Go Green: Conquer the Danish “Sky Mountain”
Having travelled a lot in mountainous regions like Scotland, Spain and Switzerland, I like to tell the story of Denmark’s “Sky Mountain” when I talk to other travellers.
Its name gives the impression of a mountaineers dream. A mountain to dwarf giants like Matterhorn and Everst, but trust me – it’s not! Denmark is (almost) flat as a pancake and is far from our Scandinavian neighbour Norway landscape-wise. But we do have our hills, and “The Sky Mountain” (Himmelbjerget in Danish) is one of the highest, reaching 147 meters centrally in Jutland (Jylland) – which is the continental part of Denmark connected to Germany.
I hadn’t conquered the “mountain” myself until a roadtrip last week, but I wanted to check it out and also to show my Spanish girlfriend one of Denmark’s greatest natural areas – and it really is. As you might have realized by now, reaching the top is a walk in the park. You simply drive all the way up – or almost – fromwhere you walk the last 10 minutes to the peak.
Here the hill is topped by a 25 meter high red brick tower, built as a memorial to the Danish King Frederik 7th and inaugurated in 1875. A tower that can be visited for a small fee – offering even better views to the surrounding landscape of lakes, hills and forrests.
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The views are really great, but so is the surrounding area which is perfect for hiking, combining hills and the paths through the forrest below the hill – and leading down to the lake from where the tour boats sail to the nearby cities Ry and Silkeborg. The fleet consists of several different boats, but most famous is the steam boat named Hjejlen, which is based in Silkeborg and has been transporting tourists here since 1861. A main tourist attraction for this area.
After a lovely walk along a circular hiking route we had a look to the “peak area” near the tower, where you can find several souvenir shops, a restaurant and a kiosk/grill where you can join in on the Danish culinary tradition of hotdogs and soft ice cream. You will also find a visitor center where you can get more inspiration to the region and its cities.
We continued our day-trip to Silkeborg, which is the 14th biggest city in Denmark and highly connected to the surrounding lake district. The city center itself is definitely worth exploring too, with a nice network of pedestrian shopping-streets and plenty of options for a coffee break.
We just had a couple of hours, but got to enjoy an ice cream near the headquarters of ‘Hjejlen’ and a stroll through the heart of the city, where Yerst Glas in Tværgade was a nice surprise. A glassblowing workshop where you can see artisan glass products come to life and maybe get yourself a unique Danish design souvenir to bring home.
Himmelbjerget might not be as impressive in height as its name would suggest, but the surrounding lake district is definitely a peak in Danish tourism and deserves a more thorough exploration.
I’ll be back!