Tag Archives: outdoors

Where to go sledding in Sønderborg

I have been quite disappointed in the winters we have had in Sønderborg the last two years. This year our oldest kid is 3 years old so he does enjoy snow.

Until the end of February all we really had was a few days of melting snow – just enough to make a snowman that quickly buckled under the temperatures a few days later.

But now – finally – as spring is officially starting in Denmark we get a decent dose of winter.

Where to find good hills for sledding

I asked on the excellent Facebook group Aktiviteter i Sønderborg (For børn) for suggestions for where to go sledding and received a lot of suggestions so I have added them to a map of sledding hills in Sønderborg (Kælkebakker i Sønderborg).

Which spot is your favourite? We have only tried one of these spots but will try and make it to some of them close to us.

If your favourite spot is not listed do write a comment or send us an email to let us know and we’ll add it.

If you are not in Sønderborg check out the Kælkebakke Kortet some areas of Denmark are quite well covered.

Chop your own Christmas tree


During December, especially during the weekend, you will see a lot of cars driving around with Christmas trees either on their roof or in trailers (or even in the car!). This to me is one of the ways that the arrival of Christmas in Denmark is marked, especially since in Malta we typically made do with plastic Christmas trees (and garish lighting…according to Michael!).

Since moving to Denmark I have made sure that we have a Christmas tree every year, even in the years we were not to spend Christmas in our own house. Previously we bought a ready-cut tree. However, since we now have our very own house we decided to ‘upgrade’ to a tree we chose and chopped down ourselves.

Where to chop down your own Christmas tree

Chopping down your own Christmas tree is called ‘Fæld selv’ in Danish. Driving around the countryside you will often find signs during late November/December pointing the way to places where you can do this. If you receive ‘Sonderborg Ugeavis‘ you can also find a page of adverts on one of the pages (on pg. 9 this week, but for some reason this page is missing on the online version). Otherwise, in general, most places are located on Kær, near Augustenborg, near Nordborg, in Syd Als and Vester Sottrup.

The Experience

We opted to go and look for our tree on Kær, since this was the closest to us. We borrowed a trailer from our lovely neighbour (an upgrade from putting the tree inside the car as we have previously done, and contending with tree needles all year round) and off we drove till we found a place close to the airport. We parked our car and walked to the Christmas tree field.

Christmas Tree Sønderborg

Once you arrive at the field you then have free reign to walk over the place till you identify the perfect tree for you. Everyone will have their own preferences…wide at the bottom, full on top, 2m high, 1 m wide or whatnot. We saw a perfect tree as soon as we walked in, but thought we’d look a bit further. Nevertheless, we returned to the first tree we saw!

And the tree is cut

Once you identify the perfect tree you can then pick up a saw and go at the tree trunk till the tree is free. You then drag it over to the field entrance, where the owner is there ready to take your money (200 DKK in this case) and also put your tree in a net to make it easier to carry. At the place we visited we also could get some cake and a tractor was there ready to carry you back to the car.

Christmas Tree Als

The result? A Christmas tree in our front room, all ready to be decorated, receive presents, and to be danced around in the coming days!

Sankt Hans (St. Johns Eve) 2014

Monday the 23rd of June 2014 the summer solstice is celebrated in Denmark with an event called Sankt Hans Aften – or St. Johns Eve. It is the day where the medieval wise men and women would gather special herbs that they needed for the rest of the year to cure people. The Danes often meet at outdoor bonfire venues. Here the bonfire with the witch on top is lit around 10 pm. Beforehand, a bonfire speech is often made.

Getting warm on the bonfire

Here is a list of the events we would recommend around Sonderborg 2014. The tourist office has compiled a complete list. Please leave a comment if there is any you think we are missing.

Idrætshøjskolen – Swinging bonfire

There is a swing jazz band playing inside the school. Starts at 20 bonfire at 21.

By the Marina – Family event

It is from 19-21 and labelled as a Family Event.
Rad more

Mølleparken – Local talents

Danish TV celebrity Bubber is the host. Local bands will play on stage. Music starts at 19 – main acts at 19.30 bonfire around 21.45. Read more

In front of Alsion – bonfire on the water

The symphony orchestra is playing a soldout midsummer concert inside. Afterwards entertainment should start outside Alsion. Bonfire on the water at 22.10 Read more

Universe – out of town

The theme park by Nordborg will stay open longer than usual. Reduced entrance cost from 16 onwards. Workshop for the first 100 kids. Bonfire speech at 20.45 – bonfire at 21. Park closes at 22. Read more

Be shown the way around nature

If nature is what you like the Sønderborg area probably suits you. There is a wide variety of natural features and environments that will probably keep you busy for quite a while. However, an issue you might have is that although you are happy to go out and explore, you want to learn more about what you are seeing.

