Copenhagen Color: Where to Get Your Autumn On

Best Places to Find Fall Color in Copenhagen

A Self-Guided Bicycle/Walking Tour of Autumn Foliage and Danish Café Hygge

(Originally posted October 2016, updated September 2018)

Fall is fantastisk in Copenhagen. Deciduous trees that dominate the landscape start changing colors to coordinate perfectly with the classic Scandinavian architecture painted in rusty reds and oranges and ochres. This town is built for autumn. The long Nordic summer days slowly get shorter as they slip into autumn. It is my favorite season here, even as the light gets less and the air turns cool. Pull on a sweater. Or a jumper if you’re British. Bring layers and something to stave off the very real potential of rain. Fall can be crisp like a tart Danish apple, famous from the island of Fejø, ripe and ready.

But autumn can also be sunny and bright here. In Danish, there is a name for that hybrid season as summer turns to fall, sensommer. It can be sublime. Come soak it up. And even when the weather wanes, as it is wont to do in Denmark, you can enjoy the season change from inside one of Copenhagen’s many cozy cafés and delicious craft coffeehouses.

Yesterday we went on a little color collecting expedition around the city. By bike – naturally. As you do in Copenhagen. And collect we did. When the fallback of the daylight savings happens, I become a bit like a squirrel hoarding away little snippets of color for the dark Danish days of winter ahead.

NOTE: Danish Daylight Savings ends 28 October 2018 at 03:00

Continue reading “Copenhagen Color: Where to Get Your Autumn On”

half term ruegen deutschland

For Fall Family Fun : Run to Rügen, Germany

Autumn is Awesome on this German Belle of the Baltic

SEE THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF RÜGEN OFF-SEASON

(Originally posted in October 2016, updated September 2018)

Come with me. Close your eyes. Ok – open them again. Kind of hard to read along with them closed. But picture this. Imagine Copenhagen. If you live here – not that hard. Take your finger and draw a virtual circle around the Baltic Sea beginning in Denmark. Move around to your right and you are bound to hit Rügen, Germany near the bottom. On the opposite side of this imaginary arc lies a beautiful Baltic island sitting off the eastern corner of northern Germany. That’s northeastern Germany peeps.

Here they call it Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Rügen is an island in this German province. In fact, it is the largest island in Germany. Don’t think of islands when you think of Germany? Me neither to be honest. And while Rügen is no tropical palm-treed island paradise, there are huge swaths of beautiful sugar fine white sandy beaches here. Place these beaches smack in front of charming little resort towns like popular Binz and then add boardwalks, ice cream shops, iconic wooden piers extending out into the blue Baltic beyond and you can see why this German island is worthy of a week’s respite come July and August.

POMERANIA: No, not the miniature dog – I’m talking about an area that spans the southern Baltic across borders between Germany and Poland: “The name derives from the Slavic po more, meaning “by the sea”.[1]

Beautiful sandy beaches at Binz
You can still use the beach chairs at Binz if you stay at the nearby resort. The fine sand is beautiful for exploring even in Autumn.
Rügen is beautiful in Autumn as well

But you went somewhere else for your summer holidays. And now it’s not July OR August. It’s October. I hear you. And while Rügen is super popular among Germans and other Europeans during the peak summer months, I’m here to show you that it is just as valid for a visit off-season. Come to Rügen in the Autumn.

We visited during our Fall break (or half-term if you’re British.) With a week off from school mid-October and no pre-booked plans, we wanted (read: we NEEDED) a wee escape from Copenhagen. We rented a car and drove south, heading ultimately for Berlin to see “Light Weeks.” But for us, a cultured city break needs a side of nature. Living smack dab in a city, we crave a little unstructured outdoor experiencing to keep it balanced and we found it and more on Rügen. Germany.

Why Go to Rügen In Autumn

FALL COLORS

Rügen wears autumn’s wardrobe well. Brilliant white chalk cliffs on the easternmost shore at 

Jasmund National Park
HIKING

Jasmund National Park is modeled after the American National Park system, inspired by the likes of Yellowstone and Yosemite. From the National Park there are miles and miles (or rather kilometers and kilometers) of hiking trails that take you to vistas like this:

Fall Autumn trees whilk chalk cliffs Ruegen Germany
You can still use the beach chairs at Binz if you stay at the nearby resort. The fine sand is beautiful for exploring even in Autumn.

The old growth beech forest here is a world heritage site and even has its own app. We didn’t use it – but if you do try it, make sure you have marked all the sites you are interested beforehand as coverage is spotty at best out here on this corner of Germany.

World Heritage Beech Forest of Jasmund National Park

The main parking lot is at Hagen. From here you can take shuttle buses out to Königsstuhl – the King’s Seat – to see the white chalk cliffs. OR – you can walk. Which we did. It was beautiful, scenic and peaceful – save for the moaning of teens. How much longer may have been the mantra. It’s up to you. But we walked it both ways – there and back – a little over 3km each way. For littler ones – maybe plan a hike one way and shuttle back or vice versa.

