In the last couple of years, you’ve probably come across the word Hygge more than a few times. Thanks to bestselling books like The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking and Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Michael Joseph, this funny little word has had more than its fair share of publicity.
In fact, ‘hygge’ was the second most popular word of the year in the Collins Dictionary in 2016, second only to ‘Brexit!’
But what is hygge, and why is everybody and their dog going so crazy over it?
What is hygge?
Hygge – pronounced ‘hoo-guh’ – is a Danish word that originated from the Norwegian word for ‘well-being’ and describes ‘a mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.’
Hygge is popular in both Danish and Norwegian culture (the Norwegians call it ‘Kos,’ meaning ‘cosy), and the Germans and Dutch have similar versions, known as gemütlichkeit and gezelligheid, but the most well known by far is the Danish version, with many self-help books and newspaper articles proclaiming that the Danes have found the key to happiness and it’s called hygge!
So, hygge, which is both a verb and an adjective, describes both a lifestyle and state of being where one derives pleasure from the simple things, enjoys a quiet life, spends quality time with loved ones and is, above all else, comfy.
Hygge is especially popular in the winter, when lighting a log fire, pulling on some woolly socks and warming up thick hot chocolate on the stove make for a very hyggelig (hygge-like) atmosphere, but many people don’t know that hygge can also be enjoyed in the summer!
Of course, you wouldn’t create a sense of hygge in the same way as you would in the colder months, but summer hygge can be just as nourishing for the soul as autumn and winter hygge, and so I put together a huge list of 37 summer hygge ideas to make life simply magical!
What are you waiting for? Grab a glass of wine (or some homemade lemonade) and get hygge, because it’s going to be a long one.
37 Summer Hygge Ideas to Make Life Magical
1. Have a picnic!
Picnics are the epitome of summer hygge and for good reason! Whether you go to a local park, get cosy in the garden or even have an indoor picnic at home, you won’t fail to feel hyggelig with a picnic!
To make your picnic extra hygge, arrange your food on proper wooden charcuterie boards and use stemless wine glasses for your wine (single use plastic cups are not hygge!), along with proper plates, if you can. It takes a little more effort but it makes the experience way more special, which is exactly what you are going for!
You can also take little tealights in glass beakers if you know you’ll be lounging until the sun goes down, and make sure to bring soft blankets to sit on.
Hygge food ideas include cold pasta salads, bean salads, fresh berries, hummus and tzatziki with carrot and cucumber sticks, and fresh tomato and onion salad. Don’t forget the sparkling wine!
You can read my post all about throwing an Italian aperitivo night if you need some inspiration for what to make!
2. Go for a walk
Even in the colder months, the Danes love getting out and spending time in nature, and in the summer they live for it!
Whatever your walking style, be it a hike in the mountains or a slow amble through the woods, one of the most hygge things to do in the summer is to get outside and enjoy a nice walk, either alone or with friends.
3. Make your own lemonade
Is there anything better on a hot summer’s day than an ice cool glass of homemade lemonade? Homemade lemonade is super easy to make, and the best bit about it is that it’s the perfect beverage to share with friends, making it even more hygge!
4. Switch out your bedsheets
One of the simplest but most effective summer hygge things to do is to switch out your winter bedding your summer sheets. Replace your fuzzy warm blankets with crisp linen sheets in lighter colours and enjoy both the added comfort and makeover that your hygge bedroom will experience!
Complete the look with a casual throw and some new hygge cushion covers!
Want to give your whole bedroom a hygge makeover? I wrote a post about that.
5. Treat yourself to a hammock
Be it indoor or outdoor, there’s something extra special about a hammock, and being able to lie in a hammock for hours on end, gently swinging, has got to be one of the ultimate summer hygge activities. This macramé hammock is simply stunning, or you could even get a hanging chair for either indoor or outdoor fun!
Use the time to get lost in a good book or enjoy an afternoon nap.
6. Find a sunny spot and read
The essence of hygge, whatever the season, is to remain in the present and find joy in the simple things.
