Ærø is one of the most picturesque places I have been so far in Denmark. It is a small island with beautiful old houses – some even from the 17-18th century! Nature is gorgeous, and its great spot for biking and hiking.
It is also a super popular wedding destination 🙂
How to get there
There are ferry services from a couple of places in Denmark departing almost every hour:
- Svendborg, Fyn – Ærøskøbing, Ærø – https://aeroe-ferry.dk/da/
- Faaborg, Fyn – Søby, Ærø – https://aeroe-ferry.dk/da/
- Fynshav, Jylland – Søby, Ærø – https://aeroe-ferry.dk/da/
- Rudkøbing, Langeland – Marstal, Ærø – https://www.aeroexpressen.dk/en/
It is possible to take a car on the ferry, though sometimes you might need to book it in advance (for example, during COVID or busy season).
There are gas stations on the island although they look like from an old movie! 😀 Worry not, you still can pay with credit card 🙂
I would, however, recommend tanking up before reaching the island. Gas is more expensive there; for example, on the mainland 95′ was for 9.09kr, but on the island, it was 9.49 and in one place 10.45!
If you are not as lazy as me, you can also explore Ærø by bike. There are bike rental shops in Ærøskøbing, Marstal, and Søby.
There are also a couple of hiking trails going through the island – totally recommend northern coast trail ‘Øhavsstien’ from Ærøskøbing to Søby.
There is also a free bus service going between the cities, so having a car is not a must 🙂
Where to stay
There are a lot of accommodations and small B&B around the island. However, due to Corona, everything has been closed. So we have decided to camp in nature.
Even though Denmark does not have Allemansrätten (the freedom to roam) like Sweden or Norway, where you can pitch a tent anywhere, there are still many campsites all around Denmark to choose from.
We were amazed by how well prepared they are; even the simplest one had a fully working toilet with toilet paper, disinfectant, and water!
We haven’t tried that many yet, but we liked those we tried so far! There is nothing better than waking up on a sunny day among the field of flowers next to picturesque cliffs
Check out this website to find one nearest campsite to the place you would like to go to: https://udinaturen.dk/
What to do
We visited Ærø during corona lockdown, so we had to skip all the museums, kroer – inns, and restaurants. There were literally only two restaurants that offered takeaway pizza on the whole island 🙂
But Ærø is also nature and beautiful views, so we didn’t feel like we lost that much 🙂
The town of Ærøskøbing lies on the north side of the island. It has brightly painted houses and cobbled streets. It is one of the few towns in Denmark that still looks as planned as it did when it was founded in the Middle Ages.
Founded around 1250, the town is believed to have been granted city right around the end of the 1400s, when it was named Köbing. As it was the only market town on the island, so it became Ærøskøbing.
There are many old houses in the city, and the oldest ones date back to 1645!
So take a stroll among tiny, hygge streets, check out how small the doors to the houses used to be! If you are going to visit after COVID is over, check out many cute stores and cafes.
When I was preparing to visit the island, a lot of websites mentioned a couple of places worth visiting:
- Den Gamle Købmandsgaard on the town square – a little shop selling local and specialty products like handmade soap, locally brewed whiskey, local art.
- Ærø Whiskey Destilleri on the town square – a shop that produces and sells their whiskey, organizes tasting tours around their distillery.
- Ærøskøbing Røgeri by the harbor – Small shop that sells smoked fish. You can eat it outside or take it home. I have read so many good reviews, so we really hoped it would be open ;( Oh, well.
- Cafe Aroma by the harbor – is home to local Liquorice mini-factory.
Some shops were closed, some were open, though they had limits on people, and we couldn’t sit and chill, so we decided we would go there next time 🙂 Stupid #Corona!
Marstal is the island’s biggest city. Even though it is not as beautiful as Ærøskøbing, it is still worth a visit. The city has a long maritime history, and it might be worth visiting the Marstal Maritime Museum for more insight 🙂
One of the symbols of Ærø are tiny beach houses. There are two places where you can encounter them: at Erikshale in Marstal and Vesterstrand in Ærøskøbing.
They are so cute! It is impossible to buy them, you can only rent them indefinitely and are not allowed to install water or electricity. Everything shall stay as it was – only moderate improvements are allowed.
But that gives them the charm. Sunny sandy beach, clear blue water, and a tiny little hut. Anything more perfect?
Kragnæs Jættestue Passage Grave
The Passage grave is from the younger Stone Age (about 3200 BC). The height is 17 m in diameter and 2.5 m high. In the chamber, there are 15 berries and five overlays – some weighing around 10 tons!
You can’t access inside as in the summer of 2018; the entrance was blocked for safety reasons.
Sankt Alberts Kirke
You can only see the traces of St. Albert’s church, which was initially a Viking fortification, dated around the year 1000. Around the 13th century, the small church was erected on the site. After Reformation in 1536, the church was closed and eventually demolished.
Half a hundred graves have been uncovered around the church, many of which were kids graves. Archeologists also found a large number of coins dating the mid-1300s until the Reformation.
One of the coolest places on the island was Voderup Klint. It is 33 meters high and several kilometers long. Cliffs were formed by earth slides caused by the cliff’s particular composition of blue-green cyprine clay.
The cliffs of Vorderup Klint were appointed as National Landmark in 2014, but have been a protected area since 1957.
There is a fantastic camping spot next to the cliffs, so you can plan to see the sunset with cliffs in the background 🙂
Søbygaard is a manor house near Søby, built in 1580 as a hunting castle by Duke Hans the Younger of Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderborg. The main building and the barn were erected on two independent castle banks connected by a bridge. The moat was drained in the 1770s and cultivated.
Although Søbygaard has been protected for several years, lack of use and failing maintenance has endangered the castle and buildings. In 1991, the self-owned institution Søbygård bought the main building for restoration. It has since undergone significant renovations. Today, Søbygaard is used for different exhibitions and concerts.
It is a beautiful lighthouse from 1881 at the tip of Ærø. It gives views of the golf courses and the coastline from its top.
It is possible to drive right to the tower and climb to the top. The golf club asks not to walk on the golf grass. But except that, it is possible to walk around 🙂
While driving through the island, many houses sell some local products, antiques. Many are some art galleries or inns. I encourage you to explore 🙂 We weren’t able to check out that many, unfortunately, again #corona ;(
- Sæberiet – to buy ecological soaps made with herbs and flowers from the owner’s garden.
- Rise Bryggeri – to check out local brewery’s on-site shop, and sample versions of their beer sold only on the island.
- Cigars– you can also get a hand-rolled cigar in Rise Bryggeri, made from tobacco grown in the fields behind the brewery.
- Ærø Golf Klub – check it out if you are a golf fan. The golf area surrounded by the sea with a beautiful lighthouse.
- And all the other tiny stalls, shops and galleries around 🙂
But Ærø is so much more than what I have described. It is beautiful so I encourage you to just go and explore 🙂