On June 26, 2018, we left Odense on the 30-minute train ride to Svendborg, then took the 1.5-hour ferry ride to the quiet island of Ærø and its main town, Ærøskøbing, for three relaxing nights. The town is known to be the best-preserved medieval town in Denmark – some of the buildings date back to the 1600s; many are from the 1700s. Key sights in town are walkable, and the 22-mile x 6-mile island is a delight on a bike.

A place to stay

We stayed in the hotel På Torvet (“On the Square”) hotel/café/boutique and will definitely stay there again. They call the 10 bright rooms “apartments,” but I wouldn’t – the only things apartment-like are that the rooms have good-size fridges, and don’t get cleaned during your stay, which didn’t bother us at all. It was so nice to enjoy our included breakfasts outside on the square in the morning, and have a good Ærø beer (the organic Valnød – walnut – was my favorite) in the square in the afternoon. I’ll update this post with the price at a later date.


  • Rick Steves offers a lovely self-guided Ærøskøbing walk in his Scandinavia guidebook.
  • He also offers a “Beach Bungalow Sunset Stroll” — more on that in another post.
  • On our second night we took the Night Watchman’s walking tour. Meeting point is the main square at 9:00 pm (check with your hotelier or the TI about dates and times). 30DKK per person ($5 USD. So quaint.)


  • Delicious dinners in Restaurant Mumm’s garden terrace two of the nights
  • On the third night, we strolled to the harbor for a fish dinner (lightly smoked salmon and pickled herring) on picnic tables at Ærøskøbing Rogeri.
  • There weren’t many restaurants open for dinner when we were there – I’ll bet that more open in July.

We spent our two full days on bikes exploring the island – more on that in a later post.

Traveling to and from Ærø, and Transfers

Be super speedy in Svendborg, both walking to the Ærø ferry, and coming back from Ærø to Svendborg to the train!

To Ærø:

  • From the Svendborg train station – follow Rick Steves’ guidebook:
  • Again, go fast! Exit the train in Svendborg immediately to the left – don’t go into the station.
  • Take the next left across the train tracks, onto the street named Brogade.
  • Walk on Brogade down the hill one block, then take a right along the harbor. Ferry dock will be on your left, Hotel Ærø will be on your right. The lane that pedestrians should use to board the ferry is well marked – it’s to the left of the car lanes. Staff are very helpful.

Returning from Ærø to Svendborg

Retrace your steps. Again, it’s a very tight connection. Walk straight from the ferry with Hotel Ærø on your left – walk to Brogade St., take a left on Brogade St., walk one block, then take a right to the train, which will probably be sitting there. Check to make sure the train says Odense (which it should) and hop right on the train. We didn’t buy tickets in advance.

Ferry Payment: Crew should come around to take payment via chip card or cash on your ferry voyage (but on both of our ferry rides, they didn’t.). No need to buy tickets in advance (which is a good thing – you’ll be rushing to the ferry from the Svendborg train station  – no time to buy ferry tickets at the station.)

Train Tickets: I don’t know if you can buy train tickets on the train, so if you don’t buy your train ticket in advance, you’ll be risking a 700DKK fine coming back from Ærø. (For what it’s worth, no one came to check our tickets on either train ride between Odense and Svendborg.)

If you’re driving, be sure to book you and your car in advance.



  • The top left photo is from the ferry, leaving Svendborg towards Ærø.
  • The two buildings with pointy roofs (red building in the center, and yellow in lower right) date back to 1640 and 1695 respectively. The red one is the oldest on the island.
  • Bottom left photo is Ærø’s main square, with café tables and our hotel in the left of the photo.