In summer, one of the best ways to embrace hygge is by finding a sunny spot in your garden, on the porch or in nature somewhere, and getting comfy with a good book.
To get the most out of your experience, turn off your mobile phone and while away the afternoon between the pages of a great book, with some tasty snacks and a cool drink.
7. Make your own jam!
One way of making summer last forever is by making your own jam! Making homemade jam is a great way to use up those summer berries and make your toast taste so much better (and it is good for you, unlike store-bought jam, which is laden with artificial ingredients!).
When I was in volunteering at a winery in Albania, I indulged in Albanian pancakes with homemade jam almost every morning, and believe me when I tell you that it always got the day off to a great start!
Homemade food is so quintessentially hygge, and homemade jam is even more hygge because it makes the perfect gift for somebody too – and don’t forget that hygge is all about strengthening relationships and nurturing your bonds with loved ones.
If you are interested in preserving other types of foods, then you might want to check out Let’s Preserve It, a book with 579 recipes for preserving fruits and vegetables and making jams, jellies, chutneys, pickles and more.
8. Give your hygge home a summer makeover
While traditional hygge décor may be about woollen blankets, sheepskin rugs and dark autumnal colours, summer hygge calls for a bit of a revamp with your home interior.
Swap your wintery throws for lighter blankets and add pops of colour in the way of summery cushion covers. Add some succulent plants and bohemian wall hangings like this one to create a comfy vibe with a summer feel.
You can even experiment with Japandi interior design (Japan meets Scandi) if you want a bit of a sleeker look.
9. Let the fresh air in
The beauty of summer hygge is that the weather is warm, meaning that you can throw the doors and windows open and let the sunlight and fresh air stream in! Natural light is so important to our mental health, and when you combine that with fresh air and all of the gorgeous summer smells that come with it (freshly cut grass, summer BBQs!), a hygge home in the summer is not complete without sunlight and fresh air.
10. Enjoy brunch with friends
A social life is a hygge life and brunch (not the bottomless kind) is one of the most wholesome and hygge ways to start your day.
Stock up on scrumptious foods, strong coffee, plenty of OJ and create a beautiful brunch buffet (check out Brunch Life for ideas!) – bonus points if you sit outside in the sunshine!
11. Go camping
Camping is one of the most hygge things that you can do in the summertime. Grab a tent, get a group of friends together and go camping! Have fun telling stories and singing songs around a fire, drinking cold beers and waking up surrounded by nature.
While winter hygge may be all about freshly baked cookies and warm milk, summer is the perfect time to enhance your culinary skills with different types of sweet treats! Berry pavlova, lemon tart and almond cakes are just some of the yummy goodies that you can treat your loved ones to in the summertime (because remember, sharing food is super hygge!).
If you’re new to baking and don’t quite know where to begin, you can’t go wrong with Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, with over 250 classic baking recipes.
13. Bargain hunt at flea markets
I absolutely love flea markets, and they can be a really fun way to spend a Sunday morning with friends. Rummage through the racks to see who can discover the best bargains, or give yourselves a £10 limit and see who can nab the most goodies.
And always remember – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
14. Switch up your scented candles
Danes love candles, and for good reason – candles really add an extra layer of magic to your home, and if you use scented candles then even better!
However, summer is the time to ditch your pumpkin spice scents and make room for some lighter, airy notes. Try scents such as ocean breeze, beach cottage and coconut and pineapple to make your hygge home perfect for summer.
For some inspiration, check out my post about the best summer scents of 2021.
15. Always have fresh fruit on hand
While we’re on the topic of home, make sure you always have a bowl filled to the brim with fresh fruit in your kitchen. Berries, pineapples, bananas, apples, kiwis – you name it, it belongs in your kitchen!
Not only to they add that crucial splash of colour, but fruits are great for making smoothies, cakes, or to enjoy on their own as a mid-afternoon snack. Bonus points if you grow or pick your own!
