199km (124 miles) W of Copenhagen; 72km (45 miles) SW of Ã…rhus; 30km (19 miles) N of Kolding; 25km (16 miles) NW of Fredericia; 27km (17 miles) E of Billund

Admittedly, there are more enticing destinations in Central Jutland than the ancient old city of Vejle. But there is a certain charm here which you'll soon discover if you stop over for 2 or 3 hours.

The setting of the city is spectacular, against a backdrop of tree-clad hills facing the Kattegat, that body of water that separates the island of Funen from mainland Jutland. Lying near the top of the blue waters of the Vejle Fjord, the thriving town invites hikes into its tall wooded slopes, fertile dales, and deep gorges. This area of Central Jutland has long been known for its scenic beauty and hilly countryside, and Vejle is smack in the middle of it.

One evocative moment we experienced in Vejle was the chiming of an old Dominican monastery clock. The clock still chimes even though its monastery is gone with the wind, having given way in the 1800s to the construction of the town's imposing City Hall.

Lying in a sheltered hollow, the city has a thriving economy based on exports of sausage, textiles, and chewing gum, among other products, as well as an ever-increasing tourist industry. Highway 3 goes through the town, and the railway also brings passengers and goods here.

Vejle is close to the coast of East Jutland, and lies north of Kolding and northwest of Fredericia. The entire Vejle region stretches from the Vejle Fjord through Grejsdalen to Jelling, going through the river valley of Vejle Adal to Egtved.

The town was granted its charter in 1327. But wars with Prussia hurt its economy, and Vejle suffered great hardship in the 1600s due to the Black Plague and economic deprivation brought on by wars. In the 1820s, the construction of a new harbor brought it increased prosperity. By that time, the making of akvavit (schnapps) played an important role in its economy. In the wars of the 19th century with Schleswig-Holstein in the south, Vejle was occupied several times by German troops, and until 1956, it was a garrison town.