Esbjerg is a harbor city famous for its very instagrammable 9-meter tall statues, aptly called Men Meets the Sea, which faces the waterfront of the Wadden Sea, that stretches southward from Esbjerg and along the coastline all the way to the Netherlands (!).
The city itself is quite young as it became an independent town only in 1894, but during those years Esbjerg grew to become Denmark’s largest fishing port! In addition, it is a base for oil and gas in the North Sea, as well as the world’s largest wind turbine port.
Before the harbor was built, there were only a few farms dotted around the landscape. The rapid growth of the city can be attributed to the outcome of the Dano-Prussian War over Schleswig-Holstein. Denmark lost the war, and as a consequence, it also lost access to its important trade harbors on the west coast, thus Esbjerg and its growth tried to fill this void. The city itself is nothing spectacular as it is a relatively new city, however, the fact that it’s located next to the Ribe – the oldest city in Denmark, the North Sea, and the Wadden Sea National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is what makes the place amazing. Also, it has a shopping mall full of sharks, which is kinda cool.
6 things you have to do in Esbjerg
Take a selfie with Men meets the sea
Men Meets the Sea is a huge monument that commemorates the 100th anniversary of Esbjerg being an independent municipality in 1994.
Check out Wadden Sea National Park
Wadden Sea National Park is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mudflats, which stretches from the northern regions of the Netherlands and Germany to the southern parts of the Jutland peninsula.
Go for a stroll at the beach around Men Meets the Sea. During low tide, it’s possible to see mussels even 300 meters from the shore! But be careful not to wander too far into the sea as you might get surprised by a high tide. There was only an hour difference between those two shots and you can see how big the water difference is!
The views are fantastic, especially when you know the water was there just moments ago. Thanks to the low tide, you can observe the unique animals and vegetation that live in this remarkable environment. The sand is strewn with crabs, oysters, and other mussels.
Try Oyster Safari
The Wadden Sea is brimming with oysters and you just need to bend to find this delicacy at your feet. There are many companies offering guided tours, where the guide will equip you with all the tools you need to collect and eat them, as well as show you where to find them.
Personally, I haven’t tried oyster safari yet, but it is on my to-do list!
Try Seal safari and harbor sightseeing
Can you imagine?! Seals in Denmark?! When I heard about that, I was like “I am so going to see them!!“. For some reason, I did not associate Denmark and seals together ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You can find boats in the Esbjerg port, that can take you for a 2.5 hours trip around the harbor, and if you are lucky with the weather like I was, you might get a chance to spot some seals in the Ho Bugt bay. From what I saw there are many companies specializing in seal safaris in the Wadden Sea area, so just google the one that fits you best.
The harbor itself is humongous and spreads over 10 km covering 3.5 million m2. As previously mentioned, Esbjerg is the largest fishing port in Denmark, as well as the world’s largest wind turbine port.
After 2 hours of sailing around the port area, we ventured into Ho Bugt bay where we managed to spot seals that were sunbathing and relaxing! The ferry stopped for a couple of minutes so there was plenty of time to take pictures! Too bad my camera at that time didn’t have a big enough zoom!
Remember to bring with you:
- A blanket, as it is really windy on the ferry and you most probably will freeze – you know – because weather in Denmark 🙂
- Binoculars, as the boat will stop a little bit far from the shore in order not to spook seals with the noise.
Visit Fanø island
After taking seal safari it was possible to disembark the boat on Fanø island. The boat departs from the island back to Esbjerg every 20 minutes, so you don’t have to hurry with the visit.
The island is charming with idyllic little houses with straw roofs scattered around and if you have time you should definitely take a bike trip around! As of 2020, a small guest – Anker Drømmefanger Troll from The Huge Troll Festival (den Kæmpestore Troldefolkefest) decided to pay the island a visit and make it its new home! (More about trolls under this link)
Go to Esbjerg Dyrehave
If you like deers and would like to get a chance at encountering them close by, you should definitely check out Nørreskoven in Esbjerg. The deers are inhabiting a huge area of a forest and meadow, requiring, sometimes, a bit of walking to find them, but this is really worth it!