Guide: 72 hours in and around Hornsherred
Hornsherred and the surrounding area are ideal if you enjoy unspoilt nature and the presence of history with unique local food experiences on the way. With royal halls, endless tree-lined avenues, idyllic castles and ancient monuments – all close to the fjord, the delights of Hornsherred await you.
Take the avenue back to ancient times
Your trip starts with a beautiful drive of almost 7 kilometres along Northern Europe’s longest avenue, Ledreborg Allé. This is also going to be the part of the Tour de France cycling route in the summer 2022. Planned by the architect behind Ledreborg Castle, Lauritz De Thurah, it was originally planned to go all the way to Roskilde.
Continue down the avenue until you reach the open-air museum, Land of Legends, in Lejre with its ancient landscapes, boats fashioned from tree trunks and knowledgeable Viking women and iron age men ready to take you on an unforgettable trip back to Denmark’s earliest times.
Don’t miss out on a visit to the newly built Viking King’s Hall at the Land of Legends. This is a reconstruction of the biggest royal hall known from Viking times in Denmark and it is an impressive testimony to the architecture and craftsmanship of that time.
Explore ancient monuments in Gammel Lejre
In and around the village of Gammel Lejre, you have the unique opportunity to explore many ancient monuments. According to legend, the area around Lejre was originally inhabited by the Scylding dynasty – the descendants of King Skjold, son of Odin. In the iron age and Viking times Lejre was a real power centre and it is known in myths as the cradle of Danish civilisation. Read more about Lejre Museum.
Experience the 100-metre-long stone ship from around 900 AD, stand in the excavated royal halls that were used for ceremonial festivities or admire one of Denmark’s best preserved burial mounds, Mysselhøj.
In Lejre, you’ll find a number of gastronomic companies that are well worth visiting – and tasting! For example, start from Lejre Station and walk 1.5 kilometres down the beautiful Skjoldungestien path to Hegnsholt farm.
Here you can visit a working organic farm that has chickens in portable coops, families of pigs fed with mash from the local brewery. And of course, there’s a farm shop.
Then make your way to the local brew; Herslev Brewery, which is the perfect start for a hike in the area.
Before you set out on your hike, fill up on freshly made sandwiches at the brewery and get a print out of your route – choose between 3, 5 or 21 kilometres. These routes take you to places like Herslev beach or Kornerup stream that is crossed by pulling yourself to the other side on a small rope ferry. Then when you return, you can enjoy a well-deserved rest at the long tables in the brewery’s taproom and one of the 11 refreshing beers on tap.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the world champion in chocolate, Mikkel Friis-Holm is Herslev Brewery’s neighbour. Mikkel has won so many international prizes for his chocolate that we’ve stopped counting! Be sure to pay him a visit and taste the very best in chocolate.
Botanic hike in the Ejby river valley
End the day with a fantastic hike through the Ejby River Valley beautifully located by Isefjord. This ice age landscape, created by the movement of melting ice 15,000 years ago, is considered one of Denmark’s best botanical locations. If you arrive by car, park by the Ådalen Conference Centre.
Don’t forget to take a short stop on the way to the river valley in the area called “Dejligheden”, meaning loveliness in English. This hilly area is part of the so-called Sjælland Alps. With slopes of 40-50 metres you can enjoy spectacular views of the peninsular and inlet.
Here you’ll find Butik & Café Dejlighed, a shop and café in beautiful countryside where you can enjoy coffee, cakes, tapas and ice cream in peaceful tranquility as you take in one of Denmark’s most beautiful views.
Baroque beauty and noble decline
Start the day with a true riches to rags tale of great wealth and subsequent decline at at Selsø Castle in the northern end of the National Park Skjoldungernes Land.
Since the 1570s, this castle has been home to a number of noble families. But from 1829 and for the following 150 years, its inhabitants were rather less refined. During this period, the castle’s rooms were used to store corn, breed pheasants, provide space for a dog kennel and for drying clothes by the estate’s employees.
Today Selsø castle is a living museum, carefully restored with a moat, high-ceilinged baroque halls and impressive wall paintings.
From Selsø castle, head to the jetty ‘Møllekrogen’ via Selsø Church.
