Denmark doesn’t have any particularly grand nature; no large oceans, no volcanoes or high mountains. But we do have 1 spectacular natural sight: The white cliffs of Moen. It’s a great place for family fun and historically interesting at the same time and part of a UNESCO Biopshere Reserve.
We visit the cliffs quite often, since we have a summer house on Moen. I would prefer to see the world, but both my husband and son prefers this, so I have spend 11 summers here, and I know this area VERY WELL indeed. (Yes, a little frustration can be noticed).
But I admit; the cliffs are spectacular, there’s a fun geological museum, and we all enjoy to walk the beach below the cliffs searching for fossils and amber. So, I might as well share my knowledge of this Danish island with you, and in the process realize how beautiful it actually is.
3 km of 126 metres high white cliffs. These spectacular chalk cliffs towering over the beach contrasted with the blue and turquoise water of the Baltic is something to see. The fact that the are hiding fossils juts makes it more special. That’s probably, why it’s one of Denmark’s most visited nature attractions.
The cliffs have 3 peaks, and they all have names like the throne of the queen, great speaker and son on. But due to erosion, the cliffs are constantly changing. In 1994 a huge part of the cliffs collapsed and killed a French tourist, and in 2007 one of the large peaks fell to the ground creating a small white island. So be careful.
HOW TO REACH THE CLIFFS
You can walk the about 500 steps down to the beach and see the cliffs from below. It’s pretty step and not for suited for disabled people. There are small platforms along the way for a break a quick pic. (picture – not picnic)
There are two other walking trails along the top of the cliffs offering small peeks across the cliffs and the water. Remember to go along at least one of them, for different view of the cliffs. An don’t cross the railings, even though you could get a better picture from there.
You can also completely avoid climbing, if you take one the boat trips, and only see the cliffs from the seaside. I get seasick, so I haven’t tried. Ask at the tourist information in Stege or check online. I only know it’s subject to change according to the weather.
The cliffs are white from the chalk created 75 million years ago. The chalk is made of bones from small creatures living among dinosaurs! Really! The beach is a favourite spot for amateur palaeontologists. You can easily find leftovers from the Mesozoic squid Belemnite. It’s quite common (or was), and similar to our squid except, they had an internal skeleton, and it’s the pointy end of this you find.
But what most visitors hope for is amber, fossilized mastic. If you want to find amber, go right after a storm, bring good boots and a stick for roaming through the pebbles. I have found a few in my time, but my grandfather once found a huge stone with an insect inside. Just like in Jurassic Park. Which is even more a thing, when you hear that some kid found an extremely rare tooth on the beach a few years ago from a giant mosasaur!
GEOCENTER MØNS KLINT
Above the cliffs is a museum or rather a geological science center called Geocenter Møns Klint. You’ll find the only dinosaur found in Denmark, which was not found in Denmark, but in Greenland.
The museum shows “Denmark’s astonishing past – 70 million years back in time. Join the hunt for ferocious dinosaurs and learn about the Tertiary Period when meteor showers and super-volcanoes wiped out ⅔ of all life, about the Quaternary Period with its ginormous ice glaciers and the creation of the amazing nature”. It actually does that…
The museum is very family friendly with a lot of experiments and replicas you can touch. There’s a fossil hunt, huge dinosaurs hanging in the ceiling, a climbing wall or make your own shark teeth. There are also 2 art installations, which is of course my favourite, so make sure to check out “Water Flame” by Jeppe Hein, which is just so cool with fire and water. If you have time, go see 3D cinema – we saw a film following a small Dolichorhynchops (you know) from newborn to fossil. Way better than expected. The ticket also gives access to tree rapelling and mountain biking, a guided tour to the beaches and more.
RARE PLANTS & ANIMALS
The entire area is special natural environment with a large biodiversity and the area is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The flora and fauna here are unique. Notice the trees have much lighter foliage than the rest of Denmark. This is due to the chalk brightening the leaves. Rare orchids and other plants are also growing here. But you need a little more botanical knowledge than me to notice.
The fastest bird in Denmark is the Peregrine Falcon. It can reach a speed of 320 km/h, and it breeds here on the steep sides of the cliffs. You have to be quiet when it is nesting, and drone flying is forbidden. The nest are and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a sight of the big fast bird. I did. But it was too fast to be photographed.
HOW TO GET THERE
I always go by car. There’s a bus, but it might take forever and then you first have to go to main city on the island Stege and take the bus. Moen is best by car and by bike. A lot of people go to the cliffs by bike. Especially Germans. It’s an extremely beautiful road here through an always light green forest due to the chalk in the soil.
You can also sleep at the nearby castle Liselund Slot. You get the best images in the morning light, so sleeping close by is a good idea. Otherwise they have a nice lunch. It is also quite close to the city of Klintholm, that has a nice harbour,. But also because there’s a local organic farmsale Lundevang selling delicious lamb sausages right next to.
Read more on the practical stuff on VisitMoensKlint.
Are you looking for Nordic islands? I recommend The secret summer island of sheep & Bergman: Fårö, Sweden!
What’s your favourite local nature wonder?