Hjortø is one of the smallest islands (90 hectares) and has only 15 inhabitants. As the island is quite flat, embankments have been built around the entire island to protect the farmland, only 2 metres above sea level. The primary occupations of the islanders are farming and fishing.
The waters around the island are very shallow making the narrow, rather stony beaches excellent for children. It is possible to wade from the north part of the island to Hjelmshoved, an even smaller islet where two houses indicate that it was formerly inhabited. At very low tide, it is also possible to wade over to Mejlholm and Odden, both of which are grazing islets for Hjortø’s cattle. The two islets are located north north-east of Hjortø in the direction of Tåsinge.
Hjortø is known for its former annual hare-hunting events when hunters would flock to the island to participate. The purpose of this big event was to catch hares in nets and re-sell them as ‘fresh blood’ for rejuvenating other hare populations in Denmark. The island still has a large hare population.
Hjortø is a luxuriant island teeming with birdlife and has several rare amphibians, such as the Fire-Bellied Toad and the Green Toad. In addition to common seashore plants, the salt meadows are also the habitat for rare species such as Lax-Flowered Sea Lavender and Ranunculus polyanthemos.
Halen (literally the Tail, the western part of Hjortø) and the tiny islets of Danmark and Vibeholm are particularly vulnerable natural habitats which visitors are strongly urged not to enter from 1 March – 15 July due to the birds breeding here.
Hjortø is a tranquil island abounding with nature experiences.
Ferries depart from Svendborg twice a day.