The North Coast Path (Nordkyststien) – a cycle and walking path?

The North Coast Path (Nordkyststien) is a 66 kilometer long cycle and walking (this is debatable) route from Helsingør to Hundested where you follow the beautiful North Zealand coast, also called the Danish Riviera. On this one day hike I cover 37 km from Helsingør to Rågeleje. I don’t follow exactly the official bike trail “Nordkyststien Route 47”, but instead I divert at times walking along the beach and some minor B-roads and so on. The hike takes me 9 hours and below is a summary of my walk.

Friday, July 17th 2020 / Helsingør to Rågeleje 37 km

Regional train 2041 departed Copenhagen central station at 10:53 am. On arrival in Helsingør the time was 11:39 am. I located the Fakta supermarket, just outside the train station, where I purchased a sandwich and a chocolate milk. Walking along Jernbanevej I found a vacant bench where I could sit and eat my lunch. I watched the cars leaving the ferry who had sailed over The Sound (Øresund) from Helsingborg in Sweden to Denmark.

After a quick lunch I departed Helsingør at 12:07 pm. I continued to walk along Jernbanevej past the street food hall on the wharf. All the time views of Kronborg Castle dominated the scene. I strolled first through the castle grounds where the trail then turns and takes me by Helsingør North Harbour. There were a lot of people around the harbour, especially all the food stalls and small restaurants.

I crossed the railway and then headed up to the forested path where “Nordkyststien Route 47” started. The path was elevated here so I had some nice views of Sweden when there was a break in the tree canopy.

After passing Kobber Dam and Hellebæk Churchyard I came upon Hammermøllen (the Hammer Mill) in Hellebæk forest. The history of the mill goes all the way back to 1765. Hammermøllen was an integrated part of the Kronborg Geværfabrik (Arms Factory). The works included 8 water mills, all powered by Hellebækken (the Holy Stream). There were three different types of mill: Hammer mills, drilling mills and grinding mills. All buildings in Hellebæk were used for both habitation and workshops. Kronborg Geværfabrik was closed down in 1870.

There are public toilets available at the mill where you can refill your water bottle. There is also a nice café at the old mill site; there were quite a few guests drinking coffees and cold drinks. It was quite inviting but I had only just got started so onward I went.

From the mill the trail leads me eventually out to the beach at Hornbæk. This was my favourite part of the trail with cool cover from the beach trees, ocean views and a lovely dirt trail. I noticed that there were several illegally pitched tents in the bush here. It was a lovely location so I don’t blame them for doing so.

Just before Hornbæk Beach I came across some public toilets in the forest. They were attached to a water treatment plant called Nordkystens Renseanlæg. I filled my water bottle here. At the Hornbæk Havnegrill I purchased an ice cream. Once again, there were a lot of people here, all crowding around the food stalls and fish restaurants. Not much evidence of covid-19 restrictions here I thought. This tourist magnet is always busy in the summer months.

When I came to Dronningmølle Strandcamping I refilled my water supplies again. My original plan today was to find somewhere to camp and then continue to Hundested the next day. Those plans change and I’ll explain why at the end. I filled my 1.5 litre Evernew folding water bottle thinking that would be enough for both dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow.

After Dronningmølle Strandcamping I hiked along a mixture of rocky beach coastline, trail and sealed roads. The later, sealed roads, was to be more dominant the rest of the day. I think it was at Munkerup that I found a bench under the shade of some trees where I could empty the sand from my shoes and take a break from the cars that I was fighting for a slice of the road to walk on. Eventually, just before Gilleleje, I was able to walk on some nice grassed path until I came to the harbour.

At Gilleleje I walked first down to the harbour where my family and I have visited many times before. They do a splendid fish and chips meal here among other things. I was aiming to buy my dinner and then continue walking until late. The time was 6 pm. Unfortunately the line was too long and there were too many people here for my liking. We are in the middle of a Corona crisis after all. I opted to continue walking on the main drag through town until I reached Hotel Gilleleje Strand where I turned right and headed for the public toilets; I knew that they were located here from my many visits to Gilleleje. I filled up on water again and then walked across the road to the Rema Supermarket where I purchased my dinner. Called a protein bomb salad, it contained chicken, chickpeas and spices for 20 Danish Kroner. I ate it while I walked and continued on my way out of town.

A little out of town I looked back at Gilleleje. It was such a lovely evening; I couldn’t believe how lucky I was with the weather. From here on I tried several times to divert from the road to the beach and then back again to the road. I’m sure that I walked an extra 2 km over the 37 km doing this. There were no footpaths and the road was narrow. With not a lot of room for two cars to pass one another travelling in opposite directions I had no chance; it was not enjoyable. Everytime a car came I had to throw myself into some trees or the overgrown bush on the side of the road.

At Smidstrup I decided to follow the road through town instead of the beach which I had followed for some time. Some of the coastline was fine to walk on but then a lot of it was just rocks and that was very tiring and time consuming to walk on.

After Udsholt Beach I made it to a lovely village called Rågeleje which is a popular summer house area in Denmark. I had been looking out for some time for a possible location to pitch my tent, but I hadn’t seen any possibilities. After studying the map for a while longer I made a decision.

The time was 9 pm. I decided that I had had enough and I called my wife who agreed to drive up from Copenhagen, a 45 minutes drive, to collect me. I had 44 minutes to sit and watch a beautiful sunset before my ride arrived. Sunset was at 9:44 pm. Looking back, I had had a wonderful day walking for 9 hours in glorious sunshine and covering 37 km and perhaps a couple more. I felt great but I didn’t want to walk anymore on sealed roads fighting off cars at the same time. I would argue and say that this is a cycle path and not a walking path. My ride arrived just as the sun went down.

You can view and download my map for this hike here on AllTrails

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