It is cold, freezing, on the 588.3 km2 island in the middle of the Baltic Sea. In winter, Bornholm, Denmark’s easternmost municipality, is firmly under control. And yet it is beautiful because there is no breeze. The sky is a brilliant blue, the winter island is at its best.
Hygge | Holiday homes | Winter wonderland | Natural diversity | Starry sky | Library rats | Art lover | Culinary
Above all, winter travelers have the sunny Danish island, as it is commonly called, almost to themselves. You only share it with the nearly 40,000 inhabitants of Bornholmer and some winter enthusiasts who have drawn themselves to these freestanding granite boulders. And that’s exactly how the people of Bornholm are themselves: grounded, relaxed, always friendly and helpful.
The whole island breathes calm and serenity and spoils its visitors with a unique winter universe. Here in the Bornholm winter the famous Danish ‘hygge’ had to be invented and nowhere else can it be better appreciated.
© 2020 Kristoffer Linus
Hygge in Bornholm: much more than woolen socks and candles
“Hygge” is a trend in Germany, but at the same time one of the most misunderstood terms in our country. It is much more than German comfort, a retreat into privacy with candles, tea and classical music. Hygge is an integral part of Danish tradition and represents a warm and relaxed way of life, in which you can enjoy the sweetness of life with other people, outdoors in nature and indoors in houses comfortably furnished. Nowhere in Denmark is hygge so close as in Bornholm.
The location of the island, the lush nature that offers the Bornholmer and their guests everything they need and, last but not least, the creativity that has created a unique artistic and cultural landscape. In short: if you are looking for inspiration and total relaxation, head to Bornholm in winter. It’s still an insider tip, but more and more Germans are giving up their skis and prefer to spend their winter holidays in Bornholm.
Travelers reflect warmly around a campfire in nature.
Get there first and light the stove
It only takes three and a half hours from Germany to leave the everyday life behind and embark on a relaxed winter vacation. Twice a week, on Thursday and Sunday, the car ferry goes easily and comfortably from Sassnitz / Rügen to Rønne, the main town of Bornholm. And you should definitely take your car with you, because there is a lot to discover.
Most winter guests rent one of the many comfortable vacation homes in which a fireplace is standard. Usually some wood is ready so you can start a good fire after you arrive. Even in hotels and inns open all year round, there is often a fireplace or stove in front of which guests can relax, drink coffee or tea, read or chat. Just the right thing for people who don’t want to take care of themselves. There are many great arrangements and discount offers, especially during the cold season.
It is comfortable and warm in vacation homes. The best prerequisite for cozy winter evenings by the fire.
In the beautiful and harsh winter world
Warmed up by the welcome fire, you make your way to the winter wonderland of Bornholm. The first path usually takes visitors to the sea, of course. There are more than enough of them, because Bornholm is an island after all. On the snow-white, kilometer-long beaches in the south, you can take long walks and let the wind blow away the stresses of everyday life until your cheeks turn red.
The most famous is certainly Dueodde beach, where you can dream of a beach vacation. But swimming is also possible in winter: the most enduring of Bornholmers and their guests traditionally meet at Hasle Havnebad to bathe in winter. Fishing enthusiasts who don’t go so deep in the water catch the thickest sea trout & Co. in the winter. The season really starts from mid-November. And those who prefer to practice their sport on land will find in Bornholm beautiful running courses that are easy to manage even in freezing and cold weather.
A lovely winter walk through the forests of Bornholm.
Gentle in the south, harsh in the north: natural winter diversity
The north of Bornholm can be as rough and wild as the south is soft and sandy. A wild rocky coast with many caves awaits explorers, for example the 20-meter-high Helligdomsklipperne near Rø, where Bornholm falls vertically into the sometimes wild Baltic Sea. Here you can better feel the tremendous power of the Baltic Sea, which has nothing in common with the mirror-smooth surface of the water in summer.
