A place where one can just get out without locking his/her house, without putting a lock in the cycle or even go out without switching off the car engine. Yes, that’s possible in Ærø [combination of Ær(maple) and Ø (island)] – a small Danish island, located in South of Funen Archipelago and only 30 kms long and 8 kms wide. It’s an island with three main towns – Marstal, Ærøskøbing & Søby, 14 villages, around 7000 inhabitants, hilly landscape, mostly farming land, friendly & honest people and free public (bus) transport (YES, that’s true!). It’s popularly called Ship In A Bottle Island. Yes, that famous souvenir which can be seen all over Copenhagen, resembles this island!
Frankly, we didn’t knew about this place until one of our cousin from India visited us back in May’14 and mentioned about this place. It has been in our minds since then!
We followed the Ærø Guide 2015 provided by visitaeroe.dk which had pretty much everything to make the trip complete.
There are three ferry routes to reach the island: Fynshav to Søby; Faaborg to Søby; and Svendborg to Ærøskøbing. We took the last route. We travelled to Svendborg from Odense with train, and reached Odense from Copenhagen by bus. The total journey time from Copenhagen to Ærøskøbing was 4 hr 45 mins (with a delay of 15 mins). This was the most economical route. The other route from Copenhagen is to take a train to Nyborg, then change to a bus to reach Svendborg to board a ferry to Ærø – but this was costing a lot more than above, with almost the same journey time!
The town of Ærøskøbing looked fabulous from the outset, with town harbour on left, famous bath houses on the right and town view with its narrow lanes and picturesque 18th-century houses in the centre. It was completely as we pictured in our mind.
Our accommodation was booked with Badehotel in Ærøskøbing, booked via Booking.com – basic hotel with shared bathroom facility in an old building and with nice breakfast, located very close to the harbour.
We were in the islands for 3 days and used the bus service to get around.
The first day in this Island was mostly windy & sometimes rainy, so we mainly strolled inside the town, taking snaps of everything that looked a bit different on streets with timbered framework. Lot of small multi coloured houses and each house with a unique door design. The most common walk of the town starts at harbour (there is a old cooking house at the left side of the harbour), then continuing onto Vestergade (the main street), Gyden (small street which houses Hammerichs Hus Museum), Brogade, the town square (Torvet) – with the church , Nørregade and Søndergade.
Came across a local bakery – H.E.Hansen, which had really nice collection of home made pastries, cheese and bread. We mainly focused on the sweet ones and tried couple of them – which really tasted fresh and were delicious.
Just besides our hotel, there was the Ærø historical museum, which has nice presentation of all old things.
The small bath houses lined up one after the other in a row on the other side of the town is not to be missed. Quite a view it was!
While strolling we figured out one of the places for dinner – Cafe Mumm, a small cosy place with great food and excellent service. They somehow messed up our dessert order, which they later made up by having it on the house – a great gesture!
Our second day started with heavy breakfast at our hotel and then taking the bus to the biggest town of the Island: Marstal. This charming town is around 30 minutes by bus from Ærøskøbing and the town centre has lot of stores, restaurants, cafés and a church. There are many narrow alleys and passages and the main lifeline of the town is fishing. Fisherman can be seen working all around the day with their blue/orange jersey. On the south of the town, there is a beach with many picturesque huts.
Before boarding the bus to next stop of the day (Søby), we tried Belgium Waffle at Cafe Vaffelhuset (Deepa searched for it and was curious to try this). It was good, but was too much for me after the heavy b’fast!
Søby is a small town on the north-western part of island and is also around 30 minutes by bus from Ærøskøbing. The town has a church & a windmill to see apart from the harbour with two lighthouses. This town is the quietest of all!
After visiting the two towns and eating our dinner at Ærøskøbing Røgeri, we still had few hours left before darkness and decided to visit Søbygård fortress. We had some great view of Vitsø and surrounding!
The last day on the island also started with heavy breakfast and then bus to Voderup to visit Voderup Klint (cliffs). The cliff is around 2 kms from the bus stop and a walk would be along the road with corn & wheat farms on either side. Voderup cliff is a national attraction, an outstanding landscape with 33 meter tall cliff, lush green and blue water scene – a delight for painters. And the sweet sound of Baltic sea can be heard hitting the stones!
From the cliff, we walked to Berninge, the longest village in Denmark. It was a nice long walk of around 5 kms through the farms.
The island has their own beer, known as Ærø and has 4-5 different variants. Make sure to try it out, as it tastes really nice. It’s available throughout the Island and can be purchased in supermarkets as well.
It was great and perfect three days in Ærø. An Island not popular among the travelers, but has got lot of potential to be on to-visit list of anyone.