A sleepy little island on the southern edge of Denmark called Ærø is one of Europe’s most popular romantic destination for weddings and honeymoons. Learn more about Denmark’s love island.
Ærø measures roughly 20 km from northwest to southeast and varies in width from around 4 to 8 km. There are three small towns on the island. in 2020, the largest is Marstal with a population of 2,111. Ærøskøbing has 942 inhabitants and Søby 438. Fourteen villages and a number of farms complete the island’s pattern of settlement.
Lovers from all over the world
The island consists of approximately 7,000 residents, 350 deer, no crosswalks, seven pastors, three police officers – and a pervasive passion for the environment. Ærø has one of the world’s largest solar power plants.
Lovers from all over the world flock to this tiny Danish island every year to get married, and the place is Ærøskøbing, a most romantic town most people never has heard about.
Ærøskøbing, with its narrow lanes and picturesque 18th-century houses was historically Ærø’s chief town, and remains the primary port for ferry connections. Marstal, also known as the “skipper village”, from its being the home of so many sailors and captains, is the island’s largest town today and is its principal commercial and shopping center.
Ærøskøbing plays host to loved-up tourists year-round, but particularly in summer when its dainty shores give way to blue horizons where Skjoldnæs Lighthouse twinkles from the northern tip of the island and the ferries chug the calm, one-hour journey to mainland Svendborg.
Colorful houses set the scene for ceremonies and rituals while smooth, moss-covered rocks peep through the water’s surface out across the waves. There is a several kilometer long stretch of 33 meter-high cliffs at Voderup Klint on the west coast. Ærø is a popular destination for hikers and bikers, and the beaches attracts anglers and artists.
Picturesque Ærøskøbing is also often called the “fairytale town” with its artisanal grocery shops and boutiques alongside pubs with roaring hearths, ark-wood dining rooms, whitewashed walls and tall taper candles. You’ll also find design-conscious boutique hotels and untouched 70s gas stations. I think best of all, there are no chain stores here!
Romantic and old-fashioned
The post office dates to 1749 and each evening in the dark season cast-iron gaslights create a feeling of being set centuries back in time. Ærø is also favored by particularly fine weather. It enjoys a higher number of sunshine hours than the average for the rest of Denmark, and the year-round temperature is also a few degrees above the national average.
Typical for Ærø are also the many U-shaped farmhouses. The three sides block the wind to create a sheltered little courtyard. Near the center of the island, at Olde Mølle, one of Denmark’s sculptor’s, Erik Brandt, has created a “peace bench” which should invite people to think about world peace while looking over the island and the sea.
While on Ærø, don’t miss the gingerbread-like house in which you find the Arnfeldt Hotel & Restaurant, run by Copenhagen transplants Katrine and Morten Arnfeldt. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is enhanced by stark white walls softened by blush-pink, powder-blue and taupe fabrics, not to mention Arne Jacobsen swan chairs, tapestries and lamps. The hotel’s rooms are situated up creaky wooden stairs. In this darling little hotel you can stay overnight in the heart of it all and embrace the concept of slow living.
Just a ferry ride from the “real world”
Throughout the island you’ll notice the century old churches. But for lovers coming to the island to get married they have probably arranged it all through Louise Badino Moloney’s wedding-planning agency Danish Island Weddings established in 2008. On her webside you can read:
“Denmark is the easiest place in Europe to get married – and Ærø island is without a doubt the most charming!
Only a one hour ferry ride from the “real world”, it is the perfect getaway with its gentle rolling countryside, the historic town of Ærøskøbing, and spectacular sea views in every direction.
We are honoured to have helped nearly 2900 couples from 177 different countries get married in Denmark».
On Ærø, small is beautiful, sustainability just common sense – and love is in the air.
Denmark’s Love Island, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Photo: Married in Denmark