This is a tough call for us to make, but if you have time to visit only one part of the peninsula of Jutland, we'd opt for the south as opposed to central and northern Jutland. Each has its peculiar charm, but South Jutland can be a joyful celebration in summer, with its old seafaring towns, miles of sandy beaches, North Sea islands, and Jutland's oldest and most beautiful town, Ribe.
South Jutland (Syd Jylland in Danish) is the part of Denmark that's on Continental Europe, with Germany its immediate neighbor to the south. As the southernmost part of the Jutland peninsula, it is dotted with heather-covered moors, fjords, farmlands, lakes, and sand dunes. It's 400km (250 miles) from the northern tip of Jutland to the German frontier, and the North Sea washes up on kilometers of sandy beaches, making this a favorite holiday place.
The meadows of Jutland are filled with rich bird life and winding rivers, and nature walks are possible in almost all directions. Gabled houses in the marshlands of South Jutland add to the peninsula's charm. The two most popular vacation islands are Rømø and Fanø, off of the southwestern coast. Here many traditional homes of fishermen and sea captains have been preserved. Of all the towns of South Jutland, none has more particular appeal and charm for the visitor than Ribe, fabled for its storks' nests.
You can do as the Danes do and cycle through the countryside of South Jutland, which is crisscrossed by a fine network of bicycle paths. Stop in at one of the tourist offices and pick up a detailed map of the region, which often outlines the best bike paths.
A dike evocative of the Netherlands stretches along the coast of southwest Jutland, built to protect the land here from the tempestuous North Sea. Nature lovers flock here to enjoy walks along the Wadden Sea, and at low tide they can even explore the seabed itself. You can also bicycle along the dike, but the westerly winds make this a difficult run.
Some of the finest beaches in northern Europe are found in South Jutland, especially on the island of Rømø. When the winds blow, these long beaches are ideal for kite flying. In the little villages and towns, the past meets the present as you walk along narrow, cobbled streets, admiring the half-timbered houses that look as if they've emerged from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. To experience an authentically Danish meal, order the traditional lunch of pickled herring, rye bread, and schnapps.
There are many museums of local history, showing you how life was lived long before you arrived. Many include workshops where artisans still practice the old crafts -- for example, the lacemaking that made Tønder famous in the 18th century.
Mainly, South Jutland is a place to go to recharge your batteries.