Hjørring is one of the oldest towns in Denmark. Despite being located in a sparsely populated area, there are many things to do, and every year Hjørring hosts a couple of special events.
If you’re thinking about going to Hjørring, it’s nice to be well-prepared. This guide will educate you on where to stay, what to do, and when you should come – along with various facts about the town and its history.
Facts about Hjørring
Hjørring is located in Vendsyssel, a relatively large area, although not strongly populated. With around 26,000 inhabitants, Hjørring is the largest town in the Vendsyssel area.
The first historical mention of Hjørring is believed to be from the mid-1100s. However, the town is likely older than that. In the year 1243, it gained privileges as a market town.
Hjørring is one of the hilliest towns in Denmark. At several locations, you will notice old monuments. The center is considered to be Springvandspladsen (Fountain Square) – the square where Østergade, Strømgade and Jernbanegade – three important streets – meet each other. Østergade and Strømgade are pedestrian streets where cars are not allowed – this creates a nice area for shopping and entertainment.
In the outer parts of the town, there are several schools, a large hospital, and many residential areas. Hjørring has some nice parks – Svanelunden and Christiansgave are the main ones. The train station connects Hjørring with Aalborg and Aarhus to the south, Hirtshals to the north, and Frederikshavn to the west. At the bus terminal, located right next to the train station, you can find connections to most other towns in Northern Denmark.
Where to stay in Hjørring
There’s one option above the rest when it comes to staying in Hjørring.
You should absolutely book your stay with Hotel Phønix. There are not that many hotels in Hjørring, but this one is central and comfy. You will be close to everything as the hotel is located on Jernbanegade: This street has the highest amount of restaurants and bars in town, so there will always be something to do. Yet, the rooms in the hotel are still quiet. The train station and bus terminal are less than 5 minutes away on foot. In other words, you can’t find a better place location-wise.
You can also consider Hjørring Kro. It is an inn, the level of service is high, and you can generally expect a very good stay. However, it is not centrally located, and the price is higher than at Hotel Phønix. Hjørring Kro should therefore be considered if you want a more traditional stay, perhaps just for one or two nights.
There are a few holiday apartments on Airbnb, but we advise you to not overthink it since you don’t always know what you get. Simply book with Hotel Phønix if you want a solid experience in the center of the city, or with Hjørring Kro if you have a higher budget and a desire more traditional accommodation experience.
Things to do in Hjørring
It’s a relatively small town, but there are many nice things to do. Below you will find a top 10 of the best sights and attractions in Hjørring.
This brand-new theatre is one of the main attractions in Hjørring. It opened in 2017 and is located in the central part of town, just a few meters away from the train station.
The modern building is impressive in itself, but the interior is downright beautiful. If you get a chance, you should go to Vendsyssel Theatre to see a performance. Some of the best theatrical actors in Denmark are regularly performing, with the occasional arrival of foreigners performing impressive plays. Check the current repertoire here!
Springvandspladsen (Central Square)
This is considered to be the central point of Hjørring. Springvandspladsen is the square where the important streets of Østergade, Strømgade and Jernbanegade meet. It is marked by a round fountain and a large golden-colored ring.
The new city hall is located at the northern end of the square, with restaurants, shops, and various decorations. It’s a great meeting place. From Springvandspladsen, you can quickly walk to any other part of central Hjørring.
Metropol Shopping Mall
In 2013, Metropol was named the best shopping mall in Denmark. While it’s not enormously huge by international standards, it does contain over 40 different stores, a large supermarket, a post office, a couple of restaurants and cafés, a gym, and a stunning library. Visiting the library (on the first floor) is probably our top recommendation – truly the highlight of the mall.
Metropol is located in Østergade, one of the most central streets in Hjørring. Therefore, it’s always easy to find. Metropol is open every day except for selected holidays. Opening hours can be limited on Sundays, but the gym, library, and supermarket inside the mall will be open every day. The shopping center is very popular among locals, so you will always see people around.
Get a full overview of all the stores and services in the mall here. You can also check the opening hours of all the stores on that link.
Skt. Catharinæ church
The largest church in Hjørring. Skt. Catharinæ church is a protestant church, located in the old part of the town. It has a late-Roman style and it is believed that the construction started in 1243, around the same time as when Hjørring gained trading privileges as an official market town.
Most locals in Hjørring have had their baptism and confirmation ceremonies there. There are two other old churches in Hjørring, although both are a bit smaller: Those two are called Skt. Hans and Skt. Olai.
Vendsyssel Historical Museum
The Historical Museum of Vendsyssel is always an interesting place to visit – at least if you are curious about the local history and culture.
