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Hike your way through Funen's beauty

In Denmark, the summer rays of the long-awaited sun almost make it a crime to stay indoors. So take the opportunity and discover the beautiful nature of Fyn - join the Odense International Hikes group, which organises outings to the beaches, forests, or fields all over the island.

Photographs: Odense International Hikes / Unsplash

Text: Michaela Medveďová

There is an official Facebook group anyone can be a part of. But at first, it was only the now-organiser George Parsehyan and his friend, simply looking at Google Maps and choosing a forest to explore for the day.

After a few months, another friend suggested turning the hikes into an organised thing. "In the first couple of weeks, it was only three or four people – or as many as my car could fit. Then more and more started to join. The peaks are usually in the spring and the summer."

Despite the word 'international' in the group's name, Danes are always welcome. "I don't keep the hikes very structured, except for information where we're going. Then, we started walking, and people split into groups and rotated. So you get the chance to talk with almost everybody."

“The group meets and hikes every Saturday and primarily meets at the location.”

The group meets and hikes every Saturday and primarily meets at the location. In a spreadsheet with location names and parking coordinates, George has compiled a set of places, such as the Egeskov Castle or the Hasmark beach, which rotate approximately every four months. People can also post their hikes in the group, and during the dry summer season, George tries to organise a barbecue at least once a month.

Usually, the hikes are about one or two hours long. However, some of them, for example, the beach walks, can be over 10 kilometres, which could be too long for some people, and George usually attaches a warning. One of the challenges is to avoid picking the same spot too often - or organising a hike with more than 10-15 people as they all have a different walking pace. "And suddenly, we have three or four groups all over the forest, and that can get chaotic," George laughs.

But after a few years spent hiking all over the island, he can safely say that although the nature of Fyn is too tamed for his liking, it is truly a beautiful place to explore.

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