Laid-back on the Danish coast

The serene shores of Jutland, home to a new holiday resort, gives the Med a run for its money, says Mark Hillsdon

The west coast of Jutland is one long stretch of golden sand, backed by dunes, heathland, and big, big skies. It seemed the perfect solution to our search for an alternative to the Med for a family holiday. And by swapping cheap flights for an overnight ferry to Esbjerg, we'd taken a greener option, too.

The crossing from Harwich to Esbjerg takes 18 hours, although it wasn't aboard the "floating city" I'd described to Lauren, nine, and her five-year-old sister, Hannah. Apart from a small gift shop and a row of (thankfully) out-of-order arcade games, you need to make your own on-board entertainment. But the food was excellent and our cabins comfy.

Next morning, within a couple of hours of docking, we'd driven up the coast to SeaWest, one of the country's newest holiday resorts. The Danes love their holiday homes and many of the fishing shacks along the North Sea coast have been reclaimed as weekend retreats. The wooden chalets at SeaWest reflect this local architecture, although, with typical Danish élan, they have added stylish touches such as paintwork in muted tones of blue and green, and whirlpool baths as standard.

A huge glass wedge – the Transparent Dune – houses a swimming pool with wave pool and choice of water slides, and there's a range of sports from crazy golf to ten-pin bowling, as well as a kids' soft-play area. And that's where I sat as mum took advantage of the gym, wellness centre and a full-body massage. You can eat on site too, although the pizzeria is uninspiring, and we gave the grill a miss, choosing to use our well-equipped kitchen and barbecue instead.

The silence and solitude of Jutland are striking: you can drive for miles without coming across another car, and there are more wind farms than people in the countryside.

At Norre Nebel, a sleepy town just a few minutes from our chalet, we hired strange contraptions called trolley cycles, which run along a disused railway line through the Blaabjerg plantation and down to the coast at Nymindegab. Going downhill, with the wind behind you, is exhilarating; coming back uphill into anything more than a light breeze, and your thighs are soon screaming for mercy.

The beach at Nymindegab is vast, stretching as far as the eye can see in both directions, not unlike the beaches on England's north-west coast. Apart from a small, seasonal ice-cream kiosk, the place is virtually deserted – but with shells, space and the macabre sight of hundreds of small jellyfish stranded on the beach, the kids were happy.

Further up the coast is the Ringkobing fjord, although it was nothing like the fjords I remember from O-level geography; there was no narrow inlet or steep craggy cliffs, just a vast bowl of water, cut off from the North Sea by a thin strip of land, and full of dinghies and windsurfers.

At Henne Strand we found another vast strip of sandy shoreline, with all the mod cons of a bustling seaside town. Reassuringly, most of Jutland's beaches are Blue Flag, but it's worth remembering that they're all lapped by the North Sea, and only the bravest try the icy waters.

Another unspoilt spot is Vejers Strand, where the dunes are dotted with holiday homes, many with grass roofs, so that the only sign they are even there are wispy trails of smoke drifting from hidden chimneys.

During the Second World War, Denmark's long, flat west coast was considered a natural choice for an Allied invasion, and a string of German gun emplacements was built along the shore. Many have been destroyed or submerged under drifts of sand, but the Tirpitz Battery, near Blavand, Denmark's most westerly point, proved impossible to tear down. The concrete fort is now home to a small museum, and it's worth a visit for an insight into what the Germans had planned had the Allies chosen Jutland over Normandy.

On the way back to Esbjerg we stopped off to see Man Meets the Sea, four striking white figures that we'd seen earlier from the ferry. And these vast statues, staring into the distance, seemed a fitting tribute to Jutland, its serenity, and its laid-back take on life.

COMPACT FACTS

How to get there

Mark Hillsdon and family travelled to Denmark as guests of DFDS Seaways (0871 882 0886; dfds.co.uk). The price for two adults and two children sharing a four-berth inside cabin costs from £708 in high season. A week's accommodation in a six-berth chalet at SeaWest starts at £634 (00 45 70 23 2030; strandhotellerne.dk).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent