Jelling: 5 experiences with world heritage, music and smiles is written by The editorial staff.
Jelling on the map
Jelling! You certainly know the name of the city, but what is there to really experience in the small town north of Vejle and close to Legoland?
The editors took over bike ride in the area in the early - and cold - spring to find out, and here you get our offer of 5 experiences that you must treat yourself to when you go on an extended weekend in South Jutland. And we can already now reveal that Jelling is not like the other small towns in the area. Far from.
Jelling is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and much more
What makes Jelling world famous are of course the famous Jelling stones, which together with the mounds and the church came on UNESCOs World Heritage List in 1994. The two beautiful rune stones - the small and the large - tell the story of Viking Denmark, which became Christian more than 1000 years ago. The picture from the large stone can be found on the inside of your passport and is also very aptly called "Denmark's baptismal certificate", because this is where Denmark as a country for the first time clearly emerges.
But the stones are part of something bigger. What impresses most about the Jelling monuments is actually all that around. Because it's big, really big.
In the last couple of years, a lot has happened with the dissemination of history as people have become wiser about what is underground. For example, it is not many years ago that it was discovered that the entire area was framed by stones set in the ground like a perfectly executed 360 meter long Viking ship. It is without comparison the largest stone setting in the Nordic countries.
The remains of a 1,5 km long oak palisade wall that surrounded the area were also found. Many trees have been added to the original structure, and a modern version of both stone and wall has now become a beautiful part of the area.
Together with the two mounds, which are the largest Viking mounds in the country, it shows quite clearly that here the royal power in Denmark was united. This was one of the most important areas in Northern Europe, and it was not pale to show.
Whether you are interested in history or not, the UNESCO site in Jelling is worth a visit.
Kongernes Jelling - a Viking museum beyond the ordinary
Opposite the church is the museum Kongernes Jelling. It is free to visit, and you must do so, because it seems like one of our most modern museums in the country, and it tells the Viking story by all means.
We were greeted by a dedicated staff member who told great stories about all the new finds made with walls and stones, and we then walked around the house ourselves. In the style of the new Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus uses the many narrative forms and tools and thus makes the story come alive, even though it is a much smaller museum than Moesgaard.
You can literally step into the story in a virtual battle, you can hear the raven’s tales, and you can see the jewelry that the Vikings wore.
It does not take more than an hour to visit Kongernes Jelling, and we can definitely recommend a look inside.
SEJD Café & Boutique
In Vejle you have one Gastro guide, which shows the way to places that can be a little more than average. Inside Vejle we were at Uncle A, who takes green and tasty food seriously, and in Jelling we of course also had to see what the Gastroguiden could do, so we visited SEJD for lunch.
Or maybe we should rather say that we visited Bjarne, who is the man behind SEJD, and got good stories and a modern local tapas plate. It was not the kind of 'Jutland tapas' that is part of a lot of joke drawings: Red sausages with mustard, ketchup and roasted onions. Instead, it was tasty delicacies from near and far.
We were entertained by Bjarne, who quickly makes one feel at home. He was also allowed to stand for our picnic for the next day, and it consisted of a bang of a roll-roasted sandwich and bubbling juice that could be taken out on the bikes. We ate it out by whiskey distillery Fary Lochan, and sent warm thoughts to Bjarne and his food art.
Byens Hus: Jelling Bryggeri and Byens Café
Jelling Brewery is one of the country's smallest breweries and is very conveniently located in Byens Hus right in the middle of Jelling, a small jelling stone throw from the UNESCO area. Here is also Byens Café, and the very active Jelling Music Association has lots of events when they are not just arranging Jelling Music festival.
We were so lucky that our dinner coincided with the first concert of the year and the excitement was unmistakable. It has been a long time since we have been a place where you could feel such a strong local unity as we experienced that night in the City House.
When there is also a good burger, tasting menu from the brewery and a solid time rock, pop and robbery stories from a really professional orchestra - Perry Stenbäck & Dekadansorkestern - with superb sound, then the evening is to that extent in house.
If you want go local in Jelling, Byens Hus is a good place to start.
Move: Cycling, hiking, fishing
We stayed at cozy Skovdal Kro, which as the name suggests is located right next to a nice forest area. You can rent ordinary bicycles in several places in the Vejle area, and if you are into electric bicycles you can get Vagabond tours to help you. We had chosen electric bikes to get out and explore the hills in the area, and it's super easy, too the cycle routes starts right outside the door and the bikes were ready for us on arrival.
It is a fairly popular area to cycle in, because there are good hills and a lot to see on the road, and then there is more than ordinary good signage and service along the way. For example, there are cafes, museums, hotels and other places that offer water for you, air for the tire and charging for your legs or the battery - depending on the type of bike you are on. They are called Bike Friends and is located throughout the area, and the aforementioned SEJD is one of them.
That kind of easy package deal and organized local help makes a big difference and we used it several times.
The hiking trails also start right outside the door and they are of course also used diligently by the locals. You can walk down to Fårup Lake, where there is put and take fishing, or up to the golf course and hit some shots. You can walk in the woods and in the river valley and get healthy amounts of fresh air, especially when spring appeared from its less warm side.
We were greeted by a number of locals and burned some calories before we had to try the inn's food, which - not surprisingly - is classic Danish kromad. But just as inns are different, so is innware, and we understood quite quickly why one should book a table here on a Saturday night; it was simply some of the best classic chrome food we have had in several years. Right there at Skovdal Kro. On the outskirts of Jelling. IN South Jutland.
If you want to explore Jelling, we recommend staying a few days as the city has so much to offer. If you want to take souvenirs home, you can buy a big suitcase and fill it with beautiful things.
Have a good trip to Jelling!
RejsRejsRejs was invited by VisitVejle. All attitudes are, as always, our own.