Hey everyone! We are kicking off 2018 right - by following one of our biggest dreams - to live overseas! I (Emily) was offered a job transfer right before Thanksgiving to Dublin, Ireland. After talking it over, we decided there is no way we could say no! We are so excited and leave at the end of the month. We have been busy deciding what to bring (thank goodness we already live tiny!) and how to get our beloved Bubba into Ireland! We will have updates soon!
Em + Deke
This is just a portion of our overall road trip across Denmark, Norway, and Scotland, so we are going to break it down by country. Here is the lineup for Denmark:
Day 1: Copenhagen
Day 2: Copenhagen
Day 3: Møns Klint (via Roskilde)
Day 4: Fåborg (via Funen)
Day 5: Ribe
Day 6: Aarhus
Day 7: Skagen (overnight cruise from Hirtshals to Stavanger, Norway)
What we packed:
Checked bag - Camping/hiking gear
Checked bag - Clothes/toiletries
Carry-on bag - Camera backpack
Carry-on bag - Hiking backpack
Day 1 & Day 2 - Copenhagen
See our previous post here - Copenhagen: A 2-day Itinerary!
Total drive time: 2h 14m
Route: Copenhagen - Roskilde - Møns Klint
Accommodations: Camping Møns Klint
We walked from our Airbnb to pick up our rental car in downtown Copenhagen. Just a small manual vehicle with a hatchback works great. We stopped back by our Airbnb to pick up our bags and the grocery store to pick up a few snacks and started towards Roskilde. When we arrived in Roskilde, we parked near the cathedral and started to walk the streets. It was a calm, quiet area. There was even a small market going on in the town's square.
After Roskilde, we drove to set up camp at Camping Møns Klint. After setting up our tent, we started off on our hike to Møns Klint, which is just a walk across the street to get to trails and the beach.
Here is the map we used to plan our hike - Møns Klint Hiking Map. We started out at Camping Møns Klint - took route 2 to the beach - hiked the beach to route 4 - took route 4 stairs up and worked our way back to Camping Møns Klint. This took one and a half to two hours, and beware of the stairs! There is a wooden staircase to get to and from the beach, and it consists of roughly 500 stairs.
The white cliffs at Møns Klint are a must-see, as well as the view of the Baltic Sea.
We ate dinner at the campground - which had a casual setting with wine, pizza, and a variety of other food options.
Total drive time: 3h 22m
Route: Møns Klint - Funen - Fåborg
Accommodations: Nab Strand Camping
We headed out early in the morning to get to Egeskov Castle. This place is magical - it truly is a fairy tale castle. This was the coolest castle we saw in Denmark. The gardens are the most magical piece, with over 15 gardens you will need at least a couple hours to fully wander. You can also explore the old stables, which now consist of museums with old farm equipment, cars, and small airplanes. This is certainly worthwhile, and you can spend the day here.
After Egeskov, take the short drive to the seaside town of Fåborg. This is a great place to just wander the streets. We had dinner at Spisehuset.
We set up camp for the night at Nab Strand Camping.
The original plan for the day was to take the ferry from Fåborg to Ærø and camp on the island. We changed our minds due to the cost of the ferry and the amount of time left in the day. So we opted to camp near Fåborg.
Total drive time: 1h 58m
Route: Fåborg - Ribe
Accommodations: Ribe Camping
In the morning, we headed off to Ribe. We went straight to the city center and found a place to park. We saw Ribe Domkirke, did a mini self guided walking tour of the old streets (Old Town Walk), and ended the day at the Museet Ribes Vikinger. Ribe is one of Scandinavia's oldest towns. The cobblestone streets date back to 869 AD! Walking these streets reminded us of Lord of the Rings and we really enjoyed it here.
After walking in Ribe, we headed out to Mandø, which is one of the Danish Wadden Sea Islands. This island is not always accessible due to the tide, so be sure to check the tide schedule out before you go!
On the way back from Mandø, we saw this house, which reminded me of Snow White, so I had to grab a picture!
We set up camp at Ribe Camping for the night.
Total drive time: 1h 45m
Route: Ribe - Aarhus
Accommodations: Airbnb - https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18985495
In the morning, we set off for Aarhus. We didn't really have a plan for the day. We knew we couldn't check into our room until the afternoon, and it started to rain, so we thought we would check out the ARoS Art Museum. We really enjoyed it - there are ten floors, each with a different theme. The top floor gives you a colored panoramic view of the city.
