Copenhagen. The first, and often only, thing mentioned when Denmark is brought up as a travel destination. But like most other countries, Denmark is so much more than its proud capital city. This Nordic country might be smaller than its big brothers further north, but being largely based on islands it means it is “bigger than its body”, offering thousands of kilometres of coastline and beaches. In fact there is said to be about 10.000 islands in Denmark – not including the Faeroe Islands and Greenland, that are both a part of the Danish kingdom.
Some islands are large enough to not really feel like islands at all – but there are so many smaller ones to explore, that most Danes haven’t even been visiting themselves. So where do you start? The answer is Ærø – which withouth Danish letters transforms to the easier pronounced Aeroe. An island in the South Funen Archipelago, not far from the North of Germany, and connected by car-carrying ferries from Svendborg and Faaborg on the larger island of Funen, and from Fynshav in the southern part of Jutland.
Why exactly Ærø you may ask? And the answer is simple. Because this 88 km2 island is extremely photogenic and picturesque, and acts like an all-you-can shoot buffet for any trigger-hungry photographer. After all it’s one of Denmark’s most romantic islands, and is therefore also a very popular wedding-destination – with its capital Ærøskøbing known as the best kept 17th century town Denmark has to offer.
A highly charming capital clad in colours and cobbled streets, and packed with exciting details to go hunting with your camera. Not at least on a sunny summer’s day, when the ice cream shops draw long queues across the idylic squares – and visitors enjoy their smoked fish dishes at tables outside. Another unique Ærø speciality is the neatly decorated doors and frames, which are like art individual art pieces, and make for a nice collection of photos on a walk around town.
Colourful beach huts
Not far from the town centre of Ærøskøbing a string of multi-coloured beach huts will attract further attention, and they will beg for you to photograph them, just a stone’s throw from the ocean. So will the beach huts and houses at Erik’s Hale (Erik’s Tail) near the cosy town centre of Marstal. Including the iconic red and green hut with the thatched roof – known to be used on guidebook covers. Marstal is the second most populous town on the island, located on the eastern tip. A favourite with visitors arriving by sail boat, and a place where you can learn more about the island’s maritime history at the local museum.
Travelling to the other end of the island you will come across the 16th century manor Søbygaard, which is another photogenic highlight – reflecting its tiled roof in the moat, while being surrounded by some of the island’s most scenic nature. A nature worth exploring by car or bike, but if you depend on public transport you will be delighted to know that all busses are free on the island.
Photos and text by Brian Schæfer Dreyer / travelooneyblog.com