Hotel Villa Strand | Daniel Rasmussen

Old school summer charm abounds in Hornbæk

Photo: Daniel Rasmussen

Former fishing village gone posh summer retreat for cool Copenhageners turned low-key surf town. Hornbæk has always seen people flocking there from afar to enjoy the relaxing beach life, and more so than ever is the tiny coastal village worth a visit.

Come to Hornbæk on a sweltering summer’s day, and you’ll never want to leave. The wide sandy beach stretches on for nearly 3 kilometres and is jam-packed with Copenhageners and locals soaking up the rays, bathing and sailing about the waters near the coast. The tiny beach town abounds in great spots to hang and savor the summer vibes. Browsing the many boutique shops, munching on beyond this world homemade ice-creams and sipping on something chilled are the main activities about town during the warmer months.

During the recent years, street food has seen an enormous boom in Hornbæk with the opening of “Det Fedtede Hjørne”, translating to: “The Greasy Corner”. Here you sit on communal tables and sample your street food favourites ranging from greasy burgers to the tastiest of Nepalese grub. But all the while street food is becoming very popular, almost nothing beats some old school servings from the local fish monger down at the harbour. Hornbæk is after all an old fishing village.

Getting active

Nature around Hornbæk calls for activities. Hopping on the bike to head for the coastal tracks and forests is a must if you’ve brought the old iron horse. Hornbæk Plantation feature a 3.5 km coastal bike-track, that winds through the crooked trees taking you past old wind-worn war bunkers sitting on the beach. Heading in-land you’ll find Tegner’s Museum and Statue Park. A really unique museum featuring the works of sculptor, Rudolph Tegner, both indoors and outdoors. Especially the 18-acre outdoor sculpture park out on the untouched moor is something to behold.

Taking to the waters in Hornbæk is not only reserved for bathing. The old fishing harbour has long become filled to the brim with leisure sailors circumventing the waters of the northern coast. But once the strong westerly winds start to howl around these parts, the beach towels are stowed away, and the boards are broken out. Surfing in Hornbæk has seen a rise in popularity the recent years, and for good reason. Waves become decent with the right wind direction, and kite- and windsurfers are having a blast just as long as the wind’s there. On the calmer days, stand up paddling and kayaking are all the rage.  

The old school summer charm lives on

Summer accommodation in Hornbæk dates all the way back to 1677, where the first inn, that doubled as a merchant’s store, was mentioned in literature. The old Hornbæk Inn later developed into Hornbæk Badehotel (seaside hotel), and since then, the trend has caught on. Hornbæk was later developed into what was the first official subdivision for holiday homes in Denmark.

Hornbæk oozes summer holiday, and for good reason. Around town, old-style “badehoteller” (seaside hotels) are still going strong like in the old days. And there seem to be a trend in refurbishing the hotels back to the old style of summer lodging. Hotel Hornbækhus is a gem among the lot. Recently refurbished, it takes you back in time to more relaxed times with quirky styling and sun-lounging in the big garden. They have followed the current trends however, with morning yoga classes and communal dining for the locals all days of the week. They also have a tiny outpost right on the beach, Villa Strand, with 15 rooms and a cool beach bar on the sand.