Hornbæk Denmark | Gem of the Danish Riviera

Explore the slow life on the Danish coast.

Let’s go to Hornbæk, Denmark

I need a getaway. You too? Just a little one will do. (For now.) Not something extravagant. Not so far away. Within a few hours drive of Copenhagen. I’m pining for a soul soothing weekend at the coast. That’s what we call it in Oregon. Lucky for me, there is an abundance of coastline here in Denmark. And all along that seaside, there are so many little lovely towns and villages and beaches for you to enjoy on a weekend break – or more – by the water. I want to share one of these little Danish villages. In particular. I want to show you Hornbæk on the Nordsjælland coast – about an hour north of Copenhagen. A gem on the Danish coast. We spent a wonderful, slow and relaxing weekend near Hornbæk last May in a darling summer house. It was the Danish definition of hyggeligt.

The Danish sommerhus 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 rigtigt hyggeligt* place to try.
 Read more here to find your own | Summer House Hygge

But when Denmark can claim 7200 kilometers of coastline,¹ how do you choose where to go to find this hygge? That much seaside ranks little Denmark among the top twenty countries in the world for total kilometers of coastline. And I know you were wondering. Hmmm… but how does that much coastline compare by country size? Denmark is little. We all know this. Does it have more coastline by percentage? It does actually. In this top group, only Norway, our Scandi cousin to the North – has a higher coastline to total square miles ratio. They do have a lot of coast up there. Look at a map. Norway is HUGE. Relatively speaking. Too much geography? I digress.

We’re not going to Norway today. We’re going to Hornbæk. Denmark. Of all that coastline – this place is a perfect launching pad for laid back simple family fun. Whatever the weather. And believe me, Danish weather can be unpredictable. When the weather is nice, come July and August – you can prepare for swimming in the mild Baltic and basking on swaths of golden sand beaches. Kids of all ages can enjoy ice creams by the ocean and fishing for crabs from the piers.

Don’t think of Denmark for a sunny beach vacation? The Danes do. The northern part of Sjælland, the island where Copenhagen sits is known as the Danish Riviera. Come with a Viking attitude and the Riviera it will be. Kind of. We’re conditioned up here. Think average summer highs of 22° C (around 70° F), with water temps nearly the same, almost 19° C (65° F). Come in. The water is fine! And not so salty. I promise.

What? Doesn’t sound warm enough to swim? Don’t knock it until you try it! It truly is relaxing. Ok. I hear you. Don’t worry. But don’t let water temps dissuade you from a visit. You should still come to Hornbæk. It is lovely enough to stay. And explore. And slow down. And relax. No problem. Take long walks on the golden sand beach. Meander through the woods. The serene Hornbæk Plantage – a wooded park is full of paths to poke about – sits nearby for those days when you need something more than swimsuits and sand.


This is one of the largest and loveliest beaches in Denmark. Sand. Lots of it. Not rocks. And not rocky. Lovely, lovely sand. If you love sand. Park along Øresundsvej. There is a cement sidewalk at the corner of Øresundsvej and A. R. Friis Vej. In the summer season, lifeguards will be on duty and you can buy ice cream right from the kiosk on the beach. Toilet facilities available.
SUMMER SEASON: June 23rd – August 21st, 2017


Havnevej 34 | 3100 Hornbæk DK

Sail on in or just take a stroll and see the yachts. Or plan on celebrating with live music and activities for kids at the Harbor Festival the last weekend of July every year.


Off Route 237 between Hornbæk and Saunte DK

A beautiful natural area with forested paths and rocky beaches along the water. Walk. Breathe. Run. Giggle. Find. Sigh.

Albi’s Kaffebar & Second-hand
Nordre Strandvej 354 | 3100 Hornbæk DK
 +45 25 17 17 51

Start your day at Albi’s Kaffebar, cozy and full of charm with darn good coffee and house baked goods. Try the kage. That’s Danish for cake. On warm days, sit outside in the garden. Funky and fun and lovely owners to boot.


Nordre Strandvej 339 | 3100 Hornbæk DK

Find Danish bakery classisks like the dense chewy rye bread called rugbrød and kanelsnegl (cinnamon snails) and frøsnapper (delicious not-so sweet poppy seeded pastry.)


Havnevej 32 | 3100 Hornbæk DK
+45 49 70 04 37

Fill up on local seafood – or take home the latest catch to cook – from Fiskehuset Hornbæk situated right on the harbor in town. Try the house-smoked fish. Delicious!

