When you think of Denmark, beaches aren’t usually the first thing that come to mind.
Unless, you visit the municipality of Halsnæs.
Located in Sealand, you’re never too far from the water; the Kattegat Sea is to the northwest, the Ise and Roskilde Fjords are to the south and west, respectively, the Arresø, (largest lake in the country) lies to the east.
Almost the entire northern coast of this landmass is rimmed with a heavenly stretch of sand.
Although the shorelines are a bonus, our primary purpose for this trip is to be part of our son’s marriage celebration.
He wed his Danish sweetheart several years ago in Los Angeles, where they now live and so our visit to Denmark is to unite our new families together.
It’s happening at her parents’ summer house in the region’s quaint community of Liseleje.
Founded in 1784, this former fishing village has evolved since its 19th century beginnings into a popular tourist haunt and get-away for seasonal homeowners.
Pencil-thin laneways weave throughout this township, hosting cottages, some which are painted jet black, trimmed in white.
Others are adorned in soft pastel tones, topped with thatched roofs. Some sit nestled into forest groves, others alongside pastoral fields.
A few of the fortunate (like our daughter-in-law’s family’s) perch high on the bank overlooking the sea.
All funnel into a small hub where a few shops, a couple of restaurants and the best-ever bakery can be found.
Arriving a day before the festivities begin provides us with some luxury time to explore and scout the area.
From Liseleje, we motor southwest along R47, a quiet coastal route that hugs its way along a string of beaches, which I can’t begin to pronounce.
Hyllingebjerg, Nødebovejen, Gråstenvej — all gorgeous strips of sand, lapped by white-tipped waves.
Historic towns are interspersed along the way; the quiet hamlet of Hald, the region’s oldest fishing village of Kikhavn (circ 1561) and the pretty peninsula enclave of Hundested.
“Let’s stop for some seafood,” my husband says. “
He’s correct. This harbour town is known for its underwater life. As well as being connected by ferry to the towns of Kulhuse and Rørvig, Hundested is a sanctuary for both fishermen and seals.
We discover the name originated from royal seal hunts that took place on Hunderevet, a nearby reef.
Although there’s still the occasional sighting, most of these mammals now live farther out in the Kattegat Sea.
While sharing fish and fries, we gaze out at the deep blue with hopes of catching a glimpse of a black bobbing head.
No such luck today.
Our next landmark is Lynæs, a village at the tip of the headland where a kayak and surf centre lures the adventuresome.
It was here, in 1898, that inventor Valdemar Poulsen created the magnetic recorder and arc converter for radio transmission.
“Technology has come a long way since then,” Brent says, as he gets out his IPhone and Googles our next destination.
Route 40, takes us inland, where we bisect farmlands and cruise by historical manors.
Located between Arreso Lake and Roskilde Fjord is Frederiksvaerk, our next stop. Bridges span the many canals that flow throughout this seaside oasis, hence its moniker, Little Venice.
Although once, and still evident, of being an industrial compound, the arts aspect of this community continues to flourish.
In the 16th century King Frederik V established a cannon foundry, which has been converted to a cultural centre today.
Here, we’re able to trace its roots back to 1760 when this house served as a cannon foundry, supplying the Royal Danish Army and Marine with cannons and accompanying weaponry.
After our Danish history lesson, it’s time to move on. If we continue travelling R40, we can check out the hills of Olsted.
By going east, we’ll be on the lakeshore town of Vinderod where not only bird, but beaver-watchers love to gather.
Eleven of these busy builders were released in North Sealand in 2009, a few of which have constructed several dens along the shoreline of Arreso Lake.
Or, we could take a shortcut and head due north. A cycle-friendly route cleaves through the interior of this landscape, linking the two bodies of water.
All routes sound tourist-worthy, but today, we’re running short of time.
“We should go for option three and get back to help with setting up the summer house for the lovefest,” Brent says.
“And, if there’s time we can always hit the beach.”
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