Danish Summer House Rules

How to Find a House to Hygge in when you visit Denmark

Want to know how the Danes do summer? Simple. Seek out a summer house. And find your own hygge. That communal sense of slowing down and focusing on being together in a comfortable place with your family or friends. You’ll be grateful once you find it. But know that there are rules about how to hygge in a Danish sommerhus. But what if you don’t know the rules? Don’t worry. I’m here to help. And give you some tips on how to find one.

The Danish summer house is simple. And cozy. Not lavish or large. A cottage. A home. Near the sea. Clean and concise. Like the Danes. And dare I say it – darn hyggeligt. You may have heard this Danish word hygge. Lots and lots of posts and books and articles have been written about it, how the Danes have it, how it makes them happy. How you need it in your life. How to get it in your life. Danes also love that hygge is untranslatable. Somehow that makes it theirs alone. And while I appreciate that much of the Danish language feels untranslatable, I don’t believe this is true. You too can feel hygge. You don’t have to be Danish. And a sommerhus is a wonderful place to try.”

Summer House Hygge, Oregon Girl Around the World

Get outside the city

Come to Copenhagen she said. In fact, I say it all the time. But don’t stay here for your entire visit to Denmark. There is so much more to this country than the capital. And much of it is along the coast. Did you know that there is no place in Denmark that is more than 52 kilometers from the water? And there are so many charming villages and towns to see along the seaside. Heading for a break near the water is a very Danish respite. And most likely it happens in a summer house. A Danish sommerhus. 


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #1:

Find a place to unplug near nature.


WHERE TO SUMMER HOUSE IN DENMARK

The “Danish Riviera” stretches across the northern part of Sjælland from Helsingør to charming towns and beautiful sandy beaches starting in Hornbæk, Gilleleje, Tisvildeleje, and Liseleje. Or roll through Roskilde and head out towards Odsherred and Rørvig.

On the north west coast of Jutland, summer house communities began developing around stunning Skagen at the top of Denmark as well towns like Løkken and Blokhus along the North Sea coastline. Or further south try the island of Fanø.

Don’t forget Funen in the middle and the archipelago of islands that litter its southern shore. Look to Æro and Helnæs.

But the best place, I now believe, is Bornholm. An island off the coast of southern Sweden, Bornholm is a beautiful Danish microcosm of cozy. There are so many opportunities to discover summer house hygge here.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #2:

Bring people together.


Summer house Agencies

Every local tourist board has links to summer houses for rent in their region. But the following booking sites have the largest selections across the country and can help you find that special place to bring your people together and create those hygge memories.

Dansommer.com

Dansommer has one of the largest online collections of summer houses in Denmark. Here you can search for houses based on your specific needs, wants and desires. I love that you can filter for homes that are energy efficient and by their distance to the water.

Novasol.com

Sister company to Dansommer, sharing many offices and resources across the country. Both companies are part of the larger Wyndham Vacation Properties.

SolOgStrand.com

Sol og Strand, or “sun and beach” in English, is a Denmark specific summer house agency and prides themselves in knowing and helping with not only the vacation rental, but activities and sight near your rental. They have 5800 rental properties and strive for quality over quantity.

Dancenter.com

With 10,000 houses, Dancenter has the largest collection of homes to let online.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #3:

Make it comfy.


BRING YOUR OWN SHEETS:

The easiest way to get comfy is carrying along your own linens. It is standard for Danish summer houses to provide the duvets and pillows, but you will need to bring your own covers, sheets and towels.

Visiting Denmark from somewhere else? Don’t have space in your hand luggage for all that? Don’t worry, you can rent a linen package from the different rental agencies.

Linen Package usually includes:
Duvet/pillow case, sheet for 1 person, 1 towel, 1 big bathing towel, 1 kitchen towel and 1 cloth. Costs around 100 DKK per person.

Doesn’t seem as cozy to borrow sheets? You can get comfy by bringing casual clothes to curl up in with your closest friends.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #4:

Share good food.


FOOD AND DRINK

Find the local fish shop or smokehouse for local delicacies. Support the nearby farm stand and buy some new potatoes or fresh rhubarb and strawberries. Pick ripe red currants, known as ribs in these parts. Cooking together and eating definitely together ups your hygge factor.

And don’t fret, all Danish summer houses will have dishes, utensils, cookware, and glasses for your use. Basic appliances like coffee maker, toaster and sometimes microwave may be available. If it is important for your holiday stay, make sure to clarify before booking. Any and all food and drink will be yours to bring or buy along the way.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #5

Turn down the lights.


ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION IS EXTRA

It is normal and expected that you will be responsible for paying for how much electricity you use during your stay. (And sometimes water.) When you pick up your keys, you will receive a sheet to denote the starting meter measure when you arrive at the house. You can ask ahead what average consumption prices are for each specific house before renting.

Since you are paying for it, use less of it. Unplug and turn down. It’s greener AND more hyggeligt. Light some candles. Make a fire if there is a wood stove or a fire pit. Roasting marshmallows together or as the Danes do, cooking bread on a stick is a great way to create hygge.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #6

Everyone pitches in.


CLEANING AT THE END

In Denmark, you take your shoes off when inside. Doing so will help when it’s time to clean at the end. Summer houses need to be left in tip top shape and the cleaning is your responsibility unless you book a final clean service with the rental agency. This can be booked before hand or at the time of arrival. Final cleaning fees vary depending on house size, but can add up to 1200 DKK on the total price. ($180 USD, €160)

Care to clean it yourself and save some kroner? Bring your own vinegar and baking soda or purchase at the local market. And make sure everyone pitches in. Hygge is about equality. There are no tall poppies here in Denmark and tasks should be shared. An egalitarian “many hands make light work,” ensures everyone contributes for the good of the group.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #7

Be present.


Hygge makes you happy

Slow down. Get comfortable. Be casual. No drama. Play games. Eat food. Be together. Turn off the phone. Set aside some time each day to come together and consciously be together. Find when it best suits your peeps. This is your place to feel peace. With each other. With yourself. This is hygge.  

MORE SUMMER HOUSE TIPS:
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
  • Normal Danish summer house rentals run one week from Saturday to Saturday.
  • Check in time is between 14:00-19:00. After hours arrivals need to be arranged ahead.
  • Keys are normally picked up at a central location, not the house itself.
  • Consumption of electricity is paid at the end.
  • Check out time is 10:00.
  • Peak rental time is during Danish school holidays between weeks 26-31 (late June to early August).
  • Renting a summer house off-peak is cheaper and can be even cozier.
FACTS ABOUT DANISH SUMMER HOUSES
  • 55% of all foreign tourist stays in Denmark are in a summer house.
  • There are over 200,000 summer homes in Denmark. About 40,000 of them are available for rent.
  • 90% of all Danish summer home rentals are members of the Danish Association of Holiday House Letters.
  • Since 1973, when Denmark joined the European Union, foreigners have not been allowed to buy a Danish summer house.
  • If you have special connections to Denmark or a specific house, you can apply for a limited number of exceptions to the above rule each year.
  • Denmark saw a huge summer house building boom in the late 1960’s and 1970’s when the Danish economy was growing.
  • All of the building prompted a law in 1977 that forbids building on the sea front and requires a 3 kilometer set back from the beach, making it difficult to find a water front property to rent.
  • You are not allowed to live year-round in a summer house unless you are a pensioner (retiree).

Live like a local. Seek out a sommerhus.

For more about hygge – check out Meik Wiking’s A Little Book of Hygge | Danish Secrets to Happy Living.

Find your own house to hygge in. Simple rules and tools for renting and relaxing in a Danish summer house when visiting Denmark.

Oregon Girl Around the World

10 Darling Danish Towns in Denmark you Don't Want to Miss | Oregon Girl Around the World

10 Darling Danish Towns you Don’t Want to Miss in Denmark

I love a Cinderella story. I like to cheer for the underdog. And while I live in the big, modern Danish capital and really do love it, I often seek out the simple. The slow. The little and quaint. For a bit. For the balance. And Denmark can do that. Charm you and court you with lots of little tiny town choices. What does it take to be the most darling Danish town? It depends.

A Danish village comes complete with cobblestone promenades and half-timbered houses. Colorful facades and maybe a fancy castle. Some sit near farms that are plum full of fresh produce. For me, it’s perfection if they are situated near water. But you if you’ve been reading along, you know that. So let’s take a look. These are the best. Don’t ask my teen, for he may disagree. But these are the towns that do it for me.

Let’s start on the west side of the country and work our way east towards the capital. I’m jumping to Jutland.


JYLLAND |  JUTLAND

1. EBELTOFT

Gem of Djursland, Ebeltoft sits on the east side of Jutland. Chock full of cobblestoned charm, little Ebeltoft is the perfect gateway to explore nearby Mols Bjerg National Park which lays claim to the highest hill in Denmark. That’s saying a lot around here. Half-timbered houses and purveyors of ice cream will surely make you happy after you’ve been swimming in summer.

DON’T MISS:
  • Put on your hiking shoes and make your way to Mols Bjerg National Park.
  • Check out the ancient castle ruins in nearby Rønde; Kalo Slotsruin.

