Præstø is a lovely little town in Southeastern Zealand, which has been through all kinds of problems in its life.
Præstø is mentioned in written sources for the first time in 1321 AD, as part of the local convent. The name Præstø is really two words, præst and ø, which means priest and island. The town used to be on an island and the priest part probably comes from it being owned by Skovkloster, Forest Convent. Parts of the original convent from 1425 are still present as part of the church foundation.
Præstø or Praestoe has been through a lot in its time - the town burned down three times in the 17th century and a few more in the 18th century. Add to that a flood in 1625 and a sweeping attack of the Plague in 1711 which killed every 4th inhabitant. Because of Præstø's location close to Sweden the town was also occupied by Sweden during the 17th. century, during which the Swedes taxed the population from house and home.
In 1801 Præstø still only had 480 inhabitants, but by then things finally began looking up. A modernisation of the harbour in 1827 helped considerably, and in 1901 Præstø had grown to 1497 inhabitants.
Today Præstø is a cozy little town with colorful half timbered houses and a little harbour which has become the place to go with its restaurants and cafes.
There is some commercial fishery out of Præstø Harbour, and you can be lucky and get eg. fresh eel if you go see the fishermen when they come back with their catches.
A lot of leisure sailors enjoy sailing to Præstø Harbour during their voyage around Denmark and the Baltic Sea - Præstø Harbour is the main tourist point of entry into Præstø today, which is a shame, as many drive close by on the E47 highway West of Præstø between Copenhagen and the ferry ports to Germany without seeing this lovely little town.