The Ancient Road: From Viborg to Jelling, 7 days
Magnificent scenery and compelling history make The Ancient Road a very special walking experience. The route goes along the Jutland glacial ridge from the cathedral city of Viborg to the royal town of Jelling, both historical highlights of the ancient thoroughfare. You walk through some of the most beautiful Danish landscapes with hills and valleys, fields and meadows, lakes and streams, forests and meadows. Along the way, staying at inns, hotels and bed and breakfasts. Your luggage will be driven to the next accommodation, so you can enjoy the walks.
- Enjoy the walk while your luggage is driven to the next accommodation
- Walk through the beautiful heather-lined landscapes in the area south of Viborg
- Experience nature along the ancient route that goes along Jutland's glacial ridge and watershed
- The route passes close to the places where the rivers Gudenå and Skjern Å have their sources
- The Ancient Road passes through the exciting plain landscapes of Sepstrup and Vrads Sande, with dunes, lakes, heathers and juniper berries
- Experience the old royal city of Jelling with the beautifully restored church, the Jelling runestone and the burial mounds
Day 1: Arrival in Viborg
The tour starts in Viborg. You can arrive when it suits you. If you arrive after 19:00, you should notify the place of accommodation of arrival time. If you arrive early in Viborg, we recommend that you visit the Viborg Cathedral and visit the old streets and alleys of the city. Accommodation in Viborg. (-/-/-)
The code above in parentheses shows the meals that are included (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner), (-) is not included.
Day 2: From Viborg to Hald Manor house
The hike begins gently along the route from Viborg. The route goes through Viborg heath plantations, and further through Røverdalen, which is a beautifully preserved heathland with many archaeological sightings. You can take a detour past the Haervej runestone, which was raised in the 70s, commemorating the many wayfarers who have used the old road for centuries, and past the Søndermark church where the beautiful handmade tapestry of the old Ancient Road is hanging.
The walk continues to Hald Manor house (now a hostel) at Hald Lake. The lake offers fantastic walking experiences. The lake and surroundings are protected. It is up to 31 meters deep at the south end, surrounded by steep slopes and heights of up to 80 meters. Today's hiking is approx. 14 km. Accommodation in Hald. (B/-/D)
Day 3: From Hald Manor to Ulvedal Plantation
The route today is characterized by heathlands. From Hald the route runs through Dollerup hills on the western side of Hald Lake with a beautiful view of the lake. Through the small village Skelhøje, the route continues into Havredal Plantation, where there are more than 50 protected burial mounds. You continue to Stendal Plantation, which was planted in 1788 to create shelter for the cultivation of the heath.
Following on to Ulvedal plantation, there are several places left of cobbled sunken roads, and on the outskirts of Ulvedal there is a 4000-year-old well-preserved elongated long barrow/ burial mound. The burial chamber is 40m long and contains two chambers, known as the cave of Jens Longknife. Keep your eyes open as it is easy to get lost in the area. Today's hiking ends between Ulvedal and Stendal Plantation (about 17 km). Transfer to hotel. (B/-/D)
Day 4: From Ulvedal Plantation to Bølling Lake
After breakfast you will be driven to the same place on Ulvedalsvej, as you were picked up yesterday. Today's stage is long. If you want to shorten the route with 6 km, you can be driven instead to Ravnholt Plantation / Sdr. Knudstrup (the part of The Ancient Road with which the route has been shortened by, follows mainly gravel road through the fields).
