By Rebecca Hay

What’s not to like in a country that just oozes a laid-back lifestyle and stunning scenery similar to Scotland? The coastal region of Kystlandet is the gem in the Danish jewel and a relaxed journey from the central belt will transport you into its magic in little over two hours.

Just 45 minutes from the low-cost airline hub of Billund, famous for the family-favourite Legoland theme park, is the beautiful city of Horsens, on the east coast of the Jutland region.

As you would expect from Denmark, it’s a clean, well kept city, and it’s the gateway for lots of relatively undiscovered landscape.

You are greeted on the city hilltop, by one of Denmark’s toughest prisons and the scene for the country’s last execution in 1892.

It was here in 1949, that master criminal Carl August Lorentzen hit the headlines after painstakingly tunnelling his way out, only to be caught and sent back just days later.

Today it is an interactive museum for all the family and also used for major events including northern Europe’s largest medieval festival on the last weekend in August .

A five-minute drive takes you to the airy Horsens Art Museum, full of Danish contemporary works, with a collection by locally born artist Michael Kvium.

Here, you will find Café Ella and the modest, but exceptionally talented Korean-born chef Jimmy Boye Jensen, recent winner of the best beef sandwich in Denmark, a real belly-buster, topped with sublime sauce.

Jensen prides himself on inventive dishes and also serves up gourmet tasting dinners at Ji-Mi’s, a tiny restaurant in the heart of the city, with only the finest foods and wine on offer, from oysters to Chablis.

In the heart of Horsens is the beautiful Jørgensens Hotel, housed in the historic Lichtenberg Palace built in 1744 by Gert de Lichtenberg.

Beautifully restored rooms, with all the mod cons and traditional Danish breakfasts, are the order of the day, alongside creative cooking at lunch and dinner.

A stroll around Horsens is rewarded by beautiful architecture, stunning shops and for the competitive, a 5.5 kilometre long treasure hunt which allows you to have fun while you explore, with a special medal for those who complete the task.

The Herald: Borre Knob HotelBorre Knob Hotel (Image: unknown)

If you get lost, the locals are super friendly and the tour of the city also takes you to the old industrial harbour, where you will find Dolly’s, which dates back to 1993 and serves classic dishes such as fried pork rashers with parsley sauce and shooting star, made up of fried fish fillet, steamed white fish and hand-peeled prawns with smoked salmon roe, dressing and served on toasted sourdough bread North of Horsens and the clean, crisp area of the Sondrup Hills is a great place for exploring and an excellent method of finding your way about is with guide Kirsten Aagaard from Fyrholt Rejser, who provides a typical Danish breakfast ready to set you up for the Fjordmino hike around the stunning Horsens Fjord, taking in forests, meadows, villages, marinas and a near empty beach.

Twenty minutes away and you can hop onto an e-bike with Heidi Holm from Holmely Bikes and check out Bakkelandet, which boasts some of Denmark’s highest peaks. Among the sights is the Uncovered Bridge, which served the railways and was hidden for 85 years inside a dam, before being restored in 2014.

If you are lucky you might bump into a troll named Jensnej, who lives deep in the forest and was created by artist Thomas Dambo, along with another 100 scattered across Denmark Islands always capture the imagination and the Borre Knob Hotel, hidden deep in the countryside on a narrow peninsula, is the perfect place to rest before exploring.

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Follow this with a magical 60-minute ferry ride, to the car-free Tunø, where tractors act as taxis and walkers enjoy a circular stroll along the clifftops, with the reward of sublime fish dishes from the smokehouse.

Denmark’s second smallest and prettiest church is on the island of Hjarnø, at the foot of the Horsens fjord and 500 metres away from the mainland.

The Herald: The Uncovered BridgeThe Uncovered Bridge (Image: unknown)

The 10-minute boat hop lands you in a picturesque harbour that’s home to 150 residents including visual artist Jane Willumsgaard who has combined her passions with a coffee bar at Det Grafiske Magasin.

Nearby is the 7.7 square kilometre island of Alrø, a haven for kite surfers and food lovers, with the Alrø Købmandsgaard, serving up beautiful bison dishes using meat from a nearby farm.

These islands, with their natural beauty, lack of crowds and inventive locals who turn their creative hands to clever ways to make a living, are remimiscent of Scotland and make Kystlandet a must-visit.


Travel facts: 

For more tourist information and links for food, activities and accommodation, check out and

Flights to Billund are available from Edinburgh via low cost carriers. For airport parking, lounges and transfers, can help.