Most explorations of the island begin where the ferry docks at the settlement of Nordby. While here, and before setting out to explore the rest of Fanø, you can stop in at the Fanø Skibsfarts-og Dragtsamling (Fanø Shipping & Costume Collection), Hovedgaden 28 (tel. 75-16-22-72). The museum traces the maritime heyday of the island in the 19th century, its boom period, when Fanø had the largest fleet outside of Copenhagen. Exhibits reveal that husbands often left their families for years at a time for a life at sea. The maritime collection incorporates many ship models, details of Fanø's fleet, and displays depicting a sailor's life aboard ship and in port. The costume collection shows both the working dress of the island women and those special costumes they wore for festivals. May to September, the museum is open daily 11am to 4pm. Off-season, it's open Monday to Saturday 11am to 1pm. Admission is DKK20 ($3.40/£2) adults and DKK10 ($1.70/£1) children under age 12.
Housed in a 300-year-old building, the Fanø Museum, Skolevej 2 (no phone), houses a comprehensive collection of period furniture, utensils, tools, and other island artifacts. There's also an exotic collection of mementos sailors have gathered on their voyages. The museum is open in June, Monday to Saturday 10am to 1pm, and July and August, Monday to Friday 11am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 1pm. In September, it's open Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm. Admission is DKK20 ($3.40/£2) adults, DKK10 ($1.70/£1) children under age 12.
Near the most southerly tip of the island, in the settlement of Sønderho, you can visit the island's most beautiful building, Sønderho Kirke, Strandvejen (tel. 75-16-40-32), open daily during daylight hours, with free admission. The church has a strong maritime influence -- in fact, it displays 14 votive ships, more than any other church in Denmark. The baroque altarpiece dates from 1717, the pulpit from 1661, and the organ loft with a painting from 1782. This is an assembly-hall church, seating some 800 members of a congregation.
While at Sønderho you can also visit Fanø Kunstmuseum (Fanø Art Museum), Norland 5 (tel. 75-16-40-44; www.fanoekunstmuseum.dk), which in 1992 opened in Kromanns Hus, a former store and factory. The old shop dating from 1868 has been restored and now serves as the entrance to the museum. Fanø attracted a number of artists who moved here, and this museum showcases their most outstanding paintings, the collection based on pictures first assembled by Ruth Heinemann, who founded an art association on Fanø. The museum shows art inspired by the Frisian coast, past and present, with both permanent and temporary exhibitions. April 3 to October, it is open Tuesday to Sunday 2 to 5pm, charging DKK30 ($5.10/£3) or DKK15 ($2.60/£1.50) children under age 12.
Less than half a kilometer (1/4 mile) north of Sønderho, on the road to Nordby, stands the Sønderho Mølle, Vester Land 44 (tel. 75-16-44-29), a restored windmill. Once islanders were obliged to use the crown's mill at Ribe, but in 1701 they received permission to construct one here. Several mills have stood on this site since then, and one burned down in 1894 but was replaced by another the following year, which was in use until 1923. A preservation-minded group purchased the mill in 1928 and restored it. It's open to the public June 26 to August 29 and during October, daily 3 to 5pm; and from August 30 to September 30, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday 3 to 5pm. Admission is DKK20 ($3.40/£2) adults or DKK10 ($1.70/£1) for children 11 and under.
Hannes Hus, Østerland 7 (tel. 75-16-44-29), is one of the most typical of old Fanø structures, and it's in Sønderho, which contains Denmark's highest proportion of protected buildings. Hannes Hus faithfully maintains the atmosphere of a 17th-century captain's home. Hanne, a captain's widow, and her daughter, Karen, lived here until 1965, when it was acquired by the Village Trust. Inside are original furnishings, a stove, pictures, a sheep stable, and souvenirs from the captain's travels. Here's your chance to see what a Fanø sailor's private home looked like. It's open July and August, daily 3 to 5pm, and September, Saturday and Sunday 3 to 5pm. Admission is DKK20 ($3.40/£2) adults, DKK10 ($1.70/£1) children under age 12.
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.