Ærøskøbing is in itself an attraction and is often referred to as the Fairytale town.
A finely preserved town
Ærøskøbing is the best preserved eighteenth century town in Denmark, where some parts are actually more than 750 years old. Thanks to the total preservation orders that apply to many of the houses in the town and an ambitious conservation plan, Ærøskøbing stands almost as a dictionary definition of “idyll”, with its cobbled streets, climbing roses and small, well-preserved houses. Travel guides from both Denmark and abroad often refer to it as “the Fairytale Town”.
Take a stroll through its streets and admire the colours and details of all the houses – for instance, one of the doors was last painted in the 1700s, when it was treated with a mixture of ox blood and oil. Swing by Ærøskøbing Tourist Information near the harbour and pick up a leaflet detailing a short tour of the
town that will take you past many of the distinctive buildings.
A thriving town
In recent years, Ærøskøbing has experienced something of a renaissance and a veritable flood of entrepreneurship. As one example, Torvet (the marketplace), which was nothing more than a car park and a slowly wilting general store just ten years ago, has now become a thriving meeting point for the town, with cafés offering outdoor service, and blushing brides skipping up to have their photo taken in front of the old linden tree.
In the summer, you can follow the watchman on his evening rounds and feel the breath of history caress your skin. The guided tour of the town, through the streets lined with old houses, provides an excellent impression of life here in ages past, while the twilight really sets the scene in the Fairytale Town.
Every year, the town streets and alleys provide the setting for events such as the Christmas market in Ærøskøbing and Ærø Jazz Festival.
In the heart of the town you will find a library, a book store and a host of shops selling all kinds of local specialities and useful items for you and your home. If you pass through the marina, you will come to Vesterstrand, famous for its colourful Ærø beach huts and its wonderful sandy beach with shallow water to swim in. The town also has a hostel, guesthouses and hotels, as well as a variety of charming cafés and restaurants in authentic settings.
At Bøssehage, on the outskirts of Ærø, you will find a charming little jetty and beach, known locally as “Skidten”. The unflattering name (it means “the pooh” in English) comes from the fact that this was once the town dump, and the verdant flora on the site today are almost certainly attributable to the fertiliser from the numerous toilet pails that have been emptied here in ages past. Sit down on the bench out by the water and enjoy the view to Lilleø and Ommelshoved.
A prizewinning town
In 2002, Ærøskøbing was awarded the prestigious Europa Nostra Award for its work to preserve European cultural heritage. In 2013, the town was also presented with Det Brune Johanneskors, which is a Danish national award introduced by the Danish Nature Agency, the Danish Agency for Cultural
Heritage and the VisitDenmark organisation. This prestigious award is given to sights and attractions of national significance, and of the 200 or so Danish sights included, two are on Ærø: Ærøskøbing itself and Voderup Klint.