Old Skagen Image credit: John Nuttall

Skagen is the best holiday destination in Denmark

Skagen Town “so-called Top Denmark” and known as “The land of light” is without doubt the best holiday destination in Denmark. Skagen is a very popular village and holiday resort located in the northernmost part of Denmark on the north tip of Jutland. It has always been, and it’s still the most attractive holiday resort in Denmark and it is one of the best places to visit in Denmark. Annually, 2 million people are visiting the Skagen area. The town of Skagen was mentioned as far back as the first century AD and the first building in the area is from the 12th century.

Skagen Harbour

I have been in Skagen many times and it is indeed a beautiful place. I was born in the northern part of Jutland and my grandparents actually live in Skagen. My old relatives were fishers and farmers from North Jutland. The area is characterized by yellow Skagen houses with red-tiled (cf. picture below). The village is well-known for the beautiful harbor with ships and boats. Here is a lively atmosphere with a mixture of modern culture and old traditional fishing charm. Skagen town is a magnet for large cruise ships in the summer period. These ships come from all over the world. It is magnificent to see the big cruise liners entering the small town of Skagen.

Skagen is famous for yellow houses with red roof
The yellow facade and the red roof is typical for a reel Skagen house. Image credit: Mathias Liebing

Skagen Live and Skagen Shopping

Additionally, Skagen town offers many cafes, bars, restaurants, museums and shops. Like the rest of Denmark the price level is rather high (is among the highest in the world). In the town-center there is a shopping street which is very busy during the summer. The village also has an active nightlife (discos and bars) with outdoor facilities in the summer time. It is very nice just to sit and enjoy the busy summer life passing by with a good cool Danish beer. I would recommend taking a Danish lunch (in Danish: frokost) at the harbor side. Smoked herring is a traditional meal on the Danish lunch table. A Danish snaps should be enjoyed.

Read also: Endless Wild Nature, West Coast of Denmark

Skagen Grenen

The most famous part of the Skagen area is the northernmost tip of Denmark situated north of the town who is called ‘Grenen’ in Danish. It is a unique spot where the oceans of Skagerrak and Kattegat meet each other. It is a must to place your feet where the waves interfere. Because of their different densities, a clear dividing line can be seen at the tip. ‘Grenen’ is a huge migrating sand bar controlled by the currents along the coast. It might be the only place in the world where this phenomenon can be seen.
You can reach ‘Grenen skagen’ by a popular tractor called ‘sandormen’ (The sand worm). This tractor takes you from the parking area just outside the town to the outer most tip.
I would recommend, to take a ride woth the tractor one way and walk by foot along the coast the other way. Additionally, I would suggest a trip up to the local lighthouse (in Danish: Skagen Fyr), where there is a magnificent view of Skagen, ‘Grenen’ and the surrounding land and marine environment. ‘The lighthouse in Skagen is the second-tallest lighthouse in Denmark (46 m).

Grenen is located north off Skagen
Skagen, where two seas meet. Skagerrak and Kattegat. Image credit: Susest
Sandormen is the local vehicle that takes you to Grenen
Sandormen is a beach bus running from the parking area to the outer most part of grenen. Image credit: Claudio Vaccaro

Skagen Painters

The village is also well-known for the Skagen painters who stayed in Skagen to be inspired by the light created by the natural surroundings. The colors from the sand, sky and sea give a unique light. During summer, the high altitude makes the nights very light in Skagen. Skagen is a spectacular place because it is enclosed by sea to all sides – it is just connected to the┬árest of Denmark by a narrow spit.
The town offers a variety of museums, illustrating the history of Skagen. Some of the museums describe the time of the painters and is indeed, worth the time. Others show how the old fishermen and their families were living back in the old and dangerous times. Your children can visit a real fisher home and feel the tough life as a fisher man. Finally, you can explore the formation of the spit system, how sand dunes are formed and altered in general as well as feel the power of the natural elements in nature museums. For your children I would recommend the bear museum telling the history about the old bears in the ancient Skagen.

Den tilsandede kirke in skagen is a local landmark
This church in the top end of Denmark is half buried by the sand. Image credit: Alan Lam

Best holiday destination – Skagen travel tips

The town of Skagen is really a traditional Danish fishing village and the society has in many ways managed to preserve the ancient charm and atmosphere. Skagen is indeed a great union of modern and ancient, land and sea, nature and human.
Skagen is for you who love the mixture of nature, culture and history. It is a great place for children however Skagen appeals to a broad audience. Skagen is a natural sea entrance from the north which do that a lot of Swedish and Norwegian people loves sailing to Skagen. Germans are also common visitors as well as Americans are getting in from the cruise liners. I think, entering Skagen from the sea-side is the most beautiful option.

The old part of Skagen is a very popular district and is the best holiday destination in Denmark
Old Skagen is a small village consisting of summer residents just outside Skagen. Image credit: John Nuttall

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When to visit Skagen Denmark

Best time to visit Skagen town is during the summer period however the concentration of tourists can be very high in this particular period. The village is also reachable by car from south. Sometimes there are big traffic jams on the road towards Skagen.

Skagen is a just village meaning that the village is very quiet during the winter. If you like to join the harsh nature around it is certainly recommended. All year around here is a great bird life. During winter you can have all the facilities almost on your own and you can have more contact with the local Danes.

When you visit Denmark, the northern part of Denmark (northern Jutland) and especially Skagen is a must-see destination. It is the best holiday destination in Denmark for you and your family.

Read also: A week in Denmark

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