1. The Brøndum family
2. The Skagen Painters
3. Skagen’s Museum
5. Ancher’s House
6. The lighthouses
7. Gl. Skagen
9. Drachmann’s tomb
10. The Sand-Covered Church
11. Tour – Råbjerg Mile, Blokhus…
What immediately strikes you when driving into Skagen, in English also known as Scaw, is the particular shade of yellow. Many houses here in the historic part of town are painted Skagen-yellow. The setting of Skagen is real unique: yellow houses with red tile roofs dominate the streets and create a very special atmosphere in the small town and fishing port that every week throughout summer draws thousands of visitors.
Skagen is in fact multifaceted: world-class art, renowned painters, a famous garden, spectacular dune landscapes, awe-inspiring sunsets, a vibrant cultural scene, great shopping opportunities, Nordic cuisine, location of the oldest music festival in Denmark, Skagen Festival, and not least, the meeting point of two large seas whose strong waves clash together just above the northern tip of Jutland.
Brøndums Hotel charming historic hotel close to Skagen’s Museum. The hotel is housed in the 1874-building. Common rooms and lounges are decorated in the classic Skagen style.
Hotel Marie 3-star hotel with an excellent location in Skagen with hotel terrace & room balconies. An English breakfast is served in the morning.
Once an original artists’ colony with the artists gathering in Brøndum’s garden, today a vibrant town in North Jutland, still having a touch of its unique past at various locations dispersed across the old fishing town – this is the authentic Skagen!
Originally, Brøndum’s Hotel was a merchant’s house. By approval from King Frederik VII the building was in 1859 extended to a guest house – which marked the foundation of the famous Brøndum’s Hotel.
The Brøndum family played an important part among the Skagen artists. Erik Andersen Brøndum and Anna Hedevig Møller hosted the young talents in their home, Brøndum’s Hotel, providing the group with plenty of food and drinks. In return the artists decorated Brøndum’s dining room (which is today part of Skagen’s Museum)! Their daughter Anna had a flair for painting and naturally joined the other painters during their summer stay in Skagen. In fact she ended up marrying the renowned painter Michael Ancher who arrived here in 1874.
The painter and poet Holger Drachmann was among the first visitors to Skagen who found inspiration for his painting here. He soon motivated others to follow. The first paintings were within the Golden Age painting style, emphasising harmony and peace, and set in idyllic landscapes.
Brøndum’s home became the focal point of intellectual discussions and social life among the prominent summer lodgers in Skagen who, beyond the painters, counted writers, architects and musicians from all over Denmark – and even other parts of Scandinavia.
From the 1870s the culturally interested came to Skagen to develop their artistic talent within naturalism. As an opportunity to get away from the hectic city life in Denmark, they gathered here in Skagen where life was more simple and they could rediscover the unspoiled nature and develop a more realistic painting style. Skagen now turned into a flourishing artists’ colony. Moreover, some of the newcomers decided to stay in Skagen more permanently.
What in particular drew the artists to Skagen was the very special light up here – caused by the surrounding seas at the northern tip of Jutland – reinforcing the reflection of the sunlight.
Today, Skagen’s Museum features true masterpieces of all these great artists. The collection includes paintings by Holger Drachmann, Peder Severin Krøyer (known as P.S. Krøyer), Marie Krøyer, Michael Ancher, Anna Ancher, Viggo Johansen, Christian Krohg, Oscar Björck, Laurits Tuxen and Carl Locher. The motifs are often inspired by the coastal nature: fishermen, boats, the sea, drowned men, the beach, bonfires, fields, the harvest, flowers and blossoming trees. They often contain elements of both realism and naturalism.
Just across the garden P.S. Krøyer’s studio can be found. It was here he painted a number of his fascinating works, one of these being the iconic picture Hip Hip Hurra. The motif was inspired by a lunch that the Ancher family held for the artists gathering in their garden in 1884, photographed by the German painter Fritz Stoltenberg.
Brøndums Hotel is together with Ruths Hotel some of the very best fine-dining restaurants in Northern Jutland. If you are keen on seafood, you may also try one of the exquisite fish restaurants, for example in the old red fishery warehouses at the harbour.
In general the restaurant scene is diverse with a focus on seafood and Nordic cuisine. Popular places to go out in Skagen include De 2 Have, Skagen Bryghus, Pakhuset, Skagen Fiskerestaurant and Bodille’s Kro.
Another site to visit is Ancher’s House at Markvej, former home of the Skagen Painters Michael, Anna Ancher and their daughter Helga.
The house has been preserved in the way it looked when Anna died in 1935. After lying more or less untouched for many years, it was eventually restored as an art museum in 1967.
Skagen features some beautiful and iconic lighthouses.
The oldest remaining lighthouse in Skagen is the bascule light, Vippefyret. It was constructed in 1627, and excelled in being Denmark’s first bascule light consisting of an open-fire basket. When lit, it could be seen from afar. Today, it is revived every year on Midsummer’s Eve as part of the festivities.
The White Lighthouse, designed by Philip de Lange in 1747, was initially fired by coal. Later, a lantern replaced the coal source of the brick lighthouse.