16. Set up a reading corner in your home
One of the things that Danes love to do is to disconnect from technology and curl up with a good book. While you can do this anywhere, it is extra hygge if you dedicate a corner of your home to this exercise.
This can be a cosy armchair, a hanging chair, a window seat or a comfortable pile of cushions in the corner, and you can make it as cosy as you like! Make sure that it is in a space with plenty of natural light and have a couple of candles nearby, as well as a bowl of snacks such as chocolate truffles if you like to indulge while you read.
You can keep a pile of books here, and perhaps even a cute magazine rack as well. Just make sure it’s a no-phone zone!
17. Savour an iced coffee
One thing that ties all hygge-lovers together is a love of hot drinks. Steaming mugs of tea, creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, hot Vimto, mulled wine and hot cider with cinnamon are all staples of a hygge lifestyle.
Waking up to the smell of freshly-brewed hot coffee is one of life’s ultimate pleasures, but you may find yourself craving something a little cooler when the weather is hot.
Enter iced coffee.
You can still savour that delicious taste of coffee in the morning, without having to break a sweat! This becomes even more indulgent if you add whipped cream, syrup and chocolate sprinkles – oh my!
These caramel, white chocolate and mocha iced coffees are simply divine, or if you fancy making your own, check out this coffee cooler, which cools any drink in just one minute.
18. Rent a cabin
The Scandinavians love their cabins, not only in winter but in summer too!
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into nature is one of the most treasured Scandinavian traditions, and renting a cabin in the woods with your friends or family is sure to get you all feeling hyggelig.
I understand that not everybody can afford to indulge in expensive treats – and hygge shouldn’t mean getting yourself into debt or financial stress! However, there are plenty of ways to cut costs if you do fancy staying in a log cabin for a few days.
First, the more of you there are, the cheaper it becomes. If there are 6 of you sharing as opposed to 2, you can split the costs of accommodation and transport, and end up getting a much better deal. You can also use websites like Trivago to see who has the best deals, use the Honey Chrome extension which automatically finds promo codes across the web, and even try websites like TrustedHousesitters to stay in awesome places for free (you can read my guide to house sitting here)!
And lastly, remember – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy! Danes love super simple cabins, many of which don’t even have electricity of running water, so don’t be thinking that you have to splurge on a high-end option with all the bells and whistles.
19. Go to a food festival
Festivals aren’t just about music – my home city of Manchester has festivals dedicated to cheese, sausage & cider, vegan food, Halal food, chocolate and more, and this is by no means a phenomenon unique to Manchester!
From wine festivals in Italy to dumpling festivals in Beijing and even the infamous La Tomatina tomato-throwing festival in Spain, you will be sure to find something to tickle your pickle in the glorious world of food festivals!
20. Bring the outside in
Hygge is all about bringing the outside in, and a great way to freshen up your hygge home for summer is by adding some gorgeous natural accents.
Dried flowers, driftwood and pebbles are lovely additions to your living space, and whether you collect things yourself or buy online, your home will definitely thank you.
Sidenote: if you’re looking for a great place to buy house plants but don’t have much experience, I recommend using Patch Plants. They organise their plants by how they need to be cared for and provide tonnes of info about keeping your plants alive and thriving – they even have an ‘Unkillable’ selection for those of you who struggle!
21. Flowers, flowers and more flowers!
I was going to include this in the last point, but I felt like it deserved a point all of its own! Flowers, whether you buy a cheap bunch from the market or pick wild flowers on your woodland stroll, are the fastest way to add summer hygge to your house – fact!
Having fresh flowers in every room is one of the most simple yet powerful ways to brighten your mood, and they’re also a lovely thing to surprise your partner or roommate with!
22. Make your outside space hygge
If you’re lucky enough to have an outside space, be it in the form of a garden, terrace, balcony or front porch, transform it into a hygge haven!
Fairy lights, throw blankets, boho cushions and lanterns are simple yet effective additions to any outside space, and they make late nights talking under the stars even more special.