If this is you, then Sønderborg kommune’s nature tours with a ‘naturvejleder’ could be your cup of tea. Once a month from February to November, nature leader Jesper Tofft leads a walking tour of around 2 hours in one of the kommune’s naturally interesting places.

Naturvejleder in Sonderborg

We joined him on the February tour around Mjels Sø. During the tour Jesper spoke about the birds (lots of people with binoculars), the trees, and the other animals and plants we were coming across. The information was interesting (though in Danish!). However, do we warned! There is not much walking and a lot of standing around listening and looking around. If this is not kind of thing, then do keep this in mind – especially on a cold day like the one we went on! I was frozen solid by the end.

Sculpture Garden by Augustenborg Palace


If you walk in front of the baroque palace in Augustenborg you might stumble on a charming garden where you can enjoy art for free.


Officially it goes by the name of Augustiana Skulpturpark og Kunstcenter Augustenborg but the day I was there the art centre was closed so that is for a future post. But the sculpture garden is worth a visit in it’s own right.


The sculpture garden is the second largest of it’s kind in Denmark and is home to about 100 sculptures. It moved here from Fyn together with the gallery owners Mette Buhl and Uffe Larsen.


The park sits in gorgeous setting at the edge of a forest right on the water by Augustenborg Fjord and with the palace in the background. A beautiful setting and a great place for a walk any time of the year.

Walking on Alsstien

There are many interesting paths for hiking around Als. One of them is “Alsstien” which runs along the east coast of the island. The path is close to the coast most of the way with some beautiful seascapes, going along pebble stone beaches, through beech forests and past ancient megaliths.

The whole path is around 73 km long and is in the official maps divided into three sections going from

All of Alsstien 73km hiking route from OSM

The path is in very varied terrain as the video further down will show. It is marked with blue signs with a white man. In places the route is not well marked and having the maps above at hand can be well worth it.

Together with two friends I decided to try and walk a section of the path. More precisely the section from Sarup in south to one of the shelters in Nørreskoven. We were not completely sure of how long this trip would be but expected it to be about 20-25km that we could cover in 4 hours.

View Hiking Alsstien (Nørreskoven) in a larger map

It turned out to be 18 km to the first shelter in Nørreskoven where we decided to stay for the night. The good thing about these shelters is that you do not need to bring a tent as you have a roof over your head. In our region the shelters offered by the kommune are mapped here.

Shelter in Nørreskoven

There is a small area were it is allowed to camp, a fireplace with a handy grill that can be raised and lowered according to the fire. When we arrived there was a family of about 10 people who had camped in tents on the grass area.

In the shelter a local drunk had already set up but there was still room so we decided to stay next to her which turned out to be a bad idea as she kept us awake most of the night.
All in all it was part of the experience and this was the view that greeted us as we woke up.

View from the shelter

We had thought of continuing the hike the next day but we were in for some heavy rain so rather than keep going we decided to backtrack a bit to a place were we could get picked up.

I shot some video from our hike. It’s in Danish and quite long but could be useful if you want to get an overview of the different landscapes along the route:

For more information about the path have a look at Britta from Blitzschuh’s account.

Bike on Motorway: Sonderborg - Kliplev

Bike Ride on the Motorway

We have previously written about the running race on the motorway but now the bike race has also been announced.

Bike on Motorway: Sonderborg - Kliplev


Sunday March 25th 2012 you have the chance to either cycle or walk on the motorway. There is a couple of different options.

  • For ‘the exercisers’ there is a cycle race with one or two loops on the motorway so either 48km or 96km. Price 100DKK
  • For families there is the option to cycle as far as you want. You cycle to a motorway exit of your choice and turn around. Price 50DKK
  • For walkers you can also walk as far as you want to an motorway exit of your choice and turn around. You will be walking in the emergency lane and dogs are not allowed. Price 40DKK Adult, Price 30DKK kids

Sønderborg Y’s Men Club will sell food and drinks in the start up area. For those who cycle it to the other end of the motorway by Kliplev there will be a tent with refreshments.

Signup is done by sending an email to motorvejslobet@cms-soenderborg.dk with names, addresses and age and you will get an email back with where to send the money.

