Expert Tips on Hiking & Camping in Denmark & Greenland

From permits to essential hiking gear, here's everything you need to know before stepping into the wilderness.

Group hiking in Greenland Photo © Getty Images/Roberto Moiola

Where to Go Hiking in Denmark and Greenland

Denmark is a great place to go hiking and camping, as well as mountain biking, wildlife watching, caving and even searching for fossils. Go solo, with your friends, or take a guided hike along Denmark's easiest hiking trail, Camønoen. This 108mi (175km) trail stretches around Møn, Nyord and Bogø, with incredible views of white limestone cliffs that drop into the sea. Accommodation along the way includes B&Bs, basic campsites and hostels.

For a more challenging hike in Denmark, Øhavsstien is a 136mi (220km) trail that passes through poppy fields and villages in southern Fuen (Denmark's third largest island). The trail can be broken up into shorter day hikes if you don't want to walk the whole trail.

Near the capital city of Greenland, Nuuk, there are plenty of great day hikes. Take a three-hour hike to the top of Little Malene, or if you're up for the challenge, take the seven-hour hike to the top of Big Malene. 

Eqi Glacier (Eqip Sermia) is 49mi (80km) north of Ilulissat. During the day visitors can see ice break from the glacier, similar to the experience at Perito Moreno glaicer in southern Argentina. The four-five hour hike starts at Glacier Lodge Equi and winds around the small lagoon at the southern end of the glacier.

One of the most active glaciers in Greenland. Photo credit: Getty Images/Astalor

If you're venturing north into the Arctic Circle, stay in Sisimiut and take a hike to the top of Palasip Qaqqaa (Priest Mountain), which overlooks the town. It takes approximately two hours to reach the summit, where you'll be rewarded with views of Kangerluarsuk Tulleq (First Fjord). 

Kangerluarsuk Tulleq fjord. Photo credit: Getty Images/Tomas Zrna

Camping in Denmark and Greenland

There are strict regulations governing National Parks and Reserves in Denmark, and approximately 500 campgrounds fall under the Danish Camping Board. Wild camping is illegal here, and you must display a Danish Camping Card at many campsites. At the height of summer, it can cost up to 170 kroner per night to stay at a camp site.

During summer (June–August) take a trip to Charlottenlund Fort where you can go camping (book in advance), swimming at the beach, or take a dip at the nearby bathhouse. This location is an easy 20 minute drive north from Cophenhagen.

Ishøj, a 20 minute drive south west from Copenhagen, is a Danish town near the coast with plenty of cultural and historical highlights to see. Travelers can camp on the beach, which is also not far from a supermarket.

Catch a bus just 3mi (5km) north of Copenhagen to Bellahøj, where you can go camping and walking through the woods.

Travelers who've camped in Denmark (specifically Greenland) warn that it's difficult to find the ideal spot to pitch your tent, as the landscape is covered with fir and spruce forests. Many campsites are also very remote, not accessible by public transport, and facilities are rarely marked on maps. Extra preparation is important: buy and pack enough food for your trip, including toiletries and other items you might need for a few nights camping in remote locations.

It goes without saying you need to pack for extremely cold temperatures if you're visiting outside the summer months of June–August. 

Tents pitched on rocky terrain in the heart of Tasermiut fjord, Southern Greenland. Photo credit: Getty Images/Tomas Zrna

What to Pack

When planning to go off the grid in Denmark's remote wilderness, remember you'll have very little access to amenities and medical or rescue operations.

Food: make sure you stock up on sufficient food for the duration of your stay. Before leaving town, stop by the supermarket and purchase enough food for all meals spanning the number of days you are away. Don't forget your cooking equipment.

Clothing: pack the correct gear for extreme weather conditions. Wool clothing wicks moisture from your skin and keeps you warm. Pack layers, including a thermal top, fleece, down jacket, and water-proof rain jacket. Keep your legs warm by wearing thermal leggings and a pair of long pants. Wool socks are ideal in the cold weather, and it goes without saying these should be paired with a sturdy set of hiking boots.

It's recommended you hire a guide before going hiking or camping in Greenland. This is an easy place to get lost, stranded or injured, thanks to precarious weather and long stretches of night.

Don't attempt to hike into the mountains unless you're with a guide, or extremely experienced and know how to navigate ascent and descent routes. Greenland does not have many search and rescue operations available, so if you get yourself into trouble, help may not reach you in time.

Read your travel insurance policy wording carefully to make sure you are covered for the activities you have booked.

Cruise Safety in Denmark and Greenland

Cruising the frigid Arctic seas around Greenland is no easy feat. Cold even in the summer months, the weather is much more fragile and harrowing than a cruise around the Caribbean.

Scant search and rescue services aren't capable of handling passengers and crew onboard one cruise ship should it become distressed. Emergency facilities on land are also limited, and in the case you need to visit a hospital in Greenland, there might not be adequate help available. We recommend travelers considering cruises here to review the cruise ship operations before booking.

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