Gilleleje - The fishing village at the top

Photo: Ann Jørgensen

Gilleleje, Zealand’s most northerly point, offers a busy commercial life with many exciting shops, cosy cafés and good restaurants. The fishing harbour and the beautiful cultural centre, Kulturhavn Gilleleje, are worthy attractions with deep roots in local life. Together, it´s worth a visi

© VisitNorthsealandPhoto: Tine Uffelmann
A view of Gilleleje Church, where Jewish people hid at the church attic on the fatal night of October 6.
Gilleleje Havn
Photo: Tine Uffelmann

There’s no doubt that Gilleleje’s focal point is its harbour. This is where you naturally gravitate to soak up the atmosphere, stroll along the pier and look out at the fishing boats and sailors. Gilleleje Harbour is Sealand’s largest commercial port. The boatyard is not there for the tourists, nor are the fishing net poles, colourful pennants and ropes. And that’s precisely why the harbour is so appealing.

But the city welcomes its visitors and has done so since the early 1900s when the first holidaymakers arrived. So enjoy the maritime atmosphere, the beach and the nature around Gilleleje, and savour an excellent fish dinner at the harbour while the children run about at Stejlepladsen’s popular nature playground.

The cultural harbour with a library, cinema, restaurant and a host of cultural events all year round is a new gathering place for locals and tourists alike. And the many speciality shops and supermarkets are proof that Gilleleje thrives all year long.

Experiences by the harbour

Take a stroll around the harbour, treat yourself to ice cream or enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of cake from one of the harbour cafés. If your children are joining you, visit the playground at Stejlepladsen,

a paradise for children with a slide, jungle gym, sandbox shaped like a boat, and porpoise swings. Here, the children can catch small fish, and parents can get a coffee and enjoy the stunningly beautiful view from the playground.

Should you begin to feel peckish, the harbour has many inviting restaurants with terrace and courtyard environments. You can also buy fresh fish from the fishmongers, where behind the glass counters, there is everything your heart desires: Norwegian lobster, salmon, plaice, smoked items, warm fish cakes and delicious fish dishes.

Culture & Shopping

Many yacht enthusiasts come from far away to Gilleleje Harbour to use the modern facilities and experience the art and cultural activities in the town. You could do the same - go to the cinema, have a shopping spree in the town’s many shops or enjoy a cool drink in the town’s square.

Gilleleje Harbour is a big experience for all the senses: sounds, aromas, emotions, sensations, wind and weather with plenty of life all year round. This makes it a unique gem that will make you want to visit the harbour again and again.

In winter, you can enjoy Gilleleje as an active historical fishing town with a special atmosphere. Take a walk in the old part of town. Far away from the noise and busy rumblings of the city, the north coast is waiting quietly for you. Here, life is lived locally, and the atmosphere is authentic. 

Also visit Gilleleje Church, which played a key role in the dramatic events of October 1943, when the Jews had to flee from the Gestapo when their hiding place in the church attic was discovered.

A brisk, little treasure hunt with the children is also an option that begins at the museum in Skibshallerne, moving on to Gilleleje where you can dive into the town's history.

Where to stay

Far away from the noise and busy rumblings of the city, the north coast is waiting quietly for you. Here, life is lived locally and the atmosphere is authentic. If you need a good place to sleep, the city and the area offer several wonderful accommodation options.

At the top of a 30-metre high cliff at the absolutely northernmost point of Zealand, Gilleleje Badehotel rules atop Gilbjerghoved. When you add the three storeys of the hotel to the height of the cliff, you then have a unique view across the sea and shore. You can see all the way to Kullen in Sweden and enjoy the acrobatics of birds in flight across Oresund and Kattegat.

In the heart of the town of Gilleleje, with the beach in the backyard and the harbour as a neighbour, is the historic Hotel Gilleleje Strand. The hotel is only 100 meters away from the city's best beach and side by side with the atmospheric fishing port in Gilleleje.

If you are more into camping life, the campsite Kongernes Feriepark is located by Smidstrup Strand. It is a 4-star campsite, close to nature and close to the coast.

Nature around Gilleleje

Gilleleje is surrounded by nature and is thus a great starting point for both cycling and walking activities. From Gilleleje you can follow the Gilbjergstien path all the way to the highest point in Gilleleje, Gilbjerg. There you will experience fantastic views across the Kattegat to Kullen in Sweden.

If you like walking, then find time to experience Kirkegaard by Nature, which is a more or less 12 km/7 mi long walk. You will walk in the footsteps of the world-famous Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard. The walk starts and ends in Gilleleje. Take a walk around Maglehøjene by Rågeleje.

If you are in the mood for a great excursion, a good tip is to walk from Gilleleje Harbour out to Nakkehoved Lighthouse. This is a really great walk. You will go past the harbour and the fishermen’s houses, close to a beautiful area with delightful houses and then you will suddenly find yourself in a forest where you can see the lighthouse. Sometimes you can even be fortunate enough to spot a seal from the high points. Nakkehoved Lighthouse is a lovely place run by volunteers.

Practical information

Here, you will find helpful information for planning and use during your vacation.

Find opening hours at the tourist inspiration, plan your holiday, see the city map, how to get around by public transport, read the large holiday magazine for North Zealand, find a blue flag beach and where to rent a bike? Get answers to this and more here.