As the fifth-largest city in Denmark and an important port city with plenty of international traffic, Esbjerg is a nice place to visit. There are many things to see and do, and there are several historic towns nearby. If you’re going to Esbjerg, then read this guide first: We look into some facts, how to get there, where to stay, and most importantly – the best attractions in Esbjerg!
Facts about Esbjerg
Esbjerg is located in the southwestern part of Denmark. The city itself has approximately 72,000 inhabitants, while the municipality has around 115,000. That makes it the fifth-largest city in Denmark.
For a long time, Esbjerg has been best known as a port city. While the port mainly works for import and export, there are also many ferries leaving to and from Esbjerg. In other words, there is a good chance you can sail there. Some cruises even stop by, usually before heading northwards to Norway.
It’s a relatively new city, as it wasn’t officially founded until 1868. Before that, there were fewer than 100 people living in the area. Esbjerg was made into a harbor because Denmark had just lost the port of Altona in the war four years prior. Therefore, it was supposed to serve as the new import/export city on the west coast of Denmark.
Esbjerg has a minor airport, but for tourism, most people come in via Billund Airport – a much larger airport, located just 50 kilometers away.
Things to see in Esbjerg
As a relatively new city, Esbjerg does not have that many classic sights to see. But on the contrary, there are a couple of modern attractions, so there will still be some nice things to experience as a tourist.
The giant sculpture Mennesket ved Havet is located near the port and it was built in 1994 when Esbjerg celebrated its one hundred anniversary as an official municipality in Denmark. The sculpture shows four huge people looking out over the ocean. It is free to see the sculpture since it is standing out in the open. It also has a symbolic meaning of welcoming people to Esbjerg when coming in with a ship. The harbor itself is also worth a visit if you are into ships.
We also recommend you to walk around the central part of Esbjerg to get a taste of the local life. You can see the architecture, the churches, and much more. Vor Frelsers Kirke is the main church to see. It has the typical red, northern European look famous from Germany as well.
If you like to spend a couple of calm hours now and then, you will love some of Esbjerg’s many parks. Visit the beautiful Vognsbølparken, I.C. Møllerparken or Hjerting Strandpark – the last is famous for its varied nature.
Right outside of Esbjerg, you can visit Nationalpark Vadehavet, a Danish national park where you can get a guided tour and experience the sea. The tour will take you around the area where you can see seals, collect mussels and watch the phenomenon of Sort Sol.
Best activities in Esbjerg
Esbjerg has several museums that you can consider visiting. These are the main ones:
- Fiskeri- og Søfartsmuseet (Museum for Fishing and Maritime)
- Esbjerg Museum (Historical City Museum)
- Esbjerg Kunstmuseum (Art Museum)
- Bogtrykmuseet (Book Museum)
Another nice activity in Esbjerg is Svømmestadion Danmark, a large indoor water park where you can swim and play. The facility is good for everybody – families, kids, adults. There is a section just for kids, and there are sections just for adults. One of the highlights of Svømmestadion Danmark is the Roman baths where you can change between cold and hot water, and where you can enter a special room with nice oily scents.
If you are into football (soccer), you should visit Blue Water Arena – the local stadium where the football club Esbjerg fB play their matches. Esbjerg fB is currently playing in the best Danish league, meaning that there are regularly competitive matches here. Esbjerg is known for their crazy fans. Even in cold winter temperatures, the Esbjerg football fans will not shy away from taking their shirts off and singing loud songs on the tribunes. Usually completely drunk by the time the match begins, it is best to leave these fans alone since some of them will try to pick fights with opposing fans. But it certainly is fun to watch Esbjerg play, as long as you are prepared for the situation!
How to get there
If you’re coming in from abroad, fly to Billund Airport and take a train onwards to Esbjerg. You can also rent a car at the airport and drive for the rest of the way.
Another option is to sail in since Esbjerg regularly receives many ferries from various places. For a long time, there was a famous ferry line between London and Esbjerg. These days, you can sail between Esbjerg and Northern Germany. There are also connections to the Netherlands and even to Norway.
If you’re visiting Copenhagen, the most popular Danish city among tourists, you can easily get to Esbjerg as well: Simply take the westbound train leaving from Copenhagen. It is ideal to go to Aarhus first, spend some hours there, and then take the direct train from Aarhus to Esbjerg. It will be a relatively short ride that can be done in a little less than a half day.
Where to stay in Esbjerg
Ideally, you should stay as central as possible. It’s easy to get around in Esbjerg, so the location doesn’t mean everything, but it is nice to be close to the main attractions, to the restaurants and to the stores.
Due to Esbjerg’s role as a port city where lots of people come in every day, there is a decent selection of hotels, hostels and holiday apartments.
The best hotel in Esbjerg is Hotel Britannica. It’s very central and has a location just 50 meters away from the central city square. Rooms are nice and comfy, so you’ll never go wrong by staying here.
An alternative is Hjerting Badehotel. This hotel is located a bit northwest of Esbjerg, around 8 kilometers away from the city center. However, it is right by the beach, and it literally takes one minute to walk out to the water. Many rooms have a great view, and the hotel is highly popular among its guests. While Hotel Britannica in central Esbjerg is good for business travelers, shoppers and cultural lovers, Hjerting Badehotel is best for the relaxed traveler who wants a calm and nice holiday close to the sea.
On average, it is cheaper to stay in Esbjerg than it is to stay in Copenhagen or one of the other large cities in Denmark. But it is still Denmark, and the prices can be quite high at times. The average price for a night in a hotel will be around 80-90$. It is a good idea to book your room for a month in advance, especially if you come in the summer.
Day trips from Esbjerg
If you’re staying in Esbjerg but want to explore the nearby area, you have many great options.
The best one is to visit Ribe, Denmark’s oldest city, located very close to Esbjerg. It takes less than a half hour to reach it by car. In a day, you can see most of the city’s attractions, so it is ideal for a day trip from Esbjerg.
Another option is Billund’s Legoland – it takes around an hour to reach it by car, and a little more by bus. Legoland is especially a good choice for families visiting Denmark, although groups of friends will also find it very entertaining.
The west coast of Denmark is very interesting in general, and you can also explore nature. Take a look at Nationalpark Vadehavet, one of the best natural attractions in the whole country.
A trip to the island Rømø can be considered if you want a relaxing, romantic holiday a bit away from the typical city life. There is also Fanø, just a 12-minute ferry ride away from Esbjerg!
And of course, Denmark’s second-largest city Aarhus is not that far away either: There is a direct train which has a transportation time of fewer than two hours. If you’re up for an even longer ride, Copenhagen can also be reached in a half day. Even the German border is within a very fair distance from Esbjerg, although that trip is a lot easier with a car than with a train.
Esbjerg is a very nice city. We hope you have enjoyed this travel guide to Esbjerg – it will be useful if you’re coming to visit.
While still underrated, Esbjerg is getting more attention recently. Many foreign people are starting to visit Ribe and Billund, two cities that are very near, and they are getting acquainted with Esbjerg as well. A trip to the city is recommended – leave a comment below if you’re curious about anything that hasn’t been mentioned yet!