Travels with V
Island in the sun
We made this journey a couple of years ago, and naturally some things have changed since. There seems to be a lot more good restaurants now, for instance. But I did some fact checking and surprisingly most of what we experienced back then is still there. Which is typical for this island, where time moves in it’s own pace.
Bornholm is an island in the Baltic sea just south of the southern tip of Sweden. So even if it’s a Danish island the quickest and best way to get there is by fast ferry from Swedish Ystad. The journey takes ca 80 minutes and You can bring the car, which is necessary if you want to roam the whole island.
On Bornholm the ferry arrives in the “capital” Rønne. But we didn’t see much of this town except the juice factory that delivers fresh drink all over Denmark.
Just outside Rønne there’s an airfield that has daily flights from Copenhagen. And note that bicycle is a fantastic means to travel on this relatively flat island!
This i where we stay, the Stammershalle bath hotel on the road between Gudhjem and Allinge on the north coast. This combination of Gourmet restaurant and hotel is a prime example of a trend in Denmark where skilled entrepreneurs from famous restaurants take over old establishments by the coast. You can read about it here.
Bornholm has for a number of years suffered from decline in year-round inhabitants because young people move to the mainland and the houses are turned into summer residences. So the island is today a true summer paradise. But there are forces to turn this around. In most of the towns and larger villages you can’t buy a house unless you become a year-round resident. This has led to more activities in off-season, and a town like Svaneke is now filled with productive people, artists, gem makers, glass blowers and brewers. And restaurants, art galleries and shops are selling their products.
Bornholm is a lot about food. Everywhere on the island you find local products like cheese, beer, sweets, meat and fish, most often smoked fish. A successful enterprise is Hammershus lamb, a company that raises sheep and lets them graze out on the islands greens (keeping the landscape open) and selling the meat directly to local restaurants and private consumers via their own farm shop. To keep the heards together a couple of clever sheep dogs are at work, and it’s great to see them running around doing their job.
The landscape on Bornholm is varied and rich, and there are some fine forests here with exotic and domestic trees. In springtime the forest grounds are covered with light green garlic-smelling ramson .
Top 5 on Bornholm:
- See: Hammershus castle ruin, Österlars round church.
- Stay &Eat: Stammershalle Badehotel, restaurang Le Port (leport.dk), Kadeau Bornholm i Aakirkeby and of course a fish smokehouse, for example Svaneke Røgeri.
- Experience: Nordboholm nature park, Döndalen valley (waterfall), Ride with horse and carriage in Almindingen forest with Rytterknægten (lookout tower), Ekkodalen valley with Rokkestenen. Rappelling or zipline at lake Opalsøen.
- Bath: By Dueodde in the south you’ll find the best sandy beach.
- Art: Bornholm Art museum.
Why is Bornholm a Danish island when it’s so close to Sweden? Well, large parts of southern Sweden were Danish until 1658, when a war and a peace treaty made them Swedish. This included Bornholm, but the islanders weren’t so cool with this. They rebelled, and managed to capture the Swedish garrison on the island. And it’s been Danish ever since.