Read more on Sonderborg Cycle Clubs website.

Go for a run on the motorway

You might think that going for a jog on the motorway is just shy of a suicide mission. But just before the cars are unleashed onto a brand new stretch of motorway from Kliplev to Sønderborg you and everybody else gets a chance to see the new road by their own propulsion.

DGI (Danish Sports Association) and 7 local sports organisations are organising a running race. There will be some for everyone with distances of 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon planned.

Back in 1998 when I was younger and fitter I ran a half marathon across the new bridge across Storebælt with around 35,000 other people. That’s something that I’m not going to do again, but I might try one of the short distances. Two years later in 2000 when the bridge across Øresund to Sweden opened some 80,000 people took part in that race.

The race will be held on Saturday March 24th 2012 and the organisers for the motorway race are expecting around 10,000 participants.

If you want to take part in this unique event keep an eye on the official website (motorvejsløbet.dk). You can sign up from tomorrow December 17th. There is a limit for the different distances and numbers are assigned on a first come first serve basis.

UPDATE #1: Sunday the 25th, the day after the runners have had their go cyclists and walkers  will get a chance to try out the brand new tarmac. Prices are not up but according to the local paper between 10am-12 on Sunday the more serious cyclists can cycle the 48km back and forth, from 12 to 2pm families and seniors can cycle and between 11am and 2pm you can go for a walk.

UPDATE #2: Will you be taking part? We have both signed up for the 5km race under the team name HejSonderborg.dk. Do join us – we need all the motivation we can get!

UPDATE #3 (29/12/2011): The 5km route have sold out. Still tickets left for 10km, half and full marathon.

UPDATE #4: DGI has created a Facebook event for the race. That way you can easily see if friends of yours are joining.

Photograph by Kliplev Motorway Group.

geese watching in west Denmark

Bird watching in Denmarks biggest National Park


An area in the southwestern corner of Denmark was declared Wadden Sea National Park, Denmark in 2010. The area is part of a larger ecological area also named Wadden Sea that stretches from Holland, through Germany to Esbjerg in Denmark. The German and Dutch parts are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage area.


The Wadden Sea is unique in its flatness, which means the area changes with the tide twice a day. Huge beaches are flooded with sea water rich in nutrients, which makes the area one of the most important areas in the world for migrating birds. It is estimated that 10-12 million birds migrate through the area as they migrate to Africa for winter and Scandinavia for summer. This makes it an excellent place to picnic for birds needing to fatten up before their long flights. Birds love the place but the area might seem barren, boring and monotonous with huge flat expanses with little vegetation.


Right now geese are in the area in the thousands and last weekend we went with my parents to see if we could spot them. And we did manage to find a couple of big flocks flying, ‘talking’ and eating in a couple of places. We did not see the huge flocks I was hoping for but still spotted a lot of birds.


In spring and fall huge flocks of starlings feed in the area for a couple of weeks and it has become such a big attraction that the few narrow roads in the area gets quite congested and the big groups of people disturb the birds. When the birds go to rest for the night they perform a “dance” which in Danish is called Sort Sol (literally Black Sun). The English term is Murmuration. Here’s one of the pictures we took last year:

Black Sun

I have dragged Ann to the area a couple of times now to look for birds but still she is not as awestruck as me at the spectacle of nature and open space. I was raised to admire and love the subtle miracles of nature in this often windswept and cold place but I guess it might be an acquired taste like herring and aquavit. However it’s not the last time we have come to this corner of Denmark and maybe some day Ann will be the one who spots the Peregrine Falcon or the pied avocet with excitement.

Ann with binoculars looking at birds

Below The Surface

Have you ever walked along the pier or across the bridge in Sonderborg and wondered what goes on below the surface of the water? To me the water usually looks dark, cold and inhospitable. But that’s not the case for the (crazy?) guys from Cold Blooded Divers. They seem to love the cold waters of Denmark and looking at some of their videos it seems like there is a world of colours and life to be explored below the surface. Here they dive around Sonderborg Castle:

Here is another video that starts off with pictures of a concrete barge getting sunk in Sonderborg harbour. The barge is 35 by 86 meters and has lots of hiding places for marine life. As they dive down to the barge you can see huge cods in the wreck:

There are diving clubs in Sonderborg, Nordborg and the Sports College in Sonderborg that all offer diving courses.

Ann already has a PADI certificate and I’m thinking of maybe trying to take a course when we go for a longer stay in Malta.