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. We loved Faaborg which is a great jumping off point for the archipelago of islands that litter Fyn’s 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.


READ MORE : 10 Darling Danish Towns


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/pillowcase, 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 beforehand 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 seafront and requires a 3 kilometer set back from the beach, making it difficult to find a waterfront 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 you Don’t Want to Miss in Denmark

See Some of the Most Adorable Villages in Denmark

CUTE COBBLESTONED CHARM OUTSIDE COPENHAGEN

(Originally posted June 2017, updated September 2018)

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.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.


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.

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

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.
WHERE TO STAY IN EBELTOFT:

2 | Løkken

Lovely little Løkken sits on the northwest coast of Denmark. It is rugged and windswept with wide sandy 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.

You Need to Know Nordjylland | North Jutland | Lovely Little Løkken Denmark | Oregon Girl Around the World

DON’T MISS:
WHERE TO STAY IN LØKKEN:

READ MORE: You Need to Know Lovely Løkken | North Jutland Denmark

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.
WHERE TO STAY IN 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 local produce.

10 Darling Danish Towns in Denmark you Don't Want to Miss | Oregon Girl Around the World
Wildflowers make it more fun on the island of Funen
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 they pass close to shore.
  • Buy fresh produce from a farm stand. Pick apples in fall.
  • Explore a Viking ship burial in nearby Ladby.
WHERE TO STAY IN KERTEMINDE:

READ MORE : Do Denmark in Fall | 5 Reasons Autumn is the Season
So You Want to Be a Viking?

5 | Faaborg

Faaborg on the southern side of Fyn might just tick all the boxes of Danish village darlingness. Colorful Scandi half-timbered homes, a classic harbor and plenty of cobblestones.

 

Iconic Danish Village on South Fyn | Faaborg Denmark | #Funen #SydFyn | Oregon Girl Around the WorldIconic Danish Village on South Fyn | Faaborg Denmark | #Funen #SydFyn | Oregon Girl Around the World
DON’T MISS:
  • Wander through the old town and out to the harbor.
  • The delicious house-smoked fish at the Fåborg Røgeri Café.
WHERE TO STAY IN OR NEAR FAABORG

READ MORE: Faaborg Denmark | An Iconic Danish Village on Fyn

SJÆLLAND | ZEALAND

6 | 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.

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

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.
WHERE TO STAY IN DRAGØR

READ MORE: Darling Dragør Denmark

7 | 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.

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

DON’T MISS:
WHERE TO STAY IN HELSINGØR

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.

Explore the slow life in Denmark | Gem of the Danish Riviera | Hornbaek Denmark via Oregon Girl Around the World

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.
WHERE TO STAY IN HORNBÆK

READ MORE: Hornbæk Denmark | Gem of the Danish Riviera

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.
WHERE TO STAY IN ROSKILDE

READ MORE: So You Want to Be a Viking?

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.

READ MORE: Colors of a Danish Beach | Odsherred Denmark

Hotels not your cup of tea? Prefer to soak up Danish village life in a holiday home? Read more here about the finding your own hygge in a decidedly Danish summer house.


READ MORE: SUMMER HOUSE HYGGE
RELATED: DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULES

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

Oregon Girl Around the World

Colors of a Danish Beach | Odsherred Denmark

Scandinavian Palette Collecting

KLINT STRAND AT SPRING EQUINOX | NykøBING SJÆLLAND, DK

We have just returned from a lovely weekend at the Danish coast with friends and our families. It had all the trappings of some true Danish hygge. Laughter. Good food. Fresh fish from the local smokehouse. Skål (cheers) with snaps. Fab tunes. Fun games. Dips in the frigid sea. Warming up. Soaking up sunshine. Walks on the beach. Toasted marshmallows over the fire under a sky full of stars.

It was beautiful. And needed. A perfect start to spring. We stayed near the far northwest corner of Sjælland, the island where Copenhagen sits. Our summer house rental was almost to Sjællands Odde where you catch the ferry for Aarhus in Jutland. This area is called Odsherred. It’s little over an hour from Copenhagen. And it is definitely not odd. It is decidedly the opposite. It is truly lovely. And I was taken with the tones. The colors of the beach. A Danish beach. This is Scandinavia.

