THE SOUTH FUNEN ARCHIPELAGO

PART IV - across one of the most beautiful island groups in Europe

> Hiking and camping excursions to 22 islands in the South Funen Archipelago in Denmark  < 

The South Funen Archipelago is a cluster of small Danish islands and islets in the waters between Funen Island and Germany. It stands out as one of the most beautiful island groups in Northern Europe where small cultural enclaves exist in untouched nature. During the last ice age, the landscape was flooded and formed by the ice melting, thus creating 55 islands with a particular hilly landscape; The archipelago is the world's largest flooded ice age landscape. Going to one of the islands is quite a gear change down from the higher pulse on "mainland Denmark". People are more relaxed and operate on island-time. They spend time on local produce and to maintain their old beautiful farm houses. For these reasons the story of Denmark is told best by visiting one of the small islands South of Funen.

 

The South Funen islands are very different, each one of them having unique traits. Another feature is the weather, which is often mild and better than rest of Denmark. We have visited several dozens of islands in this archipelago, and based on size and uniqueness 22 islands stand out and has to be included if we were to make a Top100 list of Danish islands to see in a lifetime.

 

Bjørnø is perfect for day tours, with its rolling green hills and small size. Lyø has the Bell Stone, a dolmen chamber from between 3500-3100 BC. Avernakø is laid-back and has fantastic nature and during Pentecost the locals rise the strange Mai rod to celebrate the coming of Summer. ​Drejø has a population of white deers and Hjortø is exceptionally beautiful and remote with only three inhabitants. Skarø has great local food and a festival, and Strynø holds a number of in-land lakes full of frogs and snakes. Svelmø is uninhabited and great for day visits with a dinghy or kayak. Halmø, Dejrø, Lilleø, Egholm, Hjelmshoved and Strynø Kalv and Birkholm are low-lying islands completely off the radar which are great for fishing trips, and Thurø has its old fishing houses. Finally, the Helnæs Bay area incl. its islands is a stunning place for weekend excursions to isolated beaches and forests where one can spend a time in the raw nature without meeting anyone and live by foraging and picking blue mussels from the sea bed.

As we both grew up in this area of Denmark we have explored the archipelago since childhood and never stopped. These islands simply go straight to heart for all visitors, be it first-timers as well as repeaters.

Check our Danish Ø-dyssey introduction page to read about our ongoing travel project to visit all unique islands in Denmark, of which there are more than 100 in total.

 

For more fascinating islands in Denmark, check the other Ø-dyssey travel sites:

- I: Tip of Denmark & offshore islands

- II: Islands off Central & Southern Jutland

- III: Islands in the Belts, North Funen, Ærø & Langeland

- IV: South Funen Archipelago 

- V: Islands off Zealand & Bornholm

- VI: The South Sea Islands

Selected pics from our Danish Ø-dyssey - Part IV:

Ø-dyssey part IV
Ø-dyssey part IV

Asterisks denote islands visited so-far, updated August 2020

View to the South Funen Arhcipelago
View to the South Funen Arhcipelago

Across the yellow flower fields in summer time on tiny Hjortø island which has only 6 inhabitants. A perfect place to pull the plug and enjoy remote beaches and a simple way of living. We have made biking trips around the island and nearby islets. Camping on the beach

Winter hike, Bay of Helnæs
Winter hike, Bay of Helnæs
June 11 PM sunset in Bay of Helnæs
June 11 PM sunset in Bay of Helnæs

The years where major volcanic eroptions have taken place, in e.g. Iceland or as far away as Indonesia, the dusks and dawns are additionally vivid in their colors.

View to  Helnæs from Horne Land
View to Helnæs from Horne Land

With the Knoldborg dolmen in the foreground build in the stone age 5000 years ago

Snorkeling in the Bay of Helnæs
Snorkeling in the Bay of Helnæs

South Funen Archipelago: Jakob has a summer cabin facing the Bay of Helnæs on Funen Island, and a favorite activity is to put on wetsuit and snorkeling gear, then bring the harpoon and go on an underwater hunt. With some luck and skill, dinner is caught.

Approaching Fiskeholm Isl. by dinghy
Approaching Fiskeholm Isl. by dinghy

In bay of Helnæs, using our inflatable dinghy, we've visited handful of isolated and uninhabited islands; great daytrips in summer time for picnic, freediving and picking blue mussels for the dinner

Skovkrogen_Winter
Skovkrogen_Winter
Vigø island view
Vigø island view

From Falsled in South Funen Archipelago, with view to three uninhabited small islands: Vigø, Horsehoved, and Illumø. Can only be visited by private transport. We have been there many times with kayak or SUP

Arrival to Vigø island by SUP
Arrival to Vigø island by SUP

On a beautiful Summer day. It takes 1 hour to walk around the island. The interior has been untouched for many decades and mainly consist of wild forest. The island in uninhabited. Perfect for day excursions or beach sleep overs

Vigø island, swallows that live in holes in the cliff side
Vigø island, swallows that live in holes in the cliff side
View from Vigø island to Horne Land, Bay of Helnæs
View from Vigø island to Horne Land, Bay of Helnæs
Vigø Island, remote and uninhabited. Perfect for snorkeling and picking mussels
Vigø Island, remote and uninhabited. Perfect for snorkeling and picking mussels
Empty beach, Vigø Island
Empty beach, Vigø Island
5 AM, kayaking to Vigø Island
5 AM, kayaking to Vigø Island
Vigø Island sunrise, Bay of Helnæs
Vigø Island sunrise, Bay of Helnæs
Interior of Vigsø Island
Interior of Vigsø Island

Almost the entire island is comprised of dense and raw nature

View over Helnæs Bay from Vigsø
View over Helnæs Bay from Vigsø
View towards Vigø from Horsehoved Island
View towards Vigø from Horsehoved Island

During a 6 AM morning hike around the island

Breakfast and sunrise, camping on Horsehoved Isl.
Breakfast and sunrise, camping on Horsehoved Isl.

View from Horsehoved to Vigø Island, 6 AM in July. A perfect place to camp overnight. We have visited this area many times with our sea kayaks

Lovely view towards south part of Horsehoved and Illumø on the left
Lovely view towards south part of Horsehoved and Illumø on the left
Arrival on northern tip of Illumø Isl., Bay of Helnæs
Arrival on northern tip of Illumø Isl., Bay of Helnæs
Illumø Isl.
Illumø Isl.
The south-east part of Illumø looking for a place to pitch the tent
The south-east part of Illumø looking for a place to pitch the tent
Picking blue mussels for lunch, Illumø
Picking blue mussels for lunch, Illumø
SUP trip to Southern tip of Illumø
SUP trip to Southern tip of Illumø
View from Illumø to Helnæs island
View from Illumø to Helnæs island
Crossing Illumø on foot, Bay of Helnæs
Crossing Illumø on foot, Bay of Helnæs
Blood moon at Helnæs Island
Blood moon at Helnæs Island

Lunar eclipse isd very rare, and when it happens the Moon turns bloody red. Picture taken at midnight on Helnæs Island during Lunar eclipse 2018

View to Vigø Island from sand bank, Bay of Helnæs
View to Vigø Island from sand bank, Bay of Helnæs