxembourg to the tip of Denmark. I'm planning on going up from Luxembourg (or Trier) to Brake on the Fietsweb Ring 1 and then up to Hirtshals on the Jutland Route. So that's Luxembourg to Koblenz then over to Kassel, then up to Brake right above Bremen, over to Glückstadt, up to around Flensburg, across to Ribe, then north to Silkeborg, Aalborg and finally Hirtshals.

I had a few questions for people who have done parts of this, or biked in some of the areas I'll be going through:

1. Are there any important/dangerous things I should be careful about in these regions?
For example, weather: like the Mistral in France, or the heat in central Spain, or dangerous wildlife?

2. Are these regions generally considered bike-friendly?
Are there good bike roads, or small roads with very low traffic? Are drivers considerate of bikers?
I've heard that Denmark is pretty bike friendly, but I'm not sure about northern Germany?

3. Are there many campgrounds around? And is wild camping acceptable in these regions?
Are there any particular resources you have used to find campsites in those regions?

4. Do you have any route recommendations?
I can't really change the areas we'll be biking, but if there are specific places somewhat along the way that you have found that are particularly spectacular or interesting in some way (unique culture or scenery for ex.), I would love to hear about them!

Thanks for any and all help or advice you can give me!

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Re: Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby JJF » 5 Feb 2015, 10:12pm

Hello looserlama,
I have cycled on assorted parts of your proposed route but not all of it.

First of all your general questions about the nature of the region.
There are no wild animals or fearsome meteorological problems. You certainly won't experience heat like in Spain. In the vicinity of the North Sea coast the wind can be very strong. My experiences of it suggest that it tends to blow from the south/west so it could be to your advantage in travelling northwards. Hopefully other cyclists will add their comments.

As to your proposed route:
Germany is a cycle friendly country and you will find good cycle paths, sometimes beside main roads.
There is a smooth, level cycle path beside the river Mosel from Trier to Koblenz. The river follows a winding course.

I haven't cycled Koblenz to Kassel but I have cycled Osnabruck, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven. It's all relatively flat countryside with good cycling paths or minor roads.

You are right in saying that Denmark is cycle friendly. I have crossed your probable route but have no particular recommendations. I have no experience of camping. When I was last in Denmark, 15 years ago, Bed and Breakfast accommodation wasn't as common as in the UK. Many people, but not all, speak English

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Re: Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby foxyrider » 6 Feb 2015, 3:03pm

Its a bit up and down Koblenz to Kassel - surprisingly so in places! As has been mentioned there are plenty of cycle routes across Germany and up into Denmark. There isn't much, if any opportunity for wild camping on your route. In Denmark food and accomodation is expensive and you will need a Danish camping carnet to use most camp grounds, its cheap and can be bought at the first overnight or online before you go - similar arrangements exist in the rest of Scandinavia.

There is plenty of camping on the Mosel, camping at Koblenz is opposite the Deutches Eck. There are camping opportunities up through Germany but they can be sparse in some areas (south east of Bremen for example).The camping for Flensburg is just over the border at Krusa, a busy site popular with tourist traffic. The best sites up through Schleswig Holstein are on the coasts and adjacent to the fjords/lakes.

Cochem on the Mosel then the Deutches Eck in Koblenz are essential stops, depending on your route you might want to stop at Limburg and Battenburg on the way across Hesse. Don't miss Herkules at Kassel - great views over the city and an interesting ride down to the centre! You might head up through Hameln of Pied Piper fame as you go north. Schleswig is most likely on your way after you cross the Elbe and a stop at Heddeby Viking centre is worth breaking your journey for. Depending on your route through Denmark you might visit Ribe (more Viking stuff and one of Denmarks oldest cities) and some other nice museums further north.
Convention? what's that then?
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Re: Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby Nigel Laverick » 8 Feb 2015, 9:21pm

