The indescribable light of the long Scandinavian summer days. The variety of cities and landscapes of the Öresund. And surrounding it all: the scent of the sea … Jan Timmermans is still full of impressions from his bike and boat trip around the fascinating strait between Denmark and Sweden, where he was helping plan the new route on the three-masted ship, the Atlantis, for the 2024 season. The director of Boat Bike Tours spent eight days and enthusiastically tells us about his experiences. Come along on this exciting adventure by bike and sailing ship!
“The trip has a fantastic program. What I like so much about it is how it alternates between big interesting cities and small rural gems,” explains Jan. “And the balance between sailing and cycling is perfect. This way you can really experience the region in all its different facets.” The fact that the tour starts and ends in Copenhagen is no coincidence. “This gives our guests the opportunity to spend a few days in this exciting and very bicycle-friendly city either before or after the tour, which I highly recommend!”Plan your trip
1. From cosmopolitan city to Hamlet’s castle
From the Danish capital, the Atlantis sets course for Helsingør, a.k.a. Elsinore, a city full of exciting contrasts: “Here the historic old town and the rougher atmosphere of a modern port city meet. We visited the imposing Kronborg Castle, which is world famous because Shakespeare chose it as the setting for his play, ‘Hamlet.’” The old town of Elsinore is very well preserved and bears witness to the wealth that the city acquired through customs revenue in the Middle Ages. In contrast, the Kronborg cultural harbor is an ultra-modern highlight. Here you can visit the Kulturværftet – a cultural center in a former shipyard – and the underground Danish Maritime Museum.
“The first bike route of this trip starts right at Kronborg Castle and passes through typical Danish landscapes. First, it takes you along the sandy beaches of the ‘Danish Riviera.’ Then you cycle inland through gentle hills with lush green meadows, forests, small lakes and bright yellow rapeseed fields,” reports Jan. ”We took a coffee break in the pretty café in Esrum Monastery. My tip for the evening: take a walk through the friendly street food market, which is very close to the ship.”
2. The rural idyll of Skåne
Fishing villages with colorful wooden houses, small bays and wide views over the Baltic Sea: this is the scenery through which you cycle on the third day of the Scandinavia trip. Early in the morning, the Atlantis heads over to the Swedish city of Helsingborg on the opposite bank of the Öresund. After a relaxing walk through the city, we cycle south. “A very tranquil area,” says Jan. “There are still a lot of traditional fishermen with small boats here and in the villages you can see how the fishing nets are hung up to dry.” The day ends in the provincial town of Landskrona, where the Atlantis has already arrived and awaits its guests.
3.The island of Ven: A little gem
The trip to the island of Ven is a little adventure. It all starts with the fact that there is no port here big enough for the Atlantis. So instead, “the ship anchors near the island and all guests and bicycles are brought ashore in a dinghy,” reports Jan. The group then goes on a short bike tour together across the 400-person island. The bicycle is the perfect means of transport here, because even though the cliffs drop steeply into the sea, the landscape of Ven is otherwise nearly flat. Afterwards, everyone can go explore on their own and, for example, take a walk on the white sandy beaches or visit the many galleries; the Tycho Brahe museum; the alpaca farm; the whiskey, gin and aquavit distillery; or the local ice cream factory. “The island of Ven is a fascinating microcosm full of traditions and a real resting point on this journey.”
4. Modern things in Malmö and the magic of sailing
The next day offers a stark contrast to the rural idyll of Ven. After the evening crossing, the morning begins with a guided bike tour through Malmö. “A modern and lively city with really spectacular architecture,” says Jan. And there is something else that makes Malmö special: “We don’t normally cycle through city centers with a group. But Malmö has such fantastic cycle paths that here we make an exception.”
We leave right away at lunchtime, because then the longest sailing leg of the tour is on the agenda. “We sail to Møn Island in one go. It’s a magnificent sight when the white chalk cliffs appear at dusk. In the evening, the Atlantis docks at the island and then you can see an incredibly starry sky. This gives you a really good idea of how the ancient seafarers used to navigate using only the celestial bodies.”.
5. Chalk cliffs and fossils on Møn
On the penultimate day of the trip, the group cycles a 30-kilometer loop (17 miles) around the eastern part of Møn Island. The start and end point is the tranquil town of Klintholm Havn. The absolute highlight of the day is definitely the chalk cliffs. From the 130-meter-high (427 feet) Møns Klint cliff, which rises steeply from the sea, you have a dizzying view of the surrounding area. “And then you can go down one of the stairways to the beach. Chances are you’ll find fossils like sea urchins, fossilized shells and brachiopods here.”
6. Along the cliffs to Copenhagen
The last leg of the journey starts in the town of Rødby on the island of Lolland. The European cycle route EuroVelo 10 takes you along the long cliffs. The route leads through forests, fields and small villages to Køge. “The tour group gets back on board in this beautiful medieval city and we cover the last kilometers to Copenhagen by ship, with a lot of new impressions to take home with us.”
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When would you like to experience your own Scandinavian adventure by bike and boat? Find the itinerary and travel dates for 2024 here!
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