Bornholm is Denmark's crown jewel. `The Pearl of the Baltic' has sandy beaches on the south of the island which are renowned for their Mediterranean light and feel. Its forests impart a more rugged feel than found elsewhere in densely-populated Denmark. Though practically unknown to most English speakers, this island of light is a favorite vacation spot for Scandinavians, Germans, and Poles. Its position in the middle of the Baltic (it is closer to Sweden, Poland and Germany than to rest of Denmark) gives both a secluded, yet international feel.

Bornholm is an island located in the Baltic Sea 37 km south of Sweden. The island is roughly 588 square kilometres and has 158 km of coastline. Bornholm is widely known for its smoked herring, high quality arts and crafts and its beautiful nature.

View of Bornholm from Hammershus


As of January 2003 Bornholms five regions assembled into one administrative and political unit called Bornholms Regionskommune. As of January 2007 Bornholm belongs to the Capital Region. (Hovedstadenregionen) This means that Bornholm has been administratively fused with Copenhagen.


Other destinations


Bornholm has a long history as a military and political center in the Baltic ocean. The history goes back to the famous Vikings. Numerous findings at southern Bornholm indicate that Bornholm was a well established trading point. Poland, Sweden and Germany are all in the range of 100 km. That made Bornholm attractive for the Danish king and the archbishop of Lund and the city of Lübeck during medieval times. Catholics who fasted were only allowed to eat fish and other similar things, so that in the 13th century herring was the main income source on Bornholm.


The European plague struck Bornholm in the middle of the 14th century and halved the population. It was also during this time that Hammershus was constructed, as well as the famous 'round churches'. From 1525 to 1576 Bornholm was in pawn to Lübeck, because the Danish king Frederik I had been supported it in his rebellion against the Swedish King Christian II. The people of Bornholm were suppressed with high taxes and forced work. The people of Bornholm tried to break free but the revolt was fought down in the battle of Ugleenge.

Granite quarry near Hammershus

Early Modern

A battle between Denmark and Sweden in 1645 led to Swedish control of the island, but it was brief - they left again the same year. In the Roskildepeace of 1658 Bornholm, Skåne, Halland and Blekinge were given to Sweden. Again the people were forced to pay high taxes to the suppressive forces. The Danish king advised the people of Bornholm to fight back. In 1658 the Swedish commander of Bornholm was killed in Rønne, and the people of Bornholm freed themselves from years of foreign command. Bornholm was given to the Danish king as 'his island'. Jens Kofoed, Poul Anker, Peder Olsen and Villum Clausen became champions of liberty. The same four men have, in modern times, given name to the ferries from Bornholmstrafikken.

World War II 1940-1946

Bornholm was Danish until World War Two, and then was it taken over by the Germans and later freed by the Russians in 1945; the Russians wouldn't leave Bornholm because of the progressing cold war and only left after being given some special privileges.

The Cold War 1946-1989

Bornholm was NATO's Fist towards the east, but a Russian (Soviet) declaration after World War II stated that the placement of "foreign soldiers" (NATO) on Bornholm wasn't allowed. So, it was only Danish soldiers who were allowed duty at Bornholm. Because they were able to listen to Soviet, Polish and East German military radio transmissions from a location much further to the east of any other NATO members, enabling military movements and reinforcements deep within the Soviet Union to be monitored, Denmark's contribution to shared NATO intelligence was very highly valued, particularly at times of international tension. More recently NATO radar installations have been placed on the island.


As in other places in the world, Bornholm felt the industrial revolution during the 19th century, and in 1843 its Hasle klinker (clinker)was established, it was one of Bornhom's biggest export ventures since the herring in the Middle Ages. Also, the underground of Bornholm was and still is today a major part of the Bornholm industry. Bornholm is an island of Granite. Bornholmstrafikken (formerly known as ‘Dampskibsselskabet af 1866’or The Steamship Company of 1866) was founded in 1866 and is still the regular route to and from Bornholm.

Bornholm's main income source has, as an island, always been the sea which surrounds it, and in the 1970s through the 1980s the fishermen of the island were so successful that many of them became really wealthy. No one ever wondered about the quantity of fish they pulled up in their boats until the beginning of the 1990s. The harbours and processing facilities were all rebuilt to be prepared for a new season of fishing, but the season was called off by marine biologists. Because of overfishing, the sea was empty, there were no fish in it. That led to a crash in the industry because one man at sea could keep six on shore at work – in processing facilities, shopping, service and maintenance.

five kinds of granite on Bornholm (from Aakirkeby square)


Today Bornholm is a popular travel destination for many people in the Baltic region as well as tourists from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Poland and the rest of Denmark who are a common sight in the summertime.


As Bornholm has many tourists each year most people speak either English, German or Swedish, the exception being most of the older population. Almost all tourist folders are to be found in English, German, Polish and a Scandinavian language.

Get in

By plane

Bornholm airport near Rønne. In the summer season there are buses from the airport.

International Departures and Arrivals

All international flights operate on a summer-only schedule.

Domestic Departures and Arrivals

By car

As Bornholm is an island, you will need to take one of the various ferries (see below), do note that the going rate for a car is usually a lot higher than for "pedestrians".

By ferry

These ferries take cars and passengers.

International Departures and Arrivals

Domestic Departures and Arrivals

By ferry and train

Get around

Cycling on Bornholm

You can get to the island by ferry or airplane, but the island also provides excellent opportunities for arriving by private boat. It's easy getting around either by car, bus or bicycle.

By taxi

You can hail a taxi on the street, or call for one to come pick you up at a specific address. A taxi can be ordered at +45 59 95 23 01.

The charge for a trip from the airport to Rønne is approximately €7, and a trip from Rønne to Nexø (longest distance) is €50.

By bus

There are 9 bus lines connecting cities and attractions. Some stops are designed for getting off, walking a scenic route and getting on a bus at the next stop.

The BAT 24 hour ticket at €18 can be a good deal if you travel a few times and do not want to worry about the rates and zones.

By bike

The easiest way to explore Bornholm is by bike, the longest distance on the island is 36 km. There are excellent biking facilities all over Bornholm. It is easy to rent a bike at Bornholm an the charge varies from place to place but expect about €10 for a day and €20 for a whole week.


Østerlars round church





four kinds of herring
See also: Nordic cuisine


Bornholm is famous for its many high quality crafts such as blown glass and textiles. Visit the different shops and exhibits.


Go next

Ertholmene islands.

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