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Welcome to Ærø

Ærø is one of the islands in the South of Funen Archipelago, and has just under 7000 residents. There are three towns: Marstal, Ærøskøbing and Søby.  Ærø is home to a lively, dynamic community that lives mainly on shipping,  shipbuilding, farming and education. Visitors to Ærø are able to see at  close quarters the activities centred on new and old ships in the harbours,  sustainable energy installations, and the island farms with fertile soil and cattle in the pastures. The island countryside is perfect for active holidays. Tourists are welcome to enjoy the network of cycling routes and a newly established walking trail that guides hikers through beautiful countryside to the island’s main cultural attractions. There are plenty of opportunities for anglers along the beaches too. The newly laid out golf course at the western tip of the island is surrounded by sea on three sides, and considered to be the most beautifully situated golf course in Denmark. The sea around Ærø is ideal for guests interested in sea sports, whether they prefer rowing or sailing. The only way to get to Ærø, like all real islands, is to sail. But no matter which of the four possible routes one chooses, it is a pleasant crossing. Passing the scattered islands in the archipelago, flocks of birds and perhaps even a porpoise make it an unforgettable trip. Ærø with its beaches, museums, historic towns and fascinating harbours, and the quiet natural beauty of its countryside attract many visitors from Denmark and abroad. Often they come back year after year, especially the sailors who visit the harbours. The historic places of interest, people in business and the islanders in general want our guests to enjoy visiting us. A large part of the enjoyment comes from knowing about the place you visit. The Guide to Ærø will tell you about the island and provide useful information about what goes on here. On behalf of the island residents I would like to invite you and your family to visit us if you have never done so before. And to those who have arrived on Ærø, I extend a warm welcome and wish you an interesting and enjoyable visit to our beautiful island.


Best wishes

Karsten Landro, Mayor


Living on Ærø

Nature in Ærø is unique. The combination of soft beach lines towards the inner waters south of Funen and the rather more rough coast lines towards the Baltic is unsurpassed – nature has a new opening every day.


Climate

Danes call the South of Funen Archipelago the South Sea Islands, and not without reason. The climate here is remarkably mild. Ærø is one of the places in Denmark with the highest number of hours of sunshine in the year. In fact it is not unusual on Ærø to find plants in people’s gardens that normally would not be able to survive in Denmark. Anyone going for a walk, for instance along the Molestien in Ærøskøbing, will certainly be able to see tropical plants and flowers growing in gardens round the town, and observe that even normal garden plants grow extra large and flourish unusually well.


Spring

Spring comes very suddenly to Ærø. The flowers seem to explode into bloom and the island breaks out into a colourful symphony of blossoming bushes and fruit trees between green fields and surrounded by the blue sea. The island seems to wake out of hibernation. Shops, cafés and restaurants open for the season as the first yachts and wooden tall ships sail into the harbours.



Summer

Summer is naturally the liveliest season. Hollyhocks add colour to the old houses. It is festival time, so the towns and harbours hum with people and music. Galleries and farm shops open, and cyclists can be seen everywhere exploring the island on two wheels. The bathing huts are always occupied, and the beaches are full of life. Yet Ærø would not be Ærø if it was not always possible to find a peaceful nook somewhere on the island, and the many visitors do not really disturb its characteristic calm.


Autumn

At the end of September, Ærø becomes quiet again. Often it is still possible to enjoy warm days in the garden and even go for a dip in the sea. The leaves change colour and fruit hangs heavily on the apple trees. The countryside seems to urge you to take long walks through fields and by the sea, and the whole island seems to ease up as everyone relaxes!



Winter

Surrounded by sea that has warmed up through the summer, winter comes very late. The towns are decorated for Christmas and there are Christmas markets everywhere, as well as concerts and other festive activities. The streets are alive again, and people meet to drink ‘gløgg’ or Christmas punch, eat waffles, do their shopping and enjoy the Christmas lights that make Ærø extra special.


The Ærø Flag

Of course Ærø has its own flag! The flag originates from Duke Christian, who was the governor of Ærø between 1622 and 1633. The upper yellow and the lower red colours represented the Duke; the green in the middle is the symbol of Ærø, the green island. The original flag was made of kartek (a thick woollen material) measuring 120 by 117 inches, or 2.83 by 2.75 metres.



The antiquity of Ærø

Relics of antiquity are found all over the island. Burial mounds, passage graves, and dolmens bear witness of human activity through more than 10,000 years In the new history, especially the period of the duchies is of interest. During this period – from the 14th century to the year 1864 – Ærø was united and separated, alternately, in a number of enclaves. Ærø was outside the tariff wall of the Kingdom, leading to flourishing smuggling which was the way of living for many of Ærø’s inhabitants. In 1750 Ærø was united, and has not ever since been separated. This is marked by the memorial stone at Olde mill. At the union, the old Jutland Law from 1241 was applied and even today some of those rules are still valid. In recent history, the fight for survival as an outskirt area is the most important element. The solidarity between the inhabitants of Ærø was clearly shown in the year 2000, as a movement among the inhabitants saved Marstal Maritime School from closing down.