Frederikshavn, Denmark

View of Frederikshavn. © 2009 by Tomasz Sienicki

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Overview

There are at least two reasons why Frederikshavn is an ideal destination for some freewheeling. First, this town in northern Denmark is surrounded by a landscape that consists of a mixture of prominent hill parties and plains. If you experience the area by bike you are likely to be able to ride with the pedals at rest for at least a part of the journey, as you draw in the surrounding landscape from the saddle.

Frederikshavn, in fact, is a bike-friendly destination. The fact is that visitors can borrow bikes at the Tourist Office (Turistbureauet) – at no charge. Such generosity does add another dimension to the word “freewheeling.”

The Tourist Office is also helpful when it comes to suggesting bike tours in and around Frederikshavn. That being said, it’s by no means a necessity to go by bike to experience all that the town has to offer. There is a wide range of attractions available within comfortable distance from the town center.

Quite many of those attractions are related to the history of Frederikshavn, a town that traces its origins to the middle of the 16th century. It took a while to receive city rights, however: they were only granted in 1818, in connection with the town receiving its current name. Up until then, it was known under the name Fladstrand, which translates to “flat beach.”

Visit Krudttårnet (the Gun Powder Tower). © 2005 by Tomasz Sienicki

There are several ways for visitors to learn about Frederikshavn’s past, including a visit to the three-storey Martello tower Krudttårnet (the Gun Powder Tower) and Bangsbo Manor.

A person intimately connected with Frederikshavn, and also with Krudttårnet, is Peter Wessel Tordenskiold. A Danish Naval Officer and war hero of Norwegian origin, Tordenskiold played one of the leading roles during the Great Northern War in the early 18th century.   If you’re fortunate enough to visit Frederikshavn towards the end of June, you might have the chance to experience the traditional Tordenskiold Days – celebrated with pomp, circumstance and people dressed as 18th century soldiers.

Frederikshavn is about more than history, though. This is a modern town that offers a wide range of amusements and distractions, in the form of restaurants, cafés, and shopping – all enclosed by an air of Danish joviality.

Frederikshavn has a population of some 23,500 inhabitants. The port plays a vital role in the town’s economy, with ferry traffic to and from Sweden and Norway established since many years.

Frederikshavn For Cruise Passengers

There are three cruise quays in Frederikshavn, the longest of which can accommodate ships of up to 722 feet/220 meters in length. Larger ships drop anchor, passengers enjoying a short tender ashore. The distance from the quay to the town center is maximum 0.6 miles/1 kilometer.

Do Not Miss

  • Situated close to the port, Krudttårnet (the Gun Powder Tower) is a natural way to start (or maybe end) your visit in Frederikshavn. This 17th century Martello tower (a small defensive fort) contains not only cannons, but also an exhibition focusing on the history of Frederikshavn and the port. Peter Wessel Tordenskiold, a Danish naval officer and war hero, used the tower as a base during the Great Northern War in the early 18th century.
  • In remembrance of Tordenskiold, a historic pageant takes place each year towards the end of June. The event goes by the name “Days of Tordenskiold” – the year is 1717,” and attracts historic groups from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
  • Krudttårnet sorts under Bangsbo Museum, which is a Manor dating back to the 16th century. Located some 1.3 miles/2 kilometers from central Frederikshavn, the premises include not only a moat, but also exhibitions about the history of the town, the Danish resistance movement during World War II, a botanical garden and more.
  • Like Krudttårnet, Bangsbo Fort also functions under the Bangsbo Museum. Bangsbo Fort was built by German troops during WWII as a part of the so-called Atlantic Wall. Enjoy the splendid view of the sea as you make your way to the fort.
  • Some 700 feet/200 meters from the port, visit the cluster of small houses known as the Fiskerklyngen. These houses represent the oldest part of Frederikshavn, which dates back to the late 16th century. Most of the current houses are from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Also located close to the port, the Church of Frederikshavn is worth a visit. The church dates from the early 1890s and is built in Romanesque style. On the outskirts of the town centre is the older Fladstrand Church, dating from the late 17th century.
  • Frederikshavn features a number of gardens and parks, many of which can be found close to the town center. Examples include Plantagen, Kennedy Parken (the Kennedy Park), and, of course, the Bangsbo Botanical Garden (see above).
  • At Knivholt Manor, some 2 miles/3 kilometers west of Frederikshavn, see the second-largest collection of bottled beer in Denmark while also visiting the re-established baroque garden.

Shore Excursions

A range of shore excursions in and around Frederikshavn can be on offer. Examples include:

  • Tours of Frederikshavn, by coach, car or bike, can take in many of the attractions mentioned above under Do Not Miss. Some of the motorized tours can continue to nearby Skagen, perhaps best known for the Skagen School of painters.
  • Other tours will focus exclusively on the small town of Skagen, also taking in attractions such as The Sanded Church and Råbjerg Mile (a giant sand dune) along the way. Other tours to Skagen can focus almost entirely on the art conceived here by the Skagen painters a century ago.
  • Excursions to the town of Aalborg and the Lindholm Høje burial mound from the late Iron Age and Viking era can also be available.
  • Eagleworld is a sanctuary for eagles, falcons and other birds of prey, located some 19 miles/30 kilometers from Frederikshavn.
  • The North Sea Oceanarium in Hirtshals is one of Europe’s largest aquariums. 30 miles/48 kilometers from Frederikshavn, it is accessible on some excursions.

Getting Further

From Frederikshavn, the distance is 480 kilometers/298 miles to Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen.

Avid Cruiser Posts, Photographs and Videos Featuring Frederikshavn.