Sandra Neelmeyer is the host of a very special trip across the island of Fyn in Denmark. For more than 10 years, the native of Baden has lived with her Danish husband on Fyn and almost as long Sandra Neelmyer has worked for the local tourist office. Over the years, she has gotten to know the most beautiful places and many special people who represent their home Fyn or Fünen, as the island is called in German, with great commitment. First-class chefs who help themselves from the gardens of Denmark, hoteliers who have breathed new life into the charm of old country estates and restaurateurs who passionately produce first-class wines high in the north of Europe. She links these special places together during a five-day trip.
Countryside Break on Fyn
The island in the heart of Denmark and a good 1.5-hour drive from Copenhagen is surprisingly hilly. This adds to the charm of the landscape with its many well-preserved country estates and castles.
A self-drive tour of Funen
With the exception of a sailing trip around Svendborg, the trip is planned as a self-drive tour with your own car. According to Sandra Neelmeyer, the route across Funen is also suitable for vintage cars. No daily stage is longer than 80 kilometers and the route leads over country roads and through small villages. Her concept thus creates a balance between group ventures to many a place that is not yet in any travel guide and also allows time for two. Before Sandra Neelmeyer invites to her first exclusive Countryside Break trip at the end of May 2022, she has shown editor Angela Berg some of her favorite places on Fyn.
Set sail in the harbor town of Svendborg
The special countryside break begins at Hotel Stella Maris in Svendborg. Stella Maris is a luxurious boutique hotel with only 36 rooms. The mansion from 1904 is located directly on the coast of Svendborg Sund. The hotel has its own boat dock and from there a sailing tour departs out to the Danish South Sea. With a historic sailing ship from 1884 it goes out on the Great Belt.
Falsled Kro – from a distillery to fine dining
Another historic place on Funen is the former inn Falsled Kro. While schnapps was still distilled here in 1744, today it is known beyond the country’s borders for its first-class cuisine. The old country inn with its eventful history is not only accessible by road. Guests also moor in summer by sailboat at the small harbor directly at the end of the garden. There is even a helipad, as chef Caspar Hasse’s cuisine attracts guests from the mainland.
The Stokkebye Winery – wine from Denmark
One of the places that stands for culinary delights from Denmark’s gardens is the Stokkebye Winery. During a leisurely drive along the country road, the vineyard does not really catch your eye. You have to know what you’re looking for. With Stokkebye, Jakob and Helle Stokkebye have created a special place. The couple, along with a handful of other winemakers, are true pioneers. Wine growing in Denmark has been around for about 20 years. In 2009, Jakob Stokkebye began with the first plantings. He has a background in gastronomy, is a highly trained butler and sommelier, and runs a caviar business on the side.
Today, Stokkebye wines are among the best in Denmark. The white wine Livia has won several awards. Three hectares of Pinto Noir were recently planted. The harvest usually begins in mid-October here in the north. The sea is only a kilometer away. In fact, 200 years ago it was right where the vines are today. The soil is calcareous and full of minerals. In building his winery, Jakob Stokkebye took advice from the Rheingau region. The vines, for example, were planted with a spacing of 1.20 meters. because of the higher number of rainy days, the plants need more air and thus more distance from each other.
Estate Stokkebye wines go to 26 Michelin Star restaurants, one of which is in Paris. With a production of around 20,000 bottles per year, almost all are purchased by restaurants in Denmark. Sandra Neelmeyer leads her guests to an exclusive wine tasting in the pavilion at Gut Stokkebye The residence, Jakob tells me, has a special history. It was built by a couple who lived in Africa for a long time. In memory of their time there, they had the house built after the farm that the famous Danish writer Karen Blixen lived on in Kenya. But the longing for Africa was too great, they sold the house in cool Denmark again and went back to Africa. Now there is no coffee growing around the house, like Karen Blixen’s, but there is wine, and that is quite exotic for Denmark.
Visit to Egeskov Castle
On the Countryside-Break trip of Sandra Neelmeyer, one of the most famous castles in Denmark will also be visited. Egeskov Castle was built in the mid-16th century as a fortress complex and is one of the best-preserved moated and Renaissance castles in Northern Europe. Over the centuries, Egeskov changed hands many times. In the 1960s, the gardens and also the castle were opened to the public.In 1968, the Veterans Museum opened. Numerous other museums followed. A visit to the vintage car exhibition in an old barn on the Egeskov Castle estate, which is also well worth seeing, fits particularly well into the Countryside Break program.
With your own car to the most beautiful places on the island
Nature is also not neglected during the five-day road trip across Funen. Sandra Neelmeyer knows the most beautiful beaches for a walk and the places with the best views of the South Fyn Archipelago. The landscape on Fyn is surprising. You expect flat marshland and get a gentle hilly landscape where water and pastures alternate with fields and forests. Geologically, the Danish South Sea is a flooded ice age landscape. At the end of the last ice age the land was drowned by a strong rise of the sea. What remained were islands and small islets, which today can be reached by bridges, ferries or on foot at low tide. This special landscape of Fyn, the second largest island of Denmark, is immediately noticeable.
Tip from editor Angela Berg: On Funen, the pleasure is literally along the way. If you are on the road with your own car, you can experience many local moments of taste. So be sure to stop at the small farm stores and manufactories. Sandra Neelmeyer knows them all and can give good tips. You should definitely try the smoked cheese from Jörgen Hoff in Gundestrup. He is a dairyman and brewer in one person. His soft smoked cheese made from sour milk without rind is award-winning, and he also produces beer from the whey of his dairy.
The research trip was supported in part by the Fyn Tourist Office.