Following the traces of history

The World Heritage region Hedeby and the Danevirke has a rich culture. The Viking history is just as present in Hedeby and the entire region as the direct historical connection to Denmark. There are always historical traces to discover in the region’s museums and scenery that you can follow and immerse yourself in amid the vastness of the rural landscape



Museums at the World Heritage Site

Whether for amateur archaeologists, sports enthusiasts or our youngest holiday guests – the World Heritage Site can be experienced in many different ways.

You would like to learn more about the museums at the World Heritage Site, such as opening hours and prices? Please click here.



Guided tours of the World Heritage Site

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hedeby and the Danevirke! The cultural heritage can be discovered in even more detail with the help of experienced guides. Whether exciting history, insights into the life and work of the Vikings or interesting historical facts about the imposing defence system: The guided tours take you on a journey into former times.

Guided tours offered by the Danevirke Museum

Explore the historical ramparts by foot and enjoy the unspoilt, idyllic landscape. You can experience history up close on a tour along the border fortification! Click here for more information.

Guided tours & events offered by the Viking Museum Haithabu

The Viking Museum Haithabu has something in store for visitors of any age. Many exciting guided tours, workshops and events tell stories about this Viking-Age trading post. Click here for more information.


Hiking and cycling at the World Heritage Site

Today, the Danevirke and the Viking Museum Haithabu with the Viking houses are surrounded by an open natural landscape full of historical traces that are worth seeing. Here you can enjoy the beauty of nature while doing sports in a historical atmosphere.

Our bilingual (German and Danish) cycling and hiking map allows you to walk in the significant historical footsteps of the Vikings and visit the former theatre of the Second Schleswig War around the Danevirke.

The two new World Heritage themed cycle routes are particularly recommended:

  • THYRA-TRIP: This highly interesting round tour has it all, because the full pack of Viking history is waiting to be discovered by you. The mighty Danevirke border wall, the Viking settlement of Haithabu and the landing places of both North Sea and Baltic Sea ships are very impressive and worth seeing testimonies to the past.

  • ERIK-TRIP: This beautiful 55-kilometre cycle tour takes you to the traces of the Vikings, through an enchanting natural landscape, past idyllic villages and, of course, directly to the water a few times - so don't forget your swimsuit.

You can get orientation and an overview of the routes via the online platform komoot

Here you can find more information about Thyra and Erik

1Who is Thyra Danebod?

The Viking Age Queen Thyra Danebod was the wife of the legendary Gorm the Old and mother of King Harald Blauzahn. Both ruled Denmark in the 10th century. We know the name Thyra from a rune stone at the royal seat in Jelling at that time. Gorm had it set for his queen after she died around 950. The Danish historians Saxo and Sven Aggesen report at the end of the 12th century that Queen Thyra had the Danevirke built as a bulwark against enemies from the south. According to Aggesen, her aim was to fend off the East Frankish Emperor Otto, who wanted the infinitely beautiful and clever Danish queen for himself. And according to Saxo, Waldemar the Great completed Thyra's work by building the Waldemar Wall at the Danewerk in the 12th century. Over the centuries, this tale of Thyra developed into one of Denmark's central national myths. For the people of Denmark, the former southern border Danewerk - embodied in the Thyra legend - remained a symbol of Denmark's historical claim to the region until the 20th century.

Locally, the queen is present today above all with the field name Thyraburg (Castle of Thyra). This complex existed long before Thyra's lifetime. But archaeological finds prove that it was actually also reworked in the 10th century. However, we cannot say whether Thyra was really once here.

2Who was Erik?

Although Erik is one of the few people around Haithabu whose name has been handed down, we know little about him. The Erik stone named after him - a rune stone taller than a man, which was found at the end of the 18th century between Busdorf and Selk near Wedelspang - only provides brief information about what must have been a dramatic fate. With the runic inscription, a man named Thorulf remembered his comrade Erik, a follower of King Sven, who fell during a siege of Haithabu. Sven could be the Danish King Sven Gabelbart (born around 960, died 1014), the son of the famous King Harald Blauzahn.

It is possible that the siege mentioned on the Erik Stone took place during the reconquest of Haithabu by King Harald and his son Sven from the Roman-German Empire in 983. The runic inscription does not tell us where Erik came from. But he is referred to by three significant terms. Firstly, he is Thorulf's félagi, his comrade and probably also his business partner: the Old Norse word félagi means the pooling of possessions (fé) for a trading voyage. Secondly, Erik is called helmsman, which, unlike in modern understanding, also means ship owner, perhaps together with his comrade Thorulf. In addition, the inscription calls him a respected warrior. All this suggests that Erik was the son of a wealthy and respected family who, together with his comrade Thorulf, had joined the war campaign of the Danish King Sven as a shipmaster.


Events in the World Heritage region Hedeby and the Danevirke

You are spending your holidays in our region and would like to learn more about the events?
Draw some inspiration from our event schedule.