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To Aeros or not to Aeros first week of May 2019

Traveling to Denmark April 28th (Arrive Monday, April 29th afternoon) and depart May 8th, so that's 9 actual days in Denmark.

My itinerary is almost set but with two very different routes.

Route #1: Copenhagen -> Humlebaeck -> Helsignor ->Hillerod -> Roskilde -> Odense --> Aeroskboing --> back to Copenhagen

Route #2: Copenhagen -> Humblebaeck -> Helssignor ->Hillerod -> Roskilde -> Aarhaus -->Odense --> back to Copenhagen.

I hear Aeroskobing is charming as heck but totally DEAD in the fall/winter. By "dead" I mean, not many places to eat or available sites due to terrible weather or lack of tourists. I realize it's a laid back affair, but presumably it's a great place because its natural beauty. I am traveling in very early spring so I'm wondering if it's worth spending two of my days there or not. I will have a car for all the non-Copenhagen travel and understand both options require a ferry ride.

Posted by
100 posts


May is not very early spring, it's the last third of spring.
Nobody can say what's the weather will be like in May (yet). Last year we had high temperatures and sunshine more or less every day from May 2nd. This was very extraordinary warm, but in general, summer is right around the corner in May (with the wonderful unpredictability of Danish weather).
Ærø is laid back and low paced, especially when compared to big cities such as Copenhagen and Aarhus. However, in early May, people are working, children are in school, etc. so there won't be a lot of tourists. This can be both good and bad. I'd say it depends on what kind of experience you're interested in, and how many days you have in Denmark.

Yes, option #1 will require at least a ferry ride to/from Ærø. Option #2 doesn't have to include a ferry ride. It can, but it doesn't have to.

Finally, Rick Steves talk a lot about Ærø, but Denmark has many other charming islands (from big ones like Bornholm to very tiny ones) and places of natural beauty (like Møns Klint for example). So if you're not sure Ærø is the right fit for you, there are many other options :-)

Posted by
971 posts

Broccolihår is right, may is not early spring. It's late spring and it could mean great weather or rain. you never know. And yes, Rick has his heart on Ærø, but there are many other interesting towns and islands, depending on your particular interests.
Any reason why you have a rental car for this trip? Humlebæk, Helsingør, Hillerød and Roskilde can easily be done by train and if you get the Copenhagen Card , both public transport fares and entrance tickets to most attractions are included. look up all public transport at

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks to you both for you responses. By the calendar I know summer is closer than winter, but my prejudice comes from living in Seattle where summer doesn't really begin until July. Even if the high tourist season officially begins after Memorial Day.

As I said in my original post I have 9 days of actual vacation time. 28 April (arrive 29 April) and 8 May begin the days I fly in and out of Kastrup. The car rental is for efficiency of time. If Copenhagen were the only place I was staying, then the Humlebaeck/Helsignor/Hillerod would be train ride out.

Specifically, the plan now is:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday = Copenhagen
Thursday = drive out of Coenhagen to Humlebaeck (Louisiana Art Museum is open late) and spend the night at Helsignor.
Friday = drive to Frankenborg Castle, then Roskilde Cathedral and spend the night in Odense
Saturday = spend the night in Odense (we see the city sights and drive to a few outside the city)
Sunday = Travel to Aeroskobing, spend the night
Monday = Spend the night in Aeroskobing
Tuesday = Drive back to Copenhagen, drop off car
Wednesday = 6:40 a.m. flight back home

If we did NOT visit the island of Aeros, and ins tread went to Aarhus, what route would you suggest? Leaving in the possibility of experiencing one of the other places your listed?

Posted by
1461 posts

Please realize that name of island is Ærø or Aero (if you miss the Danish letters), not Aeros (sounds more Greek).

It is not meaningful to compare an island with the second largest city of a country. Ærø is a nature experience in a very mild, slow and beautiful environment. Ærøskøbing is a liked destination for German sailing crews. The best way to explore the island is by bike - no need to get the car onto the ferry.

In my opinion it gives you more a different view on Denmark than Aarhus (based on itinerary published). If you have some time on the way Svendborg and Fåborg are worth a short stop.

Posted by
971 posts

As Markk says, comparing Ærø to Aarhus is apples and pears. Without knowing any of your interests, it's very hard to recommend one or the other.
If you want to get better advice, please state some of your interests!
Another note on the spelling, since Markk already mentions that it's Ærø or Aero.
The correct spellings for some of the other places you mention are Helsingør, Humlebæk. There is no place called Frankenborg, so I assume the Frankenborg you mention is either Frederiksborg or Fredensborg?

Posted by
20 posts

Apologies for not spelling the names of places properly. The technology available to me does not provide for diacritical marks and letters from the alphabet of other languages. I will try to cut and paste those you have entered in your responses.

