Traders, thieves and conquerors – this is how the Vikings are often described. Many lived on the Schlei Baltic Sea fjord from the 8th to the 11th century, traded there and went out to conquer new lands and treasures. Haithabu, on the Schleswiger Landenge, high in northern Germany, was an important trading centre for the Vikings and a central transport hub in northern Europe. Situated at the narrowest point between the North Sea and the Baltic, it was not only a border post between Scandinavia and the European mainland but it also facilitated intensive trade and exchange between the regions.
Naturally, such an important and busy region caught the interest of other nations and had to be protected from the south by a massive border fortification. Rulers over the following centuries also recognised the value of this powerful barrier and continued to expand it until the end of the 19th century. The roughly 30-kilometre-long (19 mi) rampart is called the Danewerk and, together with Haithabu, has been part of Schleswig-Holstein's third UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2018, alongside Lübeck's Old Town and the Wadden Sea of the North Sea.
In this Collection, we’ve put together three walking and hiking Tours that will show you this extraordinary World Heritage Site, open a window into the past and reveal its history. These Tours are ideal for families as well.
On the 3-kilometre (1.8 mi) walk through the Archaeological Park, you’ll get to know the impressive Danewerk earthworks with Waldemar's brick wall, the mysterious Thyraburg barrier and the reconstructed 19th-century redoubt 14 fortification. On the 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) circular walk around Haddeby Noor, you’ll get a great insight into the Vikings’ medieval way of life in the Haithabu Museum and in the reconstructed Viking houses. The approximately 11-kilometre (6.8 km) circuit from the Danewerk Museum gives you a brilliant impression of the wall and ditch system of this vast fortification.
So, what's so special about it? In what was once the largest early medieval trading centre in Northern Europe, history and stunning landscapes come together. Three walks through fascinating history and a magnificent natural landscape await you.
Fancy a preview? Check it out here:
The starting point of this beautiful hike is the Viking Museum Haithabu near Schleswig. A visit to the exhibition house is highly recommended for your introduction to the past with the Vikings. After booking your time slot, you can let yourself be impressed by the archaeological finds, the replicas and…
Very interesting reconstruction of seven Viking houses, parts of which were found during excavations. The reconstruction was carried out taking into account the historical craft techniques and materials. On narrow boardwalks between the mud-plastered wicker walls of the houses you get a good idea of the life of the Vikings. In summer there is a large program of events during which the village comes alive and you can watch the "residents" at their old craft or trade with them on market days.
Unlike the exhibition house, you don't need a pre-booked time slot if you just want to visit the houses. In the winter months, however, the houses in the outdoor area are closed.
Tip by Anette
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Here, at the narrow point between the Schlei branch of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, the important Viking sea trading center Haithabu flourished between the 8th and 11th centuries. The exhibition house impressively tells the story of this time with replicas and archaeological finds. Seven Viking houses were also reconstructed on the site, in which mediaeval life is shown very vividly.
The museum is currently open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (deviations are possible on public holidays) and the prices vary from 3 (children) to 9 euros (adults). In the Haithabu Café you can strengthen yourself afterwards and let the impressions have a lasting effect. The café is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tip by Anette
The first Danewerk border wall from the 5th and 6th centuries was used as a protective fortification by the Danish kings of the Viking Age and the High Middle Ages and was repeatedly expanded. On this approximately three-kilometer walk, you can experience the impressive dimensions of the facility up…
The Danewerk Museum - Danish Danevirke Museum - is fully dedicated to the largest monument from the Viking Age. In the museum you will learn all about the history of Danewerk from the beginning of the Viking Age to the time of the German-Danish Wars. The Danewerk was a huge border fortification consisting of ramparts, walls, ditches and castles - many traces of the ramparts are still visible in the landscape.
More information and opening hours can be found at danevirkemuseum.de/de/ausstellungen/danewerk.
Tip by Sebastian Kowalke
The ramparts, walls, ditches and impassable bog areas of the Danewerk sealed off the Jutland peninsula at its narrowest point as early as the 5th and 6th centuries. With this, the people who dominated the area marked and controlled the southern border of their territory, because anyone who wanted to…
Under the rule of the Danish king Waldemar I, the Danewerk was massively expanded in the early Middle Ages. Over three and a half kilometers, the original mound was reinforced in the south with an almost two-meter-wide brick wall. At this point a part of the wall was uncovered.
Tip by Sebastian Kowalke
Hiking Collection by OSTSEEfjordSCHLEI
Hiking Collection by DB Regio Schleswig-Holstein
Bike Touring Collection by Osnabrücker Land
Bike Touring Collection by Kristof