Easter to 31 Oct 9 am – 7 pm
1 Nov to Easter 10 am – 5 pm

Admission: includes all indoor and outdoor activities

Adults €8.50
Families* = 2 adults + children up to 14 €17.00
Children
6-14 years
€4.50
Children
under 5
– free –

NOTE: You do not have to visit the visitor’s center to take steps to go down to the beach, which can be reached for free from the parking lot. But to get to the viewpoint and visit the interactive center, an entrance fee is required.


WILDLIFE

The nature of the National Park is to let wild space be wild. This allows for lots of wildlife. Bird watchers will be happy to spot eagles and peregrine falcons along the cliffs. Elsewhere you may encounter otter crossings and crane migrations. 25,000-60,000 cranes rest in this area every fall on their way south.

LOCAL FLAVOR

One of the things that we loved about visiting Rügen was its authenticity. Compared to Copenhagen, very few locals speak English. They are very friendly and appreciate any attempts at German and are happy to help. We loved the idea that no one understood us while we chatted as a family in English. Haha!


Getting to Rügen, Germany

Danish bridge Farø Møn bro BogøFrom Copenhagen to Rügen, it requires taking the ferry between Gedser, Denmark and Rostock, Germany via Scandilines. There are other routes (via Rødby, DK and Puttgarden, DE or driving through Jutland via Hamburg and around) but the Gedser-Rostock route is the most convenient if targeting Rügen from most points north.

NOTE: Book ahead – more than 14 days in advance and you can save BIG with economy ferry tickets. You can buy tickets at the ferry landing, but expect to pay a premium and not be guaranteed a spot. Ferry crossing is only 1 hour and 45 minutes and there are newer vessel options with more amenities to keep your family having fun while afloat. Check Scandilines website for updated sailing times, routes prices and vessels.

Where to Stay in Rügen

We loved the cozy feel of having our own apartment in the less busy than Binz seaside village of Sassnitz. Further up the coast, but closer to Königsstuhl and Jasmund National Park. We had a wonderful time at the Seaside Apartments there with views of the water, comfortable beds, a wood fire stove and a well appointed kitchen for cooking.



Booking.com


Where to Eat in Rügen 

Hafenstraße 12D, 18546 Sassnitz, Germany

 

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Oregon Girl Around the World

Fall in Sweden – Everyman’s Right to Roam

Sweden is super cool. Yep, you heard me. I know, I know. I live in Denmark. But our Scandi neighbor really is. Cool. In a completely different way than Denmark. I mean Copenhagen is cool. VERY COOL. Sometimes, maybe possibly – a little too cool for school. Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. In all it’s tatted, skinny black panted, chunky white trainer wearing, oversized trench coated, giant scarf wrapped, top-knotted or bearded, coffee drinking, Tuborg swilling, design toting, bicycling glory. I said I loved it – remember?

But today – it’s all about Sweden. Denmark’s tall leggy blond and blue eyed cousin -Sweden. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. Not all Swedes are tall, blond or blue eyed. But… Sweden’s flag is blue and yellow. Coincidence? I don’t think so. And so is IKEA. All blue and yellow. (P.S. – you pronounce it ee-KAY-uh here. Not EYE-kea.) And every time you step inside one of those enormous Swedish box stores and think – jeesh, I just came in for cheap candles and a couple picture frames – do I really have to wind through all of these displays? Just think of how big Sweden is! Compared to Denmark anyway. It’a all relative. But Sweden is pretty big! Have you looked at a map? Much larger than Denmark. In fact, Sweden is the third largest country by area in the European Union. And it’s all kind of tall and long. Another coincidence? I don’t think so. (*wink, wink.)

SWEDISH FACTS:

AREA:  450,295 square kilometers (173, 860 square miles)
POPULATION:  9.9 million
DENSITY:  21 people/square kilometer (54 people/square mile)

And of all those 9.9 million people living in Sweden, 85% of them live in urban areas – mostly Stockholm, Gothenberg and Malmö. That means there is a lot of land with nobody on it. Lots of space for all the moose. And farms. And trees. And nature. Lots of nature. Want to know the coolest part about Sweden? All of that land and all of that nature is available to everyone.

You heard me. It’s open to EVERYONE. Sweden has a law called Allemansrätten that gives the right of public access to everyman. It literally translates to everyman’s right. Also known as outdoor access rights or freedom to roam, it means that you have the right to walk, hike, bike, ski or camp on any land in Sweden. The only exceptions to the rule being that you can’t tromp through someone’s private garden, across cultivated land or hang out near homes. Because that would be just rude and really kind of creepy. But everywhere else – open. Yep. It’s awesome.