23. Embrace aperitivo
Make like an Italian and embrace the traditions of aperitivo and apericena. The former is a cocktail and light bite, designed to whet the palate for the evening meal, and the latter is a larger, buffer-style spread designed as both aperitif and main meal.
I wrote about both in way more detail here, but hosting an apericena evening in your garden is a great way to socialise, eat great food and drink good wine and cocktails. What’s not to love?
24. Shop at your local farmer’s market
Not only are you guaranteed to get the freshest and tastiest fruit and veg around, you will also reduce your carbon footprint (the food doesn’t have to be transported as far to get to you and is usually grown using methods that minimise the impact on the earth) and support your local farmers in the process!
Shopping at farmer’s markets is hygge because it is all about the experience, and rather than rushing around the supermarket like a headless chicken, buying out-of-season stock wrapped in layers of plastic, you can slow down, take in your surroundings and choose the ripest, juiciest goods you can find, safe in the knowledge that they are in season and ethically produced.
Read more about why you should shop at farmer’s markets here.
25. Have a bonfire
What could be more hygge than gathering around a campfire with your friends, toasting marshmallows, listening to music and having a great time? If you don’t have have a burn pit then you can always rent a spot at a local campsite! Or you can even make your own fire out in nature, as long as you are safe and stay within the confines of the law.
26. Enjoy cool cocktails in the sun
Summer is the perfect time for cocktails, and enjoying strawberry daquiris in the sun with your friends is the best way to while away an afternoon!
The best way to enjoy cocktails in the summer is actually by making your own! Stock up on yummy ingredients, grab a cocktail making set, put together a cocktail station in your home and get creating! If you don’t know where to start when it comes to the creation process, check out some of the recipes in The Essential Cocktail Book for inspiration.
Making cocktails is a super fun process to do with your friends, and you can even spice things up by introducing competitions and challenges!
Embrace the mild nights by going outside with a close friend or partner, lying down and watching the stars. This can not only be super relaxing and hygge, but you can learn so much about the stars and planets by observing them.
Try and find constellations and read the Collins Stargazing book to guide you along the way if you’re a beginner! You can even invest in a telescope if you really want to learn about our universe!
28. Eat fresh seafood
There’s something simply exquisite about grilling fresh seafood (try and avoid supermarket seafood and buy from your local fisherman where possible!) on the barbecue, paired with an ice cool glass of sparkling white wine. From mussels to octopus, king prawns to barracuda, barbecued seafood is one of life’s ultimate pleasures.
Serve with a colourful salad and hunks of thick crusty bread to complete the meal.
Taking time to meditate can be instrumental for your physical and mental health, and as hygge is all about mindfulness and appreciating every single moment, having the ability to manage your mind is essential.
Practice meditation first thing in the morning to get your day off to a great start, and if you have outside space, take yourself outside to do so!
30. Go fruit picking!
What could be more wholesome than taking country stroll and picking fruit (making sure you’re doing it legally and not stealing from anyone of course!).
Whenever I stayed at my auntie’s as a child, we’d go berry picking in the woods, and then come home and make scrumptious berry crumbles and other delicious delights – swinging my heavy basket as we made our way home always filled me with such happiness!
31. Dry your own tomatoes
When I was staying at a hostel in Sicily, I saw one of the volunteers on his hands and knees in the garden, carefully lining something up on a raised screen, and I couldn’t quite make out what he was doing, so I asked.
‘I’m making sun-dried tomatoes!‘ he said happily, showing me his basket of ripe and juicy tomatoes.
I’m not sure why, but this simple act struck me as one of the most wholesome things I’d ever seen, and I’ve been wanting to dry my own tomatoes ever since (even though, ironically, I’m not a huge fan of sun-dried tomatoes!).
The process is easy enough – just cut your tomatoes in half, lay them on a raised screen on some blocks in the sun (for circulation), sprinkle them with salt and leave them there! It should be noted that tomatoes need hot sun and dry air in order for this to work (it won’t work in humid climates!).
