The Six Castles – a summer cycling trip on the Flensburg Fjord Route
6 nights - 205 km
In July and August, the cycle ferry, Rødsand, sails between Denmark and Germany, thus enabling cycling enthusiasts to complete a unique tour of six castles on both sides of the border. So dig out your passport and set off on an unforgettable cycling trip in the border region.
The Six Castles route combines several stages of the Flensburg Fjord Route, which is a cycle route that crosses the border and takes you past castles and palaces in Aabenraa, Nordborg, Augustenborg, Sønderborg, Gråsten and Glücksburg. The trip begins in Aabenraa and includes – in addition to overnight accommodation with breakfast – baggage transfer, ferry tickets, maps and descriptions of the route.
The trip begins in Aabenraa, where you’ll receive a copy of the Flensburg Fjord Route guidebook, which contains maps, descriptions of the route and information about sights to visit along the way.
Itinerary for the trip:
Day 1: 0 km
On the day of your arrival, there’s time to visit the first castle on the route: Brundlund Castle. The castle was built in the 15th century and is today home to Brundlund Castle and Art Museum. The museum has an extensive collection of works by local artists such as C.W. Eckersberg and Franciska Clausen. These works and temporary exhibitions can be experienced in the castle’s many chambers. In the castle grounds, which are open to all, you can go on a voyage of discovery amongst the various steel and granite sculptures – artistic inspiration has even helped shape the hedges!
Overnight accommodation is at Hotel Europa, which is situated in the centre of Aabenraa. Long-stay parking is available just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel at Reberbanen 3, 6200 Aabenraa.
We recommend that you buy a packed lunch for the cycling trip on day 2, as you won’t be passing anywhere where you can buy lunch. You must order your packed lunch at Reception on the day of your arrival.
Day 2: Aabenraa – Nordborg 47 km
Blessed with a view of Aabenraa Fjord, you leave the town and cycle through the hilly moraine landscape through Varnæs to Ballebro. From here, you sail on the ferry, Bitten, across Als Fjord to Hardeshøj on the island of Als, from where the route leads you through Naturpark Nordals. In Naturpark Nordals you’ll experience the landscape that was shaped by the most recent Ice Age, with its hills and many lakes. Here you can experience the natural surroundings up close and take a break before you cycle the final few kilometres to the town of Nordborg, where you can go for a walk around Nordborg Castle and the lake.
Overnight accommodation at Hotel Nørherredhus.
Day 3: Nordborg – Sønderborg 40 km
The day’s ride runs from Nordborg to Sønderborg and leads you through one of Denmark’s longest coastal forests, Nørreskoven. Just outside the forest, on Fjordmosevej, are the foundations of what was once the castle of Østerholm Slot. Østerholm was a so-called water castle which was located on an island in the middle of a small lake. From Nørreskoven, the route leads you across Als towards the former Duchy town of Augustenborg – and hence Augustenborg Palace. Once in the town, you can eat lunch, go for a walk at the palace and visit the small museum at the belfry. The museum provides an account of the history of the castle and the ducal family. You can also visit the church, which is built in rococo-style and decorated with attractive stucco work and floral wooden carvings that are gilded with gold leaf. In the palace grounds lies the palace itself, which, along with the grounds, provides the setting for Augustiana Art Park & Art Gallery, where you can enjoy temporary exhibitions of contemporary art both inside the building and throughout the park.
Following the visit to Augustenborg, a cycle ride into the centre of Sønderborg awaits along the old railway line of ‘Æ Kleinbahn’.
Overnight accommodation at Hotel Sønderborg Strand.
Day 4: Sønderborg – Gråsten 39 km
Before climbing back onto the saddle today, we recommend that you take the time to visit Sønderborg Castle and enjoy lunch in the town. At Sønderborg Castle you can learn more about the history of Sønderjylland, test your knowledge of the region’s traditional spread of cakes – Sønderjysk Kaffebord – and look at the ahnentafel (ancestor table) in Queen Dorothea’s chapel. In the town centre and along the waterfront there are a wide variety of cafés and restaurants, and if you wish to get a spectacular view from on high, you can do so from Point of View on the 16th floor of Hotel Alsik. What’s more, this is free of charge; all you need to do is to reserve a ticket with a time slot at alsik.dk
Having experienced these attractions in the morning, it’ll be time to make the trip across King Christian X’s bridge and head for Gråsten. The cycle route leads you behind the iconic windmill of Dybbøl Mølle and through the area in which the Battle of Dybbøl was fought in 1864. By the roadside there are monuments paying tribute to the fallen soldiers, whilst from the top of the hills there are fantastic views of Germany and Broagerland across the water. The route crosses the peninsula of Broagerland and through the town of Broager, with its attractive church which features twin spires, before crossing the water once more on the way into the town of Gråsten. The Royal Gardens at Graasten Palace are open all year round, except when the royal family are in residence. In 2022 the royal family will be on their summer holidays at the palace from 22.6-10.8. The Royal Kitchen Garden, shop and café will remain open, however (1.6-31.8 daily 10.00-17.00).
Overnight accommodation at Hotel Egely Garni in Gråsten. Key pick-up / check-in at Den Gamle Kro, where you can also eat your evening meal.
Day 5: Gråsten – Padborg 35 km
After breakfast, you head for the harbour at Egernsund Havneplads – a ride of around 3 km. At 10.00 a.m. you sail on the Rødsand ferry across Flensburg Fjord to Langballigau in Germany – so don’t forget your passport! The crossing takes an hour, and on arrival you can eat lunch in the harbour town or shop for food that you can take with you and eat later. From Langballigau, the route meanders for the next 10 km through the fjord landscape to Glücksburg. Here, surrounded by water, lies the castle of Schloss Glücksburg. The castle has held great importance for the Danish monarchy, as well as several other monarchies throughout Europe. King Christian IX of Denmark grew up at the castle, and he founded the current House of Glücksburg. His children and their descendants married into a variety of royal families, which led to the castle unofficially being referred to as the ’cradle of the royal families of Europe’.
Following the visit to Glücksburg, you continue on your way until your reach the delightful maritime atmosphere that characterises Flensburg, the largest city on your trip. In the narrow streets and cosy backyards, places to eat lie side-by-side, thus making Flensburg the perfect place to get a bite to eat before the final 8 kilometres in the saddle as you head towards your overnight accommodation in Padborg. On the cycle ride from Flensburg to Padborg you cross the border at Rønsdam, one of the smallest border crossings between Denmark and Germany.
Overnight accommodation: Bov Kro. Check-in by 21.00 at the latest.
Day 6: Padborg – Aabenraa 44 km
On the last day of your trip, you cycle from Bov Kro along Hærvejen to Aabenraa. Hærvejen is the historic road to Viborg which follows the ridge running up through Jutland. Stretches of the route run on gravel roads, through beautiful countryside, plantations and open landscapes, with views of burial mounds and historic locations. On the route you cross Hærvejen’s oldest bridge, Povls Bro, as well as the bridge at Gejlå Broen. Just before the town of Rødekro you leave Hærvejen and cycle through Søst into the moraine landscape that was formed during the most recent Ice Age. Here you have to work hard to ascend the steep hills, before getting the chance to enjoy a well-deserved rest at Hotel Europa. Make the most of the final evening at the hotel.
Breakfast and departure.
NB: Cycle hire is not included in the package. You must bring your own bike with you.
Included in the package:
6 x breakfast
5 x baggage transfer
2 x ferry tickets for you and your bike
Guidebook to Flensburg Fjord Route