Much of Hjørring’s and its citizens’ history is on display here. Several exhibitions are related to the archeology of the Vendsyssel region, but the museum also contains historical archives where you can dig deeper into the Northern Danish culture. The museum has sections of the town life in Hjørring, of life in the coastal areas of Vendsyssel, and of the farm life in smaller villages near Hjørring.
You can book a guided tour in either Danish, English or German. The museum is open every day in the summer from 11 am to 4 pm. For the rest of the year, Mondays are closed. But you can visit it any other day of the week. It costs 80 DKK per person to enter the museum. More information can be found here.
Art Museum of Vendsyssel
If you are into museums, you should also visit the Art Museum of Vendsyssel.
It primarily focuses on modern Danish art, with an emphasis on local artists in Northern Denmark. In the exhibitions, you will find works of painters such as Svend Engelund, Johannes Hofmeister, Poul Winther, and Poul Anker Bech.
While the museum has existed since 1964, it didn’t move into its current facility until the year 2000. The Art Museum of Vendsyssel has a central location in Hjørring, at the P. Nørkjær square.
We advise that you visit the museum’s website to learn more about what they have to offer. It’s closed on Mondays, but open all other days between 11 and 4 pm. The entry price is 80 DKK for a regular ticket. If you’re under 18, it’s free to enter. A guided tour in English will cost 800 DKK and last around an hour. Recommended for larger groups.
Old City Hall
Hjørring’s old city hall is one of the trademark buildings of the town. It is located on Torvet, in the old part of the town, and it has been there since the beginning of the 17th century. Construction of the building began in 1790 and it was finished in 1834. Like many other old local houses, it is primarily white with a red roof.
Historically, it wasn’t only the city hall, but also the local arrest house. However, prisoners would frequently escape so they had to move the arrest facilities elsewhere! It was also a place for storing important documents and items. Dinner parties and balls would take place regularly.
Even though it is no longer active as a city hall, it remains a popular building, now owned by the Historical Museum of Vendsyssel. You can visit it, and it is highly recommended.
Svanelunden is the most popular park in Hjørring. It is located just south of the train station. The local municipality created the park in 1878, and it received its name 10 years later after swans were found in the lake.
The park has expanded several times throughout the years. It has a popular restaurant. Some of the apartments and houses close to Svanelunden are among the most expensive in Hjørring. A great place to go if you want a couple of calm hours in the town.
Christiansgave is another popular park in Hjørring, although a bit smaller than Svanelunden.
However, it is equally worth visiting. Christiansgave is a beautiful green oasis where you can easily go for a picnic whenever the weather allows it. There is a playground for children, and many teenagers stop by to play football or frisbee.
The park was founded by King Christian VIII who visited Hjørring in 1843. The name Christiansgave means “gift of Christian”.
Hjørring Bjerge & Bellevue Tower
In the northern part of Hjørring, you will find Hjørring Bjerge – one of the most beautiful natural places in the region.
It’s a hilly area with wide open fields and surrounding forests. Locals like to go there for long walks – they often bring their dogs to play. In the winter, when the hills are covered with snow, it is an extremely popular place to go for a sleigh ride. Every snowy winter day will see Hjørring Bjerge crowded with children and parents, so it’s an important entertainment venue for the locals.
While you’re there, don’t miss out on the blue Bellevue Tower. It’s the highest building in Hjørring, made as a watchtower. Constructed in 1965 and with a peak of 69 meters above sea level, you can get a great view of Hjørring, the surrounding towns, and even the North Sea. It’s completely free to enter the tower and you can do it at any time.
Events in Hjørring
Although Hjørring is a fairly small town with just around 26,000 inhabitants, it has a surprisingly large number of things to do. Among them are several large events – for locals as well as for internationals.
Dana Cup is the largest youth football/soccer tournament in the world. It takes place in Hjørring every summer. Children and teenagers from all over the world come to Hjørring with their clubs and play in the yearly tournament (the Brazilians usually win)! It’s a great opportunity for the youths to make new friends and compete against each other. During the Dana Cup week, the town becomes very active, with many side events, and with many of the stores having special promotions. So it’s a fun week for everybody, but you should know that the town gets overly crowded during this time of the year. That means prices will rise, and there will be lines in stores, museums and restaurants.
Hjørring Revyen is a yearly revue held in the summer. Many of Denmark’s best entertainers, singers and actors come to the town to perform. It is advised that you book your ticket a couple of weeks in advance if you want to attend. The Vendsyssel Theatre offers a special buffet and a menu of drinks if you book the full experience in advance.
