4 lovely Danish summer oases you must visit
Right now, summer towns, marinas and little islands are buzzing with life and happy days. We’re recommending four absolutely beautiful summer oases in South Zealand and Møn, and many fantastic experiences nearby.
Cobbled streets, fjord views and hollyhocks at the front of each house. Præstø is as though it’s been taken straight out of a lovely old film by Morten Korch. In the pedestrian zone you’ll find a number of second-hand shops and small specialist shops, while the harbour has a rich café life. Præstø is especially known for its many flea markets, events and festivals during the summer with a focus on everything from food to literature.
Hotel Frederiksminde is on the leading edge of green gastronomy. The beautiful Michelin-starred restaurant at the top of Præstø is behind the ‘Green Menu of the Year’, and most of the vegetables that land on your plate have come straight out of the ground just a few kilometres away. Every day, the restaurant gets fresh supplies of everything from cabbages to berries from its own kitchen garden, which they juice, roast, pickle, preserve, boil, bake and transform into nothing less than glorious mouthfuls. The many small dishes are served in the beautiful dining room with a view of the summer landscape and the calm fjord water. For lunch, bistro dishes and luxury sandwiches are on the menu.
A little outside Præstø is the small village of Jungshoved, in scenic surroundings. Here you can sleep like royalty in the stately rooms at Jungshoved Præstegaard. The beautiful rectory is built in the half-timbered style, is complete with floral wallpaper on the walls, and has a large, lovely garden that you can enjoy. At the very back of the garden you will also find a small cabin wedged between the trees and the fjord, with its own fireplace. Perfect for those who are looking for a romantic getaway.
On the quay at Præstø harbour, it’s not just the boats that glide slowly past on the fjord - so does time. Beside the anchored yachts, the restaurants sit side by side. At Det Gamle Toldhuus you can enjoy food and views from the lovely wooden terrace or the orangery-like conservatory, while Café Mocca offers a café atmosphere at its cosiest. The calm fjord water in Præstø is also ideal for playing in the sea. Whiz away in a picnic boat, try your hand at a surf bike, or go on a water safari and spot fish from inside a glass canoe. Adventure boats have it all. Families with children can follow a special sailing route with puzzles to solve, which ends at a pirate ship. You can buy a delicious picnic basket full of family favourites from Café Mocca.
Karrebæksminde is a cosy harbour town with a child-friendly beach that buzzes with life on a hot summer’s day. The iconic green grasshopper bridge connects the town with the small, scenic island of Enø, surrounded by Karrebæk Fjord. Along the canal are a large number of fish restaurants, and a new street food market has just opened its doors in Stejlepladsen.
Gavnø is one of the most famous islands in Karrebæk Fjord, and especially the yellow fairytale castle without equal. Flower enthusiasts will enjoy a walk in the beautiful castle park, which has plenty to offer all year round. Right now it’s the roses that are in full bloom, in late summer it’s the lilies, and in the spring it’s decorative tulips. Gavnø Castle also has a cool wooden treetop course, where the whole family can frolic on cable cars and climbing nets, while history and culture enthusiasts can explore the Nordic region’s largest private painting collection or the old Rococo castle’s restored living rooms, which takes guests on a journey back in the time.
You know Pablo Picasso’s crooked lines and wild colour palette. But did you know that one of the greatest painters of the 20th century was also a skilled potter? Right now you can experience a selection of the world-famous artist’s more than 4000 works in ceramics at the cultural stronghold Holmegaard Værk – all in the usual Picasso style. Holmegaard Værk is just a short drive from Karrebæksminde, and houses one of the Nordic region’s largest collections of glass and ceramics. In the living workshop, you can watch glassblowers transform glowing glass into champagne bowls and vases. And ... The museum shop is fantastic, and the restaurant serves formidable open sandwiches!
Right at the tip of Karrebæksminde are vines and pergolas full of long rows of bunches of grapes. This is where Vesterhave Winery is located – a Danish winery with organic wine on its shelves. The mild winds and the warm, coastal climate near the Småland Sea provide unique conditions for making wines that are otherwise best known from the south. Take a tour of the vineyard with the charismatic winemaker, and taste the award-winning wines in the little farm shop.
