Take me there: North Jutland, Denmark
Fans of Danish TV dramas could be forgiven for picturing the country as a place of half light and unsolved crimes. But even the most hard-boiled Scandinavian detective needs a holiday from time to time and when they do they’re likely to head to North Jutland. With its powder-soft beaches and jolly seaside towns, this island in the far north of Denmark is the perfect antidote to Nordic noir. Its distinctive golden light has been attracting artists since the 19th century. More recently it’s become an outpost for some of Scandinavia’s most creative cuisine. The gateway to the region is the city of Aalborg, served by direct flights from Gatwick (norwegian.com).
What to do
With its quaint fishermen’s cottages, art galleries, lively marina and great seafood restaurants, Skagen is the Scandinavian answer to St Ives. See the works of the Skagen Painters at the impressive Skagen Museum (skagensmuseum.dk). Stand with your feet in two oceans at Grenen, a narrow sandspit where the Baltic and the North Sea meet. Aalborg is reinventing its waterfront as a cultural hub. Visit the Utzon Centre (utzoncenter.dk) dedicated to architecture and design, the Musikkens Hus concert hall (musikkenshus.dk) and Aalborg Havnebad, a lido in the fjord.
Where to stay
Hotel Plesner in Skagen is a charming seaside hotel kitted out in typical Scandi-style with divinely comfortable beds (doubles from £95, hotelplesner.dk).
Where to eat
The restaurant which put North Jutland on the culinary map is Mortens Kro in Aalborg (mortenskro.dk). But there’s stiff competition from the Svinkløv Badehotel, tucked behind the dunes in Fjerritslev (svinkloev-badehotel.dk), and the Restaurant de 2 Have in Skagen (restaurantde2have.dk).
Ninna Seerup from Visit Denmark recommends a trip to the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse. “It’s last-chance tourism as a sand dune is slowly covering the lighthouse and in a few years it will disappear. At the moment you can see only the top sticking out.”
Give me a break
Home: A way with words in Nidderdale
A new literary festival in the Yorkshire Dales will celebrate nature writing this summer. Among the programme highlights at Niddfest will be readings from the poets Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke, as well as moorland safaris, fairy hunts, foraging expeditions and birdwatching walks. The festival takes place in the beautiful Upper Nidderdale valley from 24-26 July (niddfest.com).
Away: Adventure holidays in Italy
European activity holiday specialist UTracks has launched a handful of new breaks in Italy for this summer, including a family adventure from Rome to Amalfi. The eight-day trip includes a hike to the top of Mount Vesuvius, a boat trip to Capri and a pizza-making class. It’s suitable for children aged eight and over and is accompanied by a local guide. From £950 per adult and £870 per child (utracks.com).