Centuries of battering storms and blowing sand have left only the white tower of this historic church visible in the sand dunes.
Protruding from the Råbjerg Mile (Raabjerg Mile) sand dunes is a church spire from the 14th century. Den Tilsandede Kirke (Sand-buried Church) doesn’t seem significant now, but during its heyday this coastal church was one of the biggest in the region.
Originally known as St. Laurence’s church, after the patron saint of sailors, the church played an important role in the lives of the locals. The sand drifts that began in the 16th century gradually took their toll on the church and it was closed in 1795 by a royal decree. Today, the church is a surreal attraction that should not be missed while visiting Skagen.
See why Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark’s famous fairytale author, described Den Tilsandede as Denmark’s Pompeii. As you approach, a lone tower rises from the middle of the sand dune. Only our imagination can tell us what lies below.
While much of the church was demolished following its closure, some relics remain hidden in the sand as some of its structures have never been excavated. Follow the red stakes which mark the the nave and vestry to help understand the size of the church.
Den Tilsandede Kirke is one of the most photographed sites in northern Denmark, and has become an icon for Skagen. The sand-swept white tower looks ghostly against the stormy clouds, but is equally captivating on days with clear blue skies.
A path leads from the church to the rest of the Raabjerg Mile dunes and the church is a great place to start your exploration of the area. A number of native species of birds inhabit the area, so see if you can spot a goose, swan or stork.
Den Tilsandede Kirke stands about 3 miles (5 kilometers) southwest of Skagen, and can be reached by car in just 5 minutes. Free parking is available nearby, but you have to walk through sand to get there. Adventurous travelers can reach the church on foot with a scenic walk through the dunes from Skagen. There is no fee to visit the monument.