Skagen – Denmark
The “Land’s End” of Denmark
The Danes consider this something of a Riviera, while Americans liken it to Cape Cod. At the Jutland peninsula’s – and mainland Europe’s – northernmost tip pointing into the North Sea, the small weather-hardened fishing communities who for centuries inhabited these heathered moors and sea-swept coastline have been joined by a thriving artists’ colony – and the tourists who followed. All were lured by Skagen’s simple life – the characterful town and the unspoiled dunes.
The small but excellent Skagen Museum illustrates works of the local, late-19th-century impressionist movement that was inspired by the land- and seascapes, and the shifting colors and quality of the light here. Writers have been equally moved: Isak Dinesen wrote much of Out of Africa while a guest at the wonderfully charming, gabled Brøndums Hotel.
Creaking floors and antique-furnished sitting rooms make this feel like a private home, one distinguished by a number of old paintings given in exchange for lodging. The 150-year-old inn’s intimate dining room produces exceptionally fresh and delicious meals, with a predictable accent on seafood. Every morning at dawn, the local townfolk have the pick of the best at the wharfs barnlike fish-auction house before the day’s catch is spoken for and shipped off to markets all over northern Europe.