Jewish people in Europe would hold this charming fishing village in the northernmost point of Zealand in a very memorable place in their history. During World War II, Gilleleje was one of the towns where Danish Jews were saved from the Holocaust and transported to Sweden. The Jews were hidden in the holds of the wooden fishing vessels owned by some of the fishermen in Gilleleje who risked their lives and their families’ as well. The well-known philosopher and writer Soren Kierkegaard also favored the town as a vacation spot – he was among Gilleleje’s first visitors in the early 19th century.
He has written about the town in some of his works and in return the town has honored him with a memorial stone which can be found along the 2.5 kilometer Gilbjerg Path. Today the tranquil and picturesque town offers visitors an idyllic holiday with its Blue Flag-rated beaches and other natural attractions. The coastline stretches from Gilbjerg to Kullen and the Gilleleje harbor is lined with small restaurants and kiosks. During the summertime, the small coastal town gets really busy and with only one hotel, reservations are booked months in advance. Aside from bathing in the beach, walking and biking, visitors can look forward to the fish auctions and there’s also local market which opens every weekend.
East of town is the 17th century Nakkehoved Ostre Fyr, the world’s first coal-fired lighthouse. It is open only during June to September and visitors can walk up to admire the picturesque views across Oresund and Kattegat. Finally there is the Gilleleje Museum which houses collections of artifacts from the Middle Ages along with 19th century fishermen tools and houses.