After arrival on the ferry: Walk north on the quay, then turn right up the stone steps. The tall yellow building on the right was originally the Commander’s Residence. Today it is a modern inn. Continue to the south and you will arrive at the island’s grocer’s. The yellow building with the big roof from the same time period was once the guard house. Now it houses the library.
Next in line is Hvide Hus, the white house where the island’s administration offices are located. It is also the residence for the Administrator, the highest authority on the island. Next to Hvide Hus are the 101 steps leading up to central Christiansø, past Bella Vista, which was once a brewery. In the low building to the right of Bella Vista, you will find the little ship, Butik Lighuset, which is also the island’s tourist office.
If you continue south instead, you will enter the only real street on the island, Gaden, where the soldiers once lived. Today, the buildings are primarily used as flats for people living and working on the island. This is where the majority of the islanders live.
At the end of Gaden, next to the two-storey Gamle Kro (the Old Inn), you will find a small wooden shed called Palivaren. It was originally situated on the harbour, where it was used as a reception building and quarantine measure for newly arrived ships. Later, it was moved, and today it is a gallery where various artists exhibit their work.
Walk past the playground and on towards Suensons Brønd, one of the island’s many water reservoirs. Further up, you will find Kongens Bastion, Coucherons Bastion and Dronningens Bastion, and finally Hoffmans Port. Here you can admire how vast and extensive the fortress structures actually are and truly sense the history of the place. Everything you see was built by hand.
Towards the south-east, out in the sea, you can see Østerskær, Denmark’s eastern-most geographical point. If you continue walking north along the wall, passing through Kildendals Port and then turning right down the road, Kongens Have will be on the left behind the high wall. If you follow the road, you will arrive at the campsite at Hertugindens Bastion, the school and the football pitch. On the rocks behind the north-eastern-most spot on the island, you will see a place called Verdens Ende (literally World’s End).
If you follow the walls to the west, past Rantzaus Bastion and Gyldenløves Bastion, you will see the island of Græsholm to the north-west, which is full of birds during mating season, and the islet of Tat, with the little lighthouse and a large population of resting seals.
Follow the path along the wall back to the harbour, and you will be back where you started.
Finally, walk up the steps past the inn and the restaurant terrace, Flisen, to Store Tårn, which dominates Christiansø with its central location and impressive size. Store Tårn has been carefully restored and is now a modern museum, featuring historical, artistic and ornithological exhibitions. The built-in lighthouse and beautiful glass roof with the impressive inflow of light are particularly worth a look. End the tour by walking out onto the exterior walkway at the top of Store Tårn, which provides a sensational 360-degree view of the entire archipelago and the Baltic Sea.
After arrival on the ferry: Cross the bridge and walk down past the black gunboat sheds. The gunboats once stored here were giant rowing boats mounted with a single cannon, and their job was to chase away the British ships during the English Wars in 1807–14.
At the end of the sheds, you will find the island’s famed fish factory Ruths Kryddersild, where you can buy three tasty flavours of marinated herring prepared according to age-old traditional recipes. Turn right after Ruths Kryddersild and walk up the hill. From here, you can see a red house, which was the executioner’s residence in the days when the fortress was active. The famous local painter Henning Køie also lived and died here.
The large yellow building was Denmark’s first prison for political dissidents, built in 1825. You are welcome to go inside and see the cell where Dr Dampe, the last Danish political prisoner, spent his days.
The long yellow building to the north was once the island’s hospital. Now follow the path to the left along the fortress wall. Further to the north, you can see the island of Græsholm, which is a bird sanctuary. There is an even better view of the island from Lille Tårn, which is situated at the northern-most point of Frederiksø. The tower was once used to watch over the strait between Frederiksø and Græsholm, but it also served as a hospital for the fortress soldiers. Today, the tower houses the island’s natural history museum. The little museum is definitely worth a visit.
On the way back to the bridge, you will pass a centrally located building called Månen. It serves as a community centre for concerts, balls, exhibitions, school plays and other social events.
South of Månen, you will find a narrow lane between two rows of houses called Harkestræde. This is where most of the residents on Frederiksø live, typically descendants of the fishing families that used to live here.