Stevns Klint: From the asteroid impact to the Cold War

In the southeast of Denmark's main island, Zealand, a peninsula boasts a spectacular natural phenomenon, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stevns Klint. The best way to experience the steep cliffs of the 15-kilometer-long chalk coast is to get out of the car. This breathtaking coastal formation can be explored along its entire length by hiking.

As you approach Stevns Klint from the land, the forest abruptly stops at the cliff, which is over 40 meters high. In good weather, the limestone turns the water a radiant blue. From the water, Stevns Klint appears like a mountain rising from the sea. On a clear day, you can watch the ships heading towards the Øresund from here.

The massive chalk cliffs not only hold the key to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. At the old Højerup Church, you can also see how the sea constantly erodes the coast. Numerous museums offer information about the geology and the strategic importance of the cliff coast during the Cold War.

Off to the new Stevns Klint Experience visitor center

Menschen schauen sich in der Dunkelheit eine interaktive Installation im Stevns Klint Experience

© Mads Tolstrup & SydkystDanmark

That's exciting!

In this new visitor center called Stevns Klint Experience, you will truly delve deep into the ancient history! Thanks to an interactive permanent exhibition on the natural and cultural history of the Stevns Cliffs area, you'll learn everything possible in an exciting way. This will help you understand why Stevns Klint is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Dinosaurs, fish clay, fossils, and an underground path: the museum revolves around all this and more.

Unveiling the secret of dinosaur extinction

Stevns Klint

The cliffs of the steep coast were formed 65 million years ago when the sea covered the entire area of Denmark. Between these layers of rock, there is a layer of so-called fish clay. This layer provided proof in 1978 at Stevns Klint that an asteroid impact was responsible for the mass extinction of dinosaurs.

Element from outer space in the fish clay
Fish clay is found all over the world and is characterized by its complete lack of any form of life. However, this layer contains a significant amount of iridium, an element that is rare on Earth but common in outer space. American researchers showed that the fish clay in Stevns Klint contains 60 times more iridium than expected. This matched samples from Italy and proved that this amount could not be attributed to a regional event.

Discovering fish clay along the steep coast
Stevns Klint is the best place in the world to see the legendary fish clay directly. This dark gray to black layer is only five to ten centimeters thick but stands out clearly against the bright chalk. At Højerup, you can see the fish clay directly beneath the large limestone overhangs when standing on the beach.

Trail along the cliff coast

20 Kilometer lang

Die alte Kirche von Højerup bei Stevns Klint

If you're good on your feet, you can hike Stevns Klint in one day.

A roughly 20-kilometer-long trail stretches along the coast. It starts at Bøgeskov Harbor in the north and extends to Rødvig in the south. However, the cliff coast is a piece of living nature. Landslides can occur throughout the year. Therefore, be cautious and ensure you wear solid footwear with non-slip soles.

Our insider tip: The best view is from the highest point of the cliff at the Stevns Lighthouse.

The old Højerup Church
The old Højerup Church particularly well demonstrates the tremendous forces of nature. It was built in the 13th century from the limestone of the cliffs. Constant erosion led to the church choir and a part of the cemetery crashing into the sea in 1928. Today, a wall secures the church, which now stands right on the cliff edge.

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stevns Klint

UNESCO-Welterbe Stevns Klint

Visit the place where evidence for the extinction of dinosaurs is most visibly accessible worldwide.

Witness the traces of a pivotal event in Earth's history at the cliffs of Stevns Klint and hear the story of the drama that changed all life on Earth 66 million years ago.

Important! All traffic along the cliff is at your own risk; cliff falls and landslides can occur throughout the year.

Our tip: Go on a guided tour!

The Cold War along the cliff coast

Cafe, Stevns Klint

At many places along the cliff coast, you'll find structures such as radar towers and bunkers that played an important role during the Cold War.

In the Øresund, ships and airplanes frequently violated Danish airspace or territorial waters. Stevnsfort was a secret cornerstone in the defense of Denmark and NATO. This underground fort now houses a museum where you can experience the tensions of that era.

Stones instead of fishing

Fossilien, Stevns klint

Stevns Klint has shaped the lives of its inhabitants for centuries. The steep cliffs prevented fishing. Instead, numerous limestone and chalk quarries provided the residents with an income.

At the Boesdal Limestone Quarry, you can learn about the harsh life in the visitor center. Moreover, the limestone quarry is a good spot for fishing for sea trout.n.

The Holtug Chalk Quarry is now a nature reserve where you can collect fossils.

Important rules to observe:

  • You are allowed to collect fossils along Stevns Klint
  • You are allowed to dig in fallen blocks (never in the cliff itself)
  • Do not dig at the base of escarpments
  • Do not scratch at the fish clay
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