This month, we’re exploring Denmark more in-depth, highly overdue. My oldest daughter, Alexandra, begins studying at Copenhagen University in September and we’re combining setting up her student digs with a nice, long road trip.
My 8-year-old wants to get up close with the lions at Givskud. I want to see Denmark’s three UNESCO’s World Heritage listed properties. (If you click on the link, you’ll see there are actually four, but the remaining one is in Greenland. That’s for another trip).
At the northernmost tip of Jutland, where the Baltic and North Sea meet, is the absurdly pretty fishing village Skagen, a favourite among painters for centuries, due to the area’s special light. The Skagen Painters used to hang out here in the late 1800s, among them P. S. Krøyer, Fritz Thaulow, Christian Krogh and Anna Ancher.
Present-day Skagen hasn’t changed much: low stone houses in warm shades of yellow, quaint little shops and restaurants, pretty parks.
Like most of Denmark, indeed most of Scandinavia, this area is very child-friendly with long white sand beaches. Most everyone gets around by bicycle. Plenty of activities are geared towards children, especially during school holidays. Skagen Museum organises art classes, the local history museum arrange treasure hunts and local farms offer animal activities. There’s a teddy bear museum for the young (at heart) and an eagle reserve, as well.
Nearby is Gamle Skagen, or Old Skagen, where people have lived since 1100. Only 26 people live here permanently today. We spot a few hotels and restaurants; otherwise Gamle Skagen is a quiet area. A great place to look out to sea and contemplate life in silence. Further out are the brutal and beautiful sand dunes of Råbjerg Mile.