A gorgeous island with spectacular landscapes, with a mix of beaches, rifts, fine-grained sand, cliffs, large rocks & forest, whose interior is partly wooded and partly heath, with breathtaking steep cliffs and sea stacks on the north & sand dunes and fine long beaches on the south east and western fringes. An island located far in the Baltic Sea from Denmark’s mainland & completely different in terms of it’s nature/climate/people from rest of Denmark. And, an island with some great small towns that differ from each other quite a bit. That’s what Bornholm is! And is popularly known by names like ‘Pearl of the Baltic‘, ‘Island of adventures‘ & ‘Danmarks Klippeø‘!
It’s pretty easy to spend lot of days in this small island by engaging in a lot of nature treks, hikes, cycling & many other stuffs.
We traveled to Rønne from Copenhagen via Ystad. The bus from Copenhagen till Ystad and thereafter the ferry. Our stay was with B&B Hotel in Rønne for 2 nights. We were based out in Rønne (commonly referred as the ‘capital’ of Bornholm, as it’s the biggest town in the island), due to the fact that our travel was planned only a week before the actual trip which resulted in unavailability of accommodation at desired location (this time of the year being peak tourist season). The initial plan was to rent a bike & roam around the islands, one town to another crossing small farms and riding through coastal sides. But that didn’t turned out because of pretty bad weather – rainy & windy! So, instead we decided to use the public transport. The frequency of the buses were one in every hour (or in 2 hours at some times) and we had to plan all our visits according to the bus timings.
The first view of the town from the ferry looked great – small houses with red roof & walls painted in white. Amidst that stood a comparatively big white building – St. Nicolas Church. We visited this church as the first thing in the town. The harbor views from the front of church were really nice.
The Vimmelskaftet street behind the church is lined with small medieval houses painted in different colors – the only thing common to them were the roof pattern & it’s color.
Walked along the streets Sankt Hans Stræde, Søndergade, Sankt Mortens Gade soaking in the town’s views and ended up in Bornholm’s Historical Museum. A good museum which gives much insights to the island’s history along with Bornholm’s most famous troll – Krølle Bølle. After the museum thingy, we walked towards Pæretræsdalen for the classic Swedish wooden houses.
Back to the center and had lunch at Cafe Gustav with traditional Bornholm dish – the Røget Sild.
After the quick lunch, headed to next destination:
Hammerhus Castle Ruin – It’s Northern Europe’s largest castle ruin and built on top of rock overlooking Baltic Sea, which seriously gives exceptional views around.
TIP: The views of the ruin, the small cliffs & the sea from the bottom of the castle are even much better. There are small routes on both the sides of the castle to get down!
Traveled back to Rønne and had quite good dinner with at Selma’s Home Cooking – Indian food with East African touch!
The second day in Bornholm was mainly the traveling between multiple towns, starting with:
Nexø – A small harbor town with a Swedish feel. Lot of wooden houses painted in various colors, especially red. It has a church and few old buildings in the center. We strolled alongside harbor and the town center but nothing much was happening in town, so we decided to continue to next town –
Svaneke – voted as the most beautiful town in Denmark in 2013. And we agree. More livelier than Nexø and painted mostly in Yellow. It’s home to the island’s only brewery, Svaneke Bryghus – great beer which is popular all over Denmark. We had the lunch in Bryghus as well – it was quite good. The town has a Smokehouse as well with five high chimneys known as the Five Sisters. And, Hotel Østersøen – a fine building which dates back to 1600 and now houses holiday flats and is haunted by a female ghost called Emma – not sure about it’s authenticity though! OKAY, as soon as you hear ghost, time to run away to next town!
But, before running away time to try out some ice creams at Svaneke Is – they uses milk and cream from local Jersey cows and flavors it with Bornholm berries, liquor ice, herbs, honey and beer. It was YUM and had a bit different taste!
Gudhjem – The name directly translates to ‘God’s home’ in English and was the best of all the towns we visited mainly because of the energy this town had. The view of the town from any point was great. Either you stand up at the church and look down at the harbor OR stand in the harbor and get some scintillating views of the town, built mainly on rocks. This town hosts oldest smokehouse where dozens of herring are speared, dried for 90 minutes and then smoked over alder wood until they turn golden and then served over freshly baked rye bread, with chives and raw egg yolk on top, popularly known as ‘Sol over Gudhjem‘ – which in English translates to Sun over Gudhjem. Before leaving the town, bought the Ginger & Lemon flavored toffees from Karamel Kompagniet – they are quite famous for their homemade toffees.
Next destination was Østerlars – a small town around 10 kms from Gudhjem and famous for one of the four round churches in the island.
We were back in Rønne by 19:00 and decided to go to Hammershus Castle Ruin again, but this time for sunset over Baltic Sea! It was exceptional. The story goes like this: The sunset timing was 21:15 and the bus to Hammershus from Rønne was at 20:00 with ~1 hr journey time – that meant we were at the edge of seeing the sunset. But we managed to reach just in time. Another BIG thing was that we had to wait for almost 1.5 hours after the sunset to take the next/last bus of the day (at 23:00) to get back to Rønne. That meant we were sitting alone in dark, in the middle of nowhere & in the Medieval time old ruins and with almost no artificial light! All we had was clear sky, the sound of sea, the cold Baltic Sea wind and few hares running around in the farms. But against all these, the sunset was worth watching! 😀
The third & last day of our trip, we traveled to the south part of the island:
Dueodde – is probably the best beach in Denmark with extremely fine sand. Also has ‘untamed’ shifting sand dunes and a light house.
Arnager – A nice small town that has the Northern Europe’s longest wooden bridge & steep limestone cliffs. And actually the airport in Bornholm is called Arnager Airport. Had the lunch @Arnager Røgeri of røget sild (again!) 🙂
Returned to Rønne from Arnager, boarded the ferry to Ystad and back to Copenhagen. We were pretty happy with the trip even though most of things didn’t went the way we planned. But that’s kind of interesting as we never knew what our plans were till the end. We miss Bornholm a lot especially because of so little time spent there. A place definitely recommended & is worth visiting. And a place where I, myself, would like to go again to spend more time (few weeks, if possible though) and explore the island at my own pace, stay in a farmhouse, laze a bit in nature and forget about the rest of the world!