Holiday 2020: Magpie Fly! Gems aplenty on storyteller’s home isle

Odense and Funen have a wealth of opportunity, so keep those perishing birds away

Odense has the complete package (photo: Visit Denmark/Michael Fiukowski & Sarah Moritz
July 26th, 2020 5:00 pm| by Anna Maryam Smith
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Despite our slightly limited summer travel choices, this is a great chance to explore more of the country we call home.

In particular, the region of Funen has lots of awesome activities to do and places to go.

Best known for its main city Odense, the home-town of Hans Christian Andersen, the region has an almost magical quality.

A short journey away
Located to the west of Zealand, it is a very manageable distance to travel for most Copenhageners

Whether you are into staying in nice hotels and spas, or going on hikes and exploring, there is something for everyone.

Here are six diverse summer options for you or your family to experience in Funen.

Founded with magpies!
Upon the 75th anniversary of Odense Zoo’s foundation in 1930, the humble beginnings of the establishment were recalled with much amusement. Apparently it started life with just two apes, a deer, a mule, several guinea pigs, two peacocks and an assembly of magpies. Magpies! With their reputation for pilfery, it could have all ended before it started. Today it boasts nearly 150 species and just short of a half million visitors a year. Make sure you check out ‘Oceanium’, a section dedicated to South American animals, from the Amazon Rainforest to Antarctica.

Birth of a maestro
Visit the world renowned author’s birthplace at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense. As Denmark’s third largest city, there are also lots of other things to do if you wish to make it a day excursion. The museum also provides an opportunity to look into the history of the area as well as the conservation.

Going down a storm
The Arkaden street food market in the centre of Odense isn’t bad, but experience has taught us to be suspicious of smaller establishments – a quality that nearby Storm Pakhus, housed in a warehouse big enough to contain the Spruce Goose, doesn’t suffer from at all. With the exception of Reffen in Copenhagen, this is the best street food oasis you’re likely to visit in Denmark. With mouthwatering fare (no Billy no mates, from what we could see, which is always a good sign) and drink tastings galore, be warned as this crowd really know how to salsa!

Denmark’s favourite beach?
If you enjoy sand, sun and the ocean, Kerteminde Beach is the perfect fit. Hugely popular with the locals, thousands flock there for relaxation and fun. With its shallow bathing area on pristine sand, Nordstranden is particularly child-friendly. For nearby places to stay, Rødkærgård Bed & Breakfast (co-owner Pia makes amazing scones) and Kerteminde Bed & Breakfast Hotel come heartily recommended. The Great Northern Golf Course, one of Denmark’s best golf courses, is handily located nearby.

Clay duties in Middlefart
On the northwestern tip of Funen, where the island is linked to Jutland by the Little Belt Bridge (Den Nye Lillebæltsbro), is the aptly-named Middlefart – a town whose sign is a favourite of most visiting Instagrammers. No visit is complete without checking out Keramikmuseum Danmark. Exquisite views, stunning exhibits and an intriguing statue park combine to make it an unforgettable experience.

Walk, gaze and play
If you are into learning about Danish history and nobility, a tour of Egeskov Castle (located in Kvaerndrup) and its grounds might be exactly what you need! The options are endless: you can tour the castle and the grounds, take a look at the beautiful exhibitions, or even enjoy the large playground and take a zip-line through the middle of the forest.