My interests are to have a wide variety of experiences. Large city with cultural experiences (we are going to an opera in Copenhagen), driving out into the country/small towns to see old castles (Frederiksborg) and churches (Roskilde), and if possible a quiet time in a small village that has wildlife and natural beauty to walk/bike around and see.

What I cannot gauge is whether or not having that island experience (especially if it requires a ferry ride) is possible given the number of days I have (9) and the other parts of Denmark I wish to visit. I had considered a loop (see Route #2) that would allow me to also visit an area of Jutland. Is there an easily accessible island you would recommend visiting as part of that route or is it your opinion that Aarhus is just another large city and omitting this part of the route in order to spend time on an island would make the experience for visiting Denmark more well-rounded? If not Ærø, then another place along the way of my Route #1? Perhaps I don't even need to visit an island, but an area near it, such as your recommendation of Svendborg or Fåborg?

I am leaning more toward Route #1, but perhaps I should substitute Fåborg or Ærø.

Thank you for your opinions and apologies for the spelling errors.

Posted by
100 posts

When you don't have a Danish keyboard, the 2nd best thing to do is to write the 3 special letters we have in Danish like this:
æ = ae
ø = oe
å = aa

No worries, though. Many foreigners misspell the names of towns, castles, etc. - including many varieties of æ, ø and å. But, since some of the names are written very similarly, we just have to ask to be sure we're talking about the same thing (for example Fredensborg, Frederiksborg and Frederiksberg are 3 different places in the Copenhagen Region).

I think a ferry is needed for a real island experience. A lot of the time, the small island charm disappears when a bridge or tunnel is built (infrastructure like that is very handy, but has some consequences too). Denmark is an island nation, so ferries have been, and is still, an important part of the infrastructure. Many people use ferries every day, so taking a ferry in Denmark is an easy operation. You don't have to worry about that.
Another option would be Samsø. Take the ferry from Kalundborg to Ballen on Samsø, visit the island, and then take a ferry from Sælvig onwards to Hou on the mainland (or the other way around).

If you plan on using bicycles on Ærø (which is a great idea, by the way), I don't see the need for a car on your trip (you can use one, but it's not needed) - of course depending on what area outside Odense you want to visit, but the bus and rail networks can get you to most places on Funen.

I mean no offence on Odense, but I prefer Aarhus. For starters, it's bigger and has a lot of interesting stuff to do (like Aros, Den Gamle By and Moesgaard Museum). That is unless you're an H. C. Andersen fan, then Odense is an obvious choice.

If it was me, I wouldn't stay overnight in Helsingør, as this will require changing hotels, when it's not necessary for your itinerary. Instead, take the train to Helsingør and Humlebæk and then return to Copenhagen at night.

I think I wrote this in a very random order, my apologies. Hope it didn't make it too difficult to read :-)

Posted by
1461 posts

"Wash me but do not get me wet." - this is how your plan sounds like to me :-)

What you describe as "dead" is life in a puristic form. Do you know the music track "Dead already" from soundtrack of movie "American Beauty"? What a lot of people live daily is that - dead already.

Both of your itineraries are city hopping. But 50% or more of a Scandinavia visit is landscape and nature experience to explore life in a different way. It is like "Any other name" - a piece of music on the same soundtrack.

Do not get me wrong but I am not sure if Denmark is the best choice for you. If you are not open, curious or easy enough to just spend time sitting on a dune, eating a Danish pastry, having your nose in the wind and enjoying life in its most simple way. It is also about seeing and enjoying very tiny details, e.g. watching a bee in a flowering garden or also local people who create famous Danish design, art or food.

If I appear little direct in your opinion: in Europe we often see the "dead already" tourists from US or Aisa rushing through, rewarding themselves for their daily survival, following self-pushed any guide book and missing nearly everything relevant in their sprint from one snap click to the other - even not worth to call that a photo.

Sure: There is no right or wrong way to explore Europe but obviously you will spend money and time and I want to help you to discover an option to get the best value for it in terms of having a time you will never forget.

One of the best ways to experience Denmark and your own is to switch off your head and your smartphone for a week, let yourself go and stroll curiously through this safe, beautiful and slow country for which a very slow ferry ride is a wonderful analogy.

If you really want to explore Denmark and Danish culture, explore their way of living - but take care: once discovered it you might never want to be back in your current life :-)

"Dead already" or "Any other name"? Both on one soundtrack to listen - but different sides of a coin.

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
1040 posts

Not sure if this is relevant for you - decide yourself :-)

We are going to Ærø in April, i.e. one month before you (I call that medio spring, may be different in Seattle). We are staying 4 nights and expect to walk everywhere, Søby, Marstal, Ærøskøbing - but we will certainly take rain jackets and waterproof shoes.

Last year people were bathing and sunbathing in May, but that is not the usual temperature, so be prepared.