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Bornholm, Denmark - round church

ABOVE: One of Bornholm's four round churches.

Most English-speaking travelers to Denmark have never heard of Bornholm, and even fewer have taken the ferry from Copenhagen to the island's capital of Rønne. That's a shame, because Bornholm is one of the most interesting vacation spots in the Baltic Sea--as generations of Danish, German, and Swedish tourists have happily discovered.

The island lies about 150 km or 94 miles southeast of Copenhagen, beyond the southern tip of Sweden. (The nearest point in Sweden is much closer--about 38 km, or 24 miles away.) Bornholm is compact enough that you can easily drive around the 141 km (87 miles) of coastline in several hours, yet it packs a surprising amount of geological variety into a small rectangular area. The north, for example, is covered in the same bedrock as Sweden and Finland are, while parts of the southern coast resemble Denmark's beaches and sand dunes on the North Sea. Farms, forests, and a handful of towns occupy the middle of the island, which is criss-crossed by more than 200 km (130 miles) of bike and pedestrian paths.

Tourist activities on Bornholm include sightseeing, hiking, biking, swimming, golf, tennis, horseback riding, and windsurfing. There's even a small, pleasantly old-fashioned amusement park (Web link on page 3). Bornholm is the kind of place where you can easily spend a week exploring the countryside, photographing boats in the fishing harbors, peering at Bronze Age monoliths and rock carvings, eating the fresh-smoked herring called Bornholmer at roadside smokehouses, and sampling the shops and museums in the small but lively capital of Rønne. If you're an artist, bring your paintbox or sketchpad: you'll find plenty to keep you busy, from ancient ruins to medieval churches to modern lighthouses behind white sand beaches.

Next page: Practical information for Bornholm

Bornholm, Denmark:
Introduction Sightseeing
Practical information Web links

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