55° 49.0′ N · 10° 38.4′ E
Ballen on Samsø’s eastern coast is a very popular marina for all boating people. The atmosphere is lively and there is always something worth stopping here for. It is also often jam-packed so if you plan to go there, bundle up your nerves and give it a go.
Samsø has become well-known for its efforts in self-sufficiency on the energy front. It also has lots of locally grown organic goods on offer and lots of these are available in Ballen. The food is a delight, the fish stand offers good quality and if you prefer to sit down to a meal, you can’t complain either.
You can easily stay here for a few days and not get bored. Bike riding, swimming, relishing in the good food, enjoying a bit of the hustle and bustle of the marina, or just walking up and down the beach or along the country roads can keep you occupied for a while. If you are there mid July you could catch the annual festival just up the road.
Ballen is great for all, unless you are looking for some peace and quiet. Then it would be a better choice to go a bit further north to Langør, where you can sit and listen the birds sing.
Go, See and Do:
The questions, where to start? Well try the supermarket directly behind the harbour, which is also where to get your fresh bread, rolls and cakes. They also have some organic goods on offer too.
Just down the main road is Den Gamle Købmandsgård (The old Merchant’s house, the site is also in English!) where you can buy some of the wonderfully tasty, locally-produced goods and also stay for the night, if your boat has gotten too crowded or you just need a bed that doesn’t rock in the wind. The mustards are delicious as are the jams. The hardest part is making a choice which ones to try.
One of my favorite stores in Ballen is the knitting store between the footbridge and the supermarket. If you do some handcraft yourself it is very inspiring and great quality. Go in and admire some of the locally crafted beanies, jumpers, scarves and lots more. You never know when the weather might turn rough in these parts.
Just near the amenities near the footbridge is a shed with bikes for hire. Don’t be too late when the marina is crowded, especially if you need a child’s seat. Otherwise there are usually enough to go round. Then cycle your way around the island. Just make sure to keep the wind in mind, it can make a hard run on your way back if you start out with a tailwind. The northern part of the island is well worth a ride, take a picnic with you and make a day tour out of it. It is really worth riding up to Issehoved, the most northern point. The last part you will need to go by foot, but it isn’t far and the rolling landscape is wonderful.
If you would like more information on bike tours, check out visitsamsø.dk for some ideas. This site is a good one for any general information on the island, definitely worth a look. For example check the dates for the Produce Festival or the Children’s Cultural festival, both usually held in June.
There are a few spots around the marina to go for a meal, but if you are in the need for a snack or would like to buy some fresh or smoked fish, go to Ballen Fisk right at the harbour. The fish patties are a must! In normal and salmon, you can’t go by them.
If you have children on board, Ballen has a large crab catching area that will keep the little ones amused for hours on end. It is right at the inner beach, so it is usually quite easy to keep an eye on them.
Of course Ballen can’t go without a mention of the annual Festival that draws people from all over, usually around the third weekend in July. The grounds are a short walk from the town, so if you are around, go and get your dose of music! The marina is even more crowded and lively than usual on this weekend so plan your visit carefully. The following week is often the annual Jazz Festival.
Lookout for the current dates for the Samsø marathon. It covers almost the whole island, so if you are looking for a tour by foot and are in good shape, go for it!