The Danish Ø-dyssey
Visiting all of the most significant, smaller islands across the Danish archipelago.
130 in total.
In year 2017 we started a family adventure to visit and explore all significant and remote Danish islands with our kids.
It’s our own Danish islands Odyssey that will take several years to complete.
We call it the “Ø”-dyssey, as we will visit all the unique Danish islands by sea transport, and during a long journey that is broken down into many individual sections.
The most remote and special islands will be explored in depth and pictured in this six part Danish Ø-dyssey.
Remoteness in a Danish context is a small island. In Denmark, the word for an island is "ø". This letter is a Danish wovel pronounced as the i in the English word bird.
Denmark is a Nordic island nation consisting of more than several hundred islands of which around 75 are inhabited. Most of the population live on the mainland plus the five largest islands. Only 102 islands are more than 0,02 square kilometers in area, so the rest are really just small rocks, holms or sandbanks covered with gras.
There are ferries to some of the islands; the rest needs be reached by swimming, sail boat, motorboat, fishing vessel, dinghy, SUP or sea kayak (to mention some of the means of transport that we've used). Some islands are very remote and difficult to reach. Others are distinct in nature and with wild walks in forests, deserts or along coast lines. And some are culturally unique.
Categorizing the islands
We’ve divided the Ø-dyssey in six parts, representing different geographical regions of the Danish archipelago
(*) Asterics denote islands that have been explored in depth so-far in part I - VI of our Ø-dyssey.
Update - February 2022
The Ø-dyssey is ongoing! We’re currently at 89 out of 130 islands, which is 69% completion.
Links to our Ø-dyssey travel sites:
PART IV: South Funen Archipelago
PART V: Islands off Zealand & Bornholm
PART VI: The South Sea Islands
Below map shows the selected islands on a map of Denmark
Selecting the 130 unique islands to visit in our Ø-dyssey
For this project we did a careful and meticulous selection of 130 unique must-see island destinations in the Danish Archipelago. The islands are distributed all over the Danish archipelago. 75 of the islands are populated, ranging from one resident on Hirsholm, eight on Hjortø, 22 on Barsø, 202 on Strynø, and more than 3000 on Thurø. Thus with around 75 populated islands, we will also visit 55 non-populated islands in the Ø-dyssey.
Transport-wise the 130 selected islands can be distributed into 5 categories:
> 36 of the islands on our list can be reached by public ferry year round.
> 29 islands can be reached by car or bicycle as they are connected to the mainland or larger islands by a bridge or a dam.
> 18 islands can be reached by seasonal small public or private boats or ferries that typically run less frequently, and typically in the Summer months.
> 3 islands can be reached by walking, either on a very long bridge or over a sand bar
> 44 islands can only be reached by arranging some kind of private transport.
On many of the islands we are sleeping in the open nature for several days, and we are circumnavigating and crisscrossing each island. Some of the islands we are visiting many times, and over different seasons, from Winter to Summer. Altogether, this journey will take around 300-350 days. The shared dream of two islomaniacs come true, and our kids will get a lot of fresh air and have great fun. As many people have asked us: ‘you’ve seen the world, but have you seen your own country?’. To this question we can truly answer yes, as we’ve soon visited and explored all key islands in our entire archipelago.
De-selecting a range of smaller islets that are less unique
The most comprehensive island list compiled from maps and Danish libraries informs us that there are a bit more than 300 islands in Denmark if all sandbanks and holms are included. For our Ø-dyssey we’ve done a meticulous selection of 130 “real islands” which are all unique in their appearance, geography and natural make-up, or their culture in terms of human population or remains thereof. The remaining very small islets, which typically very few people have ever heard of, has been collected in our B-List of islands. They are all tiny islets, reefs and sandbanks in the Danish archipelago. 130 of these small islets are listed in our ‘Other islets & reefs’ page, and we try to visit them if we are nearby with a kayak, a SUP, or a boat. Thus, in total we have collected 260 islands in our comprehensive analysis of the Danish Archipelago. A set of 130 islands have been deemed unique (and of significant size) and will be visited, and another set of 130 islets are too small and all less than 0,02 square kilometers in size.