Skagen, Denmark's northernmost city, is located at the tip of the Jutland peninsula. The place has a good 8.000 inhabitants and is part of the Frederikshavn municipality. The fishing village became known nationwide as an artists' colony, when mainly Scandinavian artists made it their summer retreat at the end of the 19th century.
Azamara Journey in the port of Skagen
Fishing and tourism
Fishing and tourism are of economic importance today. Construction of the Skagen Havn began in 1907. Since then it has grown into Denmark's largest fishing port. It is not surprising that fishing is the most important industry in the region.
North Jutland attracts around two million tourists every year. The Grenen headland, which is only three kilometers wide, is particularly attractive to visitors. To the east lies the Kattegat and to the west the Skagerrak. Both seas meet at the northernmost tip. Around Skagen there are over 60 kilometers of the finest sandy beaches.
Dune landscape on the Grenen
Skagen can be easily reached by car, bus, train and boat. The road from Frederikshavn runs through Skagen and ends one kilometer before the northern tip. A connection to the Danish rail network has existed since 1890. The Skagen marina registers around 16.000 calls by yachts and leisure boats every year. Cruise ships also visit Skagen regularly.
Skagen is a picturesque town. The townscape is mainly determined by small, ocher-colored plastered houses with red tile roofs. The white roof joints served the fishermen in earlier times as attractions. There are galleries, cafes, restaurants and many small shops in the village. Handicrafts, amber, glass and pottery are sold. The marina with the picturesque red fishing huts is also the destination of many visitors.
Skagens Art Museum
The first artists visited Skagen 150 years ago. The reasons were the special light in the north of Denmark and Skagen's numerous plein air motifs. The painters were joined by authors, musicians, actors and artisans. Some of them were among the most well-known personalities in Denmark and Scandinavia in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Skagen Museum was founded in 1908 and completed in 1928. At that time the collection comprised 325 works. As a result of the merger of the museum with the Anchers Hus and the Drachmanns Hus in 2014, the collection now includes over 9.000 naturalistic, realistic and impressionistic works of art.
Entrance to the Skagen Museum 110 DKK or 15 EUR, the combined ticket Skagens Museum, Anchers Hus and Drachmanns Hus costs 180 DKK or 24 EUR.
Skagen Odde, which runs from Ålbæk to the headland of Grenen, is around 30 kilometers long and 3 to 7 kilometers wide. It is likely to have originated over a period of around 8.000 years. It is considered one of the largest headlands in the world. The Kattegat and Skagerrak meet a good four kilometers north of Skagen. The confluence of the two seas can be clearly seen.
The flow conditions in both seas constantly influence Grenen's position and shape. The fragile ecosystem enjoys a special protection status under Danish nature conservation law.
Cars or buses drive to a parking lot a kilometer from the headland. From there it goes on through the dunes; either on foot or with the Sandormen in German sandworm. The Sandormen is a covered trailer that can accommodate 53 people. A tractor pulls the vehicle from the parking lot through the dunes to the beach and back.
The Sandormen in action
A return trip on the Sandormen costs DKK 30 or EUR 4.
Tilsandede Kirke (silted up church)
The remains of the St. Laurentius Church are in the middle of the dunes, three to four kilometers southwest of Skagen. The church was built from bricks at the end of the 13th century. At that time it was surrounded by meadows and fields. In around 1770, shifting dunes reached the church. It was abandoned 25 years later. The nave was torn down; only the tower remained. After it was painted white, it served as a navigation mark. It has been a listed building since 1903.
You can visit the tower and climb it.
Råbjerg Mile, Kandestederne
Råbjerg Mile, with an area of over one square kilometer and a height of up to 40 meters, is the largest shifting dune in Denmark and Northern Europe. It is located around 15 kilometers southwest of Skagen. It has been under nature protection since 1900. The dune migrates an average of 15 to 20 meters towards the Kattegat every year. It is estimated that Råbjerg Mile will disappear into the Baltic Sea at the end of the 22nd century.
Skagen Grå Fyr lighthouse
Skagen Fyr on Skagen Odde was built in 1858. With a height of 46 meters, it is Denmark's second tallest lighthouse. In 2017, a bird watching center was opened in the lighthouse and on the adjacent grounds. The migratory birds are presented to the visitors in a multimedia show. It is possible to virtually accompany the birds on their long journey. Those who climb the 210 steps to the top of the lighthouse will also be rewarded with an overwhelming view of Grenen.
Skagen Grå Fyr lighthouse
Open daily 10am to 00pm Entry 17 DKK
Skagen Odde Nature Center
Various exhibitions in the nature center provide information about the formation of the Odde and about wind, sea and sand. Contemporary art and contemporary design are presented in a department of the center.
The building was built according to a design by the Danish star architect Jørn Utzon. He also designed the Sydney Opera House.
Open daily; Entry 70 DKK or 9,40 EUR.
Skagen for crusaders
In 2019, more than 40 ships with over 80.000 guests docked in Skagen Havn. The distance to the place is about 1 ½ kilometers. A shuttle bus shuttles between the dock and the town center. At the pier there is a tourist information office open when the ship calls, taxis (not always) and bike rental. The bikes are rented for EUR 10 per day (as of 2018). The paths in and around Skagen are well developed.
Skagens cruise terminal
The cruise companies offer organized shore excursions. If the layover time is not too short, the sights of Skagen can be reached on your own. On weekdays, buses run from the local train station to the Grenen car park and the silted up church. Information on this is available from the tourist information office at the pier.
We describe our shore excursion in Cruise Diary Skagen.
Update November 2020