The Grey Lighthouse was built in 1858 and reaches 46 metres up into the air – which ranks it second in Denmark with respect to height. It was designed by the Danish architect N.S. Nebelong.
Gl. Skagen is the historic part of Skagen which is located on the western coast at the North Sea. Like in Skagen, you will find a vibrant nightlife here. Some of the popular places in Gl. Skagen are Ruths Hotel and the restaurant Hyttefadet.
Week 29 in July, nicknamed the ‘Hellerup week’ due to the postal code 2900 of this upscale suburb north of Copenhagen, is the popular week for Denmark’s jetset to visit Skagen – and so are these places. You will need to make reservations far in advance to stay and go out in Gl. Skagen and Skagen during this week.
Continuing a few kilometres up north from Skagen you will reach the northernmost point in Denmark, Grenen. This is precisely where the two seas, the Baltic Sea (Kattegat) and the North Sea (Skagerrak) literally meet, and it is a very popular site to visit for locals and visitors alike. If temperatures allow it, it is a must to step out and stand with one leg in Kattegat and one in Skagerrak!
The walk from Skagen to the very tip of Jutland is enjoyable with a few sights on the way. In case you looking for a more comfortable way to arrive at Grenen, you can consider Sandormen (the ‘Sandworm’), existing since the late 1940s, which is the only public means of transport to take you out there.
In recent years flocks of seals have often been spotted at or near the beach – which can be an amazing experience to include in your Skagen visit. Nevertheless, it is of paramount importance to keep at a certain distance in order not to disturb them.
In the dunes and along the coast you will also catch sight of a number of bunkers from World War II. They haven’t been removed after the War and may eventually end up being buried in the sand or ‘drowned’ in the sea.
Another sight on the way to Grenen is the painter and dramatist Holger Drachmann’s (1846 – 1908) tomb. He was buried here on site since he lived a large part of his life at Skagen. In particular, Drachmann is today known for his Midsummer song which is traditionally sung on June 23rd everywhere in Denmark when the midsummer bonfire is lit. You can also visit Drachmann’s House at Hans Baghs Vej in Skagen, still filled with paintings and drawings and looking very much like when he lived there 1902-1908.
The Sand-Covered Church (Den Tilsandede Kirke) is another landmark and phenomenon created by the massive sand dunes sweeping over the country. The old church has gradually been covered by the sand, which has now left only the church tower behind. It is a spectacular view in the coastal dune landscape here.
South of Skagen you will find a number of interesting sights to include in a day trip.
Råbjerg Mile is the largest migrating dune in Northern Europe, located between Hulsig and Kandestederne, and it is an amazing desert-like experience to walk up on it and cross over to the other side. It is 40 metres high and is estimated to move about 15 metres in a northeasterly direction every year. Keeping this pace, it will reach the main road to Skagen in maybe just a hundred years!
From the top of Råbjerg Mile you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the areas and lakes emerging again after approximately 40 years when the dune has passed!
Continuing south you will drive past Eagleworld, a unique site to experience the impressive birds of prey at close range and see the falconers work with them.
If you want to stay at another location in this region of Denmark, you could consider Tversted. It is a charming small village with antique shops, artisan workshops and little galleries, as well as an old beach hotel which has today been enlarged and modernised with beach apartments – some even with a sea view. There are all tree ice cream kiosks which are very popular to visit in the evening before continuing on to the beach to watch the stunning sunset.
In Tversted they still pull out their flat-bottomed boats on a weekly basis – boats that traditionally were used in the trade with Norway.
Hirtshals is one of Denmark’s largest fishing ports and the gateway to both Norway and the Faeroe Islands by ferry. A landmark here is of course the eye-catching white Hirtshals Lighthouse.
Further down the West Coast you will find another lighthouse, Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, which was moved all 70 metres inland in 2019 in order to preserve it from the expected erosion from the North Sea – and prevent it from being swallowed by the sea! It was a highly spectacular event capturing attention also beyond North Jutland.
Løkken, located on the southern end of the series of cliffs Lønstrup Klint, is characterised by its hundreds of classic white beach huts lining up along the beach.
Today, the beach huts are only allowed on the beach from May until September – and are removed for the winter season. Løkken’s iconic former beach hotel, Løkken Badehotel, is still there, but it now serves new purposes.
Løkken is also a site where you will be able to see small fishing boats drawn up onto the very beach – the traditional way of fishing on the West Coast in Denmark. For more information about the fishing heyday, you can visit the Coastal Fisheries Museum.
As in many other places along the coast, you will also here catch sight of a number of bunkers from World War II.
You may want to continue all the way down to Blokhus where you by the way still can spot the remarkable white beach huts on the beach. A must-see in Blokhus is the Sculpture Park that organises an amazing sand sculpture festival every summer. Some of the world’s best sand sculptors come here to construct true masterpieces of sand sculptures. Earlier, enormous sand sculptures have been built on the very beach in summer, but now they are instead created in the Sculpture Park where they are far better protected from the wind and the sea.
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