The Gendarme Path, from Sønderborg to Skovby, 3 days
On this hike, you follow in the footsteps of the gendarmes along the beautiful Flensburg Fjord. Get a glimpse into the exciting cultural history and enjoy the fantastic and unique scenery. The entire Gendarme Path stretches over 84 kilometres (starts in Padborg) and on this hike you walk along the newest stretch of the path (opened December 2018), which runs from Sønderborg to Skovby on Als.
This hike starts in Sønderborg, beautifully situated by Sønderborg Bay and Flensborg Fjord. On this trip, your hike takes place on the southern Als – first with a view over the fjord and later with a view of Hørup Hav. Hørup Hav is the bay between the peninsula Kegnæs and Southern Als. This stretch of water is also known as Lille Hav, which means “The Little Sea”. Here you find a unique bird life with many species of sea birds and wading birds.
On the trip, you stay at lovely hotels, and your luggage will be transported to your next overnight accommodation, which leaves you free to enjoy the hikes. This tour has day hikes of 9 and 10 kilometres respectively, which makes it a good beginner’s tour or suitable for you, who prefers short day hikes.
The tour starts and ends in Sønderborg. If you have the time, you can combine the trip with a visit to some of the many fascinating sights Southern Jutland has to offer, such as Gråsten Castle with its surrounding gardens as well as Dybbøl Heights (Dybbøl Banke).
- Experience the beautiful nature of Southern Jutland and exciting cultural history.
- If you arrive by car, you might want to stop by the beautiful Gråsten Castle and historical Dybbøl Heights on the day of your arrival.
- Stay in great accommodations – surrounded by the beautiful landscape.
- The bay by Kegnæs (also known as the Little Sea) has a rich bird life with many sea- and wading birds.
- Enjoy your hike, whilst your luggage is being transported to the next overnight accommodation.
- Look out for porpoises along the coast – Als is a designated area for marine life to offer porpoises better protection and habitats.
The day-to-day programme shows, which main meals are included, or not included, in the price of the trip. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner).
Day 1: Arrival Sønderborg
The tour starts in Sønderborg, where you check in to your overnight accommodation. If you arrive early, you are welcome to drop off your luggage and take a closer look at the town, which offers many splendid experiences. You can for example visit Sønderborg Castle, Dybbøl Heights/Banke (outside the town) – or enjoy a walk around the marina and take in the cosy atmosphere of the old market town.(-/-/-)
Day 2: Sønderborg to Høruphav
The Gendarme Path passes directly outside your accommodation, which gives you to a quick start to the day’s hike. The first few kilometres of the day’s hike will be along the water through the south eastern part of Sønderborg town – past the marina and the stunning park areas. Soon you will get the feeling of being in the countryside with plenty of room for adventure and beautiful views over the bay, Sønderborg Bugt, and Broagerland towards the west. On a clear day, you can see Germany in the horizon.
Just before reaching the forest Sønderskoven your hike will take you past the so-called “shooting beach”, where, in May 1945, the bodies of 5 Danish resistance fighters were found buried. Today the beach is a peaceful place but during the Second World War, the beach was sealed off and used by the Germans as a military shooting range.
Continue into Sønderskoven, which is a beautiful coastal forest offering both old grave barrows and steep cliffs with large trees balancing right on the edge. The landscape opens up as you exit Sønderskoven and you continue the hike with splendid views over fields and meadows. Just before reaching the small town of Høruphav, you arrive at the nature reserve “Trillen”. Originally, the area consisted of two separate islands but over time, sand deposits have joined the two islands to the mainland. Between the former islands and the mainland is today a wetland area, which supports an exciting diversity of bird- and plant life.
The day’s hike ends by the Gendarme house in Høruphav. Your accommodation for the night is in Høruphav. The day’s hike is approx. 9 kilometres. (B/-/-).
Day 3: From Høruphav to Skovby
This is when you start on the final stretch of the Gendarme Path on Als. You continue where you left off yesterday and walk southeast enjoying a view of the peninsula Kegnæs and the narrow bay Hørup Hav. Shortly after leaving Høruphav town, your hike takes you past the cliffs of Hørup Klint and an old torpedo station dating back to 1906. During the occupation of Denmark, the Germans seized the torpedo station and there were rumours of secret and mysterious experiments on-site.
Most of today’s hike follows the coastline apart from a couple of detours into the rural hinterland. After Mintebjerghav you can take a small detour past the Vibæk Watermill, which is idyllically situated on the edge of Vibæk.
