Visiting Hjortø (Deer Island) in Denmark

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Hjortø (translation: Deer Island) is one of the least populated islands in Denmark. The buildings on Hjortø count 5 farms, 8 houses and a mill. In 2009 the island had 5 people living permanently on the island, but 10 people had their address attached to Hjortø. In 2019 seven people were permanently living on Hjortø. The island is so small, that you can always see the ocean, no matter where you are on the island. There are no shops or restaurants on the island, so you'll need to bring food, water etc. for your trip to Hjortø.

Hjortø sign upon arriving on the island

Getting to Hjortø

There is a tiny ferry travelling from Svendborg Habour to Hjortø daily. The ferry is called Hjortøboen and has to be booked in advance. There are other options if you arrive from other islands or you can simply try to hitch a ride as many locals have their own boats docked at the harbour in Svendborg.

Graffiti art at Svendborg Harbour, Denmark
On the way you might be lucky enough to spot a rarity in Denmark; a dolphin. Delle the Dolphin is quite famous in Svendborg and has permanently settled in the harbour.

Delle the Dolphin at Svendborg Harbour, Denmark

Hjortø Harbour

Arriving in Hjortø Harbour is very special. The harbour is one of the tiniest harbours you'll ever see and doesn't hold many docked boats. During the summer there's access to a public toilet at the harbour. Here you can shower, get water and charge your phone. 

Hjortø Harbour, Denmark

Hjortø Museum

As you step on the island itself one of the first buildings you'll stumble upon is the Hjortø Museum. Nothing major - as nothing really is on this island - but a room with stories and pictures about the island and its history. A insightful way to begin your trip around the island.

Hjortø Museum, Denmark

Bell Frog Statue

In 2017 Copenhagen Zoo lauched a program releasing different kinds of rare frogs on Hjortø. In 2020 they found the first Bell Frog in nature on the island. The success of the program was celebrated with a large Bell Frog Statue near the harbour.

Bell Frog Statue, Hjortø, Denmark
Hjortø Windmill

The Windmill on Hjortø isn't whole anymore. A fire once burned it partly down and it now stands without its sails. The windmill is easily spotted both on and off the island and is undoubtely the most recognizable building on the island.

Hjortø Mill, Denmark

Hjortø Souvenirs 

Although there aren't any grocery stores or regular shops on Hjortø, some of the locals have established their very on roadside souvenir shops. The largest of these souvenirs shops must be a stall selling wooden Hjortø birdhouses. Handcrafted by a local and in awful bright colours.

Stall selling handcrafted wooden Hjortø Birdhouses, Denmark

The legend of the Hjortø Backpack is an adventurous story. I had read about a local stall selling specially designed Hjortø backpacks, but I couldn't find any photos online, only a poor description of the stall's location on the island. Running short on time we made a run for it and out of nowhere the shop showed up! They had two colours to choose from (red or blue). I can now call myself a happy owner of this rarity of a backpack.

The Hjortø Backpack (shop in on left in the background), Denmark

Overnight stays at Hjortø

Hjortø is in tucked in between the islands of Tåsinge and Drejø 13 kilometres southwest of Svendborg. Right by the harbour there's a camping spot for tents along side two brand new wooden shelters. The shelters must be booked in advance if you want to stay overnight. You can book the shelters HERE. You can also get to Hjortø by private boat, although you'll have to pay a fee for having your boat docked in the harbour overnight. Happy travels!

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