After the museum, we checked out Mollenstien Street - which is perhaps the prettiest street in Denmark.
We had dinner at the Aarhus Central Food Market and Aarhus Street Food (another market a few blocks away). Food was amazing! Lots of places to choose from, you will not be disappointed!
We wanted to get a drink at St. Pau'ls Apothek - http://stpaulsapothek.dk/ - but it was closed when we showed up :(.
After dinner, we returned to our Airbnb and for the night.
Total drive time: 3h 6m
Route: Aarhus - Skagen - Hirtshals
Accommodations: Overnight ferry to Stavanger
In Skagen, we went to Grenen - Denmark's northernmost point. Here, you can walk out on a narrow sand patch where two seas meet. Parking was limited and it is a bit of a walk along the beach. If it is a nice day, it is worth going for a few hours. Next we went to check out Old Skagen, known for its yellow houses, and then had lunch down by the harbor.
On our way out of town, we stopped at Den Tilsandede Kirke, also known as the 'sand-covered church'. This church was built during the 14th century, but after a terrible sand drift, the congregation moved out. All that is left of the church is the tower.
We returned the rental car in Hirtshals. It was a bit of a hike to the ferry port (we walked it and it took us about 45 min., but we recommend taking a taxi). We took an overnight ferry to Stavanger, Norway.
Our Scandinavian adventure starts here! We eventually went on a 7-day road trip to check out all of Denmark (overall a 4 week roadtrip), which will be laid out in the upcoming posts. But to start off, we stayed at an Airbnb for 2 nights in Copenhagen. Copenhagen was a great place to visit. It appears everyone in the city owns a bicycle, and uses it as their primary transportation. Our favorite thing about Copenhagen was the social atmosphere.
We left Minneapolis at 7:30pm with IcelandAir and arrived in Copenhagen at 12:45pm with a short layover in Reykjavik, Iceland. Once we arrived, we went through passport control and were on our way to grab our luggage. We ended up checking two bags – one for our camping gear, one for our clothes. Unfortunately, only our camping gear showed up (we would pick up our clothes in two days ☹). It was the start of our trip, so we were not going to let a misplaced bag slow us down! We took the train from the Airport to Central Station and then Central Station to Dybbølsbro and walked to our Airbnb. We stayed in the Versterbro borough near the Fisketorvet shopping mall, which ended up being a prime location; close to any shopping necessities you may need at the mall or grocery store, and walking distance to local sites, or the train station.
Since the first half of our day in Copenhagen consisted of travel, here is a 1.5-day itinerary for the city.
After settling into our Airbnb, we took the train back to Central Station and caught a bus to Freetown Christiania. This is a famous utopian commune in the borough of Christianshavn. In the 70s, the Social Democratic government gave Christiania the official temporary status of “social experiment”. Old barracks have been transformed into practical spaces such as houses, kindergartens, workshops, cafes, and the streets are completely void of cars. The community also has its own social services and likes to do things its own way. Drugs seem to be the norm here – on Pusher Street, there are stalls lined up selling all types of Cannabis. It was a fun and unique area to explore.
We strolled back towards Christianshavn and grabbed a pizza to go along with a 6 pack from the nearby corner store. We ate and drank on the edge of the canal and watched the boats stroll through. We decided to walk the canal back to our Airbnb and saw many bars/restaurants along the Kobenhaven Havn (a main water channel through Copenhagen). There was also a Jazz Festival taking place outside that drew a lot of attention. It was very relaxing to walk along the canal, drink in hand, sunset on its' way. It had been a long day of traveling, so we went to bed early to make the most of our final day in Copenhagen.
We started the morning bright and early with a walk to breakfast at Mad & Kaffe. The menu is laid out so you can choose 3, 5 or 7 items to create your own breakfast. We thought it had great variety, but was slightly expensive (we would rather spend our money on dinner). The food was fantastic though.
We stopped at the mall on our way back (while we were on the phone trying to sort out our luggage situation). We found a grocery store there – Lidl – which quickly became our best friend. Breakfast options are much cheaper here. We stocked up on a few snacks for the day, and also some wine.
