Reading material for those who love the camping life

Text and photo: Olav Barhaugen
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 3. June 2017

Bornholm - The Baltic Sea Pearl

In the middle of the inlet to the Baltic Sea is Bornholm, Denmark's easternmost outpost. An island completely different from the rest of Denmark with its rocky landscape and distinctive nature and culture. Why not try camping holidays on Bornholm this year?

Geographically, one would think the island belonged to Sweden, which is only 7 miles away. But with some exceptions, it has been under Denmark's rule. In the 1500 century the island was pledged to Lübeck, and during the settlement after the Swedish War in the middle of the 1600 century, Denmark had to surrender Bornholm to the Swedes. This did not find the Bornholms in, and a rebel group shot the Swedish commander on the island and gave Bornholm back to Denmark. During World War II, Bornholm was occupied by the Germans, and surrendered to Russia. Not until April 1946 left the Russians Bornholm, and finally the Bornholms could also finish World War II.

Preferred destination

With its mild climate and many sights and attractions, Bornholm is a favorite destination. Around 600.000 visits the island every year and is welcomed by the island's narrow 40.000 residents. Most come by ferry from Ystad, which, with the speed of 40 knot, takes you to Bornholm in less than half an hour. The ferry goes to Rønne, which is the largest city on the island. From here there is also a ferry to Sassnitz in Germany, and Swinoujscie in Poland. There is also a ferry to Køge south of Copenhagen, but it takes so long that most Danes prefer to go via the Øresund Bridge and Ystad. For us Norwegians it may be appropriate to use Bornholm as an intermediate station on the way further down Europe. But you may have Bornholm as a final destination as well. There is much to experience on the island, so it's no problem to spend a few weeks here.

Camping facilities

There are many campsites on Bornholm, many of them on the south coast, where you also find nice white sandy beaches. There is good bus service around the island, and a large network of bike paths. That way you can easily get around and experience some of what Bornholm has to offer. Bornholm has a nearly rectangular shape, with the north and south coast about 40 km long, and the east and west coast 30 km. Most towns are located along the coast, and there is a fair bicycle distance between them. If you do not have your own bike there are many possibilities for rent. In the towns you will find a rich selection of shops, often with local crafts and products. Many herb plants grow on the island, and are used diligently in local food. There are also many artisans on the island.

«Beautiful shopping center»

Svaneke northeast of the island has been named "Denmark's most beautiful market town" and is definitely worth a visit. Here you can stroll around and look in the shops or have some food and drink at one of the city's many cafés. One of the places you should stop by is at Pernille Bülow's. The renowned designer and glass artist has a glassblowing shop in the center of Svaneke. Here you can see the glassblowers at work, and try yourself as a glass artist yourself. There is also a sale of his son Johan's unique licorice products. Exciting products that have garnered great recognition.

sanctuary Cuts

A little further north lies Gudhjem, a lively fishing village and the oldest village in Bornholm. Here you will find one of the island's many smokers where you can buy the island's specialty, herring that is smoked in open chimneys. Early in the 1900 century, it was over 25 such smokers in operation on Bornholm. Today, the tradition is being held here in Gudhjem, but you can see the characteristic buildings with tall pipes in several places on the island. As the name says, Gudhjem has a religious connection. Øya's oldest church from about 1150 is located just off the city. If you go north along the coast, you pass the sanctuary cliffs, where in ancient times they were sacrificed to the gods. A source of water that was claimed to have healing power poured into the sea by these cliffs. Today we find the source in the Bornholms Kunstmuseum, where it flows through the entire building. The art museum contains art by both local and international artists and is well worth a visit. Here you will find both pictures and sculptures from several era and art forms.


Sørover from Gudhjem is Gaarden, Bornholm's center for food culture. Here is also a farm museum with several animals and old tools, as well as a wide range of local food and drinks. Bornholm has gained reputation as Denmark's gastronomic center. Several of the island's restaurants keep a very high level, and today one of them has starred in the Michelin guide. It is the Kadeau which is located on the south coast of the island, idyllic and secluded just off the beach. But everywhere on the island you get served good taste in all price ranges. Local raw materials are the focus of most people. We took a better meal at Stammershalle Badehotell, just north of Gudhjem. Here are the fixed menus with 5-7 dishes at a relatively fair price. But also bring a proper Danish breakfast (as in Denmark is eaten in the middle of the day) with smoked herring and everything that belongs to. You can buy it at most eateries, but we would gladly recommend Nordbornholms Røgeri in Allinge.

Borg Museum

Allinge is located northwest of Bornholm, and there are also the ruins of the old castle Hammershus. The fortress was used to the middle of the 1700 century, and was regrettably ribbed too much of the brick and building materials. Many houses on Bornholm are built of brick from Hammershus. Now the ruins are protected, and part of a museum where you can learn a lot about Bornholm's history. A visit to Bornholm and Hammershus is compulsory for many Danish schools, and the students often participate in a role play where they learn in a living way about the story. In the area around Hammershus are many cultural monuments, including Denmark's only rock carvings.

There is much to experience in Bornholm, and something for everyone. Whether you want to learn about history and art, play golf, fish, surf, swim, eat or just stroll around and relax.

At Bornholm's official tourist portal  You can find more information about what the island has to offer.

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