The Funen Village and Odense Zoo
Visitors to Odense can drift upstream in a small riverboat to the Funen Village open-air museum that recreates village life of Andersen’s day. Costumed interpretive staff bring the farms, mills and workshops to life. The village also has an inn, Sortebro Kro, (accessible all year) serving gourmet Nordic-inspired cuisine and reimagined Danish classics. Travelling upstream, you pass Odense Zoo, which was hailed as Best Zoo in Europe in 2013.
Shopping and dining
Odense is a historic mill town with winding alleys with boutique shopping, such as Vintapperstræde and the area around the arts centre, Brandts. Here you’ll find design stores and eateries in the heritage townhouses and former mills. Among the fine restaurants in the heart of the city’s alleyways is Restaurant Pasfall.
The 450-year-old moated Egeskov Castle features a fairytale parkland with mazes and rose gardens. There are also whimsical collections of automobiles and oddities. Festivities, concerts and family activities make the castle, located just south of Odense, a popular family attraction.
One of Funen’s many historic seaside towns, Nyborg is an easy daytrip from Copenhagen. The medieval festival and one of the island’s most romantic Christmas markets make the town with its cobbled streets and its 700-year-old castle a romantic destination. The town also has sandy beaches and is home to one of Funen’s finest restaurants, Lieffroy.
The 350-year-old Valdemar Castle and the picture-postcard village of Troense with its 17th century thatched seamen’s houses are among the top attractions of the southern town of Svendborg. To experience the archipelago, the town’s maritime centre offers daytrips on vintage schooners.
The Funen Archipelago
There are islands of all sizes in the South Funen Archipelago, most of which are either connected by ferry service or reachable by bridge. One of the popular islands is Ærø with its rolling farmland and sandy beaches. Here you also find one of Denmark’s best-preserved heritage towns, Ærøskøbing. There are ferry connections to Ærø from the towns of Svendborg and Fåborg. Strynø, one of the smaller islands in the archipelago, is a perfect off-the-beaten-track experience. At the local maritime centre, Smakkecentret, visitors can enjoy daytrips on board the traditional old sailing dinghies of the region. And there are seal-watching trips.
The historic coastal town of Fåborg is surrounded by rolling woodlands. A small fishing harbour close to Fåborg is also famed for its gourmet inn, Falsled Kro. Fåbrog has a newly developed harbourfront with restaurants and holiday homes. And the coastal road from Fåborg to Svendborg is a scenic route with thatched villages and farmland.
A new addition to CLAY, Museum of Ceramic Art in Denmark, cuts into the hillside by the shore in the town of Middelfart. The new extension has made CLAY Scandinavia’s largest museum dedicated to ceramic and porcelain. The entire heritage collection of the Royal Danish Porcelain Factory (today called Royal Copenhagen) has found a home here. The town of Middelfart also offers the chance to go bridge-walking on guided tours atop the old railway bridge to Jutland (the Little Belt Bridge) – 60 meters above sea level. You can also join sailing trips and go porpoise-watching.
Broholm Castle and Hockenhavn Castle (both close to Odense and Nyborg) and Hindsgavl Castle (in Middelfart) are among the aristocratic manors on Funen offering castle stays and fine dining. Steeped in history, the manors were once visited by Hans Christian Andersen.