The landscape of this stage is also characterized by heath. It was in this area that Steen Steensen Blicher was a priest in the period 1819-1825 (Thorning Church). After a stretch of open country, you cross King Knaps dike, which lies at the river Haller Å. Shortly after passing, Grathe Hede, one of Denmark's historical battles took place between Viking kings Svend Grathe and Valdemar the Great. The route passes by Klosterlund Museum, which exhibits findings from some of Jutland’s oldest settlements. The museum is located at Bølling Lake, where Kragelund Church is worth a visit. The local beer breweries in Kragelund and Engesvang must also be mentioned. Accommodation at Bølling Lake. Today's hiking is between 19 and 25 km (the route can be shortened by 6 km with a transfer in the morning). (B/-/D)
Day 5: From Bølling Lake to Vrads
Today's hiking leads around the southern part of Bølling Lake, which is the subject of one of the largest nature conservation projects in Denmark. The lake was formed during the last ice age 10,000 years ago. In the 1940s, the Hedeselskab carried out extensive drainage of the area - in vain however, as the soil proved unsuitable for agriculture. Today the lake is restored, and the area is protected. It is beautifully located on the watershed and is one of Denmark's highest lakes. At the eastern end it flows towards Gudenå river, which ends in the Kattegat, and at the western end towards Karup river, which ends in Skive Fjord.
The route takes you past Funder river and through the undulating landscape at Vrads Sande. There are large plain landscapes with poor sandy soils. The area is characterized by dunes, lakes, heathers and juniper berries and shifting sands. Vrads Sande has never been cultivated and was made a conservation area in 1968 to preserve the heaths and dunes.
The day's hike ends in the area around Tingdals Lakes. The lakes are renowned for their water purity and rare flora. Overnight accommodation is at one of the beautifully situated B&B's in the area around Vrads (about 24-27 km). (B/-/D)
Day 6: From Vrads to Rørbæk Lake
From Vrads and Tingdals Lake, the Ancient Road goes south to Nørre Snede and the church with the famous Granite Baptismal font, which has been exhibited in Berlin and New York. The local grocery has a wide selection of local products for lunch, and the coffee shop ‘Kafferisteriet’ is an ideal place to take a break before the trip continues south.
South of Nørre Snede we recommend deviating slightly from The Ancient Road to go past Rørbæk Lake, which is surrounded by lovely nature. Today's stage ends immediately south of Rørbæk Lake. Accommodation at Rørbæk Lake (approx. 22-24 km). (B/-/D)
Day 7: From Rørbæk Lake to Jelling
The day starts out with a four-kilometer-long protected stretch between Koutrup and Tinnet Krat, where you can see the old tracks of the Ancient Road. The route meanders picturesquely through a desolate landscape of forests, heaths and fields. Along the way you will pass Koutrupgård, which was a former inn on the Ancient Road. A little east of the track lies the sources of Gudenå and Skjern Å rivers. The river Skjern Å begins in a small lake and flows westward, ending in Ringkøbing Fjord, while the river Gudenåen first flows east and then north to Randers Fjord. The area is characterized by oak thickets. The many water springs have attracted many people and always and had a special significance for pilgrims.
Along the way, you pass Margrethe dike, which is a low rampart or defensive wall. You pass Øster Nykirke with Sct. Peders well, and old stone road signs to Vestermølle. The route leads to Kollemorten, where an area with oak thicket is thought to be remaining from Denmark's original forests.
The walk ends when you reach the old royal city of Jelling. Here you can experience the Jelling monuments, known as Europe's most significant from the Viking Age, and is on UNESCO's world heritage list. Experience the beautifully restored Jelling church and the burial mounds – historically, the most important place on the Ancient Road and a worthwhile ending of the tour. If you wish to experience Jelling, with good time for your return trip, Vagabond Tours recommends an overnight stay at Jelling (see information on prices) (about 23 km). (B/-/)
During the trip you will stay at a different place of accommodation each day. You will stay in a double room at local hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts (B&B’s). Single rooms can be booked for an additional fee.
The Ancient Road hiking trail goes through a sparsely populated area of Jutland and passes through very small towns. Therefore, only a few places of accommodation are located along the route. Most of the places of accommodation are located some distance from the hiking routes. Therefore, in the day-to-day description, there are two kilometer-distances in some places, as the total mileage for this day depends on where you depart from on the route and the type of accommodation you will be staying at.
The accommodations vary in standard, as you stay overnight in a combination of hotel, inn and B&B’s. Some places are en-suite with bath and toilet and other places with shared bathroom and toilet. Common to all accommodations is the good host. The hosts will do their best for you to have a good experience.
