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What springs to mind when you think of Scandinavia? Perhaps it's deep, mysterious fjords carved into a forested landscape. Or maybe it's the ultra-cool, minimalistic fashion and design that's recently had us Brits falling head over heels for all things Scandi. We’d be willing to bet that the word “beaches” doesn’t cross your mind However, believe it not, Scandinavia is home to some idyllic beaches that are well worth a visit. Here are a few of our favourite secret sands.
There’s just something about Skagen. Some claim it’s the light – it’s somehow golden and ethereal, a quality that’s attracted painters for over a century. Others put it down to the sunshine – Skagen is a holiday destination for tourists and locals alike, surrounded by 60km of white sand beaches. Its old yellow houses lining the harbour make for the perfect photo opportunity, while child-friendly beaches make it a great destination for families.
While in Skagen, head to Grenen, where you can straddle the meeting point of two seas – the Kattegat and the Skagerrak. The Kattegat beaches are the milder of the two, with plenty of shelter and less wind. While in the area, don't miss the famous "Drifting Dune", also known as the Råberg Mile. Every year, the dune shifts 15 metres. Scrambling to the top offers impressive, panoramic views.
Now that we’ve discovered the picturesque Åkrasanden Beach, we’re more convinced than ever before that Norway is a country that has it all. A number of accolades prove this beach’s appeal – it was voted best beach in Norway in 2014, and also holds a Blue Flag certification, testament to its environmentally friendly nature.
Åkrasanden is located on Norway’s west coast. Its long strand of white sand and twinkling turquoise water give it a distinctly Mediterranean feel, particularly in the summer months. Feeling adventurous? At this beach, you’ll also find plenty of hiking routes; a heritage trail connects Åkrasanden with nearby Stavasanden Beach, leading you through a wild and historic landscape.
Stockholm may be the place to go for the rush of the big city, but the lush county of Skåne, in the south of Sweden, is home to some of the country’s finest beaches. One of our favourites is Sandhammaren Beach. With its silky, soft white sand and endless blue skies, you may have a tricky time believing you’re not in the Caribbean.
One of Sandhammaren’s draws is its size – it’s a huge stretch of sand, arching along Skåne’s south-eastern tip. This makes it the ideal location for a long, rambling walk to admire the sea and the pine forests backing onto the beach. This beach played an important role in Sweden’s seafaring history, and so is home to a significant number of shipwrecks as well as four charming lighthouses dating back to the 1860s.
This is one for the adrenaline-lovers. Hellestø Beach may look quiet and peaceful on first sight, but it offers the ideal conditions for surfing out in the ocean and diving in the “secret” lagoon. If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, why not enjoy a walk to one of the beach’s many viewpoints? Don’t miss the sunset!
In nearby Skarasanden, an annual kite festival is attended by thousands and fills the sky with colour. Get the best view of the beach by braving a hike up the Hellestofjell mountain, which rises 92 metres above sea level and is often used as a guiding landmark for boats.
Søndervig Beach, on Denmark’s rugged west coast, was recently voted the best in the country. We think it might have something to do with the fine white sand, or perhaps the dramatic dune landscape which surrounds it. In fact, this beach has been popular since the 19th century, when grand resorts dotted the coastline. For this reason, Søndervig was affectionately known as “the Gateway to the North Sea”.
As well as swimming and other water-sport opportunities, Søndervig has a nearby town to help you make your visit into a full day out. Quaint boutiques, cosy eateries and entertaining activities for children are just a few of the things you can expect to find here.
Ready to feel the sand between your toes? Come and discover some hidden beach gems in Scandinavia with us by checking out our Northern Europe cruises.
Athens is packed full of world-class galleries as well as outdoor sculptures and art boutiques. Find out more here.
Amsterdam is well-known for its bustling districts, lively café culture and world-class museums. However, look a little closer and you’ll discover relaxing attractions, from spas to green parks.
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