After getting our luggage sorted out, we took the train to Østerport to start our walking tour of the city. Our route for the day – Kastellet – The Little Mermaid – Amalienborg – Nyhavn. Kastellet is one of the best-preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe.
The Little Mermaid isn’t very interesting – there are a lot of tourists and overpriced street merchants selling coffee and ice cream. It was worth the 2 second view, but we kept walking. We walked past Saint Ansgars Church which was lovely.
Next we saw Amalienborg Palace – which is the home of the Danish royal family. It is guarded day and night by Royal Life Guards and at noon they execute the changing of the guard (which we happened to see!).
We walked a block further and were able to see the Copenhagen Opera House – which appears to be made entirely of glass. Then we arrived at Nyhavn – a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district. The harbour is lined by brightly colored 17th century townhouses, bars, cafes and restaurants. The canal harbours many historical wooden ships.
For lunch, we made the short walk to Torvenhallerne (you will pass Rosenborg Castle – definitely worth a picture) – a food market that has over 60 stands selling everything from fresh fish and meat to gourmet chocolate and exotic spices. There are also restaurants serving up paninis and other quick items with all those fresh ingredients. There is plenty of outdoor seating. We picked up some fresh fruit for the next day’s breakfast.
We walked back through Strøgert (shopping street) to window shop and went to our Airbnb. We waited here for a few hours (drinking wine and playing cribbage) hoping our bag would show up (it did not). When we got tired of waiting, we went out to Island’s Brygge to watch the Jazz Festival. There are so many places to eat/drink/listen to music on Island’s Brygge – worth a walk down (or two!). After the Jazz finished up, we grabbed a bottle of wine from a corner store (they actually hand you plastic glasses because they know you are going to drink on the street) and walked to a bar called the Fermentoren. This was a great spot with many local tap beers in a good setting. We would definitely recommend it. After a drink, we hopped over to Mikkeller Bar – also a great setting with a great beer selection.
We then walked back to our Airbnb – tomorrow we are picking up our rental car and starting our Denmark road trip (and getting our lost luggage☺)!
For me, there are two types of getaways - a trip and a vacation. A trip is something that entails sightseeing, museums and exploring nonstop. A vacation is a chair on the beach with a drink in hand. This was a vacation.
Holbox is a little slice of heaven. I have no idea how we found it, but I am grateful that we did. The island is northwest of Cancun, and is far from what you get with a trip to Cancun. There were no highrise hotels or restaurant chains, just local people with authentic cuisine and beautiful beaches. It is also a popular spot for kite-boarding, fly fishing, and whale shark tours.
We hired a taxi in advance to pick us up from the airport, drive us to Chiquila, get on the ferry to Holbox and have a golf cart waiting on the other side to take us to our Airbnb. When we arrived at Casa TomTom - we were informed that the owner had to give our room to a family friend and that we would be staying next door in her friend's house. We were uneasy about it at first, until we realized that this was a free upgrade to a large beachfront home with a private pool, and private beach to ourselves - www.airbnb.com/rooms/16945736
What you can expect at Holbox is a great place to mingle with locals and fellow travelers. Wake up to the ocean breeze and head over to the French Bakery, Le Jardin, and get fresh croissants and quiches for breakfast at a very good price (the chocolate croissants are the BEST). A few blocks east, you can find a fresh squeezed juice for 20 pesos. Go for a long walk along the beach. Then find a place for an authentic lunch; fresh caught fish is on most menus. Then it's beach time! Grab a book, mix a drink, and hang out on the beach for the afternoon sun. Keep an eye out for beach merchants delivering fresh empanadas and other afternoon snacks. Around 5pm, head to the beach bar at Hotel Zomay for a cocktail, and hang around for the sunset. After the sunset, walk into town for dinner. There are many great places to eat; we recommend Los Peleones and Casa Las Tortugas! After dinner, find a rooftop bar for drinks or even some salsa dancing lessons. They have a local drink called mezcal, which is definitely worth trying! As night falls, you may hear live music at the Hot Corner, where many people will gather to conclude the night. Then wake up and repeat for as many days as you can!
Instead of taking the same taxi service to return to Cancun International, we met a couple and split a small private plane with them. This cost $120 per person vs the $80 per person cost for the taxi service. The flight is about 25 minutes and well worth the extra cost.