Try to contact a Swede, Dane or Norwegian anytime between June and August and you’ll be lucky to get a quick reply.
or Scandis, vacation time is precious. It offers a precious opportunity to unwind, focus on friends and family, and celebrate life’s simple pleasures.
But instead of racing off to foreign lands, most use their summer home – a vacation home in the mountains, tucked deep in the woods, or just a stone’s throw from the sea.
In recent years Scandis has opened the doors of these second homes to foreign visitors so we can all share in a hassle free holiday culture that has been nurtured for centuries.
What is special about summer houses?
Simon Lind Fischer’s summer home, built by his grandfather in the 1960s, is located in the small fishing village of Thorup Strand on the north-west coast of Jutland in Denmark. He spends weekends buying fresh catch from fishermen and enjoys running through the woods where he occasionally sees deer.
“In the summer house we rediscover ourselves and what life is all about: relationships and appreciation for the present and the small things in life,” he explains.
Spending time with family is also a priority for Denmark’s Sara Zankal, who owns a summer home in Sejerøbugten, just over an hour’s drive from Copenhagen.
“I love having a ‘home away from home’ where things, habits and daily life are completely different,” she says. “In our summer house, the children climb trees instead of looking at iPads, and we swim several times a day. In the evenings we play board games.
“As the car takes the final bend on the small dirt road, you just feel the tension and stress leaving your body, your breathing slowing, and you’re instantly more relaxed.”
What to Expect
Although the concept is similar across Scandinavia, each country has its own specifics and traditions.
Norwegians enjoy hyttekos (cabin cosiness) in their mountain cabins, seaside cabins and secluded cabins. Many were originally built to house fishermen along the coast or to provide shelter for workers employed as seter – a Norwegian summer farm on higher pastures.
Sweden, on the other hand, has a soft spot for coastal huts with folding boards, originally built by the upper classes in the 19th century to avoid crowded cities.
“Traditionally, a Danish summer house is a small tree house that offers simple, natural living,” explains Simon Lind Fischer. Nowadays, real estate is increasing in size as owners and guests demand more comfort.
“But we also see a counter-trend,” emphasizes Simon. “The simple tiny house lifestyle can also be seen as a luxury for the soul because it’s less stressful and being limited to what you can do indoors makes life easier and can bring guests closer together.”
According to a 2019 census by Statistics Sweden, there were 607,000 holiday homes in the country. Try the Stockholm archipelago, Skåne, the islands of Öland and Gotland, or the west coast and Småland.
There are around 200,000 in Denmark – 40 of which are rented out. Most are along the coast in Jutland, Djursland and on the north coast of Zealand. Islands such as Samsø, Fanø and Anholt and Bornholm are also popular.
In Norway, 22 percent of the population owns a hut that is used both in winter and in summer. Most of these can be found in Oppland and Hedmark north of Oslo or in southern Norway and Hordaland in the Bergen region.
How to book
Online platforms such as Booking.com and Airbnb have several Scandinavian summer homes on their books. Try Denmark country folk com for a selection of beautifully designed homes; in Sweden Stugknuten.com has an excellent selection; and for Norway, Norgesbooking.no is a good bet.
3 summer houses to try…
Holiday home in Anholt, Denmark
Part of a remote island community living halfway between Jutland and Sweden, this log cabin in the woods is perfect for families with young children. Stroll down to the beach and shop for organic groceries at a nearby shop. Sleeps 10 and can be rented from around €178 per night (landvolk.com).
Owner’s cabin, Sunmore Alps, Norway
Nestled between the sea and fjords, this cottage on the edge of the world is an escape from reality. Swim off the beach in the morning, have a picnic on the rocks or warm up indoors in front of an open fire. Fly into Alesund Airport, a 15-minute drive away. Six beds, can be rented from around €620 per night. (62.no)
Lillesjo, Småland, Sweden
Take long walks in the fairytale forests of this southern region, where author Astrid Lindgren sets her famous stories about the red-haired heroine Pippi Longstocking. The property also rents canoes. For four people, rentable from €490 per week (schweden-ferien.com).
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/europe/cabin-culture-why-we-should-all-get-on-board-with-the-scandinavian-summerhouse-trend-41497971.html Cabin culture – why we should all jump on the Scandinavian summer house trend