Bridging the water between Zealand and Jutland is the island of Funen, known as the “Danish Garden Island”, with the buzzing cultural center of Odense at its heart. Read more about the Danish Garden Island.
Funen is Denmark’s third-largest island and is often overshadowed by the diverse islands of Jutland and Zealand. But devote some time to explore its hidden corners and you’ll be surprised by this little island’s abundance of cultural sites and natural beauties.
Funen is linked to Zealand by the mighty Store Bælt bridge and to Jutland by the Little Bælt bridge, and the E20 runs straight across the island.
Go beyond the birthplace of legendary author Hans Christian Andersen in Odense and explore Denmark’s green heartbeat. Funen is covered in gardens, woods, parks and connected to its own archipelago. It’s nearly impossible not to see a castle on Funen, an island full of unique attractions too like bridge-walking! This is the only bridge-walking outside Sydney!
However, when visiting Funen, you should visit Andersen’s childhood home in Odense and roam around the house where he spent 14 years of his life. Here you will find drawings and personal letters written by the author himself from an early age.
Odense is like a miniature of the country’s largest cities, Copenhagen and Aarhus. But aside from the size, this scenic city lacks nothing compared to the other two. It boasts a strong culinary scene, a vivid nightlife enhanced by the city’s numerous students and a wide range of boutiques. Not to mention, the city’s cultural agenda is full of events all year round.
However, Odense is not the only town worth a visit in Funen. Every town on the island has its own personality and atmosphere. Some are known for their long coasts and beautiful landscapes while others for their cultural sites and scenic neighborhoods with the cobblestone streets and vibrant markets. Nyborg, one of Denmark’s oldest towns, Svendborg and Kerteminde at the north of the island are all scenic towns worth a place on your bucket list.
South Funen and the island archipelago are a paradise for anglers and yachtsmen. Ærø island is part of the South Funen Archipelago.
There are 123 castles and manors on Funen Island. You should spend a fun-filled day at Egeskov Castle, which is no ordinary castle. It’s a destination all on its own, packed with outdoor activities, exhibitions and festivals (such as the popular Heartland music festival) throughout the year. Plus, the Egeskov Castle Garden was recently named the best in Denmark. It’s not a bad backdrop for a picnic!
However, the most satisfying way to appreciate Funen’s finer aspects is slowly by the power of your pedaling feet. Here the hundreds of kilometers of marked routes, allowing you to lean your bike beside one of the little whitewashed churches to take a look inside, and inhale the scent of the wild flowers that lie beneath roadside rose hedges.
The Danish Garden Island, written by Tor Kjolberg