Danish Summer House Rules

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

(Originally posted in 2017, updated 2021)

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 area and Rørvig. Further south, look to the island of Møn for gorgeous hiking and dark skies. On Falster, look in the beach community of Marielyst Strand.

On the northwest 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. Check out “Cold Hawaii” near Klitmøller and the beautiful Thy National Park. Or explore the fishing and oyster hunting prevalent in the enormous Limfjord area. The wild west coast offers huge beautiful beaches and water sports. Further south, the beautiful Wadden Sea National Park offers wide beaches and wildlife – look for spots on the islands of Fanø and Rømø. On the east side of Jutland, check out the charming summer villages like Ebeltoft and Grenaa.

Pick an island, any island – Denmark has plenty. Popular ones for summer holidays are Samsø, Anholt, Læsø and Ærø. And don’t forget Funen, Denmark’s island region in the middle. We loved Helnæs and Faaborg –  which is a great jumping-off point for the archipelago of islands that litter Fyn’s southern shore. Look for spots on Æro or around 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
YOU NEED TO KNOW LOVELY LØKKEN IN NORDJYLLAND
Discover the Beautiful & Wild West Coast of Jutland, Denmark


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #2:

Bring people together.


Summer house Agencies

You can find listings via Airbnb, but you’ll be missing so many potential spots. Every local tourist board has links to summer houses for rent in their region. 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.

HolidayHomesinDenmark.com

Formerly SommerhusDanmark.dk, here you can search through privately owned summer house rentals. No agency rules to work through and communication is direct with the owner.

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 itself in knowing and helping with not only the vacation rental but activities and sights 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.

Esmark.dk

Specializes in holiday homes and summer houses on the wild west coast of Jutland, Denmark. Find specialty spots for stays in the charming and quirky Tyskerhavnen in Hvide Sande here.

Sunset glow over Danish Summerhouse in dunes near Hauvig Strand Beach


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 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 most of the different rental agencies. Check ahead.

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 (røgeri in Danish) 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 outside. Roasting marshmallows together or as the Danes do, cooking bread on a stick (snobrød) is a great way to hone some collective 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 the 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 1960s and 1970s 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.

Heart Song of San Juan Island, Washington

When Your Heart Sings for  Specific Space
Let’s Go to the San Juan Islands in Washington State

When speaking of spaces that stick with us, there is always an indescribable something special that makes our hearts sing. LAAAAAA. One of those places for me is the San Juan Islands in Washington State. An archipelago of islands sitting about as far west as you can get. But archipelago, while a beautiful word and super fun to say, doesn’t do this string of beautiful green treed bastions justice. There is something magical about this place. Wait, wait you say. Still don’t know where I’m talking about it? Can’t place it? I hate when people talk about somewhere like everyone knows it. Ok. Let me help. Hand gestures over the interwebs can be tricky. Come with me. Picture the map of the United States – now look at the upper left corner in your brain, no need to Google it. Keep going. Over there. Up there. Yes. Do you feel me pointing? It’s almost Canada eh? Here. These are the San Juan Islands. I want to take you there. In fact, I would take everyone there. If I could. Let me try.

San_Juan_Islands_map
By Pfly – Own work https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15730665

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Scenic McKenzie Highway – Road Trip to Sisters, Oregon

Oregon seeps under your skin, mossy and green. Like a salve for your soul. It is my from. If you’ve been playing along or you know me, this is no surprise. If you haven’t and you landed here today with this post – then first, let me say velkommen! Welcome! But you probably figured it out too. Right? The Oregon connection? It’s kind of obvious, hunh? Oregon Girl and all. Yep, ok. Back to Oregon. But what do you know about Oregon? I know some of you know a lot. But for those who don’t – here’s a tiny overview. Short and sweet and green.

One of the 50 United States, Oregon sits sandwiched on the West Coast (the best coast) between her more populous neighbors – Washington and California – both who can boast hosting a top 20 U.S. city, or two, within their borders. Both those states have their merits – a plenty. Believe me. As my husband and I both attended college in Washington, we have strong heart strings that pull us there. And he and his family call California their from, growing up in So Cal, all of them. But when I am outside of the States, I find that fewer people know much about Oregon, the West Coast’s middle sister.

As an expat currently living in Denmark, invariably the first question I get asked is: where are you from? And more often than not, people can quickly pick up my accent as soon as I answer and recognize that I am American. When I go on to say that I’m from Oregon – quizzical looks can follow. Ok – let me explain. Do you know where California is? Lights of recognition. Yes! Yes, I do! Of course. Everyone does. Go north. I say. That’s Oregon. And while California has many amazing things to share and offer both the resident and tourist alike, I like Oregon better. Sorry Cali. It’s me, not you. Don’t worry – I’ll still visit. (We did – post forthcoming!)

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Berry My Heart in Oregon – Farm Tunes on Sauvie Island

An Essential Summer Outing in Portland, Oregon
Spend an Evening Outside Sipping and Picking and Listening to Live Music

(Originally posted Summer 2016, updated June 2018 with current prices, dates) 

I’m back home now in Copenhagen after a whirlwind four weeks on the West Coast of the United States. Visiting, hugging, laughing, loving friends and family in my from. It was truly a family festival of fun chock full of veritable iconic Oregon summertime magic. I’ve already shared some of it with our Oregon Coast time crabbing. Miss it? Don’t be crabby – you can catch it here. Today, I want to share another of my mostest favoritest things to do in Oregon when you find yourself there at the peak of the season’s ripeness. Let’s go berry picking.

Basket full of fresh plucked raspberries
Kruger’s Farm berry picking, Sauvie Island, Portland Oregon summer

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Summertime in Copenhagen – 10 Must Do’s

Tried and True Things to Do This Summer in Copenhagen
FROM BIKING TO BOATING TO SWIMMING AT THE BEACH

(Originally posted May 2016, updated June 2018) 

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 summer now in Denmark, or sommer in Danish. And there is so much to love about summer in Copenhagen.

Where to Wet Your Whistle in Copenhagen Denmark | Best Places to Get Drinks Outside in the City This Summer | Oregon Girl Around the World

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, in no particular order.

My Top 10 Danish Summer Experiences in Copenhagen

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