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 Super Activities for a Sustainable Summer in Copenhagen

Summer is Super in Copenhagen

If you’ve been to Denmark, you know. If you haven’t – what are you waiting for? Despite the popular meme that “summer is the best day of the year” here, it really truly might be the best time of the year here in Denmark. So come. Stay. And explore sustainably. It’s easy to do here. Really. They’ve practically terraformed it for you. A European Green Capital in 2014, Danes take the title very seriously. That. Is super. Seriously. And Danes love to say “super.” Lucky for you. It’s easy to pronounce. “Soo-pah!”

Ways to have sustainable FUN when Visiting the Danish Capital
1. Do the Danish Dip

Start sommer season off right and get happy in the head. Glad i låget as the Danes say. The water temps may feel brisk at the beginning of June, averaging 15-17ºC, but come to the peak of summer and the water will average 20-21ºC. That’s 70ºF. Basically balmy. It’s beautiful I tell you!

At the beginning of summer, take a tip from me. To really do the dip, it is best to find a spot where you can just jump right in, no wading required. Check out the beautiful new piers just put in along Nordhavn. A lovely place to relax and go for a swim, safe from boats. Just don’t test the water. Trust me. Just breathe. And jump. Come up for air. Emit a gasp of shock. Flail a bit. Get out. Repeat. The second time is the charm. I promise. As all the blood rushes to your extremities, the water feels amazing and you will feel full of life. I’m a believer. Try it. You’ll see.

TIP: You can check the Danish Meteorologic Institute’s Website for current water temperatures. It’s in Danish, but still easy to read temperatures. Just remember we work in Celsius over here.

DANSK VANDTEMPERATUR

Since 2000, Copenhagen has made valiant efforts to clean up their harbor restricting industrial, sewage and wastewater runoffs. The building of rainwater reservoirs and runoff conduits has dramatically increased the water quality and makes it safe to swim and enjoy.


2. Roam the Canals in an Electric Boat

Love the water, but afraid to get in? Take a toodle on an electric picnic boat. Have you ever rented a sustainable solar powered boat? You can! And you should.

Really – you must do this. Copenhagen is a harbor town. It’s in the name. København means merchant’s harbor. There is water everywhere. Seize your inner Viking sailor. You must get out on it. Especially in the sommer. Don’t have a boat? No problem. There are so many options for all budgets to explore the canals and harbor in Copenhagen.” – Summer in Copenhagen | 10 Must Do’s

We adore Go Boat and their super charming little electric picnic boats powered by solar cells. Book online, rent by the hour. It can be popular when the weather is nice, so plan ahead. Pick up your boat from their cool outpost near Islands Brygge right on the canal. We love the slow, cozy Go Boats for their charm, ease, stability, and maneuverability. There is a picnic table in the middle! No time to pack a lunch? Order ahead online and they will fashion a perfect picnic with organic wines, soft drinks and food.

Go Boat takes their sustainability next level and encourages your littlest sailors to help keep the harbor clean. Children who are interested can borrow a long-handled net to scoop garbage from the waters. They will be rewarded for their efforts when they return!

Friendships also offer electric boat rentals out of Christianshavn.

Go Boat – 1 hour = DKK 399 for up to 8 people
Friendships  – 1 hour = DKK 395 for 8 people


3. Experience Hygge at Ofelia Plads

After your cruise is complete, Ofelia Plads opened on this clean Copenhagen canal in the summer of 2016 and is the perfect place to perch in the sun and even try your Danish dip. Calmer than the colorful neighbor and tourist center Nyhavn, Ofelia Plads offers a casual chill and great views of the water. Snag a lounger and groove to the music. Share some cold rosé by the glass or bottle from the nearby Luftkastellet.

Follow Ofelia Plads on Facebook to stay up to date on special events and performances on the water. We adored seeing the Danish Royal Ballet this past weekend.


4. Ride a Bicycle Across Bridges and Around ‘bros

There are roads for bicycles in Copenhagen. Signals too. Little lights just for the cyclists to tell them to stop or to start. There are more bikes than people here in the capital. The easiest way to experience the city like a local is on two wheels. Don’t know where to go? Try this self-guided tour from Katy at Untold Morsels.

Renting a bike allows you to get a little further off the tourist path. Head to the Copenhagen neighborhoods – explore Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro. Or pedal your wheels across one of the two car-free harbor bridges. The Bryggesbroen will take you from Vesterbro to Islands Brygge and back. The Inderhavnsbro connects classic Nyhavn with Paper Island, Christiania and Christianshavn.


5. Eat Fresh Local Food Outside

Fresh food, food trucks and fab markets make their appearance once again when the weather is warmer and the light stays long. Make a positive impact by supporting the local economy ‘s bitty small businesses. All the while tasting lots of local and international flavors at one of the following fun options.

Kødbyen Mad & Marked
Flæsketorvet, 1711 København V
Saturdays & Sundays | 10-18
April to September

Kødbyen is the trendy meatpacking district in the Vesterbro neighborhood of Copenhagen. Every Saturday and Sunday starting late spring through early fall, there is a foodie dream market with rotating vendors and tables to enjoy your tasty wares outside.

Copenhagen Special – Frederiksberg Runddel
Frederiksberg Runddel, 2000 Frederiksberg
Saturday | June 24 | 12-20

Set outside the entrance to the lovely Frederiksberg Garden and hosted by local Food Truck collaborative Rebel Food CPH, here you will find Latin American, vegan, burgers, tacos and more.

