Looking for the perfect summer getaway? Well, look no further than Bornholm Island. Located in the Baltic Sea to the east of Denmark and to the south of Sweden is a little piece of paradise, that has captured the hearts of nearly everyone that has encountered it. Bornholm Island has become one of the premier destinations for visitors worldwide, and has recently soared to popularity due to its warm beaches in this summer season. Known for its Instagram-worthy natural landscape and warm and friendly people, here are seven of the best things to day to enjoy the perfect holiday on Bornholm Island, Denmark. Maybe you’ll even consider moving here permanently, like me.
1. Eat at a traditional Smokehouse
Bornholm Island has been realized as a foodie’s delight because of the unique smokehouses positioned at different points all over the island. These smokehouses date back to the late 19th century, and were established when Scottish soldiers were deployed to Christians. With their presence came the popular smoked fish/herring, which is now served as a delicacy in Bornholm’s smokehouses. Another favorable and interesting factor of Bornholm smokehouses are their traditional chimneys, which are a major selling point for tourists. There are 10 traditional smokehouses on Bornholm that still work today, most usually being a combined restaurant and shop. In order to get the authentic smokehouse experience, ensure to order “Sol over Gudhjem”, which is traditional smoked herring, normally served spring onions, radishes, rye bread and a raw egg yolk. Let the foodie in you explore this summer as you travel through Bornholm Island and experience what many refer to as the true taste of Bornholm.
2. The Bornholm Round Churches
Want to take a look at the spiritual side of Bornholm Island? Then head straight to the Bornholm Round Churches. Because of Bornholm Island’s strategic position in the Baltic Sea, it has seen many fights for possession of the island, but has managed to remain an extended part of Denmark. Out of these fights came the historic Round Churches, which were used both as churches and fortresses in times of war. These churches were built with dates as far back as the Middle Ages, and Bornholm Island currently has 4 round churches, with the most impressive being Østerlars round church. The four churches are found in different parts of the island and have different architectural feats for tourists, with Østerlars being the largest, Nyker being the smallest, Olsker being the highest and Nylars being the best preserved.
3. Visit Rytterknægten (The Knight’s Squire)
Translated literally as the Knight’s Squire, Rytterknægten was the perfect location for knights to mount their squires on the island. It now houses the Kongemindet Plaque, which serves as a major historical reminder on the island. The Kongemindet plaque commemorates Frederik VII and Countess Danner’s visit to Denmark in 1856, and bears an inscription attributing respect and reverence to the Danish Royal House and the King. Translated to English, the inscription reads:
“In remembrance of His Majesty King Frederik Vii’s highest presence on this island from 8 till 16 August 1851 with his wife, the Bornholmers out of subjectorial reverence erected this building in the year 1855 and gave it the name Kongemindet.”
Standing at 162 meters (531 feet) above sea level, Rytterknægten is the highest point on Bornholm Island, and is located in the middle of Almindingen forest. Take a trip through Denmark’s history when you visit the original Knight’s Squire.
4. Picnic on the side of Opal Lake
Translated to Opalsøen in Danish, this lake is just 20 minutes from another popular destination named Hammershus. Opal Lake remains a remnant of the Granite era on Bornholm as it used to be a granite quarry long before it became this world renowned lake. Now, this lake is open for all things recreational, from hiking the cliffs to see the breathtaking views, to swimming in the lake itself (best suited for actual swimmers as the lake is very deep and has no standing ground). Recently, zip lining has also been introduced as an adventurous way of experiencing Opal Lake. It is located at the northern tip of the island, so be sure to head to the top of the cliff for a picnic with a view.
5. Walk through the castle ruins at Hammershus
Touted as Bornholm Island’s number one attraction, Hammershus is the absolute largest castle ruin that can be found in all of Northern Europe. This medieval fortress is perched atop a very rocky and steep cliff, about 74 meters above sea level. Hammershus’s firstly built parts of the castle goes as far back as the early 12th century, and is still standing in some places, maintaining a pretty good track record as an architectural delight, even though it is in ruins. It has been the pinnacle of many wars, being besieged many times but Hammershus still stands as Bornholm’s crown jewel of architecture. Your trip to Bornholm Island wouldn’t be complete without taking a trip to Hammershus.
6. Travel through the Echo Valley
Located in Almindingen forest, it is one of, if not the longest of Bornholm Island’s rift valleys, referred to as Ekkodalen (translated to mean Echo Valley). This valley is called Echo Valley because of the echo that emits through the valley when you make a shout, with certain parts of the valley being louder with the echo than others. It is about 10 miles (15 kilometers) long and is a favorite for visitors and natives alike because of the echo it produces. Through the valley, the most interesting Danish phrase to shout is “Hvad drikker Møller?” which will normally emit a response of “Øller!” from other tourists and natives alike. This translates in English to “What does Miller drink?” to which someone will respond “Beer!” This Danish pun works better if you’re Danish, but it’s at least worth a shot right?
7. Visit the beautiful Dueodde beach
The most popular beach on Bornholm is Dueodde. If you want clean, crystal-clear water and ultra-fine sand, this is the place. It is several kilometers long and has many sand dunes, making it perfect wether you want to swim or tan undisturbed. Please don’t visit Bornholm without going to this beach, you’d seriously be missing out.
There you have it, seven easy ways to make your Bornholm visit the most enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. This island has perfect weather and warm loving people and is the best bet for your European vacation this summer. It is easily accessible via airplane, car & ferry or bus & ferry, so check this perfect vacation spot today. Cya there!