Guide to one of Denmark’s finest islands
The island Endelave is a small gem in the Kattegat south of Horsens Fjord.
Endelave is one of the country’s finest natural islands and boasts an abundance of plants, animals and natural habitats, unique experiences for children and a mini version of a proper tidal flat with a rich birdlife and wildlife.
There is also the deciduous forest Troldeskoven, a “Skagen point”, a seal colony and, not least, lots of wild rabbits, giving the island the nickname “Rabbit Island”.
The landscape of the island is varied and alternates between cultivated central parts and large protected nature reserves to the north and south, surrounded by spectacular coastlines, fine beaches and the cliff of Kloben.
In the cosy Endelave City, you will find a village pond, a marina, old farms, an old windmill and a 14th-century church.
And at the northern tip of the island, you feel like you are standing on a smaller version of the point Grenen near Skagen.
Where should I go?
Island holiday with accommodation
If you want to go exploring and immerse yourself in the nature of the island, then bring snorkelling gear, binoculars, bicycle (bike rental is available on the island) and walking boots, not least!
In the town of Endelave you find many farms and houses and the town has maintained its cosy, country-style charm. There is also a school, a library, a grocery store, shops and eateries.
The wild rabbits
Seeing a small wild rabbit jumping happily around is not an unusual sight on Endelave. Endelave is often referred to as the ”Rabbit Island”. Since the late 1920s, the island has been populated by wild rabbits.
The rabbits are light brown. You can distinguish a hare from a rabbit by the rabbit being smaller and having shorter ears. Also, the tips of a hare’s ears are black, and its hind legs are much longer.
The breeding season starts in February. During the ten-month period in which they breed every year, they can have between three and four litters, each of two to eight cubs.
Did you know that wild rabbits migrated to Denmark from Germany in 1920? Today, the rabbits are primarily found in Southern Jutland and on the islands Fanø, Als, Lolland, Bornholm and Endelave.
The population varies greatly from year to year. Some years there are only a few hundred and other years there may be up to about 15,000 rabbits. If the population becomes too large, its usually regulates itself through disease.
Endelave is also a popular destination for hunters. From 1 September to 1 February, hunting rabbits is allowed. Approximately 5-6,000 rabbits are shot on the island every year.
Øvre – experience the Grenen phenomenon and go diving
At Endelave’s northern tip, “Øverste Ende”, you can experience the same phenomenon as at ”Grenen” near Skagen; a surf created by onshore wind on one side and calm waters on the sheltered side.
Jump in the water if you like. The water is very clear and suitable for diving. Because of the clarity of the water, you can see a lot of marine flora and a rich marine wildlife.
The ”Øvre” area is a nature reserve and you can meet grazing cows and sheep which maintain the landscape.
Ride your bike around Endelave
A good way to experience Endelave’s splendid nature is from the saddle of your bike. A 20-km-long cycling route – NaTour de Endelave – takes you close to the flora and fauna of the island. Along the route, you will find information boards where you can read about the island. The route starts at the harbour where you also find an introduction to the route. In some places you will have to get off your bike and pull it along. The route covers asphalt, walking trail and the beach.
Of course, it is also possible to walk around Endelave. The hiking route, Kaninoen, takes you all the way around the island, but some of the way you will be walking in sand or rocks on the beach or other places that are impassable on a bike. On Kaninoen you can get even closer to naure, and maybe you are lucky enough to spot a wild rabbit.
Medicinal herbs and herb routes
Extend your meeting with the island by collecting herbs for your very own aquavit along the Endelave herb routes. Depending on the flowers, stems and roots you choose for your mix, your aquavit will be ready to drink in either a few days, a few weeks or in months.
Put on your walking boots and set out on one of the six routes which we 3 km, 4.5 km, 6 km, 6.5 km, 7 km og 13 km (bike route), respectively. Download a leaflet, showing you the routes and where you may find the various herbs. Endelave Medicinal Herb Garden has produced the leaflet.
The Medicinal Herb Garden also arranges a number of guided tours on topics like aquavit, amongst others.
A rich bird life – find the best spots for birdwatching
If you are lucky, you can spot up to 65 of Denmark’s 200 nesting bird species while visiting Endelave. The best place to watch the birds is in the north-western bay between the harbour and Øvre – a spot which is known as “Flasken”. The tide plays an important part in this area, as it is almost completely dry at low tide. The area is a wildlife reserve and hunting is prohibited.
You have a good view from the birdwatching tower. Remember your binoculars and spot your favourite bird.
Here are a few tips to how you may be lucky to spot some of the different birds.
Home to many waders and waterfowl. The populations of especially plover, sandpiper, curlew, godwit and Brent geese can be especially dense here.
Here you will find general waters and waterfowl. There is also a chance that you may spot gadwalls, little ringed plovers and reeves near the coast and on the tidal meadows.
Here you may spot sand martins and the very rare breeding bird black guillemot.
Møllegrunden seal reserve
On a narrow sand reef to the north-west of Endelave, you find an important breeding reserve for the seals of the Kattegat. This is where the common seal breeds.
Apart from the seal, Møllegrunden is home to many birds – often, you will be able to spot large flocks of cormorants. The reef itself and the sea surrounding it is a no-access zone; however, if you sail past it – either on your own boat or on the ferry – there is a good chance that you will see the seals.
Troldeskoven – the forest at the old manor
In the area around the manor Louisenlund, you will find the largest deciduous forest of the island. These the remains of the centuries-old manor forest.
The forest contains many old Danish trees. In some places, ivy and honeysuckle wind their way up the trunks like liana and hang between the trees, giving the forest a jungle feel.