Ærø is one of the best islands in Denmark for cycling because of its low-lying terrain and scenic paths. Local tourist offices provide maps outlining routes for DKK20 ($3.40/£2), and you can use these maps for bike rides but also for walks. Numbers 90, 91, and 92 mark cycle trails around the coast. Bike rentals cost DKK50 ($8.50/£5) a day, and rentals in Ærøskøbing are available at the Ærøskøbing Vandrerhjem, Smedevejen 15 (tel. 62-52-10-44); at Marstal at Nørremark Cykelforretning, Møllevejen 77 (tel. 62-53-14-77); and at Søby Cykelforretning, Langebro 4A (tel. 62-58-18-42).
The road continues west to Tranderup, where you can visit Tranderup Kirke, a Romanesque building with Gothic vaulting. Inside, the large carved figure depicting Mary and the infant Jesus dates from around the 14th century and is one of the oldest ecclesiastical pieces on the island. The triptych is from around 1510, and the large mural over the chancel arch reveals the date of its execution in 1518. Originally, the spires of Tranderup resembled those of Bregninge. But they were rebuilt in a neoclassical style in 1832; the largest bell was cast in 1566 and is still in use.
After a visit follow the signs west to the village of Vodrup, which originally was founded in the 13th century and is mentioned for the first time in 1537 as "Wuderup." The village disappeared in the 17th century, when the land became part of Vodrup Estate. When the estate was dissolved, the village came back.
The cliffs at Vodrup, Vodrup Klint, have an unusual geology: Large blocks of land have slipped down and resemble huge steps. The soil lies on top of a layer of gray clay, which can be seen at the base of the cliffs by the beach. The layer of clay is full of snail and cockleshells, left here by the sea. Water seeping down through the earth is stopped by the clay. When the clay absorbs enough water, it becomes so "movable" that it acts as a sliding plane for the layers above. The last great landslide here occurred in 1834.
Vodrup Klint is one of the most southerly points in Denmark, attracting creatures such as lizards and many species of plants that thrive here -- the carline thistle grows on these cliffs, blooming from July to September. An unusual characteristic of the cliffs is a proliferation of springs, where water bubbles out by the foot of the slopes. When the cattle need water, farmers need only push a pipe into the cliff face and let the water collect in a pool.
Fyn County has bought the cliffs, roughly 35 hectares (86 acres), and set them aside for the use of the public, which has access to the area. Animals are allowed to graze the fields in the summer months, and you can walk on all areas of the land. Cycle trail 91 runs right past Vodrup Klint, so it's often a stopover for bikers.
The route continues west to Bregninge and Bregninge Kirke, a 13th-century building with grandiose vaults that were added during the late 15th century. Its impressive spire shows the influence of east Schleswig (Germany) building traditions, and is roofed with oak tiles. The murals inside date from around 1510 -- one, for example, depicts the Passion of Christ, another the life of John the Baptist. The magnificent triptych dates from shortly before the Reformation, and was made by the German sculptor Claus Berg. The crucifix in the nave is from the latter Middle Ages, and the 1612 pulpit was executed in the Renaissance style.
After your visit along the southern part of Ærø, you can continue northwest into Søby.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.