Genner Bay and Aabenraa - An absolutely wonderful area

Genner Bay and Aabenraa

If you are going to drive to Southern Jutland to visit Gråsten Castle anyway, we can recommend that instead of driving on the motorway - the direct road at 130 km per hour - instead you drive along the country road via Hopstrup, Diernæs and Sønderballe to the Genner Strand and the Genner Bay area. It is an absolutely wonderful area where you drive through one little gem of a village after another. You can bring a picnic basket with you, have lunch in the green or on the beach and enjoy the breath-taking views. Or even better - take an overnight stay on e.g., Naturperlen, Sønder Havvej 11, Rødekro, a Bed and Breakfast which is located with a fabulous view of Genner Bay. Here you can stay in rooms or in an apartment - and many of Naturperlen’s guests are really impressed by the view and the beautiful hiking and biking tours they can take in the area.

Genner Bay, formerly called Genner Fjord, is a 4 km long bay northeast of Aabenraa. The bay is more than 10 m deep and cuts into the hilly moraine landscape between Sønderballe and Løjt Land. Genner Bay is shaped in a tunnel valley from the ice age.

At the bottom of the bay are Genner Strand and Sønderballe Strand with the island of Kalvø. The island with surrounding water area is today laid out as a bird and game reserve - and therefore contains a wonderful nature with lots of bird and animal life. Especially during spring and autumn there is an opportunity to watch and experience many kinds of ducks.

Kalvø is an idyllic island that offers both sights and exciting cultural history. It should be mentioned here that the island previously had a large wooden shipyard with smithy, dwellings, and berths, from which three-masted sailing ships were launched for shipping on the east. It was the largest workplace of the area and, for a period, the largest shipyard outside Copenhagen. The buildings still exist and are used, among other things, for housing. There are only about 10 permanent residents on the island today. The shipyard and the shipbuilding brought wealth to the whole area. This is still visible in the incredibly beautiful villages and properties located on Genner Bay, which were then inhabited by captains who went on long voyages to distant lands all over the world. You can have a nice walk around the Island Kalvø, via a nature trail. The trip, which is 3 km long, offers a large collection of stones in the middle of the island, a museum, small cosy cottages, benches, and tables where you can enjoy the beautiful nature and the bird sanctuary. You will experience an amazing calm and only hear the wind blowing in the trees. The trip around the island takes an hour and the trail is suitable for wheelchairs and prams. And if you are lucky, you will be able to see the Viking ship that belongs on Kalvø - if you stand at the end of the handicap-friendly fishing bridge. Genner Bay is also a fish oasis. Throughout the bay you can fish sea trout, just as you can catch shrimps.  The island is connected to the mainland by a dam, so you can drive there to the parking lot.

Sønderballe Harbour is a scenic harbour located in Genner Bay. The barbecue area down to the water is the natural gathering place for visitors of the harbour during the summer months. An obvious place to enjoy your packed lunch. Sønderballe Strand is in the lovely and protected bay with idyllic Kalvø at the bottom of the bay and with the island Barsø towards the Little Belt. There is always a huge activity at the beach and in the harbour of small fishing boats and sailboats, which contributes to the cosy atmosphere and is always a delight to the eye with the white, clear sails on the horizon. The square by the beach is partly built up in terraces in the countryside, giving a magnificent view of the bay.

When you drive on towards Gråsten Castle, try the trip via Nørby/Løjt Kirkeby, further via Løjt Skovby, Stolling and Dimen to Aabenraa. I do not think you will find a more beautiful stretch of road, anywhere in Denmark.

You can also easily spend an hour or two in Aabenraa. Aabenraa is first and foremost known for having the largest port of Southern Jutland with a significant shipping and port industry. The depth of the harbour makes it the most important and busiest harbour of the entire Southern Jutland area. But Aabenraa is also an ancient city dating back to the 13th century and with architecture from many different eras. Significant buildings in Aabenraa include St. Nicolai Church from the time of the Valdemars and Brundlund Castle, founded by Queen Margrethe 1st around the year 1400. There are also several nice and well-preserved 19th century city districts as well as a nice shopping street with lots of good shops and shopping opportunities.

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