Continue reading “Colors of a Danish Beach | Odsherred Denmark”

A Scandinavian Winter Playlist to Create Your Own Hygge

Some Scandi Tunes to Keep the Winter Blues at Bay

Winter isn’t coming. It’s here. In Scandinavia at least. Today in Copenhagen, it is cold and dark and damp. To me this is the worst. I’d rather have snow. But the Danes have an answer to combat these shortening days and less than desirable weather. It’s called hygge. You know it. You do. I have talked about it before. More than candles and cookies and cool Danish design, hygge is about creating a space that your community can well, commune in. It’s about moments. A feeling. For me, music helps to create that feeling.

Every year I create an alternative Christmas playlist. I love the classics and a carol sung by a choir or two, but music evolves and how I listen to it equally evolves. I like seeing where winter music can take me. And since I now live in Scandinavia – it makes sense that my musical tastes have been swayed by the locals. Let me sway you. Or rather – feel the sway of this beautiful music. I have created a playlist to help UP your Scandinavian winter hygge. I hope you enjoy.


RELATED: 2017 SCANDI EAR CANDY FOr HOLIDAY HYGGE PLAYLIST
LOOKING FOR THE LATEST PLAYLIST? | SEE 2019 TUNES HERE

Scandinavian Winter Hygge Playlist

Tokka | Agnes Obel | Copenhagen, DK & Berlin, DE

Agnes Obel is a classically trained pianist and her music for me is an updated and modern version of George Winston’s December. I know – super dating myself there. But to be honest, I have not played George Winston since my sorority sisterhood nights in college. Don’t ask. It’s cringy, but sentimental at the same time. Not Agnes’ music though. Pure and gorgeous. Put this on your Scandi winter mixtape, bust out some candles. Light them all. Enjoy. With someone preferably. Now you’ve got hygge.


RELATED: TASTING DANISH CHRISTMAS FOOD | LOCAL BLOGGERS SHARE their FAVES

WHEN YOU TOLD ME IT WAS CHRISTMAS | BODEBrIXEN | Aarhus, DK

Something about this duo from Aarhus conjures the hours and hours and hours I used to listen to my Jesus & Mary Chain cassette on loop. In case you were wondering… YES. Yes it was a yellow Sony Sports Walkman. I’ve already dated myself. See above. Don’t judge. I love this song.


RELATED: 10 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF CHRISTMAS IN COPENHAGEN

Dear Santa | Mr Little Jeans | Grimstad, NO & Compton, CA

Mr Little Jeans, which might be my new favorite band name ever, is the lovechild of Norwegian singer Monica Birkenes, who now calls LA home. Kicky, swingy and beautifully sung – try not to move to this one. I can feel the Norway AND the California is this fun holiday song.

Det’Cember | Sys Bjerre | Vanlose, DK

Listening to Sys Bjerre sing about julefrokosts and brunkager in Danish is amusing and fun. The way she interjects English into the song is much like riding on the train with Danes. All of a sudden you are like, “HEY! I understood what they said!” Oh. Because that was English. Yep. I do understand though (a little too well) her sharing that her underwear don’t fit anymore from enjoying too many marcipan treats. Hahaha!


RELATED: DON’T MESS WITH DANISH CHRISTMAS DINNER

It’s Christmas | Cody | Copenhagen, DK

CODY – which stands for Come On Die Young are based right here in Copenhagen. Known for their own brand of Nordic gloom, this year’s julesang, Christmas song, is all about the angst that coming home for Christmas can bring. Reminiscent of Blitzen Trapper’s Christmas is Coming Soon! and Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal, I love CODY’s vibe and will probably be shouting their refrain all season – “It’s Christmas!” Check out the video to for a traditional Danish Christmas dinner too!

Be mine | Alice boman | Malmö, SE

I do love a beautiful Swedish voice and local Alice hits us with hers. You know Malmö is like a suburb of Copenhagen right? (Shhh.. don’t tell the Swedes that!) Lilting and lovely, Be Mine will definitely notch up the hygge this winter. Snuggle in, but be ready to tap your toes.


RELATED: SAVOR SOME CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS FROM SWEDEN THIS SEASON

Winter song | Caesars | STockholm, SE

Do you remember this Apple iPod ad?