The trip is inclusive of half board, except for dinner on day of arrival (day 1). Lunch is at your own expense. A packed lunch can be ordered at the place of accommodation (remember to give the kitchen a message the evening before).
It is stipulated in the daily program which meals are included or not included in the price of the trip. (Breakfast/Lunch /Dinner).
The days hikes are between 14 and 27 km.
Under the Day-to-Day agenda, the number of kilometers per day are indicated. This is an approximate indication, as the number of km per day may vary depending on which accommodation is reserved for you and how close to / far from the route it is.
Your luggage will be transported to the next place of accommodation, so you only carry a small backpack with the items you need for the days hike, such as lunch pack, rainwear, camera, etc.
How to get there
The tour starts in Viborg. You must make sure to get to Viborg (by public transport or private car).
Start: The hike begins in Viborg and can start on any day of the week. The first day is an arrival day without hiking. See www.rejseplanen.dk.
End: The trip ends in Jelling (after about 23 km of hiking). There is a train and bus station in Jelling. See www.rejseplanen.dk. You can extend your trip with an overnight stay in Jelling if you wish.
The Ancient Road
The ‘Military Road’ is just one of the names of the traditionally rich road that goes from North Jutland via Viborg to Hamburg. It is one of the oldest roads known in Denmark, and it was originally called Studevej (Stud Road), Oksevej (Ox Road), Old Viborg Way or Kongevejen (Kings Road). There were three crossings over the Limfjord: At the Viking towns of Aggersund, at Nibe and at Nørre Sundby.
From Viborg the road continues along the Jutland glacial ridge towards Flensburg across Nørre Snede, Randbøl, Vejen, Vojens and Rødekro. The road runs more-or-less parallel to the Jutland ridge. There was no major watercourse, as the ridges divided the streams and waterflows, running from both the east and the west. The Ancient Road was in old days, not one road but many different tracks that met at a major crossing, such as at the stone bridges over Immervad stream, Gejlå and Bjerndrup stream (Povls bridge).
The road was used to herd cattle and livestock down through Jutland and from Funen to markets in Hamburg and the Netherlands. Along the route royal privileged inns were introduced, so herders and other travelers could get accommodation and supplies. At that time, a day’s travel was 30-40 km, so the inns were located at suitable distances from each other for a day’s travel. There were also folds for the animals, in the form of a circular enclosure made with barley.
In the Middle Ages, The Ancient Road was also used by pilgrims on their way to the sacred sites of southern Europe, of which the most distinguished (and distant) were Santiago de Compostela and Rome. Pilgrims from Iceland and Norway also followed the route down along the Jutland ridge.
Today, The Ancient Road follows one track that goes through the same beautiful landscape of Jutland, and many of the same towns as the historical route. You walk through a diverse cultural landscape of hills and valleys, fields and meadows, lakes and streams, marshes and forests. In August and September, you can experience blooming violet heather, for example at Dollerup on Grathe heath and Vrads Sande. The heather is a habitat for lots of butterflies, grasshoppers and bees, who produce the fine heather honey.
- Accommodation at hotels, inns and B&B’s
- Breakfast all days
- Dinner, 5 days
- Transportation of luggage (1 per person, max 15 kg) between the accommodations
- Hiking map (1 set per couple / group)
- Information, recommendations and practical tips
- Product liability insurance
- Fee for travel guarantee fund
- Transport from residence to Viborg and back
- Dinner (Day 1)
- Drinks and beverages
- Extra set of hiking maps (can be ordered, DKK 200)
- Supplement for single room (can be ordered, DKK 1300 per person)
- Baggage surcharge for solo traveler DKK 450
- Supplement for accommodation in Jelling (recommended) DKK 750 per person including half board in double room / DKK 900 in single room
- Booking fee DKK 145
- Ledige pladser
- Individual tour (24HAER-3)
- Lenght: 7 days
- Date: 01/04 til 01/10
- Difficulty grade: 1-2
- Accommodation grade: 2-3
- Hiking with transportation of luggage. Price per person based on 2 people travelling together. Solo surcharge for single tour participant.
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