But there is also a lot to discover between the coasts, like Døndalen, the Valley of Thunder, in which the highest waterfall of Bornholm and even of Denmark descends a good 22 meters.
Many hiking trails with different levels of difficulty cross the Spaltental. You must have good equipment with you as it can be slippery. This also applies to hiking routes in Vang Granitbrud or Paradisbakkerne. If you want to test your strength, try moving the famous Bornholm Rocking Stones. The Ice Age left them very fragile here. But don’t worry, not a stone has fallen in 10,000 years.
Stargazing: the pre-Christmas atmosphere in Nexø
Winter in the north is known to be long and dark and it is fortunate for astronomers. On cold, clear nights you tilt your head back and experience a breathtaking starry sky, for example at Hammershus Fortress, the largest castle ruin in Northern Europe. Very rarely, really extremely rare, even the Northern Lights appear in Bornholm. Nexø’s annual Christmas market is also held under the stars. Every Advent weekend from November 26 to December 19, the old fishing village turns into a Christmas paradise. If you want to escape the pre-Christmas stress, here you will find that Advent feeling without hygge – even if only for a long weekend.
The stars and the Northern Lights can be observed wonderfully on the island during the cold season.
Bookworm Vacation: Nordic Noir and Shovel the Conqueror
Certainly, the winter weather in Bornholm can also be very bad. Then vacationers love to stick their noses in the books no matter what form. And that brings us back to Nexø, the homeland of one of the most famous Danish writers: Martin Andresen-Nexø spent his childhood and youth there. A museum honors his life and his work there. Among other things, he is the author of the novel “Shovel the Conqueror”, which many know thanks to the Oscar-winning film adaptation. Those who prefer lighter fare immerse themselves in a Nordic black crime thriller, the Scandinavian specialty that combines the dark side of the north with dark humor. Bornholm is the scene of many Nordic black detective novels, for example by Lotte Petri, Pernille Boelskov from Bornholm or Jussi Adler-Olsen.
Relax and treat yourself to a few relaxing hours reading the novels of the country’s most famous writers.
The island of creation: arts and crafts with distinction
The special light and the unique nature have made Bornholm a magnet for artists and craftsmen. His works, inspired by the island, have such a good reputation that the International World Art Council WCC Bornholm was the first region in Europe to award the title of “World Craft Region”. The creators ‘works are not only visible in the many museums, but also in the artists’ workshops: many glassblowers, ceramists, goldsmiths, painters and sculptors open their doors to visitors in winter too. So why not take a real artistic tour through Bornholm’s studios and museums when the outside hurts.
Numerous studios and museums invite you on exciting art tours – here Bornholms Kunstmuseum.
Hygge for body and soul: the cuisine of Bornholm
There are two specialties that no Bornholm holidaymaker can miss: “Honingsyp” and “saltstegt sild”. One is delicious honey schnapps, the other is herring marinated in brine and then fried. Both are old compositions from Bornholm’s winter kitchen that you should definitely try.
Two other delicacies can be found everywhere on the island: the excellent Bornholm beers and the still hot smoked fish from one of the Bornholm smokehouses. Independents source delicious fresh produce from their own cultivation from the producers of Bornholm or visit the market hall in the former slaughterhouse in Rönne. But nowhere else can you experience the culinary winter better than in one of the many good restaurants, cozy cafes and rustic pubs. Here, the inhabitants of Bornholm and their hosts end the short winter days with high quality sweet and savory specialties. And there you will also find the real Bornholm DNA: warm hospitality with delicious food and drinks, a cozy room with great conversations and lots of candlelight – just hygge.
Don’t miss the culinary delights either! You can do this by visiting the charming local restaurants and cafes in the area.
Getting There :
By ferry: www.bornholmslinjen.de
Accommodation: www.feriepartner.de and www.bornholmtours.de
Nordre Kystvej 3
3700 Reindeer / Denmark
Phone. 0045 5695 9500
More information: https://bornholm.info/winterinsel