2. LØKKEN

Lovely little Løkken sits on the northwest coast of Denmark. It is rugged and windswept with wide sand beaches. But don’t worry, this adorable wee village sits snug and calm behind the dunes with coffee shops and cafés and candy to create.

DON’T MISS:

3. SKAGEN

Sitting at the very tippy top of Denmark is Skagen. But don’t say SKA-gen. It’s more like Skā-en, minus the g. However you say it, you’re sure to be swayed by the beautiful light and little yellow houses. This fishing village is famous for its painters and you can see why. It’s beautiful here. See where the North Sea and the Baltic combine.

DON’T MISS:
  • Take the Sandormen, the “Sandworm” tractor ride out to where the Baltic and the North Sea meet.
  • Climb up inside the Tilsandede Kirke, the (not-so) sand covered church.
  • See the Danish masters and meet their fisherman muses at the Skagen Museum.
  • Play in the surf at Gamle Skagen.

FUNEN | FYN

4. KERTEMINDE

Find your way to Funen, the oft-overlooked island that sits in the middle of Denmark. While Fyn may be tired of her big sister Marsha, er I mean Copenhagen, she has plenty to offer. With fields full of rye and poppies and fewer people, you’ll find wide open spaces here to explore. We love quaint Kerteminde right on the water. It is a perfect base to explore the area and try the produce.

DON’T MISS:
  • Find your way to Fyns Hoved and smell the sea air with views over the Odense Fjord.
  • Meet the sea creatures and seals at the Fjord & Bælt Museum.
  • Fish for Seatrout in the early summer as the pass close to shore.
  • Buy fresh produce from a farm stand. Pick apples in fall.
  • Explore a Viking ship burial in nearby Ladby.

SJÆLLAND | ZEALAND

5. DRAGØR

Dragør was my first and definitely still my favorite darling little Danish village. Don’t you know about Dragør? You might want to drop everything and drive right on over. It’s adorable and so close to Copenhagen.

DON’T MISS:
  • Wander through the old town and out to the harbor.
  • Share yummy brunch with your family at Fru Munk.
  • Take a dip in the warm Øresund with views out to Sweden.

6. HELSINGØR

Take the regional train from Copenhagen or the ferry from Sweden and head up to Helsingør. Here you will find Hamlet. Or his castle that is. So say the Danes. Kronborg Castle sits on the water majestic and magical. Time your visit in summer and see Shakespeare come alive with actors and action. Plenty of places to pause for a bite along the old town squares.

DON’T MISS:

7. HILLERØD

Here in Hillerød, you will find the fabulous Fredericksborg Castle. This is different than the Frederiksberg Slot in the Frederiksberg neighborhood of Copenhagen. Believe me, you aren’t the first to be confused. Take the Line B on the S-togs to the terminus in Hillerød. Trek towards the cute town and out to the castle.

DON’T MISS:

8. HORNBÆK

I don’t need to toot too loud my love for Hornbæk, pearl of the Danish Riviera. With wide swaths of beach and forested trails, it pleases many. Add in fresh fish markets, antiques to peruse, boutiques to shop, cozy coffee shops for hygge and Hornbæk ticks all the boxes for most darling Danish town.

DON’T MISS:
  • Wade in the water and wiggle your toes in the wide golden sand at Hornbæk Strand.
  • Linger along the lush green paths that lead through the trees in the Hornbæk Plantage.
  • Take a hygge break at Albi’s Kaffebar and Second Hand Shop in town.

9. ROSKILDE

Roskilde rocks even when the world famous music festival isn’t on. This city has ancient roots with both Vikings and Royals. And it really is darn right cute to boot. Run, don’t walk, but I’ll allow you to rock right on over to Roskilde.

DON’T MISS:
  • View Viking vessels dredged up from the nearby Roskilde Fjord at the well done Viking Ship Museum.
  • Visit the stunning Roskilde Church and feel the spirit of the Danish royals buried therein.
  • Rock out at Ragnarok, not the Viking apocalypse, but the museum dedicated to the music and culture that dominates the Roskilde Festival.

10. SJÆLLANDS ODDE

Most people drive right through here on their way to the ferry, but they would be amiss. Stop. Slow down and please try the fish. Odde’s not odd, but super quite delightful. Fishing boats and fish shacks add color and charm.

DON’T MISS:
  • Toodle around Odde Havn, the harbor.
  • Wait with the locals for delicious smoked fish at Odden Fisk.

