A Weekend Guide to the Danish Island of Bornholm in Winter

Out in the middle of the Baltic sea - not far from Sweden, Germany and Poland, you'll find the Danish island of Bornholm. It's known as a summer paradise, with many Danes and other eager tourists taking the ferry over in droves to explore the island, lie on the sandy beaches and soak up the summer sun. My family and I have spent a wonderful few days during a sailing holiday many moons ago and I have so many fond memories. But I've never thought about going there in wintertime. Until now! 

Last weekend Per and I took the 1.5 hour ferry ride from Ystad, Sweden to the island of Bornholm and spent a cosy, winter weekend there. Now, I must add that we were lucky to have snow, and it is definitely out of season - but fortune favours the bold, and those who dare to brave the cold will be treated to Christmas markets bursting with local arts and crafts, snow covered forests, pretty fishing villages and coastal walks all to yourself! Here are some snapshots and a summary of the activities you mustn't miss should you visit the Danish island of Bornholm in wintertime: 

Visit the pretty village of Svaneke 

We stayed in the newly renovated hotel Siemsens Gaard in a pretty room overlooking the harbour. The in-house restaurant was absolutely perfect too - cosy with delicious in-season dishes (you don't want to go far in the cold, so it was a treat to wonder across the candlelit courtyard! 

The view from our room! 

Take a walk around the old fishing village to look out the pretty cottages all decorated for Christmas and explore the array of small boutique shops (I particularly loved Olivarius bookstore).  

Sampling the freshly baked bread and Danish pastries at Svaneke Brød bakery was also a highlight! 

Blow out the cobwebs by taking a wintery stroll by the coast. 

Take a walk in the forest

If the coast is not your thing, head to Almindingen forest in the centre of the island, and pick one of the many trails for a hike. During our stay the snow covered forest looked like something out of a fairytale! 

Shop local! 

Tour the island by car and pick up locally made arts and craft, glassware, lighting and other items from beautiful independent interior design boutiques such as Storms Rum (above), Lille Krusegaard, Matters - House of Craft and Hjorths fabrik as well as small vintage and secondhand stores. You'll likely pass many honesty stalls along the way which selling everything from handmade Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, eggs, honey and other locally produced items! 

Watch glassmaking in action 

Bornholm is very famous for glass-making - and includes ateliers like Pernille Bülow with whom I collaborated with for this Christmas tour of Helen's cottage. We loved watching a glass-maker in action at Matters - House of Craft in Nexø. 

Visit a Bornholm Christmas market

There is nothing more hyggelig than a danish Christmas market! In the weekends leading up to Christmas the island is full of them! Nestled beside a shipping wharf, Bornholm Christmas market in Nexø is brilliantly off-the-wall and a great place to buy anything from local beer, honey, jewellery, glassware, chocolates and knitwear! 

Svaneke Blomster flower store had a beautiful stall! 

I loved that there were oil barrels dotted around the market offering a place to warm our hands - they were completely in fitting with the industrial shipping location! 

Other Christmas market must-dos include the small, yet charming one at Siemsens Gaard Hotel in Svaneke where you could warm the cockles over a mug of gløgg and hotdogs (below): 

Also, don't miss the incredible Christmas craft market at Hjorths Fabrik - recognised as one of the best preserved industrial monuments in Scandinavia. At Christmas, the museum is taken over by local seamstresses, potters, jewellery makers and artists selling their wares. It's a Christmas market shopping paradise and not far from the ferry port in Rønne so easy to get to without a car too! 

Sustainably made silk shirts hand printed with the ink from pressed wild flowers by Gevandt was one of the items you could buy at the arts and craft market. 

All of the original potters wheels and tools (seen below) are still in use in the atelier. 

If you're looking for something really local, keep an eye on the calender for the village Christmas market in Gudhjem. Lanterns light the way and a pretty Christmas tree by the harbour awaits! 

Tuck into a Dansk Julefrukost (Danish Christmas feast)

It wouldn't be Christmas in Denmark without a feast. Book a table by the sea at Melsted Badehotel (above) and tuck into a taster many including all the local Christmas delicacies washed down with a local brew and aquavit. or indulge in a cosy evening at Njord in Svaneke. 

I hope you enjoyed these snapshots from our wintery weekend on Bornholm! I just thought it would be fun to share our quirky trip with you - especially if you love to hear about more alternative Scandinavian destinations! 

If you're more of a warm weather person who likes more action and restaurants and bars buzzing with atmosphere then you should definitely consider visiting Bornholm in summertime! You can also see my guide about island hopping in the Swedish Baltic or touring the incredible Swedish west coast islands. And you might also like to read my Scandinavian city guides, including 20 things to do in Malmö in winter time

Came here today looking for Scandinavian Christmas decorating ideas for the weekend? Head over to this archive for a ton of pretty ideas! 

Right guys, I think that's it from me this week. Thank you so much for stopping by! 

I hope you have a really cosy and relaxed weekend! 


All photos and words by me. 
Thank you to Destination Bornholm for funding this press trip. 


  1. from the french woman : I loved this report which brought up some old childhood memories when my parents lived in northern Germany well before 1990.
    I discovered the "honesty stalls" which sometimes (too rarely) exist in France among certain farmers who leave their produce there in a small shelter.

  2. Gorgeous! I love it! I want to go some time. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is gorgeous !

  4. This looks very nice and cosy, brillant idea to go there!

  5. I feel like I had a little getaway after reading this!

    What's an honesty stall?

  6. Love seeing this post! My grandfather moved from this little island to Canada when he was a young boy. We have been back to visit to see his childhood home etc. Thank you for sharing your visit!


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