- The incredible light reflecting off the sea and dunes
- Engaging family-friendly experiences at the Oceanarium
- Delicious lunch at the Oceanarium
- Running freely on the huge sand dunes
- Flying a kite
- Catching crabs
- Admiring the sunfish
- The wonderful playgrounds of the Oceanarium
Good to know
There are potentially dangerous cliffs at the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse. Use common sense when supervising your children.
Parking at and visiting the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse is free of charge (as of summer 2017).
About This Day
Nature is in control in North Jutland, Denmark. An old lighthouse in serious danger of being lost to the elements makes for a humbling and unique visit, especially under the enchanted light for which this region is so famous. Happily, the elements that created this unusual sight are also great for kite-flying. Climb the sand dunes, let the kids run freely, and enjoy the spectacular views. After getting your fill of the coast, head to the biggest (and possibly the best) aquarium in Northern Europe. Let the kids decide which part of the itinerary they love most. Both options are a lot of fun when visiting North Jutland with kids.
Rubjerg Knude lighthouse in North Jutland (“Nordjylland” in Danish) is in a precarious situation. Huge sand dunes, whipped up by vicious North Sea winds, are threatening to swallow it completely, and the coastline that it stands upon is eroding. Buried by sand or collapsing into the sea? Recent estimates suggest that it will grace the Danish coastline for another 5-10 years at most. We were lucky to see this hauntingly beautiful structure before Mother Nature claims it as her own, and strongly recommend that you visit, too. Additional facilities, such as a café and tourist information, are available at the visitor center. From there you can also go on a longer hike through these magnificent sand dunes. Just park at the visitor center and follow the signposts.
DIRECTIONS From Route 55, turn off at "Sonder Rubjerg," which is opposite a large antique shop. Continue on this road for 1-2km past the Rubjerg Knude visitor center. Look out for the large car park on the left.
TIP Basic toilet facilities available at the car park but not at the lighthouse. The hike from the car park to the dunes takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the age of your little ones. Bring a kite - it is always windy here. Note that there are potentially dangerous cliffs just behind the lighthouse and some of the sand dunes are surprisingly steep. Exercise caution and common sense with your children.
We have visited plenty of aquariums as a family, but Nordsøen Oceanarium is quite probably the best we have ever seen. The central attraction is a huge saltwater tank with thousands of marine animals - including an impressive sunfish. But there is so much else to see and do that you could spend an entire day here rather easily. Crab fishing, feeding time, interactive exhibits (in English, German and Danish) at every turn, a truly wonderful playground, a hurricane simulator (seriously), playful seals and lip-smackingly good ice cream: the delights of Nordsøen seemed never-ending. To top it all off, there is a good and relatively inexpensive restaurant on the top floor with an extensive (mostly fish-based) menu. And, of course, the obligatory souvenir shop.
DIRECTIONS From Rubjerg Knude lighthouse, return to Route 55 and follow signs towards Hirtshals. Once in the town, the Oceanarium is well-signposted. Ample free parking directly at the attraction.
TIP The website recommends buying tickets online in advance to beat the queues (no discount available), but on the day that we went - in peak summer holiday season - the attraction was not particularly crowded. Feeding time exhibitions are in Danish only, but the aquarium staff also speak either English or German and are happy to answer any questions.