Anyone planning to travel to one of Denmark's stand out beaches should throw away all thoughts of tropical birds or colorful umbrella drinks.
Featuring sand dunes, tall grass, vast grayish-blue skies and sparkling water, the Scandinavian country's beaches are as open and minimal as the Danish design they inspire.
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Denmark travel guide
Because of the Nordic weather, the Danish swimming season is short and most beaches only have lifeguards from late June to mid-August.
However, visitors can enjoy a windy walk along the beaches here at any time of year, or go sailing on the open water, a Danish passion since Viking times.
As Denmark is a small country, visitors can check out several different beaches within a week's vacation -- with the help of the efficient local trains.
Here's a guide to some of the best Danish beaches.
Beaches along the Danish Riviera
Just an hour or two north of Copenhagen lies the northern coast of Sealand, with its fine sand beaches.
This area is known as the Danish Riviera, because its Edwardian era summer homes and hotels attract the wealthiest Danes.
Rørvig Beach, located just steps from the Sandflugtsplantagen forest, is a top draw thanks to its vast, open water.
Visitors can also go windsurfing at the shallow Lynæs Beach, which is also an ideal depth for young children, or join the crowds at Hornbæk Beach, the most popular swimming location in the area.
The area is a great shopping spot thanks to the boutiques of Hornbæk, where chic fashion is on offer beside ceramics by local artists.
There's also the option to take a side trip to Hamlet's Castle at Helsingør (known as Elsinore in the Shakespearean lexicon) and check out the hi-tech new National Maritime Museum next door, which was designed by hip architect Bjarke Ingels.
The Danish Riviera is home to many traditional badehotels, or "bathing hotels" which have been catering to high end beach guests for more than 100 years.
In fact, TV series "Badehotellet," set in the 1920s and available in English under the name "Seaside Hotel," is Denmark's answer to "Downton Abbey."
One real life example is the Beach Hotel Marienlyst, built in 1861 and popular with royal families of the day.
It's right on the water and has a great view of Helsingor Castle, plus a brasserie that serves Nordic cuisine.
Marienlyst Strandhotel, Ndr. Strandvej 2, DK-3000 Elsinore; +45 4921 4000
Anyone visiting Copenhagen for a day or two should consider stopping by the public swim basin on Copenhagen Harbor by Islands Brygge, where hundreds of local young people meet to party and dive into the clean waves.
Families and those who prefer a quieter seaside experience will enjoy Amager Strandpark, a long coastal beach on the city's southern island comprising a two-kilometer long artificial island forming a lagoon and a large sandy beach.
It has a rough, natural environment in the northern section and a more built-up area with picnic stations to the south.
Locals can usually be spotted jogging here, even in the windy off season, or kitesurfing or skateboarding. There are special low water swimming areas for children.
At the end of Amager Strandpark sits the new ultra-modern National Aquarium in Denmark, the Blue Planet, which looks like a shiny silver whirlpool despite its name and features a hammerhead "shark tunnel."
For those keen to stay nearby, the CPH Studio Hotel offers chic, spartan rooms just a few minutes' walk to the beach.
As for restaurants, Scarpetta on the trendy Island Brygge district serves great Italian food.
CPH Studio Hotel, Krimsvej 29, 2300 København; +45 31 71 66 64
Scarpetta, Islands Brygge 81F, 2300 København S; +45 70 20 71 72
Beaches along the west and southwest coast
International travelers are beginning to discover what Western European visitors have known for years, the beaches along the west coast of the Jutland peninsula are something special.
These wild, windswept beaches are a great escape from the crowds.
Visitors should plan for long, isolated walks along the dunes, heathlands and inlets while breathing in the clean salt air and searching for bits of washed-up amber, the golden fossilized tree resin that makes for spectacular jewelry.
There are dozens of beaches along the coast, including Søndervig, which was voted the best beach in Denmark by the Danes themselves.
It's accessible to all, with a special terrain path for wheelchairs and baby carriages.
The works of art at its annual sand sculpture festival have appeared on many an Instagram account and it also boasts a surf school nearby for those keen to ride the big waves.
Novice swimmers should opt for Blaavand Beach, where shallow water and the lack of a North Sea current creates a safe environment for children.
This isolated inlet is protected from the angry ocean by Horns Reef, located around 15 kilometers off Blåvands Huk, the westernmost point of Denmark.
Travelers can also hire a car and drive across the causeway to Rømø Island in the southwest coast and ride right onto its 12-kilometer chalk white sand beach. Motor vehicles can drive up to the waves in some sections.
There are also quieter, car free areas on the island, some of which are popular with nudists. Windy Rømo is also a great place to fly kites and go kitesurfing.
As for accommodation options, Hotel Smedegaarden in Lem offers plenty of local charm. The former owner still works in the kitchen, helping to make traditional dishes like marinated herring and asparagus soup with meatballs.
Further north, there's the Nørre Vosborg in Vemb, housed in a painstakingly restored complex that dates back to the Elizabethan era -- Hans Christian Andersen once spent the summer here.
The buildings are still a local gathering place for the arts, and those who visit in September can catch the annual storyteller's festival.
Hotel Smedegaarden, Jernbanegade 2, 6940 Lem; +45 99 75 24 00
Nørre Vosborg, Vembvej 35, 7570 Vemb; +45 97 48 48 97
Beaches at the top of Denmark
Skagen, with its clear, white sunlight, can be found at one of the northernmost points of Denmark.
The village's light is so unique that it's attracted its own school of Impressionists, the Skagen painters.
Outside of a brief summer party season, Skagen is known for its poignant emptiness and silence.
But to truly experience this area, visitors should walk out to Grenen Beach, or take the quirky Sandormen tractor-drawn bus there, available from April to October, cash only.
A long sand finger poking out into the waters where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea meet, Skagen Peninsula is a place where currents are much too strong for swimming.
Due to different water densities, the two tides create a clear division line, a different beautiful blue on both sides.
A jacket is always required on this fresh, windy beach.
Visitors should also prepare to meet some wildlife, whether it's seals sunbathing on the beaches or great sea birds like golden eagles and osprey attracted by the lagoons that appear and before they're swallowed up by the ocean.
There have also been reported dolphins and whale sightings.
The sandbar that makes up Grenen is constantly changing, so the beach may end up looking entirely different to those who visit more than once.
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