Friday, September 4, 2020

Sprint over to Skagen for color, art, boating, dunes, laid back R&R

Skagen's distinctive yellow houses always sport orange tiled roofs, an artistic tradition.


Fishing is an important part of Skagen's economy.

WE'D VISITED Denmark several times, but never its picturesque port town, Skagen, sitting peacefully at the north end of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. Its population of 8,000 people increases by 2,000 during the summer months.  We visited in September, a year ago, when travel was safe and unencumbered.  Slowly, Denmark is reopening to tourism and this northernmost township on the east coast of the peninsula, welcomes travelers. Because of its prime seaside location, the town of Skagen is the main fishing port for all of Denmark. Another reason for Skagen's popularity, we discovered, is its beautiful turquoise blue waters and the vast expanse of the sea.
Skagen's yellow houses and orange tiled roofs.

We were among a couple hundred tourists who came to enjoy the town's scenic views, old-fashioned streets and charming waterfront.  The unique Skagen architecture is a draw, too -- yellow houses with orange tiled roofs.
The picturesque little town of Skagen owes its popularity to an artists' colony which settled there in the 1880s. Known as the "Nordic Light Painters," their work was prized for the shimmering light.  A Nordic Light exhibition celebrates the movement each August and several museums exhibit works by these eccentric and talented Skagen painters, who were inspired by Skagen's light and landscape.
TODAY, SKAGEN is both a fishing port and a tourist destination.
An oil by Michael Peter Ancher of Skagen.

The characteristic yellow and orange roofed houses are still occupied by fishermen and painters. A few are b&bs, and the town also offers several pleasant hotels.
The people of Skagen are proud of both legacies -- their expert fishing fame and stable of famous artists.  The Local History Archive in Skagen's former courthouse, exhibits town history, artistic tradition and maritime heritage. 
Skagen's shifting dunes provided a pleasant hike for us. 

A main attraction is Grenen Beach, on Skagen’s northeastern outskirts.  It boasts the convergence of the Skagerrak and Kattegat seas. The trick -- we couldn't resist the temptation -- is to stand with one foot in the Skagerrak and the other in the Kattegat. One body in two seas!
The shifting dunes are another attraction.  These migrating wonders are pushed by the wind and sea, moving and changing each year.  The shifting sands have covered entire buildings, including a church known, literally, as Den Tilsandede Kirke. Now only the steeple is visible on this buried 17th Century house of worship.
SKAGEN IS also home to some of the world's great eagles, who fly free in the Eagle Sanctuary. We listened to folk music, too, with Skagen's street buskers doing a brisk business. 
 If your idea of a holiday means watching the sun setting over the water, enjoying a panoramic view of the sea, strolling a welcoming village, visiting  its beaches and waterfront, and eating freshly caught seafood, Skagen's your place for laid back R&R.
And don't worry if you aren't sure how to pronounce Skagen. Three acceptable pronunciations are listed in a local guidebook: Skah-guhn,” “Skay-gen,” or “Skay-en" as in "just sayin'."

Sculptor Gustav Vigeland gave his many statues to Oslo. 
UP NEXT: We end our salute to Scandinavian capitals with a visit to the Viking land of Oslo, Norway, and a trip to a farm near the city. Founded in 1050, Oslo sits on the left bank of the Akere River and is an intriguing blend of modern and historic. The Viking influence is felt everywhere, and the country's noteworthy artistic heritage is celebrated in Vigeland Sculpture Park, which hosts Gustav Vigeland's impressive sculptures. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at nature, travel, family and the arts: 


  1. Glasgow GlobetrottersSeptember 5, 2020 at 11:54 AM

    This piece makes me want to head back to Denmark....didn't get that far north last go-round. Thanks!

  2. Scandinavians in AmericaSeptember 6, 2020 at 9:23 PM

    We only made it to Copenhagen....this makes me yearn to return and expand our vistas.

  3. This place looks charming, as if from another era. We will definitely include it in our next jaunt to Scandinavia -- vaccine coming, fingers crossed.