Skagen is the northernmost town in Denmark, and it is a tourist town of great renown – in Denmark as abroad. Here the sun shines for more hours than anywhere else in Denmark. The completely unique light combined with the very special scenery and the multitude of white and sandy beaches lend added ambiance to the town.
Compared with other European cities, Skagen is but a small town. However, both quality and the scope of experiences are more than impressive. ‘Downtown’ Skagen provides a wide range of cafés, restaurants, bistros, etc. plus a wealth of cultural attractions.
In Skagen, there is almost always something going on. The town is vibrant with life, and it provides an array of activities. Also, Skagen’s pedestrian precinct has a wealth of shopping opportunities to offer. If you have a cultural streak, Skagen contributes with a diversity of museums, such as e.g. Skagen's Museum displaying the famous Skagen paintings – your children probably prefer the teddy-bear museum, Skagen’s Bamsemuseum. You could also go to Eagle World and admire these majestic birds take to the air. Skagen and its environs boast attractions such as the absolutely unique Grenen; the famous sand-buried church (den Tilsandede Kirke) located 4 kilometres to the south west of central Skagen; Råbjerg Mile, the largest migrating dune in Denmark; and the lighthouse, Skagen Fyr.
Grenen, furthest to the north, marks the spot where the two seas, Skagerrak and Kattegat, meet – culminating in the final encounter of the waves. It is an absolutely amazing experience to stand, one leg in each sea, watching the waves arriving from each direction until, finally, they meet.
Råbjerg Mile is a colossal migrating dune, located at Bunken Klitplantage between Skagen and Frederikshavn. Like most of Jutland’s west coast, Skagen became afflicted with sand drift during the 16th and 17th centuries. Arriving from the west, the sand would deposit in huge inland dunes, ruining farming as well as entire urban communities. In the 19th century much effort was put into curbing the sand drift – for instance by the plantation of conifers and lyme grass, which, regrettably, proved ruinous to large parts of the natural landscape. After much debate, the area round Råbjerg Mile was purchased by the Danish state in 1900 – as a monument to the destruction of the sand.
The sand-buried church (Den Tilsandede Kirke) is yet a reminder of the destructive forces exerted by the sand – today, the tower of the church is all that is left out in the dunes. The factual name of the church is Sct. Laurentii kirke; and from the end of the 14th century to 1795 it was the parish church of Skagen. When it became increasingly difficult for the faithful parishioners to dig their way to church services, the campaign against the sand was initiated until, in the end, the church was closed up pursuant to a royal decree issued by King Christian VII. The nave of the church was demolished; and today only the listed tower of the church is sticking up from the sand.
The lighthouse, Skagen Fyr – also known as Det Grå Fyr (The Grey Lighthouse) is a 46-meter-high elegant lighthouse erected in the center of the spit, Skagens Odde in order to ensure equal distance to the two seas, Skagerrak and Kattegat. Initiated in 1858, after 4 years’ construction, it is Denmark’s second-highest lighthouse with 210 steps to the top and the most fabulous view of amazing vistas – sweeping across Grenen and Skagen town. When inaugurated, the Grey Lighthouse replaced The White Lighthouse – also located to the north of Skagen. Today a listed building, the White Lighthouse frequently constitutes the framework for art exhibitions, etc.
Skagen is a vibrant town. Practically all year round, events are organised for all ages. It is, of course, mainly during the months of summer that the town is jam-packed with activities. In January, during the town’s celebration of the winter-bathing festival, Skagen bears witness to brave Vikings defying the cold Kattegat waters. In May, Skagen celebrates its bird festival, closely followed by the salt-water-fish festival, the Skagen meet for vintage motor cycles and, finally the Råbjerg Mile Marathon. June is focused on the landscape, culminating on Midsummer Eve with bonfires on the beach. July sees tourists by the thousands flocking to Denmark’s oldest music festival, Skagen Festivalen. Come August, the Skagen Food & Design Market is opened. And finally, by November, the townsfolk get together on Grenen to form the human sign 365 in celebration of the days of the year.
Skagen is crammed with charming spots for dining out, with the majority focused on serving delicious dishes based on fish caught in the two seas around the spit, Skagens Odde. The food scene will always have something to every taste. If you seek fine dining, however, the restaurants De 2 Have, Hjorth's Badehotel, Ruth's Hotel and Brøndum's Hotel are particularly noteworthy. In 2015, Brøndums Hotel won the competition Local Cooking North Jutland by preparing North Jutland’s most delicious dish. However, the other three restaurants also rank on the list of North Jutland’s finest restaurants.
Regardless whether you prefer holidaying in a summer cottage, on a camp site or in a hotel – Skagen can meet your demand. Most options are right in the midst of the fabulous Skagen scenery.