Then you already know the Swedish group Caesars. Winter Song is from 2005, but it still holds a rich and full sound that is perfect for creating that Scandi hygge – and I find it means more for me now living here – “… running down the icy streets, trying to catch the last sunbeam.” I know it will hold a space on my indie Christmas list for a long time.

Dreams today | EFTERKLANG | Copenhagen, DK & BERLIN, DE

In Danish, Efterklang means echo or reverberation. Try to listen to this song and not feel it. Viscerally. I also love their song Modern Drift where the piano and drums push the music, pulling you along in slow and steady rhythm full of a sorrowful sweetness. Creative and evolving, Efterklang is Danish design put to sound.

Suppegjok | Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas | Oslo, NO

No Scandi mixtape would be complete without some indielectric syntho pop. I love this one – a collab between long-time Norwegian friends and music producers Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Thomas Moen Hermansen. When grey days call for hygge socks and warm drinks, add this to your mix.

WATER FLOW | Klyne | EINDHOVEN, NL

Ok, ok. So Klyne is not officially Scandinavian. But I have been asked if I speak Dutch after living here in Denmark. (I know, I was just as embarrassed as you!) Because of this, I offer you the tongue-in-cheek inclusion of this Dutch band Klyne. Once you listen – you’ll understand why. Warm energy, delicious beats and yummy vocals. Insta-hygge. The Dutch may call it “gezelligheid,” but it is similar in sentiment.

New Year’s Eve | First Aid Kit | StockhOLM, SE

If you don’t know Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit – stop everything and look them up. Now. The soundtrack to my life across borders here in Denmark includes lots of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderbergs’ gorgeous harmonies and elegant lyrics. I adore My Silver Lining and Wolf. New Year’s Eve is no different. Written in 2012 – it seems especially pertinent for 2016.

Well it’s a new year, with it comes more than new fears.
Met a young man who was in tears, he asked me,
“What induces us to stay here?”
I said, “I don’t know much and I’m not lying,
But I think you just have to keep on trying.”

And I know I am naive, but if anything
That’s what’s going to save me
That’s what’s going to save me

Took a stroll around the neighborhood where the trees are swaying.
People passed in cars with their windows down, with a pop song playing.
A man walked by, walking back and forth the street with a drunken smile to go along.
He stopped to look at me and say, “Child, don’t fear doing things wrong.”

Yet I am still afraid but if anything
That’s what’s going to save me
That’s what’s going to save me

Now I have a lot to learn and I’m starting tonight,
Got to stop looking at things like they’re black and they’re white.
Got to write more songs of a little more, treat my friends better.
Got to stop worrying about everything to the letter.
And sometimes when it’s too hard to get up,
It just might be a little call apart.

But I find it hard to believe, but if anything
That’s what’s going to save me
That’s what’s going to save me

Tell me, tell me
Oh, what’s going to save me?

-First Aid Kit, New Year’s Eve


RELATED: COPENHAGEN HAS THE BEST NEW YEAR’S EVE IN THE WORLD

New Year’s Eve | Mø | Ubberud, DK & Copenhagen, DK

You may know Mø from her hit Final Song, she is crazy popular here. (And it is not pronounced Mo – see here for the artist pronouncing it herself. Try taking the oo’s in pool and add it’s closer to that.) This year, she has her own version of a New Year’s song – take a listen – her unique voice offers an honest message.

Thanks Erin – but what if I don’t want to click on every song by itself and make my own playlist. NO WORRIES. I already did that. You knew that right? I work in Spotify because I think it is awesomesauce and we got the no-ads version with our Danish phone contracts and when you connect with with Sonos you can play it all over your entire house. WHAT? I know. That was not a plug and I get no kinds of kick-back for saying any of that. But I LOVE it.

I don’t have Spotify though. It ok. Spotify offers a free version. Just after a few songs, you may have to listen to an ad. You can create playlists, share songs and connect with friends. Check it out.

Here’s my list – includes songs shared in this post along with other classic Danish juletunes. Did I miss one of your favorites? Or have another indie Scandi band favorite you need to share – PLEASE – I always am looking for new music. Cheers from Copenhagen and happy listening. Get your hygge on. Erin

Know someone who might enjoy these tunes? Share it!

Suitcases and Sandcastles

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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