Our Second Stop In Denmark
After our exciting day in Germany, we headed back to Denmark. Our first view of Denmark was our 5 day stop in Copenhagen before we boarded our cruise ship for our Baltic adventure. Skagen gave us a very different view of Denmark. We were amazed that there were many things to do in Skagen. We chose to stay close to the main town. But there were tours that went further afield.
Skagen is located at the very top of Denmark. It is at the point where the Baltic meets the North Sea. As such, it has always been a strategic naval point. It was captured early by the Germans in WWII. And there are abandoned German bunkers in many different spots.
Because of where it is located, both seas cause quite a bit of turbulence in the water. The North Sea deposits a significant amount of sand every year and the land is growing at a rate of 15m (~50 ft) per year. We saw both lighthouses and bunkers that used to be on the waterfront well back from today’s shoreline. The lea side of the island is quite calm and it is a favourite camping ground for freighters waiting for their next shipment.
Docked In Skagen
We were docked in the main port area in Skagen. We saw such a wide variety of ships in the harbour. The large ships were working commercial boats. Beside these were much smaller fishing boats. And we saw a large number of pleasure craft.
From the ship we looked out over the red roofs of the town area. We were excited to explore. And see all the things to do in Skagen Denmark.
Put A Foot In Both The Baltic and North Seas At Grenen Point
Our tour bus headed to Grenen Point. This is the place where the Baltic and North Seas met. This part of our tour was top of my list of things to do in Skagen.
We were transferred to what had been called a “Sandworm”. It was labelled as a “Sandormen” and was a tram-like vehicle pulled by a big farm tractor. We were taken from the visitor centre out to the tip of sand between the seas. Prepared to get wet feet, we immediately went out to the tip of sand. We saw the freighters just hanging out offshore.
There were several seals lounging on the sand spit. They hammed it up for the crowd. David wanted to get the cute expressions on the seal faces. So he laid down in the sand. The effort was well worth it.
Walking the beach at Grenen Point is definitely one of recommended things to do in Skagen.
The Lighthouses Of Skagen
On our way to Grenen Point, the bus driver stopped so we could look at the abandoned white lighthouse sitting well back from the water. As new sand was deposited on the point, the shoreline has moved inland.
As we drove along, we also saw a very uncharacteristic lighthouse. What looked like a catapult was the first lighthouse on Skagen.
When we arrived in port, we saw the newest lighthouse down along the point. When we walked the beach at Grenen Point, we saw this lighthouse again. Behind it we got a glimpse of our ship in harbour. This lighthouse too would ultimately need to be replaced as the beachfront moved forward.
Seeing the lighthouse variety and change in locations is one of the things to do in Skagen.
Visit the Sand Church
We were not quite sure what to expect when we signed up for a tour that included the Sand-Buried Church. When we were in Helsinki, we visited the Rock Church. That was a church built into the rocks. I guess I expected a church buried in sand.
It was a leisurely 10 minute stroll from the parking lot. We saw lots of local people out walking on the paths. Before long we saw a white tower standing in the distance.
What we found was the white main tower of an abandoned church standing in a field of overgrown sand dunes. The church used to be the largest in the region. The Sand-Buried Church sits on the largest migrating dune in Northern Europe. Shifting sands have buried all but the tower of this 14th-century church. It was closed, painted white and the inside artifacts all moved. The tower was not open to walk up for a panoramic view.
A visit to the Sand-Buried Church will be one of the things to do in Skagen if you take a tour of the main sights.
Wander In the Skagen Museum
Apparently the light in Skagen attracted artists. We didn’t see any magical light on our grey day. But we did not doubt that this was true. The next stop on our list of things to do in Skagen was the museum.
While it is called a museum, it looked more like an art gallery. We moved from room to room and enjoyed a wide variety of art. My favourite two rooms were filled with light and colourful more modern pieces. Two different artists painted the same scenes and it was interesting to see the slight variations in the paintings. Early sketches were also on display.
One of the large galleries had some bigger pieces that seemed to be some of the show pieces. These pictures were used extensively as patterns for articles for sale in the gift shop.
One room was filled with portraits displayed in what looked like a dining room. Another room had a wide array of small statues. We saw much bigger statues outside the museum.
There was a broad cross-section of styles in the museum. From dark period pieces to a range of pictures representing people at work in Denmark.
Visiting the museum to see the interesting art collection is one of the things to do in Skagen that I would recommend.
Explore The Colourful Town
Don’t miss a chance to just walk around the town of Skagen. It is a well-maintained little town. The houses looked a bit like gingerbread houses. We were not surprised to find that this was a busy tourist town in the summer.
In the centre of town was a large water tower that no longer functioned. But it was a great backdrop for pictures. When we returned to Skagen on another cruise, the tower was open and we climbed to the top for panoramic view.
Across from the water tower was a statue erected to commemorate local men who had died when trying to rescue people from the sinking Daphne. The long sandbar between the Baltic and North sea results in a large number of ships per year being grounded or sunk. The local people in Skagen have always rushed to help the sinking ships.
Wandering around town is one of the things to do in Skagen. When we returned to Skagen on our cruise through the Norway fjords, we spent more time just just walking the town.
There Were Many Things To Do In Skagen Denmark
We enjoyed a brief sample the things to do in Skagen. It was a quaint little town and we were glad to have this town largely to ourselves. When we returned to Skagen on a cruise of the Norway fjords, we got a very different view in peak tourist season of how big the shopping area was.
If none of the things we did sounds interesting, there was a long list of other things to do in Skagen. Maybe you could visit the Voergaard Renaissance Castle? If you want to visit inside a church, you could visit St. Mary’s Church in the seaside village of Saeby. Or you could learn more about the German occupation if you visited the Hirtshals Bunker Museum with its 50 German bunkers. You might choose to visit the 11th-century Boerglum Abbey, the oldest abbey in Denmark. If you like birds, you might explore Eagle World to see Golden eagles, sea eagles and eagle owls. There were lots of things to do in Skagen for everyone!
Have you visited this town in Denmark? What other things to do in Skagen did you find?
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