The variety of plant life on Bornholm is astounding. The northern part of the island is extremely rocky and by radiating heat picked up from the sun, the rocks keep the surface warm enough for figs, grapes, mulberry, trees and other plants from Southern Europe to grow well. Read more about the wonderful plant rich island in Denmark.
Sweet cherry trees blossom in June and give a colorful show. Red orchids are common on the banks, in the river valleys and thousands of woodland flowers, especially blue, yellow and white anemones, cover large areas. About 25 percent of Bornholm is woodland.
In the center of the island is Almindingen, Denmark’s third largest forest. However, Paradisbakkerne is wilder in vegetation than Almindigen and is best enjoyed on foot. Small farms are scattered all over the island.
The largest town on Bornholm with 14,000 inhabitants is Rønne. Its harbor is one of the largest provincial ports in Denmark. Some parts of the town have been well preserved, especially in the area just east of Skt. Nikolai Kirke. The beautiful Kastellet is on the east side of town. Today it is a military museum, Forsvarsmuseet.
Bornholm has inspired many Danish painters, as well as having produced a few of its own. Oluf Høst is the best known. Bornholm Museum and its collection of paintings and exhibits from prehistory onwards, relating to the island’s past is worth visiting. It also includes a charming model of the Bornholm railway.
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The main town in the southern part of Bornholm is Åkirkeby with a population of 2,100. It is the only one of the larger towns situated inland. It was an ecclesiastical center, and its church Åkirke, was built around 1150 as a chapterhouse in the Archbishopric of Lund. The large tower was extended around 1200, and at the same time it was fortified with walls even heavier than those of Hammershus. It is notable for its sandstone baptismal front depicting the life of Christ in 11 relief carvings: the figures are explained in runic script, and end with the signature of the stonecutter, “Sighraf, master”.
Åkirkeby’s other attraction is NaturBornholm, a superb interactive visitor center that explains the island’s history, wildlife and geology. The building was designed by Hemming Larsen, architect of Copenhagen’s Opera House.
Denmark’s easternmost town is Svancke which prospered with the success of the shipping captains. The largest buildings were originally merchants’ homes. Today it’s the prettiest town on Bornholm, famous for an abundance of artists’ workshops and its lively craft market from Wednesdays to Sundays in summer.
North of the town is an old Dutch mill, and nearby an untraditional water tower, built by the architect Jørn Utzon in 1951.
Cycling downhill is forbidden in Gudhjem (God’s home), another very picturesque place, built on steep slopes down to the water. Windmills around the town once provided electricity.
Bornholm’s most famous artist is celebrated at the Oluf Høst Museum, housed in the painter’s former studio.
There is an open-air agricultural museum, Landbrugsmuseet Melstedgård, just southeast of Gudhjem at Melstedt, complete with horses, pigs and poultry.
Northwest of Gudhjem, the excellent Bornholms kunstmuseum, perches on a craggy outcrop above the sea and houses a worthwhile collection of artwork from the Bornholm School, ranging from the 1800s to the present.
Grønbechs Gård (Bornholm’s Center of Arts and Crafts), an old merchant’s house in Hasle, showcases the work of the island’s artists and designers, with changing wood, ceramics, jewelry, glass and textile exhibitions.
Feature image (on top): From Bornholm, copyright PXhere
The Wonderful Plant Rich Island in Denmark, compiled and written by Tor Kjolberg