Ærø is perhaps Denmark’s most idyllic island. With around 6000 inhabitants, it is connected only by ferry. Located in the Baltic Sea, the island is one of the 55 islands and islets that make up the unique, natural area known as the South Funen archipelago. The beautiful countryside is characterized by gentle, sloping hills, green cornfields and marshland, and a rich flora and wildlife. With its low car traffic, it is a popular destination for hiking and cycling. Ærø also has a number of picture-perfect old towns, rich with history and well-preserved buildings. Along with the many kilometers of sandy beaches, and a wide variety of locally sourced culinary experiences Ærø is one of Denmark’s prime island destinations.
Ærøskøbing is the island’s idyllic capital, also known as “the fairytale town”. The town dates back to 1250 and is the country’s best preserved town from the middle ages. Narrow alleys and cobblestone streets are lined with small, half-timbered houses covered in hollyhock. In recent years, Ærøskøbing has become somewhat of a wedding destination. Mixed-nationality and same-sex couples facing difficult document issues have been coming to Ærøskøbing for a fairytale wedding in the picturesque surroundings.
The “skipper village”, or sailor town of Marstal is today the island’s commercial center. It carries a long maritime history and is still home to shipping companies and internationally renowned for shipbuilding. Near the harbor, the maritime history of Denmark from the 1600s until today can be explored at the Marstal Maritime Museum. Since the popular, Danish author Carsten Jensen wrote “We, the Drowned” in 2006, the town has been rediscovered among Danes, and has become a literary travel destination.