Stejlepladsen is Karrebæksminde’s new hotspot. Here you can satisfy your hunger at little food stalls and wooden houses, which together form a little street food market near the canal. B-Spisehuset is located in one of them. The gourmet restaurant B-spis in Næstved town centre has grown. But its philosophy is the same: cooking with good ingredients and great taste. Take a seat at a table in the sun and tuck into fresh asparagus with prawns, a delicious salad or a puff pastry ‘tartlet’ with Danish chicken. Finish with a large ice cream at Enø Bageri, which has homemade ice cream made from organic milk, or with a freshly made waffle at Vaffelbageriet Enø.
The street is busy when the traditional Tuesday markets are on in July, but also the rest of the year you can make a good find in the charming market town of Stege on Møn for the rest of the year too. There are small specialist shops, antique and second-hand shops in the cosy shopping street and little courtyards. And keep an eye out for the handwritten signs along the roads – there is always a flea market, a hip coffee shop or a pop-up shop just around the corner.
Along the dramatic cliff slopes, the bird sanctuary and the beech forest, meanders Camønoen, the 175-kilometre-long hiking route. The hiking route stretches over three islands, Møn, Nyord and Bogø. It is divided into 10 stages, and there are plenty of options for accommodation along the way. The Milky Way, as one of the routes is called, is almost 13 kilometres long and passes Møns Klint. The night sky here is a special sight due to the minimal light pollution on Møn, so on clear days – especially in the winter – you can see millions of stars and even get a glimpse of the Milky Way if you are lucky. In daylight, however, the 128-metre vertical cliff wall is a showstopper too. Whichever stages you choose, fantastic nature experiences and a relaxed island atmosphere are guaranteed.
Nyord & Noorbohandelen
Nyord is Møn’s lesser-known neighbouring island with a car-free town centre and adorable half-timbered houses. There is a very special laid-back atmosphere on the small island, which has just 35 permanent residents, far from the noise of the city. There’s room to just exist and enjoy yourself. You can do this at Noorbohandelen, which sells gin made from local herbs from the Isle of Møn Spirits; the famous Nyord mustard; freshly made sandwiches and lots of other delicacies. Quench your thirst with a gin & tonic on the sun terrace and then explore the small streets.
For a treat, go to Klintholm Harbour near Møns Klint, where restaurant ND122 is located. ND122 is a small restaurant with big ambitions – last year they were named Restaurant of the Year in Zealand in the category “Value for money” by the Danish Dining Guide. The food is based on hand-picked ingredients from the local area so the dining experience blends in with its surroundings, and the restaurant is decorated in an authentic maritime style
Rødvig is a small harbour town near the UNESCO attraction of Stevns Klint, which tells a dramatic story. Stevns Klint is the best place in the world to see the traces of the asteroid that hit Earth and wiped out more than half of all life 66 million years ago. From Rødvig you can take a boat out to the cliffs, you can hire SUP boards and explore the water, or just enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at the harbour.
You can’t visit Rødvig without experiencing Stevns Klint. You get the full nature experience on the Stevns Klint Trampesti hiking route, which goes through limestone quarries, fields and past Old Højerup Church, located on the cliff edge. From the church’s balcony you can look out at the blue water and the white cliff. You can also explore the underground passages of Stevnsfort. A nuclear-secure military facility 18 metres into the cliff, where soldiers stood guard night and day during the Cold War. You can get a guided tour and see some old missiles, and the children can become secret agents for a day in a virtual spy game. Later in the year – right before the autumn holidays – a brand new visitor centre with millions invested in it will opens its doors in Boesdal Kalkbrud. A spectacular building which is camouflaged in the natural elevations of the terrain, and which will convey the story of the wild heritage right outside its windows.
Rødvig Inn & Seaside Hotel
The local seaside hotel is the pride of the whole of Rødvig. It has been named Denmark’s Best Beach Hotel, twice. The rooms have a view of the sea and are incredibly atmospheric. The kitchen works on the basis that local is best, so the vast majority of ingredients come from farms and organic vegetable producers on Stevns, including Engvang Frugtplantage, which also has pick-your-own strawberries and a wonderful farm shop with its own bakery and all sorts of homemade delicacies.
Lovely accommodation – tick! Great food – tick! Scenic surroundings – tick! At The Norrmans you get the best of all worlds. The old farm and stable building is decorated with unique finds from all corners of the world and is an explosion of colours, patterns and imaginative wallpapers. Every nook and cranny exudes style. The restaurant serves vegetarian dishes made with vegetables from its own kitchen garden.