Beware of German cycle paths. I rode down the Mosel to Koblenz and then struck north to cross the Elbe west of Hamburg. I was on a good touring bike with new top spec wheel bearings on hand built wheels but the cycle paths bust my rear bearings. The paths have bumps every 2m or so where the tarmac rises over the underlying concrete joints, worse still are the dips which are impossible to see. I was driven mad by the constant bump , bump , bump ... it is impossible to keep a constant speed. In towns you are expected to ride on the cycle 'pavements' but there is always a big drop off where these meet a road . If you go on the road the motorists will carve you up at speed and blast their horns as they pass, it is now legal to ride on the roads but no one has told the motorists. The signposting on the cycle paths is crap, they signpost the next small village which will not be on your map and never signpost the next significant town it can be really hard to find your way on. I've toured in virtually every European and Scandanavian country and will not return to Germany.
Wild camping in Germany is ok but try to get out of sight. The Danes do not allow or like wild camping. Danish campsites cost about £10 a night and have fantastic facilities ,( campers kitchens , campers lounges , toilet blocks which wouldn't disgrace a 4 star hotel) and are well worth using. Danish cycle paths are great , watch out for the coastal route 1 , some of the paths are not surfaced. If you self cater Denmark is not expensive.

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Re: Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby Vorpal » 8 Feb 2015, 9:51pm

This thread has advice about camping in Denmark, and links to other threads. viewtopic.php?f=16&t=81692

Denmark is a very nice place to cycle. Drivers are considerate of cyclists and leave plenty of space. On the main roads near ferry ports (Hirtshals is one), many of the drivers are not Danish, nor as careful around cyclists. I've not had any real problems, but it can be quite shocking after miles of cycling serenity :shock:

Food will be less expensive in Denmark if you can buy as local as possible. Ask for recommendations, and buy your food in shops and markets reather than restaurants. There are often bargains (relative) to be had among the precooked and deli foods at supermarkets.
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Re: Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby iviehoff » 9 Feb 2015, 3:47pm

Wild camping is illegal in Germany and Denmark (and England and Wales for that matter). Germany is the kind of country where passing strangers berate you for the smallest social deviance, like not parking your car straight in an empty car park. Though a German tells me that there is a certain tolerance of wild camping if you are sensible about it, but it may be easier in more wooded areas further south. Alastair Humphreys wild camped across Germany and only got into trouble when he chose to camp in a large city park. My wife cycled in Denmark and found wild camping simply impractical.

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Re: Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby pstallwood » 9 Feb 2015, 6:17pm

Agree about Danish campsites and facilities. We were there last summer and in most you would only need to provide your own food, plate, mugs and cutlery as everything else you would need to prepare a meal was there. Some of the kitchens would put my home one to shame with multiple ovens, microwaves and hobs.

I wasn't cycling but the roads are good and of course there is nothing much in the way of hills in the country. Car speeds on country roads are generally lower than here and drivers rarely exceed speed limits. Drivers are very alert to cyclists who often have right of way at junctions - vehicles turning right have to be very aware that a cyclist may be coming up the inside and going straight on. We were in a taxi turning right at a roundabout and I wondered why the driver had stopped on the roundabout - he was giving way to a cyclist going straight on and coming up on the cycle path.

If you go to Copenhagen stop at the campsite inside the fort at Charlottenlund and cycle in to the city - much quicker than the bus on a wide cycle path - ninjas were using it and flying along overtaking all the mummies with the kids in trailers or upfront in a tricycle type thing.

Whilst we did not go to Hirtshals we were up around there and stopped at Skagen and walked out to the tip to see where the North Sea and the Baltic meet.

Virtually everybody you meet will speak English to a very high standard - just as well as I broke my ankle whilst there and everybody at the hospital was fluent in English. Unfortunately I can tell you that the Danish health service is excellent!


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Re: Northern Germany and Denmark (Trier to Hirtshals)

Postby looserlama » 3 Mar 2015, 11:55pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone! It sounds like this part of the trip will be a breeze!

I'll definitely get a Danish camping carnet, that sounds really useful!

Thanks so much for all your help!