Might the white sands of Denmark give the Med a run for its cash?

Like an Antony Gormley set up on an epic scale, on the northern tip of Denmark individuals collect of their a whole lot to stroll out into the ocean. Not any previous little bit of sea although, for that is Grenen, the place the waves of the Skagerrak strait and Kattegat sea collide throughout a sand spit tapering far out into the darkish waters. Swimming in these wild currents is strictly forbidden.Grenen, which means “the department”, is the ultimate outstretched finger of Skagen Odde, The Skaw in English, a 25km-long peninsula of shifting sands, lighthouses, half-buried church buildings, huge skies and herrings. In an period of worldwide warming, may its white sands quickly be giving the Med a run for its cash?Skagen Odde has lengthy been beloved of artists — drawn by the “blue hour” when sea and sky type an opalescent continuum — and well-heeled folks from Copenhagen, turning up in Vary Rovers to go to their summer season houses. “It’s our Cape Cod,” says a Danish good friend. However many different Europeans wouldn’t have the foggiest.Skagen Odde is a sandy peninsula stretching for about 25km in Denmark’s far north © Getty ImagesIts remoteness is its enchantment. It took my spouse Gabrielle and me about two-and-a-half hours to drive from the closest vital airport, at Aarhus, crossing a pancake-flat panorama of fields and forests, as we sought a detox quick break from British politics.You’ll assume that going as soon as can be sufficient. However vacationers are drawn again to Skagen Odde time and again to expertise one thing elemental, simply as each night time they collect to observe the sundown, applauding because the purple disc slides beneath the horizon, colouring the sky scarlet.The panorama right here is on the transfer. Migrating sand dunes always redraw the map in these parts, even obliterating settlements. Residents used to must dig out the doorway to the 14th-century St Laurence’s church earlier than each service. Round 1795 they gave up and deserted it — in the present day solely the tower stays, its base buried within the sand. It makes a preferred vacation spot for stroll or bike experience from Skagen, the peninsula’s fundamental city.With its yellow-painted gingerbread homes and picket fences, Skagen is Denmark’s most northerly city and is embedded within the nationwide psyche. It grow to be well-known from the tip of the nineteenth century after it was adopted by a colony of artists, drawn by the straightforward way of life and the area’s astonishing mild.PS Krøyer’s portray ‘Summer time Night on Skagen’s Southern Seaside’ (1893) © Getty ImagesBrondums Resort in Skagen, the place artists donated work to cowl their payments © Alamy At the moment, their work may be seen on the Skagens Museum, which additionally provides a glimpse of the lives of fishermen and farmers right here on the flip of the century. Guests can keep a number of steps away on the Brondums Resort, the place artists resembling Michael and Anna Ancher and PS Krøyer slept, ate and drank, donating works to assist cowl their payments.There are apparent parallels right here with different fishing villages adopted by artists at across the identical time — assume St Ives or Collioure — however Skagen has a twin id, which can or could not add to its enchantment, relying in your tastes. As a result of alongside the half-timbered cottages is a critical fishing port.The city’s charming lanes and fin de siècle inns don’t supply views of boats bobbing in a small harbour; the entire seafront is dominated by an enormous port and odoriferous fish processing plant, with huge trawlers bringing in catches from among the world’s most harmful waters.Guests stroll out on the spit at Grenen, which suggests ‘the department’  © Alamy The partially-buried tower is all that continues to be of St Laurence’s church © Alamy A solitary home on the coast close to Skagen © Alamy However the fish is actually recent. Skagen Fiskerestaurant, down on the port, serves up lobster rolls, oysters and native craft beer, whereas up the coast at Skagen’s gray lighthouse is the atmospheric Blink, serving nice fish, a exceptional vary of greens and broad vistas.To get to the seashores and the spit at Grenen it is advisable to head barely out of city both on foot or — more likely — by bicycle. Skagen is designed for biking: flat and clearly marked bike routes take you out to the migrating dunes or to Gammel Skagen (Previous Skagen), a former fishing group that now provides some upmarket inns, summerhouses and memorable sunsets.There’s a lot to occupy you in Skagen, from galleries and boutiques to quaint tea retailers and bakeries with spectacular pastries. And one can even witness the Danish observe, which by no means ceases to amaze individuals visiting from elsewhere: parking a sleeping baby in a pram exterior a café (generally out of sight) whereas the dad and mom tuck right into a meal inside.In your solution to Skagen, be sure to cease off at Aalborg, the largest metropolis in northern Jutland and now firmly established as a number one cultural centre with a glowing waterfront. Residents of the commercial city declare in surveys to be among the many happiest in Europe.The area is understood for its astonishing mild and scarlet skies throughout sundown © Getty ImagesThe solely query is when to go. The vacationer authorities market the area as the proper place for some Danish winter hygge, when snow lies on the seashores and the sands of Grenen really feel like the tip of the world.The summer season is the plain reply, though Skagen will get busy in July, particularly across the infamous “Week 29”, which is spoken about in reverential tones because the week when Denmark descends upon the city to get together.We went in September because the nights began to attract in, with the Copenhagen elite again at their desks. However the thought of vacation crowds is relative on this a part of the world. The seashores of Skagen are by no means more likely to be confused with the Costa del Sol — not less than not but.George Parker is the FT’s political editorFor extra data on visiting the world, see enjoynordjylland.dk. Brondums Resort (broendums-hotel.dk) has doubles from about DKK1,230 (£140)Easy methods to lease your personal Danish summerhouseRetreating to a country summerhouse has lengthy been a part of the Scandinavian custom, an annual celebration of friluftsliv (outside residing). Cabins are handed down between generations and infrequently utilized by prolonged households, however most have historically remained past the attain of international guests. That’s now altering, partially because of a younger firm based mostly in Aarhus and based by seven former Airbnb workers, which has managed to encourage personal house owners to lease out their summerhouses for the primary time.“On common these summerhouses have been standing empty for 300 days of the 12 months, so there was this enormous untapped useful resource,” says Cathrine Reimann, one of many founders of Landfolk.The corporate was created in early 2021, and by June that 12 months it had 100 homes on its books. With new funding it grew quickly, increasing to Norway, Sweden and Germany. At the moment it provides about 2,500 properties, 1,500 of them in Denmark; 70 per cent of the homes had not beforehand been let. In contrast to Airbnb, house owners should apply to have their property assessed for attainable inclusion; Reimann says about half of candidates are rejected.On Skagen Odde, about 30 summerhouses are presently accessible by way of Landfolk. They embody Hamilton Home (pictured above), a black-and-white-painted picket cottage with thatched roof and flagpole, set among the many dunes to the north-west of Skagen. Constructed by a Swedish depend in 1929, it sleeps eight and has a big terrace from which to observe the sundown (from about €3,300 for 5 nights, together with cleansing and heating). Alternatively, there’s a newly constructed architect-designed cabin (pictured beneath) in Kandestederne, with blonde-wood partitions, a sedum roof, wood-burning range and outside sizzling tub and bathe (sleeps as much as 10, from €2,058 for 5 nights). landfolk.comFind out about our newest tales first — observe FT Weekend on Instagram and X, and subscribe to our podcast Life & Artwork wherever you pay attention

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