Travel Spotlight

Travel Spotlight: North Jutland, Denmark

Few places in the world feel like discovering your own little secret anymore. That’s what North Jutland, the northernmost region of Denmark, reveals itself to be. But, given our duty to be good travelers—these secrets are meant to be shared.

North Jutland could be described in many ways: whimsical (dining on edible flowers, fields with prancing baby lambs), historic (the Vikings settled here, and it has inspired generations of artists and creatives), conscious (from hotel practices and locally sourced cuisine to community and government initiatives, Denmark is on the forefront of sustainable tourism), modern, outdoorsy, simple, elegant… the list goes on. While many of these could seem contradictory in nature, it’s that effortlessly cool Danish energy that makes all of it just work.

Read below for our guide to North Jutland, a place that encourages slowing down, conversation and connection.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Denmark. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations, reservations and guides that are right for you.

How to Get There

North Jutland is just four-and-a-half hours by train or car from Copenhagen, making it an easy addition to a Denmark itinerary. On top of that, new direct service between Newark and Aalborg on Scandinavian Airlines means that U.S. travelers can access the region with ease.

Starting Spot: Aalborg

Aalborg is the largest city in the region, with a walkable Old Town filled with cobblestoned streets lined with brightly painted, centuries-old row houses.

WHAT TO DO

Culture lovers from around the world flock to Kunsten Museum of Modern Art for its impressive collection of 20th-century Danish and international works. Less visited, but still fascinating, is the underground Gråbrødrekloster Museum, excavation site of a 15th-century Franciscan church. (And children will love the pit of Legos at the Utzon Center, a museum-meets science center-meets exhibition hall dedicated to architecture.) For a more relaxed afternoon, the Limfjord waterfront is where locals go for a stroll, including swimming in the channel. An unexpected highlight: the singing trees in the Park of Music, where visiting musicians and bands are asked to plant a tree, in which the city places a small speaker that plays one of their songs, from opera to ZZ Top. It’s a strange and joyous spot for a rest and jam.

WHERE TO EAT

In the town’s picturesque squares, laid-back restaurants serve smørrebrød (classic open-face sandwiches) and beers, attracting a family-friendly, local crowd. And just outside of town, Bühlmann Restaurant is a destination for gourmet Scandi-farmhouse cuisine inside Scheelsminde Hotel. Its tasting menu changes with the seasons (with caviar, fresh oysters and hors d’oeuvres served on an antler among some of the summer fare) and here, the beverage pairing is with freshly squeezed juices, not wine. To get the full sensory gastronomic experience, reserve the greenhouse seating on the back lawn, it’s a midsummer fever dream.

NIGHTLIFE

There are 19 hours of sunlight during the Danish summer, and it seems that all of Aalborg comes out to Virgin Anne’s Street (known colloquially as “The Street”), after dinner. It’s home to one of the longest continuing stretches of bars and pubs in Denmark, like alpine-themed Zwei Gross or the north outpost of Copenhagen’s The Drunken Flamingo. Act like an Aalborger and say “skål” (pronounced “skull”).

WHERE TO STAYScheelsminde Hotel

is a charming manor house and former stables-turned-boutique hotel 10 minutes outside of the historic center. Its 94 cozy rooms range from single occupancy to family rooms with four beds and junior suites.

A Regal Retreat: Skagen

The Hamptons of Denmark, Skagen promises pastoral hillside views, quaint yellow houses (a mixture of French ochre and Danish chalk achieves this amber hue), antique shops and an overarching sense of laid-back, beach-chic glamour—it’s also the preferred vacation spot for the Danish Royal Family.

WHAT TO DO

To explore the coffee spots, bakeries and museums of Skagen, it’s best to go as a local and rent a bike (the roads are flat and easily navigated with wide bike lanes). Danish art is on display at the Skagens Museum (including the original wood-paneled dining room from the Brøndums Hotel down the street—this dining room was a favorite meeting place for the Skagen Painters group and considered the birthplace of the museum itself), while both Scandinavian and international works fill the Anchers Hus, a maximalist’s dreamscape inside the Anchers former family home.