Homemade soup is about as hygge as it gets, and in winter there is nothing better than a pot bubbling away on the stove, filled with earthy vegetables and nourishing yumminess, just waiting to give you a hug from the inside.
However, who says you can only enjoy homemade soup in winter? Sure, you may not crave a hearty bean soup in the middle of August, but nobody said that soup had to be served hot!
Originating in Andalusia, Spain, gazpacho is a cold soup which is traditionally made of stale bread, tomato, cucumbers, onion, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water, and salt, and it is so refreshing on a hot summer’s day!
Serving gazpacho to your guests means that you can enjoy the hyggelig feeling associated with serving hearty soup in the winter, tweaked perfectly to suit the summertime!
33. Enjoy a glass of cool white wine as the sun sets
No, I’m not talking about getting black out drunk (you can do that too, but it just wouldn’t be very hygge of you). I’m talking about that point at the end of the day, when you’ve finished at work, the chores have been done, the baby is finally asleep, and you can take a moment for yourself.
Pour a glass of ice cool white wine, take it to your front porch or balcony, wrap yourself in a light blanket and just allow yourself to pause and breathe for a moment.
Savour the taste of the alcohol and enjoy its calming, warming effect on your body, without thinking about the million and one things on the agenda for tomorrow.
This, my friends, is hygge.
34. Host a BBQ
When I spent the summer in Tuscany, a Brazilian guy named Luis would host a weekly barbecue in his garden. Everybody from the town would sit on an assortment of mismatched chairs and rickety wooden benches and dig into the delicious food that he would serve, helped by the other guests.
Everybody would bring something, and so even though there were always at least 15 people there, the food was varied and plentiful, from juicy pork ribs and king prawns, to caprese salads, grilled artichokes, chicken wings, pasta salads, cold cuts and more. We drank from whatever was available, and when the Prosecco flutes ran out, we used mugs instead. Fabio would play his guitar in the corner while the rest of us ate until our buttons popped open, enjoyed good wine and chatted to our heart’s content.
If it wasn’t summer hygge, I don’t know what is.
35. Start a vegetable patch or herb garden
Growing your own fruit and veg is something I really want to do when I’m able to. There’s just something so wonderful about being able to grow your own food and know that it’s going to be delicious, sustainable, and good for you.
If you don’t have the space to grow your own vegetables, why not start with a herb garden? You can store them on a sunny windowsill or balcony, and watch them as they grow!
This article by Good Housekeeping walks you through everything you need to know about growing your own herb garden. When you’ve finished reading up on it, get yourself this little herb garden starter kit with 10 different seed varieties!
36. Go to craft fairs and village fêtes
You don’t have to live in the English countryside to be exposed to craft fairs, village fetes and local carnivals. Pretty much every small town in Europe will have their own variations of this, and it’s so lovely when everybody comes together to celebrate something, even if nobody quite knows what is being celebrated!
Buying unusual handcrafted gifts for friends and loved ones is always a lovely thing to do, and why not treat yourself as well?
37. Go to a beer garden after a long walk
There’s nothing quite like the first sip of ice cold beer after a long walk through the countryside, and enjoying the sun in a beer garden with friends makes it all more pleasurable. As an English lass through and through, it wouldn’t feel right ending a post like this without a nod to English pubs and our much loved beer gardens, which we flock to as soon as the temperature hits double digits!
37 Summer Hygge Ideas to Make Life Magical | Final Thoughts
So, that brings us to the end of my 37 summer hygge ideas! Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive – I’m sure that your mind is buzzing with a million and one other hygge activities that you could implement into your days, but I hope that I have at least given you some pointers on how to enjoy a hygge summer!
The essence of hygge is to be present and appreciate the simple things that come into your life, and I hope that with this list, I’ve given you a general idea of how to enjoy that hygge feeling even in the summer months, when woolly socks and hot chocolate are the last thing on our minds.
what do you think? will you add any of these summer hygge activities to your to-do list this summer? maybe you have some other ideas? let me know in the comments below! xoxo
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