Must see attractions in Northern Jutland

  • Top ChoiceSights in Skagen

    Grenen

    Appropriately enough for such a neat and ordered country, Denmark doesn’t end untidily at its most northerly point, but on a neat finger of sand just a few metres wide. You can actually paddle at its tip, where the waters of the Kattegat (an arm of the Baltic Sea) and Skagerrak (part of the North Sea) clash, and you can put one foot in each sea – but not too far. Bathing here is forbidden because of the ferocious tidal currents. The tip is the culmination of a long, curving sweep of sand at Grenen, about 3km northeast of Skagen along Rte 40. Where the road ends there’s a car park (12kr per hour), an excellent restaurant and a small art gallery. From the car park the 20-minute walk up the long, sweeping stretch of sand passes the grave of writer Holger Drachmann (1846–1908). The tractor-pulled bus, the Sandormen, can take you out to the point; it leaves from the car park at Grenen from 10am daily and runs regularly all day, according to demand.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Skagen

    Skagens Museum

    This wonderful gallery showcases the outstanding art that was produced in Skagen between 1870 and 1930. Artists discovered Skagen's luminous light and its wind-blasted heath-and-dune landscape in the mid-19th century and fixed eagerly on the romantic imagery of the area’s fishing life that had earned the people of Skagen a hard living for centuries. Their work established a vivid figurative style of painting that became known internationally as the 'Skagen School'. Painters such as PS Krøyer and Anna and Michael Ancher followed the contemporary fashion of painting en plein air (out of doors). PS Krøyer’s work is quite incredible, particularly his efforts to ‘paint the light’. He was particularly transfixed by the ‘blue hour’, the transition between day and night, when the sky and the sea seem to merge into each other in the same shade of blue. Overall, the paintings here evoke a sense of place and demonstrate a real community of artists in Skagen who worked and played together. The gallery also houses the former dining room of Brøndums Hotel, one-time hang-out of many of the Skagen artists. The portrait-filled room was moved in its entirety in 1946 from the hotel across the road. A combination ticket (180kr) gets you admission to Skagens Museum plus nearby Anchers Hus and Drachmanns Hus. The museum is also home to a fetching cafe and gift shop.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Aalborg

    Lindholm Høje

    The Limfjord was a kind of Viking motorway providing easy, speedy access to the Atlantic for longboat raiding parties. It’s not surprising, then, that the most important piece of Aalborg’s historical heritage is a predominantly Viking one. The atmospheric Lindholm Høje is a Viking burial ground where nearly 700 graves from the Iron Age and Viking Age are strewn around a hilltop pasture ringed by a wall of beech trees. Many of the Viking graves are marked by stones placed in the oval outline of a Viking ship, with two larger end stones as stem and stern. At the end of the Viking era the whole area was buried under drifting sand and thus preserved until modern times. Lindholm Høje Museet adjoins the site and explains its history, and has displays on finds made during its excavation. Murals behind the exhibits speculate on how the people of Lindholm lived. Lindholm Høje is 15 minutes north of central Aalborg via bus 13. With your own wheels, head north from the centre over Limfjordsbroen to Nørresundby, and follow the signs.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Aalborg

    Waterfront

    The Aalborg waterfront promenade, extending east from Limfjordsbroen, is a great example of urban regeneration, taking what was a scruffy dockside area and opening it up to locals. Here you’ll find restaurants, a park, playground, basketball courts and moored boats (including an old ice-breaker, now a restaurant-bar). One of the best features is the Aalborg Havnebad, a summertime outdoor pool that lets you take a dip in the Limfjord. East of the Utzon Center there's more new development, including university buildings and smart, low-cost housing for the city's growing student population. The latest addition is the shiny new Musikkens Hus, a first-class, futuristic-looking concert hall.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Aalborg

    Kunsten

    Housed in a stunning white-marble building designed by the great Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, Kunsten is Aalborg's high-quality museum of modern art. The building's light-filled interior complements a fine collection of predominantly Danish works and changing exhibitions. Lovely grounds and a smart cafe make it an easy place to spend some time. To get to Kunsten, take the tunnel beneath the train station, which emerges into Kildeparken, a green space with statues and water fountains. Go directly through the park, cross Vesterbro and continue through a wooded area to the museum, about a 12-minute walk in all. Alternatively, take bus 15.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Aalborg

    Utzon Center

    This impressive 700-sq-metre design and architecture space, with its distinctive silver roofscape, sits pretty on the waterfront. It's the last building designed by celebrated Danish architect, Jørn Utzon (1918–2008), who famously designed the Sydney Opera House. Utzon grew up in Aalborg and died shortly after the eponymous centre was finished. The centre hosts a changing program of exhibitions on architecture and design – if you're not a huge design buff, you might consider the admission price a little steep. There’s also a high-quality restaurant here.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Skagen

    Gammel Skagen

    There’s a touch of Cape Cod in refined Gammel Skagen ('Old Skagen', also known as Højen), renowned for its gorgeous sunsets, upmarket hotels and well-heeled summer residents. It was a fishing hamlet before sandstorms ravaged this windswept area and forced many of its inhabitants to move to Skagen on the more protected east coast. It’s a pleasant bike ride 4km west of Skagen: head towards Frederikshavn and turn right at Højensvej, which takes you to the waterfront.

