Here is yet another highlight of my cruise to the islands and cities of Scandinavia – Bornholm.
The picturesque island of Bornholm is a wonderful place to explore. This sunniest spot in Denmark is about 50% larger than the Isle of Wight and lies way out in the Baltic Sea, 200km east of Copenhagen and closer to Poland than mainland Denmark.
Its strategic location resulted in it being fought over for centuries before coming under Danish rule with the ruins at Hammershus, the largest medieval fortress in northern Europe, being testament to the importance of its location.
The extraordinary light, long hours of sunshine and picture-postcard scenery attracted many famous artists at the beginning of the 20th century, forming a group now known as the Bornholm school of painters.
Here, windswept beaches of sand so fine it’s literally used in hourglasses give way to rolling, grassy fields dotted with thatch-roofed farmhouses.
Then there are the charming port towns complete with traditional wooden smokehouses, ceramics ateliers and ice cream parlours.
The island is also home to 15 medieval churches, four of which are round churches with unique artwork and architecture, providing a fascinating window back in time. In addition, the ancient site of Rispebjerg has remains of Neolithic sun temples and earthworks from the Iron Age. Bornholm is renowned for its exceptional smoked fish, fresh produce, and a thriving gastronomic scene, well worth savouring during a visit.
A key draw of this eco-friendly, foodie destination are the 150 miles of cycling routes, creating a cycling paradise and a great way to tour the quaint villages and arresting countryside.
Having only a day on beautiful Bornholm, the perfect way for me was to have a coach tour to see the best of Bornholm. The scenic tour was through the picturesque farmlands of this tiny Baltic Island.
The charming fishing village of Gudhjem, with narrow, winding and very steep streets and half-timbered houses, many with thatched roofs, and surprisingly lots of fig trees!
Baltic Sea Glass, a few miles outside Gudhjem, is the largest glass blowing studio that the island is famous for. Now its housed in a converted egg farm with stunning views out across the Baltic.
Østerlars Round Church - Oh, this was a must. In Denmark, there are seven round churches from the Middle Ages and four of them are located on Bornholm. The largest and most impressive is Østerlars round church, which was used both as church and fortress.
Finally, Hammershus, an old fortress on the northern tip of Bornholm and the largest castle ruins in Northern Europe. Hammershus was rebuilt and expanded on several occasions. In 1743 Hammershus was finally abandoned as a stronghold.
I agree that this gem of an island is now known as the pearl of the Baltic Sea and thrilled I got to see it just for one day!