96km (60 miles) E of Silkeborg; 53km (33 miles) NE of Århus; 335km (208 miles) W of Copenhagen
Wandering the cobblestone streets of Ebeltoft is like going back to a town 200 years ago. Why has so little changed in its historic core? That's because this town of half-timbered houses had a long slumber of about 2 centuries, when it economically stagnated. When it woke up in the 1960s, it found its old buildings and streets had become a tourist attraction. So instead of tearing down buildings, locals restored them with their increased prosperity.
Meaning "apple orchard" in Danish, Ebeltoft is the capital of the Mols hill country, an area of great scenic beauty in Central Jutland. Allow at least 3 hours to wander its streets -- in some cases, hidden-away lanes -- and to explore its old inns. Sometimes a ruddy-faced fisherman will consent to have his picture taken, assuring you that he is still following the same profession as his grandfather.
Ebeltoft's Viking-age wooden "dragon boats" have given way to expensive yachts in the harbor today. Life at Ebeltoft developed around this beautiful harbor and its scenic bay, Ebeltoft Vig.
In the Middle Ages, Ebeltoft was a thriving port, enjoying trade with Germany, Sweden, and, of course, Copenhagen. However, in 1659, after a dispute, the Swedish army invaded, sacking the port and setting fire to the merchant fleet. Ebeltoft never really recovered from this almost-fatal blow until it became a tourist destination in the 1960s. Ironically, it was Swedish tourists who first discovered the antique charms of Ebeltoft, with its timber-framed buildings topped with red tile roofs.