This blogpost is written as part of a paid collaboration with Destination Bornholm.
During the summer of 2020, we visited the beautiful island Bornholm in Denmark. Rasmus has been to Bornholm before, but it was actually Karoline’s first trip to the island. We had the best time at Bornholm, meeting inspiring people, eating our way through smoked fish and 5 course dinners, and experiencing breathtaking nature. To be honest, we had such a great time that the time just flew by way too quickly, and before we knew it, we were in the car on our way home again. Now we are left with the best memories of our time on the island and a ton of recommendations, that we would love to share with you.
Green Solution House
Green Solution House (GSH) is an innovative and eco-friendly hotel, meeting, and conference center located outside the city Rønne on Bornholm. The hotel lies in a very short walking distance from a small secluded beach, that you have to walk through a beautiful green forest to get to. The truly unique thing about GSH is, that the entire hotel is renovated and built to be as sustainable as possible. We want to mention a few specific characteristics about the hotel’s green building structure, but to be honest, they have thought of every little detail! The carpet in the entire hotel is cradle to cradle certified, which means the carpet meets high standards of different environmental categories, health, and social fairness. The glass windows and the glass railings on the balcony are covered in solar panels which create energy for the hotel. The hotel windows are a key characteristic at this hotel, as the hotel focusses on natural lighting as there have been studies done showing, that people thrive in natural light. The breakfast and dinner restaurant is of course organic and the ingredients are locally sourced. This hotel, meeting, and conference center is an ideal destination and stays for everyone who seeks to be inspired about sustainable and innovative buildings and management.
Høstet is an organic sea buckthorn farm close to Nexø on Bornholm. On the farm, they plant, grow, and harvest sea buckthorns. They make the most delicious foods out of the healthy plant, that you can buy at their small cozy shop on site. Sea buckthorns are really yummy berries, very sour in taste, and they have a reputation for being very healthy as the berries are extremely high in vitamin C. Among other things, Høstet makes marmalade, concentrated syrups, soaps, oils and snaps packed with the healthy berries. Furthermore, Høstet has made many different collaborations with other local companies from Bornholm, for example, Small Batch with whom they have made a bear with sea buckthorn flavor. The farm itself is really nice and a trip worthy, as there are tons of flowers, insects, berries and cute animals. We saw the most adorable goslings only one day old when we visited the farm.
Bornholmerhampen is a green production of organic and biodynamic industrial hemp plants located on Bornholm. The industrial hemp plant is very resilient, absorbs a huge amount of CO2, is good for the soil, and it is actually possible to use the entire plant in the production, so there are no waste products. Therefore, the plant is great for the environment. The production of hemp is also one of the most controlled processes due to the “real” hemp plants euphoric properties, however, the industrial hemp plant does not have any traits of this. Bornholmerhampen’s main product is organic hemp tea, but they also produce oils, soap, flour, and salves. The Danish organic and biodynamic tea is therefore an amazing substitute to the cheap, uncontrolled, low-quality tea harvested by farmers with low-income wages in China, India, Sri Lanka, or Kenya. You can try the tea at many cafés and restaurants on Bornholm, or you can find a list of the tea dealers on Bornholmerhampen’s website, where they also sell their products online.
Rain forest Chocolate
In the small town Allinge you are able to visit a chocolate delicatessen shop that sells ethical, social, and environmentally sustainable chocolate. The cacao beans come from a farm on Fiji owned by two Danish friends of the founders of Rainforest Chocolate, who planted a cacao plantation in the rain forest on their land. It is only allowed for adults to work on the cacao plantation, so the kids can attend their school education. The farm is also very concerned about the climate and local environment. Therefore, the farm is self-sufficient with green energy and water from a local water source, and the cacao plantation is kept without any chemicals. Most of the chocolate is also organic, Fairtrade, vegan and gluten-free, and the chocolate is purely made of cacao beans and organic sugar.
Restaurants & Cafés
Stammershalle is a beautiful coastal hotel located outside Gudhjem. The hotel is decorated in a traditional warm, maritime, and bright Scandinavian interior design, and from the hotel, you have an incredible view of the Baltic sea and Christiansø. At the hotel, you will find a nice and casual restaurant that serves an absolutely amazing five-course menu with a parred wine menu. The ingredients of the menu are inspired by the local farmer’s supply of food, and the sweet and attentive waiters were amazing to tell us where each local ingredient origin from. We love to learn more about the food we eat, and the storytelling truly made the meal taste even better – even though it was hard to better such a great meal! Stammershalle has succeeded in serving great food together with a lively and relaxed atmosphere in the most beautiful surroundings. We would love to visit the restaurant again one day.
Bornholm is famous for its long tradition of building small smokehouses along the coast of the island and smoke newly caught fish. Therefore, when you visit Bornholm, you have to taste a lunch platter with herring or another smoked fish with a side of rye bread, dressing and a small salad. Bakkarøgeriet was established all the way back in 1938 and is still smoking fish in the traditional Bornholm way. From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look like much, but as you make your way through the restaurant, you experience a big indoor seating area, a small live stage for local musicians, and a terrace with the most beautiful view of the sea and a tiny local harbor. We recommend you sit outside on the terrace, enjoy the sea view and try the traditional dish “Sol over Gudhjem”, which is smoked herring with egg yolk, freshly cut onions, and a base of rye bread.
Restaurant Vilhelm is part of Grønbechs Hotel in Allinge. The popular restaurant is visited by both hotel guests of Grønbechs Hotel, locals, and tourists looking for a great dinner. The restaurant has a really nice indoor seating area with a minimalistic Scandinavian touch, and the restaurant’s yard is really noteworthy. The yard is super cute and cozy with long tables, cushions, and differently colored light bulbs hanging from above. The menu at the restaurant changes with the season and always includes local ingredients from Bornholm. The food is so tasty and there are both traditional dishes with a twist and completely new combinations of flavor and texture. We tried a dish with mushroom stuffed pasta topped with artichokes, garlic, and a sauce made on sage, parmesan, and butter that tasted so amazing, that we are still dreaming about it daily.
Another traditional smokehouse restaurant we want to recommend is Halse Røgeri. This restaurant is a fair bit larger than the other smokehouses you may come across when you visit Bornholm, but it’s beautiful coastal location, stunning white buildings with iconic smoke chimneys and the food quality makes the restaurant very noteworthy. In the high season, the chimneys are working daily to smoke fresh fish, and they are still smoking the fish in the traditional way with real burning wood. At Hasle Røgeri you can also taste the more traditional Bornholm lunch plates of smoked fish together with some more contemporary dishes. You are also able to book a tour at the smokehouse if you wish to learn more about the art of smoking fish and see how it is done traditionally. During the tour you will also be able to get a few tasters, so you know exactly what to order at the restaurant after the tour.
Balka and Dueodde Beach
During our stay at Bornholm Denmark was hit by a heatwave, which meant we needed to be cooled down many times during the days. To do this, we found refuge at the two most beautiful beaches at Bornholm. Both Balka and Dueodde beach have unbelievable bright white and very fine sand, and both beaches are very wide and can, therefore, fit many people. Balka beach is located south of Nexø and even though the beach is rather large, it is the smallest of the two. Dueodde beach is surrounded by a beautiful forest of green bushes and heather hills that turns lilac in the late summer. You can walk through the small forest and to the beach by following a constructed wooden pathway. From Dueodde beach you have a stunning view of Dueodde Lighthouse, which is an iconic photo opportunity.
Hammershus is a ruin of an old fortress that origins all the way back to medieval times. It was built in the 1200s and is today Northern Europe’s largest castle ruin. The ruins are found right beside the coastline close to the small city Allinge. Due to Hammershus size, strategic location, and the fortress’ age, the castle has had an important part to play in many battles since the year 1200. Therefore, Hammershus is a really exciting outdoor day activity for all ages as kids can play around the ruins, and adults can indulge in the ruins interesting history. Furthermore, the ruins are open every day of the year all hours of the day, and there are no entrance fees.
Hammeren Lighthouse is one of the most beautiful – and maybe the most photographed lighthouses in Denmark. The lighthouse is located in stunning nature where sheep, goats, and cows graze freely. The lighthouse was built in 1802 and has had a vital importance for all ships passing through Bornholm and Sweden. During the summer it is possible to go up in the lighthouse and enjoy the view of Bornholm, the Baltic Sea, and Sweden. The lighthouse is open all day from dusk till dawn. It is possible to eat home brought food at the tables and benches in front of the lighthouse, and there are also many hiking trails in the area. This makes Hammeren an ideal location for a nice walk in nature followed by lunch by the lighthouse.
The Opal Lake is a must-see for all nature lovers. The lake is without a doubt the most unique lake in all of Denmark. By the lakeside, there is a steep cliffside covered in lush green bushes and trees. Back in the 1800s, the lake was actually not a lake, but a granite quarry. Today the area is a recreational area and one of the most beautiful nature experiences. There are a few hiking trails around the lake, and it is possible to hike all the way up on the cliffside. From here you have a magical view of the beautiful area, Hammershus castle ruin, and the Baltic Sea.
The Sanctuary Cliffs are a beautiful and huge cliffside at the cost close to Gudhjem. On the cliffside, there are also many caves and some of them are up to 60 meters deep. This piece of nature is very unique and different from the rest of Denmark, where you rarely see cliffs and almost never see nature made caves. You are able to walk to the top of the cliffs, walk into the different caves, and even see the caves from the water. If you want to get the best view and experience how big the caves are, we recommend you to take a trip with the guided tour boat M/S Thor, which sails along the coast. During the trip, you are able to jump off at the Sanctuary Cliffs and walk back on foot to experience the cliffs from the ground. M/S Thor is a beautiful white boat with wooden railing, and you are also able to book a stunning and romantic sunset tour.