The sunniest part of Denmark – it’s official – lies way out in the Baltic Sea, 200km east of Copenhagen. In fact, Bornholm is so far from Copenhagen and the rest of ‘mainland’ Denmark that it doesn’t fit on the weather maps (although perhaps that would be too demoralising for the rest of Denmark). Bornholm is a special place for the Danes, most of whom have spent at least one holiday there (it’s popular with school trips) basking on its 30km of glorious sandy beaches, cycling (the classic method for touring the island) through its gently undulating corn fields, or pottering around its idyllic fishing harbours. It is claimed that seven out of 10 visitors to the island return.
The Danes have something of an inferiority complex about their country’s lack of natural attractions (hardly surprising when you think about what the rest of Scandinavia has to offer) and so Bornholm is especially treasured for its dramatic cliffs and those beaches, the best of which are to be found at its northern and southern tips. Nature aside, other attractions span almost a millennia, from the stunning clifftop fortress of Hammershus to the island’s four iconic rundekirke (round churches) and the strikingly contemporary Bornholms Kunstmuseum (Art Museum).
Holidaymakers from Germany, Norway, Sweden and, more recently, Poland arrive in Bornholm by their hundreds of thousands during July and August (600, 000 tourists come each year), drawn by the natural beauty and the island’s timeless atmosphere evoked by its thatched, half-timbered villages resplendent with hollyhocks. During summer there is an impressive programme of cultural and festive events; and the island’s ceramic and glassware artisans are famed throughout Denmark. Bornholm is quite seasonal and in terms of cultural activities and restaurants, things go rather quiet from October to April (visit www.bornholm.info for more information).