A trip in kayak around Glaenoe is a nice way to spend a few hours of a sunny day. Although not as grand as a trip through a Norwegian fjord, the going is easy, the landscape is nice and varied, and there are many things to see along the way.

You can make the trip year-round. Expect it to take between two or three hours if you sail without a break. But I would recommend bringing some food and drinks for a small picnic, preferably held on the eastern or western peninsula.

Where Is It?

Glaenoe is a small island on the south-western coast of Zealand, Denmark. It is connected to Zealand by a small dam.

The island has about 60 inhabitants, and an area of 5.6 square kilometers (approximately 2 square miles. Inland Glaenoe is dominated by agriculture, but much of the coastal areas are wetlands, with large parts of it being preserved for birds.

The Route

Route of Glaenoe
Credit: Skymind

Here you can see the route, starting at the blue dot. Of course you can follow the route in either direction, which means starting from the dam and sailing either eastward through Holsteinsborg Nor, or westward through Basnaes Nor.

Holsteinsborg Nor

The first part of the trip is through Holsteinsborg Nor, with a tiny island called Ormoe.

Ormoe is a bird sanctuary, with a colony of cormorants. These birds use their nesting trees so hard that the trees wither, and Ormoe displays a collection of dead trees to tell. Due to the sanctuary you must keep a distance of at least 50 meters to the island.

Dead Trees on Ormoe
Credit: Skymind

Dead trees on Ormoe, caused by the many nesting cormorants.

On the coast of Zealand, north of Ormoe, you can see Holsteinsborg Manor. This is a place the danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen often visited. It is also the place where the first danish christmas tree was lit, in 1808.

It is best to sail around Ormoe on the north side. If you do sail south of the island, be sure to stay close to it (outside the 50 meter boundary). The reason is that the water get very shallow, especially at low tide, where there in some places are no more than a couple of centimeters of water. You risk having to get out of the kayak and drag it.


The eastern-most end of Glaenoe extends into the islet Oesterfed. Although you are allowed to make landfall, you should not do so during the breeding season. Oesterfed is a chance to observe birds at a close distance without disturbing them.

The current can be strong between Glaenoe and Oesterfed, so I recommend taking the longer trip round Oesterfed instead. This brings you close to the small harbor of Bisserup. There is also current here, but less intimidating.

If you are really not into current you can land on the eastern end of Glaenoe, where it is quite narrow and flat. You can then easily carry the kayak to the other side, and continue your voyage from there.

Following the Outer Coast

Once you are on the south side of Glaenoe, you are on open sea. In the horizon on a clear day you may be able to see the islands of Vejroe, Fejoe and Femoe.

Sailing along Glaenoe is pleasent. The eastern and western ends are flat and sandy peninsulas, while the central part is higher, with clay cliffs behind the narrow beach. In the cliffs several swallow colonies can be found, the birds during summer flying out over the water to catch insects.

Swallows on Glænø
Credit: Skymind

Swallows living in the clay cliffs.

The seafloor changes continuously between sand, stones and large beautiful kelp forests. Gliding slowly over the landscape at no more than one or two meters depth is a wonderful experience.

If you sail very close to the shore you might want to keep an eye out for large rocks, deposited during the ice age 10.000 years ago.

Basnaes Nor

Once you reach the western end of Glaenoe you can either sail inwards through Basnaes Nor back to the dam, or you can continue along the coast towards Stigsnaes. A longer, but also beautiful trip.

Assuming you are sailing back to the dam, you will find Basnaes Nor similar to Holsteinsborg Nor, and perhaps a bit less eventful. The water here is slightly deeper, and on the seafloor you can see the presense of many lugworms: Small indentations where the worm takes the sand in, and small mounds of sand where it deposits the remains after having filtered it for edible parts.

I have often sailed here, enjoying the calm, and then suddenly been startled by the splashings of an equally startled needlefish, that was sleeping beneath the surface.

There is a single island in Basnaes Nor. This is reserved for birds only. Also, you can only make landfall on the southern beach of the Nor outside of the breeding season, which is from the start of April to the start of October.

Once you have completed the trip through Basnaes Nor you are back at the dam where you started. Perhaps tired, but definitely happy.