I didn’t think I would be biking through an entire Danish island to get to the very end of it – literally – to see its cliffs and fall off from them. – Just kidding. I didn’t fall off from the perfectly white chalk cliffs of Møn Island, about 130 km south of Copenhagen, but the high rising white cliffs are so breathtakingly beautiful that a piece of my travel heart has fallen off and stayed there.
If you are a traveler who enjoys not only the destination but also the journey itself, and if you are curious about how beautiful corners of the world came into existence, then the Møns Klint and its excellent educational GeoCenter – will be the perfect destination for your Danish summer. Møn island is not exactly next door to Copenhagen, but it is completely manageable for a day trip, given that you get out early. I learnt about Møns Klint from one of the posters of the Copenhagen tourism office, imagining that I would be spending some quiet afternoon enjoying a picnic and sea breeze on a fierce but elegant white cliff. Somewhere facing an endless ocean where I can reflect on life and love, that sort of stuff.
I left my couchsurfer host’s home at 9am and hopped on to the first train to Vordingborg. Although I am not a usual biker (in fact being a big city girl from Hong Kong, I am terrible at it) I decided to do it anyway, after the lady at the Copenhagen tourist office reassured me that the ride will be easy with not many cars around, and that Google Map says it would take 1h10min to get there by bike (23km). After getting onto the town of the island, Stege, I rented one from a shop for the rest of the day, and took off.
You have to go across the island from Stege (west) to the east side to get to the cliffs that drop right off into the Baltic Sea. The first 15km of the journey was indeed smooth and enjoyable. As anywhere else in Denmark, there are bike lanes next to the car road, and drivers are attentive to bikers.
I biked through idyllic pictures of green fields with a barn house or two standing in the middle and casually sprinkled with bright color wild flowers on the sides. The day was warm and clear. However, at the final 5km, it started getting hilly (of course I wouldn’t know, because Google Map does not display reliefs), and a poor biker like me (who hadn’t worked out much because she went right after term exams and who hadn’t ridden a bike more than five times in her life), that was quite some killing kilometers to go.
After making the big mistake of choosing the bikers/pedestrian entrance of the natural reserve area (a muddy rocky road suitable only for mountain bikers), and rode over 2.5 hours, and after amputating both of my legs, I finally got to the GeoCenter at 3pm (I left home at 9am).
The place is slightly less romantic than I thought it would be, apparently a popular tourist destination in Denmark. After trying to join the guided tour in vain (got there too late), I went down the cliffs through very steep wooden stairs. (because you arrive from the top, so you won’t be able to see it unless if you descend to the beach to look back up). I looked back up from the long but narrow pebble beach and realized that it is indeed a very striking mineral formation.
There is something about cliffs that has always attracted me. Maybe it is the feeling that you have finally reached the end of the world, to where the sky and the sea close up. It is where you can finally realize vastness and perpetuity of this world, without forgetting that life is made up of trivial and transient beings. I think I would have gotten a feel of this if I hadn’t arrived the cliffs completely exhausted and almost handicapped.
In any case, the cliffs are truly beautiful, and you would be even more amazed if you visit the GeoCenter, where you can find interactive explanations for such geological formations, illustrated by beautiful models and fun and interactive simulations and games for both kids and adults. I would recommend spending at least two to three hours at the exhibition.
By Bob Collowân (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
After some consideration, I dismissed the idea of taking a bus back to Stege, and stuck to my bike instead. The way back was easier, mainly because I took the car road instead of the bike road to get out of the reserve area. I still had a few slight cramps on my way back, and it took slightly less than two hours. Luckily, due to the long daylight in the summer of northern Europe, the sun doesn’t set until after 11pm and when I got back to Stege at almost 8pm it still felt like the afternoon.
Although the ride was unexpectedly exhausting, I still enjoyed it very much. I felt that there is no journey more rewarding than one which you achieve by your own physical effort instead of paying to get there, and more so when you are on solo and have no other choice but to go on. (I did consider if I really couldn’t pull off the ride, then **** it I will hitchhike, though thank god I never had to resort to this.) I realized I do prefer “natural” transports like walking, biking, and kayaking to regular transport, even though I am but a natural athlete. The air, the sun, the flowers and the houses on the way will never be lovelier than when I roamed past on my own sweat and tears.
Møns Clint was incredible, but the journey to it was better.
|Route||Details||Time taken (distance)||Cost (DKK/EUR)|
|Copenhagen to Vordingborg||Take train from Copenhagen train stations (København H station is the most downtown). At least one departure every hour.||1 hour (100km)||115DKK/ 15EUR|
|Vordingborg to Stege||Take bus number 60, 64, 664, or 660R from Vordingborg train station. Check with bus driver for the best route to take. Departures are frequent.||50 minutes (~40km)||48DKK/ 6.5EUR|
|Stege to Møns Clint||Bike: After arriving by bus, walk across the town (you will walk past a cemetery on your left) and look for Point-S Bike Rental (address: Storegade 91, 4780 Stege. Check Google Map). It is at the exit of the road to Møns Klint. Click here for website. The shop allows you to return the bike even after closing time.(*Rembmer: take the car entrance instead of the biker/pedestrian entrance of the reserve area!)||15 minutes walk (1km),then 1:10 hours by bike (23km, for good bikers according to Google Map)||Forgot, but definitely cheaper than two-way bus ride, maybe about 50DKK/ 7EUR for the day.|
|Bus: take number 678 from Stege and stop at “Møns Klint Geo Center”. Schedule available on GeoCenter website.||35 minutes (23km)||Not sure… But about 30DKK/ 4EUR|
|Total (one way):||(bike) 3:15 hrs(bus) 2:15 hrs||(bike) 213DKK/ 28.5EUR (bus) 193DKK/ 26EUR|
- For all transport, I highly recommend the excellent Danish transport network website: http://www.rejseplanen.dk/ for exact timetable and route instructions (including time estimation, walking indications and maps).
- It may take longer than the estimated total time, due to different biking speeds and waiting time.
- International credit cards are not accepted in all Danish train stations. Cash only!
- Check the GeoCenter website for practical information : http://www.moensklint.dk/