When entering Marstal Harbour during summer, the sea is as crowded as the busiest highway with small dinghies, lots of yachts and some large schooners leaving or entering the harbour.
The approach to the harbour may seem a little confusing but if you read the chart well, you will be just fine! Around 17,000 sailors visit Marstal each summer, and you are allowed to berth anywhere along the quays, the only condition being that the outer harbour is reserved for ships over 20 metres (66 ft) in length.
Nice facilities. Wherever you choose to berth the facilities are nice. There is a recently renovated service building in the outer harbour, and in the marina there are bathroom facilities at the end of the pier, as well as toilets and showers by the sailing clubhouse.
The beach at Eriks Hale (Erik’s Tail) with numerous vividly coloured beach huts and a child-friendly beach is only a short walk from the town and the harbour.
Shipping is religion. In Marstal, shipping is of immense importance, as the town is home to several shipping companies and shipyards as well as a large navigation school. The harbour itself is crowded, and the shipyard’s activities reach far out into the harbour basin with a number of large freighters being moored here. There is also a floating dock in the outer reaches of the harbour. With a little luck you might get to see a large freighter go into dock.
Plenty of berths. There is plenty of room in the marina, where it’s always possible to find a berth. Here you will encounter a rare occurrence – a real live assistant harbour master collecting the harbour fee, making small-talk and answering your questions.
Shops and restaurants. It is quite a fun experience to walk around the town of Marstal, with its narrow streets and alleys resembling the set of an old movie with its anachronistic shops. There are also, however, more contemporary shops as well as several nice restaurants and pubs – and a convenience store, meaning you will have plenty of opportunity to stock up. The fact that Marstal is a shipping town is quite evident in that many of the town houses are adorned by a “weather-schooner” instead of a weather-vane.
Maritime attractions. Marstal Søfartsmuseum (Marstal Shipping Museum) is a sight for everyone – whether you are a shipping geek, a historian, an amateur sailor or a child. A recent addition to the museum are the workshops on Eriksens Plads.
Kalkovnen, a limekiln from 1863, is located in the middle of the harbour, and it is possible to walk all the way out there.
The stone pier enveloping the harbour, measuring 1 km in total, was built from 1825 to 1841 by Marstal’s citizens and sailors.
Beach huts. Another must-see of Marstal is the row of tiny old beach huts located in the innermost part of the bay beyond the harbour. The area, which is nicknamed “Det Lille Hav” (The Small Sea), boasts an excellent and child-friendly beach.
Free bus. If you want to get around Ærø, you have the advantage of the world’s cheapest buses – they are free and depart on an hourly basis.
Ærø guarantees you sunshine, tailwind and plenty of pleasant holiday memories.
The harbour can be called at via three different fairways:
From N via Rudkøbing Løb (Rudkøbing Channel, 3.2 m), from W via the Mørkedybet Channel (3.2 m), and from S via Marstal Søndre Løb (Marstal Southern Channel, 5.0 m).
In stormy weather, the current by the entrance to the harbour can be quite strong. Northerly currents set towards the shipyard. The current in Marstal Søndre Løb is usually southerly with southerly and westerly winds reaching speeds of 3-4 knots under extreme circumstances, and northerly with northerly and easterly winds.