  • Sights in Skagen

    Den Tilsandede Kirke

    The 'sand-covered church', built during the late 14th century, was once the region's biggest church. It fell victim to a sand drift that began in the 17th century and became progressively worse – so much so that churchgoers eventually had to dig their way in. In 1795 the relentless sand drift broke the will of the congregation and the church was closed. The main part of the church was torn down in 1810 but the photogenic whitewashed tower still stands. The tower and the surrounding area comprise part of Skagen Klitplantage, a nature reserve. It’s about 5km south of Skagen and well signposted from Rte 40. The nicest way to get here is by bike; take Gamle Landevej from Skagen.

  • Sights in Skagen

    Råbjerg Mile

    Denmark’s largest expanse of drifting sand dunes, Råbjerg Mile is an amazing natural phenomenon. These undulating, 40m-high hills are fun to explore and almost big enough to lose yourself in. The dunes were formed on the west coast during the great sand drift of the 16th century and have purposefully been left in a migratory state (moving towards the forest at a rate of 15m per year). The dunes leave a moist layer of sand behind, stretching westwards to Skagerrak. Råbjerg Mile is 16km southwest of Skagen, signposted off Rte 40 on the road to Kandestederne. It’s about 4km from Hulsig station, on the Frederikshavn–Skagen train line. Summer bus 99 stops here.

  • Sights in Skagen

    Anchers Hus

    Time stands still at the atmospheric former home of renowned Skagen painters Anna and Michael Ancher, its interiors unchanged since Anna Ancher's passing in 1935. You can inspect the family's personal possessions and around 250 works of art from Scandinavian, German, Dutch and British artists. The venue also includes a cafe, small shop and separate gallery for temporary exhibitions. A combination ticket (adult/child 180kr/free) gets you admission to Skagens Museum and Drachmanns Hus.

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Budolfi Domkirke

    This 12th-century cathedral marks the centre of the old town and its elegant carillon can be heard every hour, on the hour. Its whitewashed interior creates an almost Mediterranean ambience. As you enter the cathedral from Algade, look up at the foyer ceiling to see colourful frescoes from around 1500. The interior boasts some beautifully carved items, including a gilded baroque altar and a richly detailed pulpit.

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Aalborg Zoo

    Teeming with feathered, furry and four-legged friends, it’s no surprise this zoo is one of Denmark’s most popular. Some 1200 animals call it home, including tigers, zebras, elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees, penguins, and brown and polar bears. It’s southwest of the city and can be reached by bus 11; closing times vary, so check the website.

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Gråbrødrekloster Museet

    This underground museum allows you to step off one of Aalborg’s busiest shopping streets to explore the life of a Franciscan friary in medieval times. Entry is via an elevator outside Salling department store on Algade; the museum is free to enter, but you pay to ride the elevator (40kr per group).

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Langes Gård

    The neighbourhood around Vor Frue Kirke is worth a wander, particularly the cobbled L-shaped street of Hjelmerstald. Halfway down the street is Langes Gård, a courtyard full of fun sculptures and ceramics, with a showroom and workshop too.

  • Sights in Skagen

    Skagen Odde Naturcenter

    In a beautiful Utzon-designed building on the northern outskirts of town, this centre gives an insight into the natural elements that surround Skagen and make it unique. It's pricey, but worth a visit if you're into architecture. There are also changing art exhibitions, and family activities.

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Nordkraft

    Once a power station, this cultural centre is home to a theatre, concert venue, art-house cinema, gallery, fitness centre, plus a couple of eateries. The small tourist office is also here, so it’s worth popping in to see what’s happening.

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Lindholm Høje Museet

    This museum adjoins the Lindholm Høje Viking burial site and explains its history, and has displays on archaeological finds made during its excavation. Murals behind the exhibits speculate on how the people of Lindholm lived.

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Aalborg Historiske Museum

    Just west of Budolfi Domkirke is the town's history museum, with artefacts from prehistory to the present, and furnishings and interiors that hint at the wealth Aalborg’s merchants enjoyed during the Renaissance.

  • Sights in Skagen

    Skagen Kystmuseet

    Evocatively presented, this open-air museum, 200m southwest of the harbour, depicts Skagen’s maritime history and gives an insight into the traditional fishing community that so transfixed the Skagen artists (but without the romanticism!).

  • Sights in Aalborg

    Helligåndsklostret

    An alley off CW Obels Plads leads to the rambling Monastery of the Holy Ghost, which dates from 1431 and is home to some fascinating frescoes. The interior can only be visited on a guided tour (conducted in Danish and English).