Kerteminde: Denmark’s beautiful garden by the sea
by Josefine Older Steffensen
Based on the north-eastern peninsula of Funen, Kerteminde is a quintessential Danish town boasting colourful buildings, astounding natural surroundings and gastronomic delicacies. Its central location in Denmark makes it easy to get to from all sides. With its rich culture and fascinating history, there is plenty to explore in Kerteminde.
Kerteminde was first mentioned in writing as a town in 1350, but there has been a settlement there since the Viking Age. In fact, Denmark’s only Viking ship burial, the Ladby Ship, can be found just outside of Kerteminde, where it is also possible to gain an engaging overview of the Viking era in Funen at the Viking Museum at Ladby.
The town is defined by its water. The harbour has always been the focal point of the town and for many centuries also the main source of income. In 1413, Kerteminde was given the rights to be a market town, attracting a large number of merchants who brought goods there via the sea. During the Renaissance, the town functioned as the main port for Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city, ensuring the city’s inhabitants had food and materials.
When the railway arrived in the early 1900s, the railway bridge across the harbour meant that bigger ships could no longer pass through, so much of the original trade had to be redirected. The trade that the water brought in meant that the merchants of Kerteminde were well off, which can still be seen in some of the beautiful old buildings spread throughout the town.
A modern town
Walking through Kerteminde, it is possible to see its history as many of the original buildings, warehouses and farms from the Renaissance and onward are still standing. Tornøes Hotel, one of the most prominent buildings in Kerteminde, used to be the home of a merchant from Odense, but is today a beautiful hotel and restaurant on the harbour. The locals have cared for their history, but also made sure that the old buildings are modern and able to be used today.
Kerteminde has plenty of small streets to explore and walk down, lovely cafés to enjoy a cup of coffee in, and charming restaurants and pubs throughout the town. In the past 200 years, the town has attracted numerous artists and painters, who in particular focused on the harbour, the sea and the surrounding natural environment. Many of the paintings can be seen at the Johannes Larsen museum.
Surrounded by beauty and delicacies
Kerteminde town is great fun to explore, but it is definitely also worth taking a trip around the local area. Fyns hoved is the northern part of the Hindsholm peninsula that Kerteminde is on, and it is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Denmark. As it is surrounded by the sea and boasts a wide range of wildlife, the area offers mesmerising walks. All along the coasts, there are wonderful sandy beaches, and swimming (all year, if you can defy the cold) is encouraged.
For those looking to play 18 holes, the Great Nothern Golf Course is a Nicklaus course and perfect for both beginners and experienced golfers. Kerteminde also has nine official fishing spots, and the sea provides both varied and challenging fishing experiences all year round. If you would rather eat food than catch it, then the many restaurants, cafés and local farm shops make an excellent way to explore what the region has to offer. From fresh fish and the traditional ‘brunsviger’ cake to locally brewed beer and delicious fresh beef from Syberg Kvæg, there is plenty to sink your teeth into.
Situated in the heart of Denmark, Kerteminde is a wonderful, cosy and historical town set in some of Denmark’s most astounding natural beauty. Whether your main focus is on food, nature, history, relaxation or something different, Kerteminde has plenty to offer its visitors.
Three culinary experiences not to miss
Fiskerestaurant Rudolf Mathis: Situated right next to the sea, this cosy fish restaurant serves freshly caught fish cooked to a high gastronomic level.
Munkebo Kro: This traditional Inn serves local food based on the seasons. With a large wine menu and good food, an evening here doesn’t disappoint.
Restaurant Havnen: Split into two, this building offers a restaurant serving traditional Danish food on the right side, while on the left the pub offers the perfect chance to soak up the local atmosphere.
Click here to take a virtual tour of Kerteminde with Google Street View
How to get there: Car: This is the quickest way. It takes an hour and 45 minutes from Copenhagen, just under two hours from Aarhus, and 25 minutes from Odense. Public transport: Get a train or bus to Odense city centre. From Odense, you can get the bus to Kerteminde. Use rejseplanen.dk to plan your journey. Boat: If you happen to have access to a boat, then Kerteminde marina is a beautiful place to sail to and stay in.
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