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OFF the BEATEN TRACK
 
Christiansø

Christiansø is a beautifully preserved 17th-century island fortress, an hour's sail north-east of Bornholm. The entire island is an unspoiled reserve - there are no cars or modern buildings and no cats or dogs. Part of a cluster of small granite islands known collectively as Ertholmene, Christiansø (population 100), is connected to its smaller sister island, Frederiksø, by a footbridge. Græsholm, north-west of Christiansø, is a wildlife refuge and an important breeding ground for razorbill, guillemot and other seabirds. Christiansø's Store Tårn (Great Tower), built in 1684, is an impressive structure with a 25 metre diameter. The tower's century-old lighthouse offers a splendid 360 degree view of the island.The Lille Tårn (Little Tower) on Frederiksø dates from 1685, and is the site of the local-history museum. The ground floor displays fishing supplies, hand tools and iron works, while upstairs there are cannons, period furnishings, models and a local flora and fauna exhibit. Breezy days are perfect for walking along the fortified stone walls and cannon-lined batteries that surround the perimeter of the island. There are skerries with nesting seabirds and a secluded swimming cove on Christiansø's eastern side. Boats sail to Christiansø from Bornholm from May to late September, while the mailboat makes the trip year-round.

 
Skagen

A fishing port for centuries, Skagen's luminous heath-and-dune landscape was discovered in the mid-1800s by artists, and in more recent times by summering urbanites. The peninsula is lined with fine beaches, including a sandy stretch just a 15-minute walk from the town centre. The Skagens Museum displays the paintings of PS Krøyer, Michael & Anna Ancher and other artists who flocked to Skagen between 1830 and 1930 to 'paint the light'. Denmark's northernmost point is the long curving sweep of sand at Grenen, 3km north-east of Skagen. The path to the beach crosses rose-covered dunes, its highest point passing the grave of the poet Holger Drachmann (1846-1908).Den Tilsandede Kirke, 'The Buried Church', is a whitewashed medieval church tower, still protuding above the sand dunes that buried the surrounding village and farms in the late 1700s. The church itself, once the largest in the country, was closed in 1795 because sand drifts kept blocking the doorway. It was finally torn down in 1810, although the tower was spared to allow it to function as a navigational landmark. Skagen is situated on Jutland's northern tip and is accessible by train or bus.

 
Ærø

Well off the beaten track, Ærø is an idyllic island with small villages, rolling hills and patchwork farms. It's a great place to explore by bicycle as the country roads are dotted with thatched houses, old windmills and ancient passage graves and dolmens. Ærøskøbing - a prosperous merchant town in the late 1600s - has been preserved in its entirety. Its narrow, cobbled streets are lined with close-standing 17th and 18th century houses, many of them gently listing half-timbered affairs with handblown glass windows, decorative doorways and street-side hollyhocks. In keeping with the town's character, sights are low-key. The main attraction is Flaskeskibssamlingen, a museum dedicated to the lifetime work of Peter Jacobsen, a local sailor nicknamed Bottle Peter, who created 1700 ships-in-a-bottle, many of which are in handblown bottles.There are daily car ferries from Faaborg on Funen to Søby at the western end of Ærø. A less frequent ferry to Søby departs from Monmark in Jutland. Ærøskøbing in central Ærø is serviced by ferries from Svendborg. Ferries also run to Marstal in eastern Ærø from Rudkøbing.


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