Did I do it? Did I tempt you? Do you know of these towns? Did I miss one? Do tell me. Here’s what left on my little town Denmark wish list:

UP NEXT: Svaneke and Gudhjem on the island of Bornholm.
WISH LIST: Ribe and Fanø

Know someone who needs to know about this cute Danish digs? Share it! Or save it. And see them for your very own self! Cheers from Denmark, Erin10 Darling Danish Towns in Denmark you Don't Want to Miss | Oregon Girl Around the World

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Looking for Giants | A Day out in Denmark Seeking the 6 Forgotten Giants | A Public Sculpture Treasure Hunt by artist Thomas Dambo | via Oregon Girl Around the World

Let’s go Hunting for Giants in Denmark

Being outside with your littles communing in nature can be magical. Add in the mystery, giddy anticipation and energy generated when following a treasure map to find real live GIANTS in your midst – and that magic goes next level.

The 6 Forgotten Giants

An Open Air Sculpture Treasure Hunt

Danish artist Thomas Dambo and a merry crew of volunteers have hidden six epic sculptures in the woods south of Copenhagen. Who wouldn’t be merry while creating such magic? Thomas uses reclaimed and recycled wood to assemble the giants that you will find. And while they may not be breathing themselves, they will surely breathe life into your littles. And not so littles. Fun for all ages. And what joy to discover.

THE 6 FORGOTTEN GIANTS | Map from ThomasDambo.com

Last weekend, we set out to find some. We started in reverse order driving to the farthest one from Copenhagen first. You will need a car for this trip, or much more time. Only two of the giants live near each other.  And while part of the fun is seeking and finding, admittedly the artist’s maps are really quite vague. I don’t want to ruin the fun and divulge all the secrets. But maybe offer just a few tips to start you on your own giant trek.

#6 Teddy Venlig | Teddy Friendly | Hakkemøsen in Høje Taastrup

Teddy is a perfect place to start. He was the easiest to find and a fun friendly giant. Set along the lake at Hakkemøsen in Høje Taastrup he offers his arm to help you across.

Hakkemøsen
Hakkemosevej 6, 2630 Taastrup
30-minute drive from central Copenhagen

At Hakkemøsen, park your car in the farthest parking lot, after you have entered the park. Take the trail towards the lake at the end of this parking lot. Follow the trail around to the right and curve around the lake. You should find Teddy waiting for you in under 5 minutes.

NOTE: Hakkemøsen park has a fun adventure course for kids, as well as fishing, camping and fire pits. You could make a day out of an adventure just here alone.

#5 THOMAS PÅ BJERGET | Thomas on the Mountain | Vallensbæk MOSE

Thomas was the most difficult to find, hiding on the backside of a hill in the Vallensbæk Mose. We had to ask a few fellow giant hunters for tips and finally found him lounging with his long legs stretched out down towards the valley below.

 

#4 LILLE TILDE LITTLE TILDE | VALLENSBÆK MOSE

Little Tilde was a group favorite. What a sweetie with her not-so-little tail curling out behind her as she stands watch across the lake.

 

WHERE TO FIND THOMAS AND TILDE

Vallensbæk Mose
Rendsagervej 5, 2625 Vallensbæk

Take the Vallensbæk exit off Route 21 and then left onto Vallensbækvej. Follow it straight across to Rendsagervej and enter the parking lot for Spisetedet Mosen. Park here.

Vallensbæk Mose is beautiful and scenic setting with both paved and wooded paths. Grab food or slow down for lunch from the Spisestedet Mosen near the parking lot. Or maybe an ice cream reward once your hunting is done! No other options for food and water out in the park. Keep an eye out for baby geese and friendly goats.

SPOILER ALERT: Someone has geolocated Lille Tilde and Thomas on the Mountain on Google Maps for you.

GOOD TO KNOW:

Plan on an about an hour per giant. Especially if you don’t take the Google hints. It took our group with littles in tow about three hours to find Teddy, Tilde and Thomas. Take it slow, enjoy the journey.

WHAT TO BRING:

MAP: Your treasure map – x marks the spot.

WATER: Bring your own reusable bottle – no fountains on the trail.

GOOD SHOES: Make sure they’re sturdy, you’ll be walking over hill and yon.

A JACKET: Preferably waterproof, weather changes quickly in Denmark.

PICNIC: Or snacks for your seekers. Pack out what you don’t eat.

SMILES: Patience and a good attitude – some are quite tricky to track down.

Looking for Giants | A Day out in Denmark Seeking the 6 Forgotten Giants | A Public Sculpture Treasure Hunt by artist Thomas Dambo | via Oregon Girl Around the World

Get out there and explore! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

Next up: Oscar Under the Bridge, Sleeping Louis and Hilltop Trine. Stay tuned.

This post was featured on the Lonely Planet Kids Blog for May 2017 Family Travel roundup.

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