The ever-evolving natural landscape outside of Skagen is a by-product of the unruly sands at the Mars-like Råbjerg Mile, Denmark’s largest migrating sand dune, that’s home to the haunting Sand-Buried Church. The traditional Sandormen (“sandworm” vehicles) take visitors to Grenen–the tip of Denmark–where the North Sea and Kattegat Sea meet.

WHERE TO STAYRuth’s Hotel

is the best choice for modern amenities (the property has three onsite restaurants, a wine bar, buzzy patio and zen-like spa) with a wider variety of luxury room options (the two-bedroom apartments are a great option for families or groups of friends). Located eight minutes from Skagen center, it offers ocean views and access to golf excursions as well, at the nearby Hvideklit Golf Club. In the heart of Skagen, Brøndums Hotel is ideal for the traveler who seeks a more historic Skagen experience: it was here that fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen would spend the winter to write. (While the bathrooms at this hotel are shared, it’s the history and charm that outshine). Guests will enjoy candlelit dinners in the rustic dining space, drinks in the back garden and the fireside lounge. Summer nights can get chilly, making this a perfect space to curl up with a book.

Coastal Cool: Lønstrup & Løkken

Barely a 15-minute drive apart, Lønstrup and Løkken marry the best parts of the region with two distinct personalities. Lønstrup is a creative hub for home goods and cuisine, while Løkken is a family-friendly village for seaside fun.

LØNSTRUP: SHOPS & BITES

Home décor enthusiasts will love Keramoda Ceramics for its organic designs in an array of neutrals and cool Earth tones, and Giebelhausen Keramik for the bold colors and patterns begging to activate a space back home. Do not miss a meal at the cliffside, one-Michelin-starred Restaurant Villa Vest. The sustainably focused menu features locally sourced seafood dishes like octopus or mussels with summer cabbage, as well as meat options (from animals raised by the owner) and seasonal vegetables, prepared in surprising flavors featuring rhubarb and smoke.

LØKKEN: SURF & STAY

Saunas and surf rule Løkken, a seaside town famous for the seemingly neverending row of white beach huts (a summer tradition for families in the region, these privately-owned huts are difficult to procure and passed between generations). Known for having some of the cleanest water and best breaks in Denmark, North Shore Surf - Løkken rents surfing equipment and teaches lessons for all levels. After surfing the North Sea, locals warm-up in the oceanside saunas. The new Hotel Løkken Strand is walking distance from the beach with an onsite restaurant. Built in a 1920s schoolhouse, the hotel’s décor (like the town itself) is beachy, Scandi-design aesthetic—pack accordingly.

The Places In Between

Exploring this region by rental car or private transfer gives visitors access to half-day or full-day trips, from wine tastings and famous hotels to Denmark’s best-preserved Cold War bunker.

FROM AALBORGGuldbæk Vineyard

, just 20 minutes south of Aalborg, offers vineyard tours and Danish wine tastings. The onsite café serves brunch and lunch for visitors and there are special experiences like yoga in the vineyard.

Just 30 minutes south of Aalborg, visitors can go back in time at REGAN Vest, a fascinating Cold War museum located inside a massive nuclear bunker built for the Danish government 200 feet below ground in 1968. The museum presents a moving and cautionary tale, showcasing the engineering feat behind the bunker itself as well as the palpable anxiety of life in Denmark during the height of the Cold War.

FROM LØKKEN

The Svinkløv Badehotel, 45 minutes south of Løkken, is a great afternoon stop for cakes and pastries, or to snag a dinner reservation with incredible ocean views. (This hotel was the blueprint for a hit comedy/drama series in Denmark, Badehotellet, about a seaside hotel in the 1920s… it’s referenced often by locals, stay ahead of the game with a quick viewing, available on Amazon Prime.)

A Quick Note on the Baked Goods of North Jutland

Carb heaven. Photos by Trey Ross, courtesy Indagare

Carb heaven. Photos by Trey Ross, courtesy Indagare

Is it eating a Danish if you’re in Denmark? Apparently not, as I ordered one in a bakery in Skagen to confusion and laughter, it’s simply a pastry. The breads and pastries of North Jutland have earned a spot of recognition all on their own—homemade sourdough, whipped butter, flaky crusts, fruit fillings. It seems that the baked goods of the region exemplify the simplicity of what makes a visit here so special—it’s natural, it’s original and it’s just not trying too hard.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Denmark. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations, reservations and guides that are right for you.

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