Football (soccer for the American readers) is the most popular sport in Hjørring. The local men’s football team had a season in the best Danish football league in the 2018/19 season – but was relegated after only a year in the top flight. However, they still play a weekly game in the second-best league, and it can be entertaining to go to the stadium.
The women’s football team is much more competitive than the men’s team. The club Fortuna Hjørring is one of the best female football teams in Europe, frequently winning the Danish league and almost yearly playing in the Women’s Champions League.
Day trips from Hjørring
Hjørring is the largest town in Vendsyssel and it arguably has the most things to do of any place in Northern Denmark, aside from the city of Aalborg.
But some of the surrounding cities, towns and resort villages offer additional attractions, so doing a day trip (or more!) is always a good idea.
Here are your best options:
Løkken is located 20 minutes west of Hjørring. It’s a beautiful small town with plenty of things to do. It used to be full of fishermen, but these days it’s basically a tourist town thanks to its beaches. Løkken has a long coastline and a very calm vibe. You will find great seafood restaurants and the shopping options are decent. It is arguably the best place to visit on a day trip from Hjørring.
Read our guide on where to stay in Løkken here (there are several nice hotels and holiday apartments)!
Blokhus is similar to Løkken in many ways. A popular tourist town where you can shop, eat out and go to the beach as often as you like.
It’s not quite as close to Hjørring as Løkken is, but it still won’t take long to get there. Highly recommended as well.
This port town has a very unique vibe. The people from Hirtshals are the proudest people you will ever meet – they truly love their hometown, and they will always tell you nice stories about it, no matter where in the world you meet them.
Hirtshals is relatively small but you do have some nice things to do in the port area. If you’re up for it, you can take a ferry from Hirtshals to Norway. They depart every single day. Mostly to cities such as Kristiansand and Bergen.
Of course, the best attraction in Hirtshals is the oceanarium – everybody visiting Northern Denmark should go there!
While Hirtshals has the main port on the northwestern coast of Jutland, Frederikshavn has the equivalent on the northeastern coast. Frederikshavn is much than Hirtshals though, and almost the same size as Hjørring.
Shopping options are great in Frederikshavn, and you will have some cultural things to experience. There are daily ferries going from Frederikshavn to cities such as Gothenburg and Oslo. Read about the Frederikshavn-Gothenburg connection here. Occasionally, a cruise is also stopping by.
If you want to stay in Frederikshavn for a longer while, check out our town guide here.
It will take around an hour to reach Skagen by car, and around two hours by train. But it’s all worth it when you arrive. Skagen is charming with its old houses and it truly has a lot of history. Just like Løkken and Blokhus, the restaurants in Skagen are great.
In the summer, Skagen has countless events. It’s a great place to be if you like to party! For the rest of the year, it’s a calm and enjoyable place to visit. The weather is better than in most other parts of Denmark: Despite being at the northernmost tip of the country, Skagen gets the most sunshine hours during the year.
Read about the best attractions in Skagen if you are going there.
If you’re a foreigner and you’re visiting Hjørring, there is a high chance you’ll be arriving via Aalborg Airport. If so, check our guide to the airport so you are well prepared. The airport serves as the main entrance to Northern Denmark.
But you should definitely spend some time in Aalborg as well. It is a larger city than Hjørring and has a lot of cool things to do.
In recent years, Aalborg has drawn a lot of interest from tourists, due to the constantly increasing number of cultural offers. Learn more about the top attractions here. Overall, Aalborg is highly recommended. You can easily spend a week there and still have stuff to do. It’s essential to stay central in Aalborg since most of the attractions are in or near the city center.
Best time to visit Hjørring
Most events happen during summer. The football tournament Dana Cup is the highlight of the year. But the city gets overly crowded during this time, so it’s arguably best to visit right after or right before. That means at the end of June, the beginning of July, or the beginning of August.
In the autumn, there are very few events, and it gets quite rainy. Not the best time to go – the same can be said for the early part of the spring, although the late spring is often quite wonderful (late April and all of May).
Hjørring can also be quite charming in the month of December. In the central part of the city, the streets will be lit, and according to the yearly tradition, there will be a huge Christmas tree in Springvandspladsen (the water fountain square). Furthermore, the shops will sell Christmas snacks, so you can buy toasted almonds in the streets!
Hjørring may not be the most prestigeous city in Denmark. But it is nice to visit, and it has multiple attractions that make it stand out. We hope you’ll enjoy your visit, and be sure to visit several places in Northern Denmark while you’re there!