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.
DON’T MISS THIS WHEN IN HORNBÆK
The BEACH | HORNBÆK STRAND
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.
EAT IN HORNBÆK
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.
BOULANGERIE BAGERI HORNBÆK
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