A paradise for bird lovers
Take a walk down the 2-kilometre path and into a paradise for bird lovers with lots of lookout towers and places to observe the local birdlife.
Many different species breed in the area around Selsø lake and if you bring your binoculars, you have a good chance of seeing ospreys, red kites, peregrine falcons and local sea eagles.
In the summer the National Park Skjoldungernes Land has canoes available to borrow free of charge so you can enjoy the birds and the fjord landscape from the water.
Svanholm – communal, organic and pioneering
In the heart of Hornsherred, you’ll find Svanholm, Denmark’s largest intentional community or commune, and one of the pioneers behind the spread of organic produce in Denmark.
Today the majority of the community’s 80 adults work on Svanholm farm that produces milk and lots of different vegetables for the commune’s own use and for sale.
Join a guided tour, have lunch at the café and enjoy organic treats fresh from the farm.
Follow the ice cream Milky Way
In Hornsherred, you’ll also find the alternative Milky Way that ends up at the ice cream maker Hansens Is. Every morning the Hansens Is milk van collects fresh organic milk from Svanholm and drives back to the dairy where the fresh milk is turned into fresh ice cream – just like in the old days.
Take a drive along this Milky Way route and enjoy some cool refreshment in the Hansens Is ice cream café. Try an ice cream covered in chocolate from the world champion in chocolate Mikkel Friis-Holm, a slice of ice cream cake, or traditional Danish soft ice cream with home-made nougat topping and much, much more.
End the day with a dip in the fjord
If you’ve still got time, we warmly recommend a final stop by Kulhuse beach and harbour. Here you can enjoy the tranquil beauty of a view across one of Denmark’s most stunning fjord landscapes.
This is also where you’ll find Isefjord’s best beach for swimming. Get sand between your toes and cool off in the fjord in water that’s calm but quickly becomes deep enough for swimming.
Wild, wilder, Willumsen
Magnificent, colourist, often bizarre and difficult to categorise.
These are just some of the ways to describe the many facets of the work of Jens Ferdinand Willumsen. He was a multidisciplinary artist considered to have made significant contributions to the Danish modernism movement through his main works in the late 19th century.
In Willumsen’s Museum, dedicated to his work, you step into a world that challenges shape and colour and where painting as a material is reinvented through Willumsen’s entirely personal style.
Food to go or to linger over
Following the vibrant brush strokes and colour explosions of Willumsen, it’s time for a food stop. If you fancy classic open-faced Danish sandwiches with a high level of service and a stunning fjord view, we highly recommend a visit to either Toldboden restaurant in Frederiksund’s old toll booth, or Restaurant Kalvø.
You can also make your way to Hos Vivi , a café that serves food your Danish grandmother would make without fuss or frills. Or if you are more interested in tasty sandwiches and great baked goods to go, pay a visit to Frederiksund’s cosiest and funkiest coffee bar, Ærligt.
Jægerspris Castle and the 1,000-year-old oak trees
The next stop on your trip is Jægerspris Castle that was owned by the royal family from the late 1600s to 1848 when the absolute monarchy in Denmark came to an end.
The castle was used by Countess Danner for a number of years and in 1867 she started a children’s home here that is still going strong today. Enjoy an ice-cream in the local ice-cream parlour and visit the castle grounds that are open to the public. Here you can see Countess Danner’s burial monument, a number of memorial stones and the Danner Oak, grafted from Northern Europe’s oldest oak tree, the King Oak.
If you want to see the King Oak itself, thought to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old, park your car by Skoven Church. To help you find its exact location in the forest, you can buy a map from the cultural centre Rejsestalden or at Jægerspris Castle. This shows the path through the Nordskov forest to the King Oak. You can also find the remains of Stork Oak (Storkeegen) and the Twisted Oak (Snoegen), two other ancient trees thought to be over 1,000 years old.
Child-friendly paddling at Vester Strand beach
At Vester Strand beach, you can kick off your shoes and paddle in the fjord. This child-friendly sandy beach is 680-metres long with a small jetty that makes it easy to take a refreshing dip in the fjord.
The water is generally calm and ideal for small children to play by the water.
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