VisitDenmark
A person hiking along Skallingen on the West coast.
Skallingen

What is friluftsliv?

Say hello to another untranslateable Danish word. Friluftsliv literally means ‘living in the free air’ and it’s about our love of the outdoors. Grab a rainproof coat and come and find out what this Scandinavian lifestyle concept is all about.

A man hiking at Hornbæk plantage, North Zealand, Denmark
Dueodde strand - Stefan Asp

How Danes embrace friluftsliv

For Danes, friluftsliv is a form of disconnecting from our hectic lives and reconnecting with the nature around us. In Denmark, you are never far from nature. Even when you live in the centre of Copenhagen, you’re only a 10-minute metro ride from the heath-like Kalvebod Fælled and the free-roaming deer in Dyrehaven Deer Park north of the city. The same goes for the coast. No matter where you are in Denmark, you are never more than 52 kilometres (32 miles) from the coast.

Camping - 2 guys with canoe in Denmark

What sort of activities fit the bill?

Almost anything that encompasses nature! So that could be swimming, hiking, or picking oysters off the beach on the west coast. It could be mountain biking or running trails in the forest, or it could be forest bathing (a new trend where people take a meditative approach to walking in the woods). It could be hunting for trolls. And while the idea of friluftsliv is embraced by all of Scandinavia, there’s one difference when it comes to how we do it in Denmark: mountain climbing does not count. That's 100% because the best we have is hills ⛰️

Løvtag treehouse
Thomas Dambo's troll Kaptajn Nalle

What's great about friluftsliv right now?

Many Danes have used friluftsliv as a way to get out of their home offices and find new ways of exploring their own surroundings. New hiking and biking routes have opened, for example the Ice Age walking route, Istidsruten, and the 27-km Amarmino hiking route. And new friluftsliv experiences are popping up all the time, including stargazing shelters at the Brorfelde Observatory and the glamping yurts at Camp Adventure, and the Løvtag treetop houses.

Vinterbadere i Klitmøller Nordjylland

What should I wear?

The classic saying associated with friluftsliv is: ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’ Let’s be honest here: experiencing the changing seasons is a part of the charm of Danish weather, and that weather can be a bit unpredictable, so wellies and a raincoat always come in handy. Check out the aptly-named Danish brand Rains for items that, in true Danish fashion, combine beautiful and design-led with useful. 

Oysters by the Wadden Sea
Campingvan am Strand von Dänemark

How do you pronounce friluftsliv?

Be careful - the word also exist in Swedish and Norwegian but they say it slightly differently! When you’re pronouncing it in Danish, say it like this: ‘free – lufts – leee – u’ and you'll sound like one of us. 

Now get out there and enjoy it!

These are some of our favourite ways to enjoy friluftsliv in Denmark.

Hopp i havet - også om vinteren!
Bornholmer Küste im Winter
Go on an outdoor adventure
Gå på jagt efter de seks glemte kæmper i skovene rundt om København
Danmarks ville og vakre nasjonalparker
A couple hiking on a coastal trail in Thy National Park in late autumn.
Adventure sports in Denmark
Surfer at Klitmøller
Camp Adventure Treetop Experience
Camp Adventure auf Seeland
Treat yourself to some room to breathe
Pige i Rold skov, Himmerland, Nordjylland