Danish Shelters and Primitive Campsites
(free/cheap overnight options)
Posted 22 May 2022
Denmark wasn’t somewhere I’d given much thought to as part of my trip … it fell between Germany and Sweden and that was that! I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by the country, which has been good for cycling. What has proved particularly great are the interesting options for free or cheap overnight stays.
There is no general right to wild camp in Denmark. I understand that you may “sleep on the forest floor” - but not in a tent (for example, using a tarp or bivvy bag only).
There are some designated forest areas for “free tenting” - i.e. where wild camping is permitted.
What I used, though (and were particularly great), were the primitive camping areas - and overnight shelters. Both of these exist in plentiful numbers across the country.
Primitive camping areas can vary, but you can expect a picnic table and fire pit. Pitch your tent up and you’re good.
Overnight shelters are just that - a three-sided shed with a flat surface inside to set out your sleeping mat and bag. You may wish to bring a mosquito net to hang. Again, there’s probably a picnic table and fire pit outside. Sometimes you can also pitch a tent.
There might be water, a dry toilet - or nothing. The source of all wisdom is the online map. You can find this here : https://udinaturen.dk/map-page
Using Chrome to translate everything worked well, but you just need to click the “pin” icon at the top-right and then filter on what you’re looking for. Note that “campsites” aren’t really relevant as these are more meant for groups of people (although if you are a group of people, maybe they are for you!).
The results of your search show up on the map, and you can then see further details on each one.
Some sites should be booked in advance (possibly for free, or a small charge). Some you need to call a local person and arrange. Some you just turn up. All is explained when looking at each site on the map.
If booking a shelter, it seems that the minimum booking is normally for two people, so solo travellers do badly, but on the upside the cost is usually pretty minimal and you do get the shelter to yourself!
In most cases, there is more than one shelter on site. I used four sites (two shelters, two to camp) - at two there were other cyclists, and at the other two I was on my own.
I suppose it would be possible to do a “camping” tour of Denmark without a tent - i.e. bring along your sleeping bag/mat but use shelters. It would also be cheap too.
Here's an example of a shelter site: