It’s now some time ago but still a holiday to remember forever. Back in May I returned to Skagen, also known in July as the St Tropez of Scandinavia.
The remote Danish fishing village I last visited nearly 50 years ago is now a jet set haven for the Scandi elite.
Here in the most northern point of Denmark two seas crash into eachother. The North Sea from the west and the Baltic Sea from the east. The beaches are miles of white sand.
Hans Christian Anderson wrote about Skagen
Little wonder Hans Christian Anderson wrote about Skagen after visiting in 1859. And he persuaded his royal friends in Copenhagen to visit.
Anderson’s painter friends also flocked to the Scandi outpost and by the end of the 1800s it was home to the painters we now call the Danish Masters.
Skagen is very much a cultural experience with amazing museums, landmarks such as the buried church, Grenen where the two seas clash and wonderful shops and restaurants.
But every July the jet set from Copenhagen arrive in their Bentleys and Porches and turn the place upside down. Some locals take it in their stride while others flee to other parts of Denmark.
‘Week 29’, or Uge 29, is the St Tropez of Scandinavia
They call this ‘Week 29’, a cheeky reference to to Hellerup, a smart suburb of Copenhagen whose postcode is 2900. And the influx of jetsetters always falls on the 29th week of the year.
They congregate at Ruth’s luxury hotel for one week when the champagne flows day and night. After that Skagen returns to normality. Many families have lived here for generations.
There is another hotel in Skagen that’s even more famous. Brøndums Hotel is where Hans Cristian Andersen stayed when he arrived over 150 years ago. It’s also where Karen Blixen finished her iconic bio novel Out of Africa.
It belonged to Anna Ancher, who was born on that night in 1859, and became the focus for Denmark’s painters who came here for the special Nordic light and the reflection of the seas.
The new King Frederik X re-energised Skagen as a holiday destination
More recently Denmark’s Crown Prince, soon to become King Frederik X, started spending his summer holidays in the northern village – and with him arrived Copenhagen’s smart set.
I stayed at Brøndums Hotel (pictured above), across the corridor from Andersen’s modest room and a couple of doors down from Blixen’s. There are no en-suite bathrooms in that section of the hotel…
But it’s impeccably clean, super stylish in the old Scandi way and utterly charming. Staying there is like travelling back in time, experiencing how the well-off holidayed decades before mobile phones and the internet. And if you go, don’t forget to dress up for breakfast.
Daily Mail article: Skagen St Tropez of Scandinavia
I’ve written an article about my completely fabulous holiday in Skagen for the Daily Mail newspaper – read it here