So come. Slow down. Take a breath. Soak it in. Enjoy. I’m heading to another Danish seaside town soon. Can’t wait. Hornbæk is close enough for a day trip or a weekend away when visiting Copenhagen. Take in nearby Helsingør and Hamlet’s Castle for some culture, then relax in Hornbæk. Ahhh.

Cheers from Copenhagen! Erin

Experience the slow life and get a little Danish Hygge in Hornbaek, darling of the Danish coast | Oregon Girl Around the World


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65 thoughts on “Hornbæk Denmark | Gem of the Danish Riviera

  1. Pingback: Faraway Files #21 - oregon girl around the world

  2. Wherejogoes

    What a beautiful unspoilt place to go and relax, chill out, have good food, nice walks and spend time with the family. Thanks for sharing some hygge with us and for hosting #FarawayFiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Ahhh – I can’t wait – heading back to another place on the seaside soon – need a little soul soothing! Happy to host when the community is so engaged! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  3. I can’t tell you how much I’d love to explore the slow life of the Danish coast, I just wish it wasn’t so expensive or I’d be there tomorrow! Funny how relative temperatures are. “Highs” of 22°c….yesterday on the French Riviera we had highs of 20° in early March! The thought of 22° in summer is a little brisk for me, brrrr, no wonder all the Scandi guests in my gîte find it warm all year here. Beautiful photos Erin, I especially love the Pin you made and it’s going on my Scandi board straight away! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      I actually think taking a summer house could be way to keep costs down… Copenhagen apartments and hotels are very costly, but taking a summer house and cooking your own food would definitely be a way to save. Yes – weather temps are definitely relative – I think I’m scandi conditioned and don’t love it when it gets up over 30C – ugh. Melting. 😉

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Cheap flight to Copenhagen – book a summer house, day trip into Copenhagen? Hrrrrmmmmm… it is lovely! Cheers, Erin

  4. “I need a getaway. You too? Just a little one will do. (For now.) Not something extravagant. Not so far away. ” – Dr Zeuss?

    It is a pleasure to read your blogs. And also to learn about Denmark. I’ve never been, and would really love to visit. Now I know what I must do … & thanks for hosting #FarawayFiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      I loved Dr. Seuss’ rhythmic writing as a child – inspires me still! Thanks kindly. You should visit Denmark – a lovely little country with lots to see. Cheers, Erin

  5. Such a beautiful coastline, although I would prefer it if it was a tad warmer. I just finished reading the Little Book of Hygge and fell in love with Danish lifestyle. Life just seems so good up there. I love the pie+ lattes sign.. haha now i want pie and lattes. #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Tropical it is not – but remember – the Danes dip in the sea ALL year round! Summer is fine for me! 😉

  6. The Danish coastline seems so beautiful! And I would absolutely swim in the water during the summer. I’m from Seattle- which doesn’t get too hot even in the summer- and I live in Chicago and swim in Lake Michigan- which is freezing, even during the summer. So I think a Danish beach vacation would make a nice trip. #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Yes – I think growing up in colder climes helps condition kids for all kinds of weather. Although – I’m not super great in very hot and really muggy climates UNLESS there is a lot of water to swim in nearby! Thanks for the comment – cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  7. Ah this makes me Denmark-sick (if there is such a thing!). Thank you for this lovely tour. Hornbæk Plantage was one of the first places we explored after moving to CPH in late 2007. We went back several times after that, and had lunch once in a restaurant called Søstrene Olsen (had to look it up again, it was that long ago!), if it still exists. To this day I wear my Ilse Jakobsen-Hornbæk wellie boots on rainy days 😉 x

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Ahhhhh – glad to conjure such happy memories! That happens to me when I see posts about the Pacific Northwest – Oregon and Washington! So is Søstrene Olsen still there? Worth a look next time we’re up that way?

  8. I’ll be visiting Central Denmark for Easter and although I know that it’ll be too chilly to take a dip in the ocean, I’m still looking forward to stroll along the beach and hopefully get some sunshine 🙂 I did spent a weekend sun-bathing at Amager Beach in Copenhagen 2 years ago in July and it was just amazing 😉

  9. Beautiful photos! I’m sure it is incredibly beautiful in the summer, but there is something so great about visiting coastal areas in the winter! #farawayfiles

  10. That sand is so fine! And 20 degree water isn’t SO bad, especially when you want a day at the beach. Although, I wouldn’t mind the weather being a little warmer. I love that there are nature trails as well. #FarawayFiles

  11. mymeenalife

    This looks so beautiful! I would love to relax there and find some of that hygge you’ve mentioned. 😉

  12. Clare Thomson

    Ooh I love the look of this. Those temperatures sound very similar to the UK. I am a little obsessed with little seaside towns and villages – as you know, so this lovely looking place is for me. Xx

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Haha – yes I know! Your little English villages has stirred my getaway button – luckily heading out soon for another little Danish gem. Stay tuned!

