An adorable litte dot of an island in the salty Kattegat sea. That’s Samsø – offering danish hygge, countryside calm and relaxed fishing-village-karma unlike any other place.
The first time, and as soon as I got off the ferry, I felt that very special atmosphere – and the urgent need to leave the car and hire myself a bike.
1 Biking: Samsø is perfect for biking; the island is flat, just large enough to explore in a few days by bike. There is very little motor traffic and good, wide bike paths all the way from Tranebjerg on the middle of the island to Nordby in North.
The tops of the very few hills on Samsø are perfect for a break with a great view. Follow the insider tip from VisitSamsoe – to count how many churches you can see from the top of Kongehøjen between Onsbjerg and Tranebjerg.
Nostalgics will love to do the tour with the Veteranrundbus starting in Ballen, of course passing by the pond in Nordby.
It’s such a pleasure to enjoy the neat villages with the old, half-timbered cottages decorated with roses and hollyhocks. Or bike and then walk the famous five kilometers viking paths bounding Staunds Fjord on Besser rev.
2 Local produce: Whenever you are hungry, just stop by the road and buy yourself some local produce. Every other household sells strawberries, potatoes or fresh aspargus from small wooden stalls by the road. Just take what looks good and pay in a box.
3 Or visit the organic farm Iduns Have where Hester and Bjarke run the farm, constantly testing new things to grow, such as chili and Pak Choi. The young couple have bought and grow over 150 kinds of fruits, berries and vegetables in order to secure sustainability and variety.
4 Sweet toth? If you feel like trying the best jams and schnapps made out of Samsø berries and fruits, don’t miss a visit to the local company Samsø Bær, Samsø berries I really enjoyed visiting the strawberry fields, the packing shed and the production. And there is of course the opportunity of trying all Samsø Bær’s delicious products, then shopping heavily…Guided tours on Wednesdays or by appointment.
5 The local potatoes are the celebrities of the Island; small, with soft and thin skin. These potatoes are a key ingredient in many local dishes, among those the popular open-faced potato sandwich, kartoffelmad. The Samsø potatoes prosper in the sandy soil and are harvested early, thanks to Samsø being surrounded by the sea, with mild winters and warmer soil. Try some potatoe variations at quaint Smagen af Øen – Den gamle butik in Nordby, which is a must, or on smørrebrød at equally locally rooted Carlo’s Corner in Tranebjerg; with the best smørrebrød on the island.
6 Wine lovers must pay a visit to Samsø Vin Syndikat, a cooperation and wine growing initiative between 11 locals, including and a little hut and a small field in Alstrup, where visitors may taste the wines. Look for the flag Chateau Alstrup outside the field. Great Danish humour, by the way.
6 Talking about food, there are several really neat restaurants on the island. Apart from the ones above, some of my favourites were Strandlyst, Skipperly and of course the restaurant at Ballen Badehotel.
7 Tired? Stay close to one of the nicest beaches at Strandlyst, an inexpensive and smart villa with very Danish design with excellent breakfasts and dinner.
Or try the tiny and quaint Sommerhotel in Ballen or Ilse Made in the west, which has fantastic sea views. Or even the famous rock’n’roll hotel Brundby; hosting conserts and music festivals with simple but romantic B&B-rooms named after all the stars that visited, plus some more.
8 Finally, this tiny island hosts two artists and personalities worth visiting: the ceramics and pottery queen Sigrid Hovmand who welcomes you in her combined workshop, exhibition and boutique by the village pond in Nordby – and artist Ulrik Witt, where you are equally welcome to his residence in Hårmark, filled with own paintings and antiques – all for sale.
9 How you get there: Take the train or rental car from Copenhagen to Kalundborg and from there the beautiful ferry ride to Ballen. There is no need for a car on Samsø as the island is so small. Rent a bike instead.
visitsamsoe.dk for more info