The ‘Beef islands’, better known asOkseøerne, are two small islands lying in Flensburg Fjord close to the coast in Sønderhav. You see them every time you drive along the coast from Flensburg to Sønderborg and we have always intended to visit.
Of the two islands, only the bigger one, Store Okseø, is regularly accessible to the public. The island is nowadays owned by the Environment Ministry. The island is quite small, at 0.08 sq km. However, besides a restaurant and some other buildings, there is not much else besides sheep, trees and coast line.
Keeping this in mind, when Denmark got really nice weather for a weekend and we thought that a picnic on Store Okseø would be perfect. And in fact it was! The ferry taking people over is quite small, so the island doesn’t get overcrowded. This means that even on a nice day you can get a spot away from the others to enjoy the (great) views across the Fjord.
There is also a 1km path going around the island that you can follow. If you are interested in this, don’t forget to take a map at the bridge before taking the ferry across.
The ferry runs in summer (end of June – start of September; Tue-Sun 11-18) and the shoulder seasons (end of May – end of June + start of September – end of September Sat-Sun 11-18). At a cost of 45 DKK it is well worth it to spend a few hours in the peace and quiet of the island. Oh, and if after your trip there you are looking for a bite to eat, you can either grab something at the restaurant on the island. Alternatively, you can check out another of our 99 things to do: Annie’s Kiosk just across the road from the ferry departure point.
Every 15 minutes the ferry MV Bitten crosses between Hardeshoj in North Als and Ballebro, on mainland Jutland. We took the ferry after work one day when we had to go north for the weekend.
The ferry ride offers a scenic alternative to driving down south to Sonderborg to the 2 bridges that connect Als to the mainland. With the building of the new motorway, the ferry does not really save you that much time. However, it saves on the driving distance and would be especially handy if your destination is north Als or the Aabenraa area.
On the day we took the ferry we were blessed with sunshine and great views for the 8 minutes or so that the ride took. It made it a pleasant way of starting a long trip (or at the end of one) as you get to relax and stretch your legs. I also liked the lack of stress and hassle involved with the trip: drive onto the boat, get out of car, enjoy the views, get back in and drive off. You pay on the boat to one of the employees, so no need to worry about buying tickets either.
The trip costs 20DKK for an adult, 50DKK for a car+driver, and 70DKK for a car+ 5 adults. The ferry leaves from Hardeshoj at .00 and .30 and from Ballebro at .15 and .45. I guess with the motorway the ferry may soon see its end, but I dearly hope not!
A pain of living on an island is the ease with which you can get to other places. Believe me! I know! I lived in a country the size of Als for the first 21 years of my life with no bridges to anywhere! It is true that Als is connected to mainland Jutland by two bridges. However, the traditional way of connecting islands is with the use of ferries, and Als is not lacking here either.
One of the ferries connects Fynshav on Als to Bojden on Fyn. The trip takes around 50mins. This means that rather than spending around 1.5hrs on a motorway you can get to Fyn within 10mins driving on country roads and 50mins relaxing on a ferry (+ time to drive to you destination on the other side).
You can easily make reservations online or by calling the company. Learning from our mistakes we would strongly suggest you do that! If you don’t have a reservation you will only make it onto the ferry after all the people who have reserved have. We managed to get on the ferry in both directions without a reservation. However, it was tight both times, and a 2hr wait for the next ferry is probably not your idea of a good time.
This ferry provides a useful connection between the south of Jutland and the south of Fyn, facilitating the ease by which you can go from Als to the two main Danish islands (Fyn, and Zealand further on). It is also a pleasant way of getting to Egeskov Slot from Sonderborg as we did. Way more relaxing than being cooped up in a car for the time required!