  13. I’m not one for cold waters, but the thought of a summer house in the coast in such a lovely location sounds lovely. I’ll have to put it on my Denmark list! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Yes – it’s a lovely way to spend a weekend and get a smaller town Danish vibe – a nice break from the city sometimes! Cheers, Erin

  14. Sounds like a heavenly place to get away for a short trip 🙂 Average max temp 22 degrees and the water is 19 degrees – brrrr, that us still cold to me hahah – reminds me of your comment about wearing t-shirt and shorts in 15 degrees weather in my Indonesian post! I like the idea of going away for a short trip where there’s the coast, great food and coffee to indulge, and walking trails – rejuvenation! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Yes – exactly! It’s all relative right? I think I’m conditioned to the milder summers here when the sky is so blue, blue, blue! Cheers, Erin

  15. Erin, I need to go out too! After two months with only one car, it has been difficult to get out of the city. A little bit of sun and sand would not be bad. So nice Denmark has a long coastline. It means you can stop by the beach often. Oh, and I can’t wait to have a taste of the food in Denmark. #FarawayFiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      We don’t have a car, but rent one every so often. Luckily there are lovely beaches near town that we can cycle to to enjoy the water even when we aren’t on a weekend away! Great food here! Cheers from Denmark, Erin

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Oooh – hygge is lovely! Light some candles, make a warm mug of tea and get on some cozy socks and read some more about it! Cheers, Erin

  16. This looks absolutely delightful! What a gorgeous place for a weekend. I can’t say I would usually associate Denmark with the beach though, although it does look lovely! Bit too cold for my island-acclimatised skin right now though! But I do love a good seaside town, even if I don’t make it into the water!

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Yes – I would think you might feel it a bit brisk, but believe me – it really is lovely on a sunny day!

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Thanks Addie – it is! It really is! Cheers from Denmark and have a go’weekend as the Danes say!

  17. tracystravels10

    It looks lovely! I haven’t been there but have been to Skagen which i thought was gorgeous. I think i need to move to Denmark at some point in my life! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      I miss mom’s berry pie. YUMMM. Now I’m nostalgic. You should totally come to Denmark. It’s cool. Cheers, Erin

  18. I really do feel the need to visit Denmark soon. The food in your pictures looks so inviting although I’m a vegetarian and wonder how I’d survive over there (aside from pastries and cakes!). #Farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      There is a great vegan food culture here as well – lots of wonderful delicious options. Let me know if you do decide to come and I can send you some ideas! Cheers, Erin

  19. I loved learning about the Danish Riviera (a term I was unfamiliar with) in this post as well as your contribution to my post. Looks and sounds sooo relaxing, and I love the concept of the danish cottage. Pinning this for sure :). #farawayfiles

  20. It’s perfect for a relaxing getaway… woods, beach, tempting bakeries… what better place for a family getaway! Thanks for sharing your find! #FarawayFiles

  21. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    Ever since our summer fly-drive round Sweden I now ‘get’ what a summer in Scandinavia is all about. Years ago I would have only considered Mediterranean beaches for a dose of sunshine but now I yearn for the not-quite-so-hot experience similar to our own British summer. I’m very taken with this post, Erin, Hornbaek sounds a perfect place to be.

  22. I saw the beautiful sand at the beach and I was thinking “I wanna go there!”. Then I realised it only opens from 23 June? So the beach is not accessible in early June? #FarawayFiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      No, no! The beach is open all year round, as are all beaches here in Denmark. Just there is a lifeguard to keep swimming kids safe for the summer months. Does that make sense?

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  24. Pingback: 10 Darling Danish Towns you Don't Want to Miss in Denmark - oregon girl around the world

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  26. Jytte R

    Hi Erin, As a Dane who grew up in Copenhagen, my husband and I sought out adventure and challenges in Australia. Your blog is such a wonderful read – you really ‘Get’ the Danes and I am in total awe of how many wonderful places you have found in Denmark! You have been on such a wonderful adventure and have managed to get well and truly under the skin of WHO and WHAT being Danish means…I LOVE IT! Y our humour fits so well with the Danish too. I work as a Professional Tour Guide, and often look after groups from Denmark. We still have a close connection to Denmark. Going home for a holiday nearly every year since 2011 when

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