Continue along the coast towards Kobbertoft and Skovby. The hike ends in Skovby. From Skovby a taxi will take you back to Sønderborg, where you reunite with your luggage at the hotel. The trip end in Sønderborg at approx. 13:30. Individual homeward travel from Sønderborg. The day’s hike is approx. 10 kilometres.(B/-/-).
During the trip, you hike to a new place every day for your overnight stay. You stay in double rooms in great hotels. A single room can be booked for an additional fee.
The trip is planned with your overnight accommodation being situated close to the Gendarme Path. Common for all accommodations is the high standard of hosting. Your hosts are dedicated to offering you a great experience.
The tour is inclusive of breakfast. It is possible to order a packed lunch for the next day’s hike at the accommodation (this is not included in the price of the trip and is payable locally). Dinner is at your own expense – there are various dining options in the towns of your overnight accommodation. The day-to-day programme shows, which main meals are included, or not included, in the price of the trip. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner).
The day hikes are 9 and 10 kilometres respectively. The surface on which you walk is mainly gravel-, forest- and coastal paths. The kilometre indication of each stage can vary depending on how many extra kilometres you choose to walk.
Your luggage will be transported to the next accommodation, leaving you to carry just a small backpack with the few things you might need during the day such as a packed lunch, water, waterproof clothing, camera etc.
HOW TO GET THERE
Start:The trip starts in Sønderborg. First day is an arrival day – you are free to arrive at any time during the day. You are responsible for the transportation to the starting point of the trip (by public transport or own car).
End:The trip ends in Sønderborg early in the afternoon (we have arranged for a transfer from Skovby to Sønderborg after approx. 10 kilometres of hiking). You reunite with your luggage in Sønderborg.
THE GENDARME PATH
The word ”gendarme” can be traced back to the French “gens d’armes”, which means “men under arms”. The French gendarmes were elite soldiers and served in the 15th century as bodyguards for the king. Since then their tasks evolved to include assistance to the police in critical situations.
The border gendarmerie was formed in 1839 to protect customs officials at the Duchies border along the River Elbe. After the defeat in 1864, the Danish border moved north to Kongeåen - and in 1866 the gendarmerie followed. At the Reunification in 1920, the frontier armies once again moved south and patrolled along the current boundary from the Wadden Sea in the west to Als's southern tip in the east.
Along the Gendarme Path, the gendarmes walked their fixed routes through the borderlands. They were constantly looking out for smugglers who tried to bring goods in or out of the country without paying the customs, which was one of Denmark's most important sources of income for centuries.
In 1958, the border control passed to the police, and the gendarme corps became history after more than 100 years in operation. However, the Gendarme path remained and in the 1980s, people started to realise the true value of the Gendarme Path in terms of its fantastic natural setting and its recreational values.
Today, the Gendarme Path stretches 84 kilometers from Padborg by the Danish-German border, past Kollund and Egernsund, around Broagerland, Vemmingbund and Dybbøl, through Sønderborg, Høruphav and all the way to Skovby on Als. You follow the coast most of the way, and wander through a beautiful and varied landscape with forests, fields, marshes, meadows and impressive coastlines with magnificent views. In 2015, the Gendarme Path was included on the coveted list of "Leading Quality Trails - Best of Europe", which is the highest certification we have of hiking routes in Europe. This means, among other things, that it is really well signposted, and that accessibility is well maintained.
- 2 nights stay at good hotels
- 2 x breakfast
- Hiking map (1 set per couple/group)
- Transport of luggage between accommodations. (1 piece of luggage per person, max. 15kg).
- Transfer between Skovby and Sønderborg
- Information, recommendations and practical tips
- Product liability insurance
- Fee for travel guarantee fund (Rejsegarantifonden)
- Transport from your home address to the starting place of the trip and return.
- Lunch all days
- Dinner all days
- Supplement for single room accommodation DKK 850
- Additional luggage fee for solo travellers DKK 550
- Extra set of hiking maps (can be ordered, DKK 200)
- Optional: Cancellation insurance, 6% of the total price of the trip
- Booking fee DKK 145
- Ledige pladser
- Individual tours (24GEN-3)
- Duration: 3 days
- Date: Own choice of departure date from 01/04 to 31/10
- Diffculty grade: 1
- Accommodation grade: 3-4
- Luggage transfer while you hike. Price shown is per person based on two people travelling together. Additional charge applies for solo travellers.