Hornbaek – A peak into where the Danish spend summer!

Hornbaek copenhagen beach day trip

Our visit to Hornbaek, the idyllic seaside town north of Copenhagen, was like a holiday from our holiday! As soon as we stepped off the train and wandered into the town, we felt relaxed. The small town offered beautiful wide sandy beaches, a quaint harbour, a couple of good eateries, and overall excellent ‘holiday vibes’. Read on for a few of our highlights, and some recommendations for your visit!

What we loved about Hornbaek!

We both observed very early on that Hornbaek felt like a Danish version of Somers on the Mornington Peninsula (Australia). It was full of locals and other Danish families and friends. This removed the ‘tourist feel’ that some beach-towns get, especially in central and southern Europe (e.g. Greek Islands, Croatia etc).

One of the things we particularly enjoyed in Hornbaek was the ability to relax and slow down. After a fast-paced previous few weeks, this was what we needed. Whilst there are things to do in Hornbaek, this tiny seaside town is better suited to lazy beach days, a coffee in the sun, and enjoying the sunset with a vino.

We found the locals in Hornbaek particularly friendly, another highlight of our stay in Denmark as a whole! This was demonstrated by locals assisting us in the supermarket as we hopelessly tried to decipher the Danish language, or offering to pay for our purchases when we forgot our wallet. We left Hornbaek after 2 days with the feeling that everyone was happy to be there, and happy to have you there as well!

One of the most memorable parts of our 2 day visit to Hornbaek was our stay in a local guesthouse. We stayed in the heart of the town (see here) with a lovely lady named Marianne. Here we enjoyed a few lazy mornings, sipping cups of tea in the properties sunny little courtyard and conversing with our delightful host. Taking the time to get to know the locals in the places that we stay is one of our favourite parts of travelling, and our daily chats with Marianne are something we will remember long after our holiday is over.

What should you do in Hornbaek

Visit the beach!

The sandy beaches of Hornbaek were beautiful and calm. In particular, the Hornbaek Strand on the left of the harbour is well worth visiting! In summer months this beach is dotted with Danish beachgoers soaking in the bright Nordic sunshine. The water was sparklingly clear and surprisingly not that cold considering how far north we were in Europe. Whether you relax on the beach, have a dip in the refreshing waters, or just walk along the sand, it’s one of the top things to do when you visit Hornbaek!

Check out the harbour!

The Hornbaek harbour is picturesque and the perfect place to start your visit to Hornbaek. There is a charming little boardwalk that you can walk around, a playground for the kids to enjoy and barbeque facilities. Of course, if you’re not really in the cooking mood you can’t go past the local fish shop Fiskehuset overlooking the sailing boats (read more below).

Get fish and chips at Fiskehuset Hornbæk

Fiskehuset Hornbaek is one of the top places to visit for something to eat, or to grab a drink. Situated right on the harbour, it offers picturesque views, and excellent fish and chips! We returned multiple times for lunch, coffee, and an afternoon wine. Grab some food, sit by the harbour, and enjoy the relaxed setting while you bask in the afternoon sunshine.

Walk, run or cycle along the beachside path

Head towards the harbour and turn left. Head onto the beachside path that starts near De Fedtede Hjorne. This track offer picturesque views, and runs for kilometres paralell to the beach. It offers the perfect place for a calm walk, cycle, or an excellent track for a run (like we did!).

Grab a coffee at Bagt Bakery

Our days always start with a morning coffee, so naturally finding a good coffee in Horbaek was a priority! We found the coffee at the cute Bagt Bakery to be our favourite, however grabbing a coffee from Fiskehuset Hornbæk offered a more picturesque setting. Bord og Baenk Interior also offered another option on the main street. Whilst not quite at the standard of Copenhagen’s artisanal coffee shops, it was much better than what we found in some parts of southern and eastern Europe.

Have a picnic and watch the sunset

This was one of our favourite activities in Hornbaek. We fell in love with the traditional Danish food of Smørrebrød, an open faced sandwich (see more in our Copenhagen guide). We decided to make our own with the picturesque backdrop of Hornbaek Strand (the main beach). The main beach has a few picnic tables on the sand dunes, otherwise bring a towel or picnic mat and enjoy the views.

Grab dinner at the outdoor food market

The outdoor food market near De Fedtede Hjorne offers a great selection of food options. The outdoor setting is humming with Danish on holidays, and the smells of food trucks dishing up great food waft through. Be prepared to wait in peak season if you venture during prime dinner time, however the wait was less than what we have encountered in food markets back in Melbourne.

Should I stay in Hornbaek or do a day trip?

Well.. it depends. We stayed for 2 nights in Hornbaek, and found it the perfect amount of time for a relaxed getaway. If you like calm, beachside towns where you can spend hours sitting in the sun, or enjoying a wine with views of the harbour, then staying a night or 2 may be perfect. However, if you want a little more action, shops, bars etc, perhaps returning to Copenhagen for the night is the best option. Hornbaek would be perfect to visit in summer with a family for a few nights, or a weekend away to relax. Due to the close proximity to Copenhagen via train or driving, Hornbaek is also a great option for a day trip.

Getting to Hornbaek is very easy. We recommend visiting by train from Copenhagen. Catch the Helsingor train from Copenhagen Central Station (København H). This train will take around 45-50minutes, where you then change to the local line and catch the train out towards Gilleleje, getting off after 9 stops/25minutes at Hornbaek Station. The station is right in town, with only a 5minute walk down to the harbour. Alternatively, we have heard it’s an easy drive out, with ample parking available in town.

Want to stay in Hornbaek?

Take a look at some options to stay in the seaside town of Hornbaek below:


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