A summer break on Samsø
If you've booked a couple of days in Aarhus, it makes sense to extend your stay by one or more days on Samsø. The island is small enough to explore in a day, but big enough to justify spending longer here. It takes less than an hour by ferry from Aarhus to reach this island in Kattegat, that is famous for have more hours of sunshine than any other part of Denmark, beautiful nature and some of the best produce in the country.
Over a couple of days, you can ride around the countryside, along the coast and the special Ice Age landscape, visit country villages and farm shops, and enjoy delightful meals - without having to stress. Because everything is within easy reach on Samsø, and the island has got the balance right between physical activity and rest and relaxation. This makes Samsø perfect for a relaxing weekend break for adults and for a couple of days of play and nature experiences for children.
Here are seven things you can do on Samsø:
Cycle in beautiful fresh air
Samsø is not car-free, but the traffic is nothing like on the mainland. In fact, there aren’t even any traffic lights or roundabouts on the island, and the distances are short enough to cycle in good weather. You can rent bicycles for both adults and children at a pretty reasonable rate in many places on the island, and if you book in advance, you can have the bikes delivered where you want to use them, at no extra charge. There are several different cycle trails on the island, such as the 27km green route that goes round the south of the island, the 24km dotted route in the hilly north part of the island and the yellow 16km trail that takes you through the fjord landscape in the middle of the island.
Buy fresh, seasonal produce at roadside stalls
Samsø is where the earliest new potatoes are harvested in Denmark, and every year, farmers compete to be the first to bring Samsø potatoes to market. If you buy some to take home, you’ll understand why. Freshly boiled and served with butter and salt, they’re a true delight. Other delicious summer offerings include the island’s asparagus, peas and strawberries, that, like the potatoes, are sold all round the island at farm shops and roadside stalls. The roadside stalls usually have an honesty box where you serve yourself and pay by MobilePay or in cash.
Walk in Nordby Bakker
The landscape on Samsø is very varied. The island has beaches, forests, arable land, fjords and heathland, but the most spectacular landscape is the moraine hills in Nordby Bakker on the northern tip of the island. If you’re up to cycling in these hills, you can take the dotted route there. Leave your bike or car at the parking area and take a stroll in the beautiful, protected landscapes, where cows moo, bees hum and the views of the sea, coast and dunes are breathtaking. Go all the way to the end of the sand spit, Issehoved, where the waves crash together from both sides, and maybe you would also fancy a refreshing swim here.
Denmark’s best preserved country village
Nordby was once the starting point for the biggest wave of emigration to America from Samsø. Today, Nordby is the most idyllic country village on the island (and officially, the best preserved in Denmark), with picturesque half-timbered houses, rose bushes and a couple of delightful cafés for coffee and ice cream. Head down the narrow street past the old clock tower to the old post office/museum/library/store where you can get plenty of advice about the island from local experts. And buy something delicious to take home with you from Smagen af Øen (Taste of the Island).
Fancy a gin made from apples? Or maybe Samsø potato snaps? If your drinks cabinet needs updating, on Samsø you’ll find plenty of interesting finds for your next cocktail hour. The small island has plenty of specialties, and you’ll find most of them at Smagen af Øen, a delightful, old fashioned store in Nordby. In addition to gin, rum and vodka from some of the many small distilleries on the island, there’s marmalade, vinegar, oils and juice, local sausages, pesto and much more. They also serve a delicious breakfast with local produce, plus coffee and home baked pastries.
Smagen af Øen
Nordby Hovedgade 15
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Åbent: ma-to: 10.30-17, fre 10.30-18, lør og søn 10-17.
Eat well at Skipperly
Skipperly in Ballen Lystbådehavn is a local favorite, with a menu based on seasonal ingredients. Skipperly has won Samsø’s best potato dish of the year, and serves other lunch classics such as open sandwiches, herring and stjerneskud, an open sandwich with plaice, prawns, asparagus and caviar. The evening menu varies depending on what’s locally available, and can feature local venison, smoked langoustines, catch of the day and rib eye of free range beef. And you’re guaranteed to get Samsø new potatoes with every main course.
Havnevej 9, Ballen
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If you live in a city, you seldom see that many stars. But on Samsø, the stars shine brightly. There are namely plenty of locations on the island where there’s no light pollution, which means a star packed sky on clear nights. Head out after dark and enjoy this enchanting sight.
Published: September 3, 2019