Head out into the untouched dunes, twisted forests and traditional seaside villages of Denmark's wildest national park. You'll easily see why the local rhythms and traditions in and around Thy National Park are shaped by the powerful North Sea, at places like Cold Hawaii and Stenbjerg.
We’ll just get the obvious out of the way first of all… Thy National Park is beautiful. It is a national park after all! It’s also peaceful, in a wild and windswept kind of way. But what makes Thy National Park unique is surely the way you can get up close to the traditional rhythms of the coastal communities here and come away with an understanding of what it means to thrive in a place shaped by wind and water.
Thy National Park is Denmark’s oldest national park, a rugged coastal wilderness where you can explore over 200km² of trails on foot or by bike, through sandswept forests, dramatic dunes and wide sandy beaches. You can also drive to many of Thy’s most impressive sights and attractions or saddle up and explore on horseback. The park is free, open all day, every day, and easy to cover in one visit.
The national park is home to an abundance of wildlife enjoying the untouched landscape. Keep an eye out for red deer, Denmark’s largest terrestrials’ mammals, who roam the park freely, or go to the seaside to spot common seals chilling out on the beach. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a white-tailed eagle or a crane. A good place to spot all of these animals is called the mountain, and has a stunning view of Nors Lake, the dune heath, and numerous red and roe deer.
At the historic fishing village of Stenbjerg inside Thy National Park, you can head out to sea with local guides and fishermen like Bent Quaade (pictured). They know the waters of this stretch of the North Sea like the back of their hands, as well as the natural rhythms of the national park. And at the end of a successful day on the waves, you can head to historic Stenbjerg Kro, an old Danish inn overlooking the sea, to sample the catch of the day.
If you’re looking to head out on your own, consider fishing at one of the 200 lakes situated in Thy National Park. Some lakes have free fishing while others require a fishing day pass and fishing license.
Go on a delicacy hunt through the dune plantations and discover nature’s natural treats. Thy National Park offers a collection of mushroom and berries, such as boletuses, chanterelles, cranberries, blackberries and whortleberries. Turn those berries into delicious jam, or enjoy them together with some freshly-caught fish, and a locally-brewed beer, for a traditional taste of Thy.
Camping in the wilderness of Thy is an outdoor adventure in its own league. A number of shelters have been put up in the forests of the national park, and several areas are available for camping, such as Hvidbjerg Plantation. Explore other shelter experiences, or figure out exactly where to put up your tent for an unforgettable night of stargazing and the sound of the wild.
Cold Hawaii at Klitmøller is part of Thy National Park and is Denmark’s centre for extreme watersports. The North Sea provides ideal conditions for kite surfers and surfers alike, and powerful ocean streams create mighty waves. If it’s one of those rare still days, paddle boarding is the perfect second option for a good day out on the water.
Get a close up view of the beauty and wild landscape from the seat of a bike or on foot. The national park has mountain bike routes of six to ten kilometres, ranging in difficulty from beginners to advanced. The routes have been marked with red pillars, pictograms and arrows. Other cycling routes include the West Coast Cycle route, as well as routes around the stunning areas near Flade Lake, Øsrum Lake and Vandet Lake. It’s the perfect place for a Danish cycling adventure, in a relaxed or adventurous and action-packed way. Bike rentals are available at multiple locations in and around Thy.
If you’d rather hike, guided tours offer a worry-free and relaxed experience, or you can follow your own path with help from the AllTrails app. The main hiking trail, the West Coast Trail, runs from Agger to Bulbjerg and covers almost all of Thy National park. It’s a 93.8km long trail and calls for a good 5-day adventure. Sleep at small campsites or in shelters along the way.
Eat freshly-caught fish in Hanstholm or Stenbjerg,two historical fishing communities, visit Klitmøller for an action-filled day of surfing or kitesurfing, or experience the small town vibe of Agger close to Flade and Øsrum lake. From here you can make a small trip up to Lodbjerg and visit one of Jutland’s well-known lighthouses.