The Helligdomsklipperne rock formations are one of Bornholm’s best, must-see nature experiences.
These more than 20-metre tall cliffs tower vertically over the sea and are breathtaking to behold.
The formations can be approached in different ways. You can park your bicycle or car at the “Bornholmerpladsen” car park, where a prominent Bornholm MP held outdoor rallies and barbecue parties in the late 1970s and early 1980s. From here, the walk to the rock formations is easy and beautiful. If you have the courage and the leg muscles for it, you can descend the steep stairways to the sea. One of them takes you down to a long cave, Sorte Gryde, which extends 60 metres into Bornholm’s bedrock. The animal life in Sorte Gryde is unique to Bornholm, as it features the Bornholm cave spider, whose orb-shaped webs resemble small Chinese lanterns.
Another way to access the spectacular rock formations is by walking down to the formations along the coast from the Bornholm Art Museum, which is an interesting experience in its own right. The rock formations are directly below the museum.
The last – and perhaps most enchanting – way is to approach the rock formations by boat. The more than 100-year-old sightseeing boat Thor departs from Gudhjem several times a day. It sails from Gudhjem to the Art Museum, affording lovely views of the coast from the sea. First, Thor sails past the old refuge harbour Nørresan in Gudhjem, and crosses scenic Salene Bay. Some history books assert that Harald Bluetooth dropped anchor in the bay in 986 on his way to Jomsborg, a Viking stronghold along the northern coast of what is now Germany. He was surprised by his son, Sven Forkbeard, with whom he was engaged in a conflict. Harald was unfortunately hit by a poison arrow, which subsequently killed him.
After leaving Salene Bay, the rock formations rise up and you soon see the candle rock formation, so called because of its shape. Some of the other rock formations also have names, such as Libert, Capri, Gull Tower, Love Seat and, of course, Helligdomsklippen (sacred or sanctuary rock), named after the sacred spring that once flowed into the sea at the base of the formation. According to legend, the “goose ravine” (gåserenden), a 25-metre deep, narrow cleft in the rocks, is near the rock formations. In the deepest recess of the ravine is a white stalactite which has created a hanging goose-shaped figure. From here, an underground passageway reputedly cuts through and under Bornholm – all the way to the wet cave at the foot of Hammershus. This is also worth visiting … if only to see if you can find the goose ravine.