Street Food Festival CPH
Søerne (Along the Lakes), 2200 København N
Friday | August 11 | 15 – 21 (Bar open later)
Saturday | August 12 | 11 – 21 (Bar open later)
Sunday | August 13 | 11 – 19

Don’t miss the summer street food extravaganza that stretches up and down the lakes in the middle of the city. Start at Dronning Louises Bro in Nørrebro and pick a direction to dive in. This is a giant collection of all the yummy street food purveyors in Copenhagen. Most will offer a small signature dish for only 40DKK, so you can try lots and not break the bank. Eat local!


6. Try Urban Foraging

You don’t have to live on a farm to pick your own produce. Lucky for you there are plenty of places to forage for summer sweets right here in the city. Check out Byhøst, a Danish website that will help you find and identify wild raw food. Click on KORT and find a map to what’s growing where. Click on RÅVARER to see what’s edible. Even if you don’t speak Danish, clearly labeled icons and images will allow you find what you’ve foraged. Can I eat that? I want to know. Download their app and dial in on the go.

Brombær = Blackberry
Jordbær = Strawberry
Hindbær = Raspberry
Kirsebær = Cherry
Hyld = Elderflowers

We’ve recently been foraging for hyldeblomst or elderflowers. You can find them all over town, but we like to look along the paths in Fælledparken. Be careful to not cut too many from one bush or plant. Elderflowers turn into elderberries in the fall, which you’ll want to find later. Take the recent blooms when the weather isn’t wet. What to do with the fragrant blooms? Make hyldeblomst saft of course! Elderflower cordial, ummmm. Stay tuned, recipe and tips on the blog soon.


7. Find One Man’s Treasures at a Loppemarked

Danes love a loppemarked. You may know the concept as a Flea Market. A yard sale. A garage sale. But these are collective experiences – more than one purveyor of gently used goods. Look for one of kind vintage pieces or jewelry or antiques or chairs. You can find just about anything at a Danish loppemarked.

Rita Blå’s Lopper Saxogadefest
Litauens Plads, 1723 København V, Danmark
June 24 | 12-17

Kulturhuset Islands Brygge Loppemarked
Islands Brygge 18, 2300 København
June 25 | 10-17


 8. Go Looking for Giants

Danish artist Thomas Dambo has hidden the 6 Forgotten Giants in the woods south of Copenhagen. Each constructed of reclaimed and recycled wood, they wait for you to find them. Make a sustainable day out with the family by carpooling to the destinations. Pack your picnic in and leave no waste. Bring a reuseable water bottle! Really want up your green quotient – take the S-tog with your bike and ride to each of the parks!


9. Put out Your Blanket for Movie in the Park

I love when you can see cinema outside. Every summer the Copenhagen theater Cinemateket offers two nights of viewing on a big screen set up in the Kings Garden. Spread out your blanket, invite some friends and sit back and relax. DJ music starts from 16:00. Last year we loved the David Bowie old school classic Spiders From Mars.

This year’s line up includes: David Lynch’s Blue Velvet on Tuesday and Saturday Night Fever on Wednesday. Ses vi? See you there?

Cinemateket Open Air
Kongens Have, The King’s Garden
August 1st and 2nd, 2017


10. Sail with the Swans

Paddle for your pleasure along Peblingesø, one of the lakes in the middle of Copenhagen. Restaurant Kaffesalonen rents the boats from their dockside café by the hour. The gentle churn of the pedal powered craft is a lovely slow summer treat.

Kaffesalonen Paddle Boat Rental 
Peblinge Dossering 6 2200 Copenhagen N
Swan Bicycle for 2 persons costs DKK 75 per ½ hour,  DKK 100 per hour.
Larger (non-swan) paddle boats can accommodate 5 and 7 passengers for a little more.


So there you have it. Summer fun that can be sustainable too. Looking for last year’s summertime list? Click the link below for a few more fun in the sun (and maybe not sun – it IS Denmark) options.

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Summertime in Copenhagen | 10 Must-Do’s

Cheers from Copenhagen!

Suitcases and Sandcastles

Summertime in Copenhagen – 10 must do’s

Summer in Copenhagen. It’s amazing here. And we earned it. It was dark, dank and cold in December. But now, the Danish summer days are long. Full of that Nordic light we all so craved over winter. At midsummer’s peak, celebrated on the 23rd of June with the annual Sankt Hans aften festivities, the sun shines 17.5 hours in Copenhagen. The swing feels radical in contrast to the average 7 hours of daylight back in December. But it’s sommer now in Denmark. And there is so much to love about summer in Copenhagen.

The trees lining many streets are once more lush and verdant. Flowers bloom everywhere. At the end of May, the air is lavish with lilacs and vining roses. Roses that drape around doorways of those charming, colorful old houses all over town. The sun glints off the water and everywhere people are out soaking it up. Faces to the sun. When it’s out. And lately, it has been out in great quantities. A reminder when planning a summer holiday to Copenhagen, don’t expect perfect weather. There are few places better when it’s blue, blue skies overhead. But, be prepared for some good days and some potential grey days. Remember to bring layers. Even if you turn up during a few of the more lacking days weather wise, you can absolutely still enjoy this beautiful city and have a great time exploring. So, without further ado, here are my favorite things to do in Copenhagen in the summer.

My Top 10 Danish Summer Experiences in Copenhagen – in no particular order:

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