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Hærvejen – The danish pilrims route

Immervadbro -2013

Walking the Camino in northern Spain has become very popular over the last 20 years, with up to 200,000 guests a year who walk at least 100 km. and with more than 1000 people meeting at the popular places at any one day in high season. It is therefore obvious that many Camino hikers look for other pilgrim routes, and alternative routes to Santiago, from other European places such as Rome and Trondheim. In Europe, there is a network of old cultural routes, which are also a kind of pilgrim’s road. The “Hærvejen” in Jutland from Padborg to Viborg and further on up through Jutland was designated as a European Cultural Route in 2010 and should be seen as a pilgrims route connecting Nidaros, Trondheim in the north and Santiago, Rome and Jerusalem in the south.

“Hærvejen” (Ancient Road – Ox Trail – Kings Road – Steers Way) from Padborg to Viborg has potential for development as a pilgrimage route. The route leads you through quiet landscapes and forests in sparsely populated parts of Jutland. Things to see such as burial mounds and runic stones are described in the literature found, most recently a new guidebook about the “Hærvejen”. The route is signposted along the way and there are updated maps that can be purchased or downloaded from the website ‘’. There are 33 Churches along the “hærvejen”, most of which are open to the public. All sections of the route have access to grocery stores and to the bus and train services with connections to all parts of the country. Finally, there are 14 hostels on the route between Padborg and Viborg (290 km), and 14 hostels between Viborg and Hirtshals/Frederikshavn where walkers and cyclists  can stay for 100 kr. per. night

The “hærvejen” routes for hikers and cyclists were established and signposted approx. 20 years ago. They follow the general direction of the “hærvejen” along the western side of the ridge dividing the east and westbound streams of Jutland. The routes follow existing paths and local roads, but there is room for improvement. In some sections there is too much asphalt and local traffic. Stores for shopping are few and far between, and there are almost no restaurants or inns along the routes.

Several projects at regional level are being carried out with the aim to highlight and develop the tourism potential around the “hærvejen”. In 2012, Rold Forest Nature Center in cooperation with the municipalities in NorthernJutland established a continuation of the “hærvejen”, north from Viborg to, respectively Frederikshavn and Hirtshals.

At the pilgrims office in Santiago all walkers who are registered with a pilgrims card are asked; what is the motive for the trip to Santiago: religious / spiritual, cultural, sporting or social? Are you walking, cycling or on horseback? In particular, the social aspect has been very important for many of the people who meet on the route, at the hostels and the many restaurants along the way. It has created a melting pot with great diversity and acceptance between the 2 million pilgrims who have walked the Camino over the last 10 years. Christians, neo-religious, atheists and people who are just curious about life’s existential questions have come together, resulting in many new friendships and new insights.

“Foreningen Herberger langs Hærvejen”is trying to create the spirit that exists along the Camino route. You can hike, bike or ride a horse on the “hærvejen” for one or more days and stay overnight at the 14 hostels located along the “hærvejen”. Hostels are located with approx. 25 km. intervals and operated according to the same principles as hostels along the Camino in Spain:

  • Overnight stays cannot be booked in advance.
  • Overnight stay costs 100 kr. per. person
  • Sleeping is in dormitories.
  • There are kitchen and bathroom facilities.


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