Travel report: North Sea feeling on two wheels

From our guests Gaby and Bernhard

Sheep on the North Sea Cycle Path
Sheep on the North Sea Cycle Path

Our guests Gaby and Bernhard were on the road along the North Sea coast in early summer 2022. With a lot of headwind, countless sheep on and around the dikes and many culinary delights of the Nordic cuisine, their 10-day tour took them from Esbjerg in Denmark to the Hanseatic city of Hamburg on the Elbe.

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Our daughter took us with our bikes in sunny weather to Esbjerg, where she wanted to spend her holidays in the area. We received a very warm welcome at the Hotel Britannia, the hotel is very central, the long shopping street starts around the corner, as well as numerous cafés and restaurants. As we arrived on a public holiday and the shops were closed, we visited the beach where the sculpture "Man at Sea" can be found above. These nine-metre-high figures are a must-see when in Esbjerg.

North Sea cycle path Jutland, Esbjerg
Sculpture Group "Man at Sea", Esbjerg




The next morning, despite the very gusty wind and the forecast rain, we took the ferry to Fanø and became "beach sailors" with our bikes: with a strong tailwind, we sped down the island at 25 km/h over the hard-sanded beach without trampling, just holding the steering wheel and off we went. After a long section, we turned off into the interior of the island along the Panorama Cycle Path, where we explored the beautiful island through woods and dunes, sheltered from the wind. The last section back up along the Wadden Sea side then had to be mastered with a headwind.

North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, Fanø Island
On the beach of Fanø Island




In Nordby we enjoyed the flair of the pretty village before returning by ferry. After a heavy shower, we went along the dyke, sheltered from the wind, to Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark. Great town with a very quaint old hotel (Hotel Dagmar), everything is just crooked there. When you walk through the hotel, you think you are drunk, everything is so crooked. Unfortunately, it was very fresh due to the wind, otherwise you can sit outside around the cathedral square when the weather is nice.

North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, Ribe
In Ribe



In very windy weather, we continued along the dyke, sheltered from the wind, but then came the horror: with a 100% strong headwind over the nine-kilometre long dyke to Rømø, a tough and not entirely safe ride alongside the cars, despite the e-bikes. In Lakolk, after a little shopping, we treated ourselves to the world's best crab bread, which I have ever eaten and which probably only the Danes can make. It was too cold for the great ice cream variations, but I recommend it to others who have better weather. We know it from other holidays in Denmark. The rest of the afternoon and the drive to Havneby to our hotel was unfortunately spoiled by rain. On the beach, you couldn't ride your bike all the way to the water in the strong wind, otherwise you would be sandblasted. What a pity! In our hotel Havneby Kro we were given an entire flat for the night, where we made ourselves comfortable after a very tasty dinner.

North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, Lakolk
In Lakolk, Rømø Island
North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, Husum
Husum harbour
North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, Island of Sylt
On the island of Sylt
North Sea Cycle Path, Westerhever
Westerheversand Lighthouse

The next morning, with a lot of wind, we took the ferry to Sylt. There, however, the sun shone all day and sheltered by the dunes, it was very nice to ride from List to Westerland. There we decided to rent a beach chair and enjoy the sun, sheltered from the wind, before taking the Sylt shuttle over to Niebüll in the late afternoon to a very new and nice hotel (Hotel Landhafen).

The next day was cloudier again, but finally not so windy! The route led via Dagebüll, the gateway to the islands of Amrum and Föhr, on to the Hamburg Hallig. There you feel like you are at the end of the world. There is even a café at this end and I was surprised how crowded it was. Then we took a detour via Nordstrand to Husum, always accompanied by about a million sheep and great views of the Wadden Sea. You really melt into this world heritage site. At some point, you give up trying to avoid all the sheep droppings. In Husum, the sun was shining again and we were able to eat outside for the first time, albeit with jackets, and enjoy the ambience at the harbour.

Day five took us along the North Sea and the sheep to Westerhever, where we made a short stop at the famous lighthouse. Visits there are only possible with a guided tour. We drove on to St. Peter-Ording and spent a wonderful afternoon on the beautiful beach, which was also warmer for a change, just enjoying it! Totally super! In the evening we took the train to Tönning, a pretty little town with a picturesque harbour, also well worth seeing. This day was one of the most beautiful for us.

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North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, St. Peter-Ording
Beach of St. Peter-Ording

From Tönning we went past the Eider Barrage to Büsum, a very lively, pretty town. However, after the beautiful beaches of Sylt and St. Peter-Ording, the grassy beach there was not really to our taste. You had to pay a lot for a crab roll in Büsum. We continued along the last stretch of the North Sea, turning inland at Meldorf harbour. The route continues to Meldorf, also a nice town with a cathedral, which we used for a coffee break on the cathedral square. The day's destination is St. Michaelisdonn, where the dog is buried. You can eat quite well in the hotel, there's really nothing else there! A full fridge awaits in the room, quite good in the wasteland. Tip: Stay in Büsum for an appropriate length of time, check-in in St. Michaelisdonn in the evening is perfectly sufficient and is possible digitally around the clock. The hotel is very modern in this respect. I tested opening the hotel and room door with my smartphone for the first time. Works great! Breakfast buffet excellent! 

In cold and wet weather we went to Brunsbüttel to the Kiel Canal. As it was so uncomfortable, we booked a guided tour of the locks, later the sun was supposed to come out. I can only strongly advise against the guided tour of the locks, you are led into a room and given a PowerPoint presentation, we imagined a guided tour differently! I can recommend the fish cart near the tourist information office, where we ate delicious and fresh fish sandwiches. The sun came out and we drove along the Elbe into beautiful Glückstadt. Shortly before we arrived, there was a hint of a café behind the dyke, highly recommended, totally nice and cosy! In Glückstadt we stayed again in an old hotel (Hotel Anno 1617), a feel-good hotel with a lot of attention to detail on a market square where you can sit outside nicely. The harbour is a great place to stroll in the evening.

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Our last stage along the Elbe towards Hamburg takes us past Elbe beaches and, of course, many sheep to the centre of Hamburg. It is a great experience to cycle past the harbour, the Landungsbrücken and the Elbphilharmonie into the beautiful city. In Hamburg, we extended one more night and explored the Hanseatic city on foot the next day. Unfortunately, we had a hotel in Wilhelmsburg, which we didn't like that much. Previously, we had only had nice accommodation. But you got to the city quickly with the S-Bahn and the nice weather and the beautiful city made up for everything. The journey home by train with bike and suitcase still ended, typical of Deutsche Bahn (compartment clearance due to defective air conditioning, delay), halfway on time.

North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, Glückstadt
Harbour in Glückstadt




It was our first cycling trip with the e-bike, we had already cycled other cycling routes with muscle power before. Without the e-bike, the tour would have been a challenge in places because of the wind. But as it was, everything was easy to manage and we saw a lot on the 534 kilometres. The tour was well organised, the luggage transfer went smoothly and the hotels were excellent. It was helpful to download the tour data beforehand, so we were perfectly guided from hotel to hotel. Unfortunately, it was very cold and windy on the upper islands, of all places, but overall we had a lot of sunshine. The cycling tour is very varied with islands, North Sea coast and beautiful places and a great North Sea experience.

North Sea Cycle Path Jutland, Hamburg
At the harbour in Hamburg