Padborg (dpa / tmn) - An eight in a tire should of course be avoided if you go on the Baltic Sea cycle path. But the number is always present on Denmark's longest cycle path, which was inaugurated two years ago.
Blue signs with a white eight point the way on the N8. In fact, holidaymakers cycle an eight along the route, past the highlights of the Danish Baltic Sea coast, including a ferry ride.
Of course, you don't have to cover the entire 820 kilometers under the tires, but you can choose individual ones - depending on your condition - around 14 daily stages.
Where and in which direction you start the tour is up to you. If you want to start a German-Danish history lesson first, Sønderborg is the place for you. The castle there also tells of past wars.
In the city, which was once part of Prussia, even the popular bread cake made from grated brown bread is steeped in history: It was created during the Danish struggle for freedom in 1864, when rebels unobtrusively agreed to have coffee and cake. The calories can be burned on the trip to the Flensburg Fjord, through the middle of which the border runs. The first stop is Aabenraa, the city with the best drinking water in Denmark and a long beach.
On spiritual or dizzying walks
Aabenraa is followed by Haderslev, one of the prettiest cities in southern Denmark with the cathedral from 1150. Stjerneskud, plaice with shrimps, salmon, asparagus and caviar provides refreshment here. In 1526 Luther's teaching was first announced in Haderslever Cathedral.
It is thanks to this fact that cyclists can make a worthwhile detour - the 106-kilometer Camino Haderslev Næs pilgrimage route with nine historic churches, named after the Spanish Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
Back on the Baltic Sea Cycle Path, Kolding offers itself for the next stop. The Koldinghus from 1268 is the last royal castle in the region. Then it's over the Lillebælt, the strait between Jutland and the island of Funen. Daring ones take a little adventure here: secured on a rope, they can climb the old bridge over the Little Belt.
On the island of bicycles and locks
By crossing the Little Belt, cyclists can reach the island of Funen. Next stop: Fåborg. The old town is one of the best preserved in Denmark, recognizable from afar by the yellow bell tower. Before heading east on the N8 by the sea, a detour into the interior of the island is recommended: Egeskov Castle is the best-preserved moated castle in Europe.
Back in spring on the main route towards Svendborg, the path runs through bright yellow rapeseed fields, past manors and pastures full of Scottish highland cattle.
Nyborg then offers exactly the right thing to quench your thirst: the Refsvindinge brewery is considered the smallest in Denmark, but produces one of the best beers in the country, «Ale No. 16». The city with its 700-year history is the last stop on Funen.
Hygge fed up on Zealand
Zealand can be reached by ferry or the Storebælt Bridge, the longest bridge in Europe. If there is a town waiting for cyclists there that is nicknamed "the cozy town by the sea", then the most important thing has already been said: This is exactly how Skælskør is. A city that lives from trade, craft and fishing.
We continue along the kilometer-long beach of Bisserup in the direction of Næstved, where there is again an absolutely worth seeing castle: Gavnø is located on a small island, which for good reasons is also called the "flower island". The castle park is considered one of the most beautiful in Denmark.
The Caribbean of Denmark
Møn markets itself as an “island with the wow effect”. The highlight is the impressive chalk cliffs Møns Klint, which drop steeply into a deep blue sea. The region is described somewhat capriciously as the “Caribbean of Denmark”. It is always beautiful.
Along the south coast it is often directly along the sea and then over another sea bridge over to the island of Bogø, where you can spend the night and take the ferry to Falster the next day.
From the most beautiful Baltic Sea beach to the stone men
If you cycle down the east coast of Falster, you usually leave all the beaches to the left, because a real eye-catcher awaits further south: Marielyst, one of the most beautiful beaches in Denmark with a length of 20 kilometers. The perfect place to rest or for the next night is the town of Nykøbing Falster, for which the term "hyggelig" could have been invented.
The Danish Stonehenge is waiting on the next island of Lolland. From a distance you can see the twelve mighty granite stone columns, each seven to eight meters high. They stand silently in a circle. Dodekalith is the name of the art project, based on old traditions. The early inhabitants, the Lolen, were said to have established such Lol circles for their forefathers.
The relaxed route on the west coast of Lolland finally ends in Nakskov, the largest city on the island. Picturesque alleys and one or the other pretty souvenir shop await here.
In the end the beginning
That's how it is when you drive an eight: From Lolland you cross the island of Langeland and Tåsinge - back to Svendborg on Funen. There you take the ferry to Ærø. Cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, galleries and tranquility await cyclists here.
The last few kilometers lead to the small, no less pretty town of Søby, where it is time to say goodbye: from there the ferry drives back to the mainland. Anyone who has cycled the entire N8 is probably well exhausted on the one hand, but has also seen a lot on the other. And if you only selected a few stages, you should feel a wish: come back.
Map with the stations of the Baltic Sea Cycle Path
Denmark's Baltic Sea Cycle Route N8
Arrival: The N8 starts near the German border near Padborg, best reached by car via the A7 / E45. Alternatively, an IC travels from Hamburg to Padborg in just over two hours. If you want to start in Sønderborg, you can reach the city by car or from Padborg by bus. Bicycles are allowed here if there is space.
Accommodation: There are simple Bed & Bike accommodations (often hostels) everywhere along the route. They cost about 80 to 120 euros per night (double room).