Even though I was born and raised in Denmark, there are so many places I still haven’t visited. Thus, I took the chance of visiting the Southern regions of the country when I was invited earlier this summer. And I’m glad I did, cause the islands of Langeland and Lolland-Falster are the perfect holiday getaways, especially if you’re traveling with children.
Invited by Færgen
Although I traveled with my baby when he was just a few months old (road trip between Denmark and Germany), the first real holiday we had together was this summer when we went on another little road trip to the Southern regions of Denmark, namely Langeland and Lolland-Falster. For those who don’t know these islands, they’re the epitome of Danish ‘hygge’, especially during the summer months, where temperatures are pleasant and you can enjoy the many outdoor activities.
To make it a bit more clear, the Southern islands of Denmark include Lolland-Falster, Møn and a bunch of smaller islands – not Langeland, which we also went to. Nevertheless, they’re in close proximity to each other, and going from one island to another is quick and easy.
Part I: Holiday in Lolland-Falster
Chances are, you might haven’t heard of Lolland-Falster if you’re not from Denmark yourself. These two islands (Lolland and Falster) are almost treated as one, and they’ve been officially connected with the island of Funen (the middle-sized island between Jutland and Sealand) since the 13th century. Although these islands now belong to Sealand, the dialect still reveals a close connection to Funen (and in my opinion, this dialect is the epitome of Danishness!) 🙂 Located approximately 1,5 hours south of Copenhagen, it’s easy to get here and there’s usually not much traffic. The two largest cities are Nykøbing Falster (16.000 inhabitants) and Nakskov (13.000 inhabitants).
So why should you go here? The answer is simple. Time and tranquility.
The older I get, the more I value calm surroundings (especially when on holiday), where I can lay off my busy mind and interminable to-do-lists. Lolland-Falster offers serene landscapes and a magical quietness, which can only be found far away from the cities and suburbs. Perhaps that’s why I immediately felt at home when setting foot in Bandholm; the first stop on our itinerary. We checked in to Bandholm Hotel (a separate review will follow shortly), which is idyllically located in a bay on the island of Lolland. This little gem has been welcoming happy holiday guests for many decades – starting in the era where a ‘beach hotel’ was still a thing and the bourgeoisie would spend weeks here at the time. These old-world accommodations are so unique and I love how they take you straight back in time once you enter the reception.
Bandholm was our base for a few days. From there, we went on day excursions to e.g. Krenkerup Gods; one of the oldest and most beautiful castles in Denmark, where they’re not only housing an intriguing history, but also a popular brewery. Join a guided tour (book in advance) and go for a beer tasting. Their light refreshment of tapas and beer is highly recommendable!
If you’re a foodie or just savor the good things in life, the Southern islands are a must-visit! Regarded as a gastronomical paradise due to the high amount of local producers offering anything from beer and cheese to cherry wine and vegetables, there’s no shortage of delicacies in this part of Denmark. Reserve a table at the renowned Hotel Saxkjøbing, which is owned by star chef Claus Meyer (yes, the one who started NOMA). Good, genuine Danish food with an elegant twist is served here, and there’s no chance of leaving the table hungry.
If you’re more into wine than beer, I’d definitely recommend you visiting Frederiksdal Cherry Wine. Located in an historical estate from the 18th century, the cherry wine production is now regarded as a breakthrough in Danish wine industry (yes, this is now a thing!) Also here you can embark on a guided tour and taste the many delicious cherry products, which I’m sure will surprise you as much as they did me!
Other attraction in the area include Knuthenborg Safaripark; a wildlife park accommodating 70 different animal species, Fuglsand Herregård; a beautiful old renaissance castle now open to the public and Nakskov Fjord (hop onboard the “post boat” to immerse yourself in the local culture and landscape). The beaches here are, in my opinion, some of the best beaches in Denmark; long, sandy and calm. Perfect for swimming in summer and perfect for taking long walks in autumn and winter. You can see a full list of beaches here.
Part II: Holiday on Langeland
In true island jumping style; once you’re done exploring Lolland-Falster, you can move on to Langeland, which is easy to reach by ferry from both Lolland and Funen. In my opinion, this island is one of the most charming islands in Denmark; perhaps due to its versatile landscape, very laid-back locals and historical villages with half-timered houses. Langeland is 52 kilometers long and only 11 kilometers wide, and its population reaches a little less than 14.000 people.
If you can only choose one place to stay here, choose Tranekær! This small village oozes of old-world charm and immediately brings you into a holiday mode. Tranekær is named after the castle Tranekær Slot, which is also located in the village and definitely worth a visit. Not only is the castle one of the oldest in Denmark (13th century); it also plays a vital role in Danish history. Today, the 13th generation of the same noble family can be found behind the walls of the castle, and that in itself isn’t very common these days. Guided tours are available on most days, but make sure to check the website before-hand. If you’re in the area anyway, there’s no way you can miss the restaurant Generalen, which is located in the old stable of the castle. It’s safe to say that our meals there were part of the highlights of our trip! Jeanette and Christian Pichardt are the owners of this historical gem, and apart from cooking for the castle’s guests, they’re creating magic in the old stable, where guests from far and wide can enjoy their delicacies while sitting in actual horse stalls! That’s what I call a mix of history and gastronomy! One night, I actually had a meal prepared from a nearly 200-year-old recipe; the chicken and vegetables were fresh as can be, but the recipe itself stems from the castle’s old cookbook. It was delicious! If you need a place to stay, Mr. and Mrs. Pichardt also own a couple of B&B’s in the village.
Langeland calls for relaxing moments in nature, so my best recommendation is to simply indulge in the landscape. I have rarely come across a more restful holiday destination, so apart from taking long walks on the local beaches, I made time to write and reflect. In other words: I made time to connect to myself and my family – and isn’t that what a true family holiday should be all about? In 2006, wild horses were released on the island, both to attract tourists and to crop the meadows. There are 80 horses in total and it’s quite a sight if you manage to find them! We tried for a couple of days, but then finally on our last day, we spotted them on the southernmost point of the island. Right after taking a swim in the ocean before sundown.
The Danish shipping company Færgen brings you from island to island. Check their website for routes and prices.