The best land-sea lifestyle in the world

In Denmark, we have an ocean of opportunity at our fingertips when the good weather comes. While I was locked away for the winter, making plans for when it was safe to go outside again, it occurred to me that we may have the best land-sea lifestyle balance in the world.

Something smells fishy and I couldn’t be happier. 

On Wednesday 20th March, spring will have officially arrived. 

You will start seeing people stopping mid-stride to take in a ray of sunshine that they happened upon, rejuvenating in real time like Superman.

There will no longer be a need to wear a watch, as every street will have its own sundial in the form of groups of threes and fours moving along with a shaft of sunlight between the buildings, nursing kiosk cans until the shaft is completely gone. At which time, it’s time to go home. 

But desperation for vitamin D is not what I want to talk about; I want to get us excited about the ocean of opportunities we have at our fingertips when the good weather comes. 

And I do mean ocean – well, sea – of opportunities. 

Because while I was locked away for the past 6 months, making plans for what I want to do when it was safe to go outside again, it occurred to me that we may have the best land-sea lifestyle balance in the world.  

And here’s why.

The beaches
Yes, I know, I know – they may not be the prettiest to look at, but by golly there are enough of them for all of us.

You’re never far from a Danish beach and when you do want to go, there’s a very good chance you will find some room to set up your little camp. 

Compare this to my home country, Ireland – a place well-known for its beautiful coastline. Sure, when you want to go for a windy walk along the sand there’s plenty of room.

But come that one sunny June day and you are fighting with the population of an entire town to find a spot, driving along a mile of parked cars (this is not an exaggeration) to find a space. 

Your only chance, IF you are a local, is to go to the secret beach. There’s always a secret beach. But if you do, you will have to bring your abseiling gear, because you will inevitably have to climb down some cliff faces.

Cliffs are not a problem in Denmark. Nor are there hordes of city folk taking up the whole beach. 

Because in Denmark, the city brings the beach to you, in the form of our wonderful canals. And sure they can be busy, but that’s the price you pay for being able to decide to go for a swim on the way home on a whim! 

Swimming! You can swim A-N-Y-W-H-E–R-E. And if you’re really brave or have access to a sauna, A-N-Y–T-I-M-E. 

How about surfing? On the west coast of Jutland is a place called Cold Hawaii – how fun and inviting is that! 

Don’t live around there? How about windsurfing?

Once upon a time, some bright spark thought “it’s wet and windy, let’s do something with that”, and behold, a sport was made.  You don’t have to actually do any of these, it’s just great that they’re there.

And yes you can windsurf in a lot of countries. But there’s an accessibility and lack of pretentiousness that I really appreciate here. It’s not like you’re battling the awesome might of the North Atlantic. You’re just partaking in the pleasures afforded to you. 

To see what I mean, just stop and watch the windsurfers the next time you’re on your way down to Møn.

Island hopping
We do a lot of island hopping here in Denmark; it’s part and parcel of living on an archipelago, be it via bridge or ferry… or plane if you’re going the fancy way to Bornholm.  You have 1,419 opportunities to have an adventure. 

We might be living in the Kingdom of Denmark, but every Island is its own little nation. I could go to Orø, north of Holbæk, an Island that is practically walkable when the tide is out, and feel like I’m a thousand miles from land. 

The magic of a ferry journey, no matter how short, can do a lot for the mind. 

You would think that in Ireland that we have an abundance of and affiliation with seafood, and to a certain extent we do – but the best seafood is coveted by the harbour towns. 

If you didn’t grow up getting the fresh catch, the closest you got was a cremated haddock from the local chipper. 

Denmark has changed my world in this respect. Not only is there fantastic seafood near at hand, it’s integrated seamlessly into daily life. 

This may not mean much to many of you, but it has meant a lot to me. My taste buds have been given a second chance late in life and for that I’m eternally grateful.    

I know a lot of these things you can do in many places, and better in some, but there is a symbiotic lifestyle with the sea in Copenhagen like no other. 

You may rarely stop to take notice of the sea. Days may pass without seeing it.   

But it does play a part in all our lives because, like it or not, we’re all islanders here.