Weekend time is sightseeing time! I’ve spent three weeks on Bornholm, but only had two free days to fully explore some of the gems of the island. Although I’ve also made the most of my weekday afternoons, discovering areas close to Åkirkeby, I felt like I really had to make the most of those two weekend days! So, on the Saturday I decided to bike through as much of the southeastern part of the island as possible. I went to two beautiful white beaches, I explored Nexø, I went to the highest point of the Hills of Paradise and I revisited the Rocking Stone. The following Tuesday, I explored the village of Svaneke, which was the last place I wanted to see in the area.
After waking up early for two weeks straight, I decided to have a lay in that Saturday. At 10 AM, I was ready to go on the trip, although I first had to walk three kilometres to the excavation site at Vasagård to pick up my bike, which I had left there when Rune took me to Rønne two days earlier.
On my way to Vasagård, I realized what a stupid wardrobe decision I’d made in the morning. I was wearing all black with long trousers, and the sun was baking! I didn’t feel like going all the way home though, so I sucked it up and just applied sunscreen on the few bits of bare skin, wishing all day that I’d brought along some shorts.
I first biked to Duodde Beach, located 16 kilometres from the excavation site.
On the way, I came by St. Peter’s Church in Pedersker, which dates from the 10th or 11th century and is thought to be the oldest church on Bornholm.
When I was almost at the beach, I came past Bornholmertårnet, a 70 meter tall tower, from where the view is said to be amazing. But the entrance price of 75 DKK seemed too steep, especially considering that I’d already seen Bornholm from above from Rytterknægten (which was free).
But on the southern tip of Duodde Beach lies Duodde Lighthouse from the 1960s with a height of 48 metres, which only cost 10 DKK to climb, so I decided to do that! And I’m so extremely glad I did.
Because the view from the top wasn’t just good, it was downright amazing! I’d been to Duodde before in 2009, but I couldn’t remember at all what it looked like, and boy was I surprised! The landscape looked nothing like I’d imagined, it was so surreal and looked like it belonged on another planet – or at least in another country! Going up the lighthouse was definitely worthwhile, and I’m pretty sure the view from up there was better than it would’ve been from Bornholmertårnet!
Afterwards, I walked along a footpath through the sand dunes and down to the beach. This part of the beach was actually quite disappointing, as much of the sand was polluted and the water was full of seaweed. I didn’t stay for long, and soon I was off to another, more white beach!
5 kilometres more along the road, after passing through the village of Snogebæk, I arrived at Balka Beach, a beautiful white sandy beach that stretches along a bay. Although it hasn’t got Duodde’s characteristic dunes, it’s definitely the better beach of the two. I found some isolated rocks near the ocean, where I could sit and eat my lunch with a view of all the happy people enjoying their weekend at the beach.
In continuation of Balka Beach lies Denmark’s only sandstone heathland, Balkalyngen. I went for a short bike ride into the middle of it, but just as I went to take a photo, my bike got pushed over by a gust of wind, and my chain came off (AGAIN!). I quickly rang to Lula, who had recently learnt how to fix it, and she was able to help me over the phone! So with fingers blacker than ever, I biked onto Nexø.
Nexø is a town on the east coast of Bornholm with a population of 3,700 people, making it the second largest town on the island. Nexø is the largest fishing port on the island, and fishing is the mainstay of the economy of the town.
Nexø isn’t the most charming town on Bornholm, but I did want to see the church, which dates back to the end of the Medieval period. I also had a quarry lake located a few kilometres outside the center on the list, which was my favourite thing about Nexø!
Three kilometres from Nexø lies one of the most beautiful nature areas on Bornholm, Paradisbakkerne or the Hills of Paradise, which are part of Almindingen, the largest forest on the island.
Paradisbakkerne is a privately owned area, which consists of hilly landscapes with rift valleys, vertical cliffs, lakes and marshes. It’s a popular hiking and mountain biking destination for the locals and the many tourists that flock to the island during the summer months.
My original plan was to go for a hike through the hills to the Rocking Stone, but because it was getting late, I decided to bike around instead. I first biked to Gamleborg, a Roman Iron Age fortress from circa 400-800 AD. Unfortunately, there isn’t much left to see at the site, apart from a few large rocks marking the entrance.
Next up was Midterpilt, the highest hill in the Hills of Paradise. I had to walk only 200 metres along a wood path to get to the point. Unfortunately, despite being the highest point in the area, the hill is only 113 metres high, meaning that the tall trees still blocked the view.
The last sight of the day was Rokkestenen or the Rocking Stone, a 35 ton heavy rock that was brought to the area during the last ice age. Back in the days, the rock was easy to rock, but today it takes a lot of effort to move it just a bit, although it’s still possible.
I’d been there back in 2009, and the only picture that I remember being taken on that trip was actually at the Rocking Stone with me and all of my classmates in front of it! Now, I finally got to take some better photos of the rocking rock without people in front of it 😉
By now, it was 6 PM, so I hurried home as I’d promised to eat my dinner with Lula. On the way, I came by St Bodil’s Church, a parish church in Bodilsker, which dates from the 13th century.
One hour and 14 kilometres later, I arrived back at Åkirkeby Camping and immediately collapsed on the bed. I’d biked for over 9 hours that day and travelled over 50 kilometres! No wonder I was so exhausted! But it had been a beautiful day and I got to cross many things off my to-see list!
Tuesday was my last day of sightseeing. I only had one thing left to see on Bornholm, which I had missed out on in the weekend; the quaint village of Svaneke.
After work, I went with Rune to Svaneke, where he dropped me off in the middle of the village. Svaneke is the easternmost town on Bornholm and has a population of 1,100 people. With its narrow cobbled streets and atmospheric half-timbered houses, Svaneke is a popular tourist destination, although it hasn’t become overrun like Gudhjem.
I spent a few hours soaking up the special atmosphere of this old village. I visited the 16th century church, I went window-shopping in the many tiny boutiques and I explored the rocky shoreline by the lighthouse from 1919.
In the short time I had there, Svaneke quickly became one of my favourite villages on Bornholm, if not my favourite. The atmosphere there is similar to that of Gudhjem, but it’s much less crowded and touristy in Svaneke.
When I’d finished exploring Svaneke, my sightseeing of Bornholm was officially over. In under two weeks, I’d managed to see everything I wanted on the island, which was a whooooole lot! I spent many afternoons biking around the island and all of my free time in the weekends was spent on sightseeing! Stay tuned for the upcoming posts about my trips from the last weekend on the island!