During the second half of the 1800s, when the first beach guests arrived, Løkken was a relatively large town considering its location. It was bigger than Blokhus with multiple large old fashioned grocery farms and a custom house among other things. Trade between Denmark’s west coast and Norway was in decline but the fishing industry was blooming towards the end of the century and many people from other towns caught their fish from Løkken. During the same time, Løkken also served as a popular place to visit for the seaside towns close by like Blokhus and Lønstrup.
We do not know exactly when the first beach guest or tourist arrived in Løkken, but in 1860 it was announced that a small beach camper had been set up on the beach and from that it was assumed that the first beach swimmers had already arrived at this time. The year before H. C. Andersen had visited the town when he stayed at Børglum Kloser, the local convent.
The very first summer guests came to enjoy the sun, the fresh air, the healthy sea baths and in general the place with a picturesque life.
However, it was not until the 1880s it became normal to swim in the ocean. It is told that it created a certain amount of panic in Løkken in the beginning of the 1880s as a grocer from Rudkøbing named Batholin Halvorsen found lodging in the town with the one purpose of swimming in the ocean. People thought the man was crazy, but he was actually sick and as a last piece of advice, his doctor had told him to travel to the North Sea and let it carry him out into the water (he had difficulty walking). After a few weeks, he was better and at the same time he had developed a taste for swimming in the ocean and Løkken, which is why he spent his holidays there for more than forty years.
It was the rich citizens who started vacationing in Løkken. It was the people who could afford to go on vacation together with paying for travel and their lodging at the seaside resort. In the beginning, it was basically only Danes from Northern Danish towns and a few from Copenhagen who came to Løkken. To begin with, you could rent rooms from innkeepers and private people but in 1895 a previous old fashioned grocery farm – Købmand Asps gård
– was made into a seaside hotel. A multitude of people had created a private company to manage Badehotellet Løkken. The hotel was placed in the center of town in the town square.
This description of Løkken, written during the same time, gives a good idea of what type of environment guests was met by around the time. It does not resemble Goldschmidt’s description from 35 years earlier. It was Axel Thomsen, who wrote in Illustreret Tidende (a Dainsh weekly illustrated magazine) on the 22ndof July, 1900. “In no other fishing town are the houses placed in such picturesque chaos, defying any demand for common practice. Only a somewhat ordinary ‘Main Street’ with the church, school, doctor’s house, post office, pharmacy and grocery store – the rest are bewildered alleys and paths twisting in between odd, old houses. And this contributes furthermore to increasing the gleam of poetry from shining distinctive features and visually striking and blunt characteristics which meets every stranger in their first visit.
In the middle of town – at the town square – the cozy seaside resort is placed with its shady garden – the only one in Løkken. After about a two-minute walk from here, you are standing by a glass pavilion and a reading room at the top of the dunes which shield the low-lying town from the roaring ocean. And from here you are struck by one of the towns other characteristics: the free, wide view over the town towards every corner of the world and – below you – a white and wide beach with freshness, ocean sounds and foam from the waves – with beach campers and basket chairs, with happy vacationers dressed in light colors and around a hundred red, blue, yellow and green fishing boats which sparkle in the sun. Then you learn to call Løkken not only a town with many characteristics but also charmingly lovely.”
In addition to Badehotellet Løkken, what attracted the beach guests was on the one hand the ideal beach for swimming and on the other hand the picturesque fishing town. In 1905, 160 beach guests were registered and foreigners started coming to Løkken.