Friday 20 July 2018

Denmark Biking Route Day 3: Ærø to Langeland to Svendborg

Click here for route map
Length 78 km (48 miles), terrain: light hills, gain 400 meters

Hey folks, it's #SummerFun time! This week, as a vacation from the normal blogging routine, each day we'll publish a short biking route in Denmark. Maybe it will inspire a few people to try something a bit different from their usual workouts!
Waiting to board the ferry to Svendborg
On Day 3 of the bike trip, we'll leave the island of Ærø on the ferry. We're now gliding between tiny, uninhabited Baltic islands, on our way to Svendborg, on the big island of Fyn. We'll then head southeast to explore the islands of Tåsinge and Langeland before heading back to Svendborg for the night.
A group of young ferry passengers, enjoying the ride
Approaching Svendborg on the ferry, you're likely to see a lot of wooden ships sailing the bay: Svendborg is the center of Danish wooden boot restoration and building. It's a beautiful sight when the bay is full of old sailing ships. Coming into the harbor, the ferry slides beneath a high bridge: we'll cross that bridge in a few minutes, heading south to Tåsinge.
Approaching Svendborg
So, after disembarking, you head through Svendborg, going west, looking for the signs for National Bike Route 8 (we're back on it again). Now cross the high bridge to the town of Vindeby ("windy town"!) and look for the turnoff to the left for bike route 8.
Houses in Troense
Soon you're in the idyllic village of Troense, maybe one of the quaintest towns on the planet. About every house is a half-timbered, thatched-roof place. The houses have a construction style I've only ever seen there: they slot the roof beams through their supporting posts. Luckily, the bike route loops through the beautiful, quiet side streets in town, to get a good view.
Crossing the grounds of Valedmars Slot
Just south of Troense, there is another highlight of the trip: Valdemars Slot (palace). The road goes right through the courtyard of the palace, passing through gate-houses on either side. The property has belonged to the same family for 11 generations.
Farmhouse selling loppen, up front and back at the shed
Now the route goes past woods and fields and thatched-roof farmhouses until joining up with the main car road. The back roads are often full of shopping wonders: the Danish are big fans of "loppen", flea-market junk that people normally set out on a stand in front of their houses. The stands are often decorated with Danish flags. They sell everything from old records and dishes to home-made honey, artwork, home-grown vegetables and flowers. You just drop the money in the box and take the wares. It's really fun to just take a look at the stuff available.

Once we hit the main highway, we'll just have to put up with it for a while, riding on the dedicated bike trails next to the road.

The road crosses a low causeway to the little island of Siø, then crosses a big bridge over to the island of Langeland. You can see the island's main town of Rudkøbing across the water. We'll take a look at Rudkøbing on the way back.
Tree-lined alley on Langeland
But now, we'll turn off to the left on regional bike route 80 to head north on Langeland along quiet country roads.
Stone-age grave site along the way
We're heading to Tranekær castle on the north end of the long, thin island. Tranekær was once the home of the dukes of Schleswig, and is the oldest lived-in building in Denmark, built in the 1200s.

Route 80 takes you up Langeland's western shore on winding, quiet roads through fields and woods, with a few beaches to relieve the hot ride.
Deserted beach near Tranekaer: time for a swim!

When you get to Tranekær, there's a souvenir shop/ice-cream place out front, and you can walk out to the little lakeside pavilion. 
Tranekær castle
I turned around there, and followed the same way back to Svendborg, but stopping at Rudkøbing this time. It's a typical Danish island town, with its harbor and an old-town full of narrow lanes and hollyhocks growing along the houses.
Rudkøbing steps

The church in Rudkøbing
So now head out to the big bridge to take you back north to Svendborg again. Hopefully it' not against the wind! Just think of a good meal and a beer that await you in Svendborg's many restaurants and pubs. I stayed in a room in a house rented to tourists on the nearby island of Thurø, and ate at one of the local pubs there.

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