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Fanø - The Magic of the Danish North Sea

Fanø is a relatively small island in the Danish North Sea, which captivates visitors with its rural atmosphere and its old sea travel traditions and stories. Wide sandy beaches, vast heaths and beautiful dune plantations make the island the ideal retreat.

Nature on Fanø

Geography - In the Danish North Sea

Fanø is an island in the Danish North Sea, which has an area of almost 56 km². It is the northernmost Danish Wadden Sea island, is 16 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide. Important towns on it are Nordby (2,659 inhabitants) and Sønderho (278 inhabitants). The nearest city is Esbjerg in West Jutland. The region's climate is influenced by the Gulf Stream, which creates pleasantly warm summers and mild, rainy winters.

Natural landscape on Fanø

Nature - A former sandbank

Fanø developed from a sandbank, which is apparent from the wide sandy beaches and the high, wide dines in the west of the island. Great amounts of sand are washed up on the island's west coast to the present day, which is why Fanø expands towards the west every year. In the east, the coast is dominated by marshland, meadows and reed, while the island's heartland is characterised by heath, a pine forest and several dune plantations. The region's fauna consists of wild rabbits, deer, foxes and numerous bird species. In addition, the island is a great destination for collectors of amber. Thanks to the flat beaches and the high salt content of the sea water, you find a lot of the "gold from the sea" at Fanø's coast. Fanø is part of Denmark's Wadden Sea National Park.

Former sandbank - Fanø

Culture - Under the banner of sea travel

The culture on Fanø is strongly influenced by sea travel and fishing. These are the trades Fanø's population lived on after the freedom from the Danish Crown in 1741. The island's maritime past is still apparent from traditional folk music, maritime houses and naval churches. You see the latter in Nordby and Sønderho. The charming maritime houses, which are over 200 years old, have thatched roofs and colourful doors, are also worth seeing. In the Hannes Hus museum in Sønderho, travellers can see such a house from the inside. Other worthwhile museums and buildings are the Sønderho Mill, the Tile Museum, the Fanø Art Museum in Sønderho and the Fanø Museum in Nordby. Another part of regional history are the bunkers from Word War II, which form a part of the Atlantic Wall.

Sailor's knot on Fanø

Experience - Fanø's charm

Time seems to stand still on Fanø or at least it seems to pass very slowly. The small towns welcome visitors with Danish maritime houses, cosy cafes and small harbours. Sønderho was appointed Denmark's most beautiful village in 2011. Besides a shopping stroll or a visit to the museum, holidaymakers can experience the island's relaxed atmosphere and the ancient sea travel traditions during the Fanniker Days in Nordby in July. Old costumes and traditional music play an important role at this event. A great way of exploring Fanø's nature is collecting amber or going on an oyster safari. It is nature which produces the ingredients for a number of local dishes. Mushrooms, glasswort and fish are used in the preparation of many dishes enjoyed by the locals and tourists.

Typical house on Fanø

Activities - The International Kite Flyer Meeting

There are several ways to spend your time on Fanø. The island offers great conditions for playing golf. It accommodates Fanø Golf Links, Denmark's oldest golf course. Another popular activity is cycling. Since the island is not very large, cycling tours are the best way of exploring its nature. Walks across the mudflats, surfing, sailing, land sailing and riding are on the list of popular leisure activities as well. The highlight of every year, however, is the world's greatest International Kite Flyer Meeting in June. About 4,000 participants populate the island's beaches at that time and let their colourful and unusual kites soar into the air.

Kite meeting on Fanø


Fanø is a wonderful destination both in the peak and the off-peak season. The weather is changeable in summer. You best go by ferry via Esbjerg to Nordby. This trip takes about 12 minutes and there are two ferries (Fenja and Menja) which travel every 20 minutes by day.

Travellers who are looking for relaxation, lovers of nature and active holidaymakers will have great fun on Fanø. The vast dunes, wonderful sandy beaches and endless heath as well as the idyllic villages are ideal for relaxing and recreational holidays.

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