As an Oregon girl – this resonates with me. In the state of Oregon we border the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful stretch of coastline. But when we visit, we don’t say we’re going to the beach or the shore – while both are there. We go to the coast. The Oregon Coast. It is also known as the “people’s coast.” And for good reason. Every inch of the Oregon Coast belongs to the people and because of that you have access to it. Where it is safe to do so – of course. My inner Oregon-ness appreciates Sweden. In fact – it feels a little like Oregon over there. Especially when you start throwing in evergreen trees across the landscape the further north you travel.

Come on over to Sweden. But bring your passport. You’ll be checked. Even if you’re Danish. Maybe especially if you’re Danish. Just kidding. Maybe. But once here – roam where you want to. Roam around the land. Explore Sweden. That is cool. Sup-ah cool. And Swedes take advantage of it. We’re lucky to have Swedish-American friends living in Sweden while we’ve been here who were willing to share one of their favorite places to hike and explore.

Today, we’re going to Skåne, the beautiful region at the tip of southern Sweden. Think rolling green hills, tall beech forests, farms full of brilliant yellow rapeseed, old castles, rocky coastlines, little inlets and islands all await you in Skåne. (Pronounced “skona.”) From Copenhagen – you can drive across the Øresund Bridge to Malmö and head north or take the short 20 minute ferry from Helsingør, Denmark to Helsingborg, Sweden. Then take the E20 north in the direction of Gothenberg. Need a place to stay? Try super charming little Torekov or nearby Båstad. It’s not a bad word. It’s pronounced BO-stah and is the home of the Swedish Open. And unless you’re a huge Björn Borg fan or are just really into tennis, steer clear of this place for two weeks in July every year. Otherwise it is a charming little outpost to base your outdoor exploits.

Now that you’re here. Let’s get outside! Only about 10 minutes outside Baståd heading east on route 115 is the gorgeous Naturreservat Osbecks. Officially you are now in Halland County, but just right on the border of Skåne County. If coming from the E20 motorway, take the exit towards Hasslöv. After 2 kilometers there is a sign saying “Hiking area”. There is should be a football field on your left. Turn right onto the gravel road and follow the road up to the car park. A forest of beech trees cover this open nature preserve. Parking here and pick a trail. Autumn is an amazing time to visit as the leaves are turning, coloring the landscape  and there is a crispness to the air.

Map to Osbecks Naturreservat, Halland Sweden

The trees here at Osbecks are mostly deciduous with many beeches, birches and old oaks, which is why it gleams in autumn. Some of the trees here loom overhead nearly 200 years old. History rocks at this nature reserve in the form of stone age and bronze age cairns. Literally piles of rocks that farmers of yore piled to the side of their plot – both marking their territory and allowing cultivation. See if you can find them! But remember, the general rule when accessing allmansrätt is:

Do not disturb – do not destroy.”

Look out for tree snails and song birds, ferns and funghi. Sweden is proud of the diversity that has taken root here. Plan ahead and pack a picnic. There are several spots where you can make a fire in the pits available. Firewood is available free for your use. We grilled hotdogs and roasted marshmallows while soaking in the views. It was a perfect end to a perfect afternoon.

Can you believe all this lovely is just over two hours from Copenhagen. Cross the big bridge or take the ferry. Go for a hike. Pick ligonberries. Hunt mushrooms. You can. It’s allowed. It’s allemansrätten. Tack Sverige! Thanks Sweden!

More inspiration to be found at Visit Sweden.

Danish ferry to Sweden on Øresund
Drive from Copenhagen north to Helsingnør and take the 20 minute ferry to Helsingborg, Sweden. Head north on E20.

Happy Fredag! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

Happy to link this post and introduce a new collaboration of travel bloggers today. Join myself, Katy of Untold Morsels and Clare of Suitcases and Sandcastles in a new supportive and inspiring linkup community we’re calling #FarawayFiles. Read more here about how we started it, what we want it to be and how you can engage. We’d love to see you there!

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Faraway Files – A new travel blog community with weekly linkup hosted by Katy @UntoldMorsels, Clare @suitsand and Erin @OregonGirlWorld

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Colorful Berlin : Take Your Family to see the Lights for Berlin Leuchtet

Illuminated Berlin Shines in Fall

Have you been? To Berlin? (That rhymes in my accent. I can’t guarantee in yours.)

Berlin is all sorts of cool and sits like an island alone for its uniqueness in Germany. West Berlin did actually sit alone, after World War II in the middle of East Germany. The powerful march of history on this place is undeniable. Modern Berlin – which now luckily includes both east and west offers a kaleidoscope of options for every traveler. From gritty, graffitied, super funky Kreuzenberg for cafes and coffee along the canals to posh Charlottenburg for epic shopping and restaurants along Ku’damm (Kurfürstendamm avenue.) History seeps deep here and there are more museums than you could possibly shake a stick at or visit in a weekend, but rest assured there is one for every motivation if you should desire to try.

REASONS TO VISIT BERLIN IN AUTUMN:

Continue reading “Colorful Berlin : Take Your Family to see the Lights for Berlin Leuchtet”