Finding Ærøskøbing was like discovering a light tower in the middle of the night at sea. Amidst our constant search until we found Denmark, we felt right away that Ærøskøbing is the perfect place for us to get married. I got swooned right away upon knowing that this hidden island is dubbed as Denmark’s fairytale town.
Indeed, Ærøskøbing is one hidden beauty in the Danish Baltic Sea.
Its idyllic charm is accentuated by narrow cobblestone lanes and picturesque houses dating back from the 17th century, along with historical establishments that speak about its commercial and maritime progress in the past. Ærøskøbing seems to be a “town-in-a-bottle.” It is a quaint, peaceful place that would make you feel the time stops for you while its natural, rustic, unassuming beauty continues to flow around.
We are very pleased that we found Ærøskøbing. A precious island far away we can call our own, where my husband and I made our vows to go on a life journey together as one…surely, Ærøskøbing is a magical place that is forever special in our hearts.
Let me share with you this special journey of ours to this mesmerizing Danish island, along with some practical tips and advice that’d make your stay in Ærøskøbing more memorable.
The Trip to Ærø Island
After our sightseeing tour around Copenhagen, we packed our bags again, picked up the car we rented and traveled on the road to our next destination. We were heading to one of over 400 islands in Denmark, and that excludes the Faroe islands and Greenland. As a matter of fact, only about 70 of them are populated. Even more, their numbers change over time, as new islands form while a few also permanently disappear.
Zealand is the largest and most populated island in Denmark with a population of 2.5 million, representing 45% of the country’s total population. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is partly shared with another island of Amager.
Located at the South Funen archipelago, Ærø is the only Danish Baltic Sea island that is not connected with a bridge.
Hence, the easiest way to get to this island is by taking a ferry boat. That’s just what we exactly did.
We drove through midway of Zealand to reach the other side for over an hour. By the time we passed by Kørsør, we found ourselves in front of the longest (and largest) suspension bridge I’ve ever seen in my entire life!
Apparently, the Great Belt Bridge is indeed the longest in Europe, and third in the world.
From Zealand, we were able to reach Funen island in just 10 minutes. It was a beautiful road trip in this island actually, since Funen is called as Denmark’s garden island. Odense, the largest city in Funen, is actually the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen.
One more hour to go, we drove further until we reached Funen’s second largest city, Svendbørg. From here, we took our ferry that would take us to Ærøskøbing.
There are actually three ways to reach Ærø island.
One is taking it from Svendbørg to arrive in Ærøskøbing. And the other two is arriving in Søby by taking the ferry either at Faabørg or Fynshav. We actually thought of taking Fynshav – Søby route at first, so we can also visit German cities like Hamburg. But since I’ve never been to Copenhagen either and taking the ferry via Svendbørg can already send us to Ærøskøbing right away, we chose the latter. After a 2-hour boat ride, we finally arrived to our destination.
Located at the western part of Ærø island, Ærøskøbing is used to be an independent municipality in Funen county. Not until in 2006, together with Marstal in the east, Ærøskøbing is now a commune belonging to Ærø municipality. With its narrow lanes and picturesque 18th-century houses, Ærøskøbing was historically Ærø’s main town, yet remains the primary port for ferry connections.
Ærø comes from Danish words aer (maple) and ø (island).
Known as the “skipper village” from its being the home of so many sailors and captains, Marstal on the other hand, is the island’s largest town today and is its principal commercial and shopping center.
Luckily we thought of bringing the car along to the island, instead of leaving it to the other port where we had left for the boat ride. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the chance to visit other towns outside of Ærøskøbing.
Our visits to Voderup Klint cliffs and the iconic beach huts at Eriks Hale were amongst my favorites.
A beach hut is not just a typical one on this Danish island. It’s a gathering place for families, traditions and good times.
Do you know that the oldest hut here is nearly a hundred years old?
Our visit to the Maritime museum in Marstal was likewise very interesting. Given that this museum is relatively a miniature, I’m surprised to see ourselves apparently spending longer here than I expected.
About Marstal Maritime Museum
After the wedding, we decided to visit Marstal in the afternoon.
Founded in the 16th century, Marstal is a shipping town with a long maritime history and a strong international reputation for shipbuilding.
Its vessels have sailed continents over centuries, and up to now it is still the home port for a considerable number of coasters. Its dockyards, shipping companies and maritime schools definitely show that shipping is the town’s economic focus and way of life.
We chose to visit the Marstal Sofartsmuseum (Maritime museum) so we can fully understand the island’s shipping history and more. I find this visit a bit more personal as well.
It was a moment for reminiscing how I grew up in a family as similar as with families in Marstal in the olden times; with sailors and captains sacrificing their time and moments with their wives and children and leaving their homeland to navigate the seas.
It was indeed a deeper look into the different lives of these early seafarers in the midst of the sea and of their families left behind, along with this humble town of Marstal and the well-known Danish maritime industry evolving through hundreds of years.
I look forward to visiting Ærø island again and explore more of it, and by that time perhaps, we’ve got more stories to tell our little ones!
WHAT’S YOUR STORY ?
Have you heard about these islands in Denmark? Which islands would you like to visit someday?
If you have been to any of these islands apart from Aero, what are some other things to do that you can recommend?