About 20 kilometres north-east of Bornholm, lies the archipelago, Ertholmene. The two largest islands, Christiansø and Frederiksø, are the best-known.
When vacationing on Bornholm, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a visit to this truly unique group of islands which await out there in the Baltic Sea. The islands provide ample opportunity to go for a swim straight from the rocky coastline, take a stroll through the King’s Garden, have lunch at the local inn and visit what may very well be Denmark’s smallest food production company: Ruths Kryddersild (Ruth’s Marinated Herring).
The experience starts in Gudhjem, where you board the small, but well-built ferry, Ertholm, built in 1967. When Ertholm leaves the harbour in early the morning hours, local residents gather on the quay to send it off with a song, making the journey even more of a memorable experience. About a kilometre off the shore of Christiansø, you pass the skerry, Tat, where hundreds of seals typically frolich in the sun.
On Christiansø, there are no cars, so once you arrive on the islands with the rustic old buildings, you might feel an air of centuries passed. The absence of cars means that children do not need to be mindful of traffic, but can focus on exploring the environment. In fact, as long as they don’t fall into the water, the islands offer a very safe environment for children.
On Frederiksø, you will find Ruths Kryddersild (Ruth’s Marinated Herring), a tiny little production facility, where the much sought-after marinated herrings are made. The production room is located at the harbour, at the water’s edge, and you are always welcome to drop in to purchase a tub of the delicious herring.
Frederiksø is also home to “Lille Tårn”, which now serves as a museum, where you can discover the history of Northern Europe’s first sea fortress. Should you wish to spend the night on the island, you can rent a cell for the night in the old former prison, where political activist, Jacob Jacobsen Dampe, was held captive for almost 16 years for questioning the absolute monarchy of King Christian IV in 1820. Dampe was convicted of high treason and “lèse majesté” (offending the dignity of a monarch). If you plan to stay the night well in advance, you may want to simply book a room at the inn.
At Christiansø, you will find “Store Tårn”, which – along with it’s little brother – was erected as one of the central fortresses of the island. Store Tårn has recently been renovated and now houses miscellaneous art exhibitions including a digital animation of the British attack on Christiansø in 1809.
If walking and sightseeing has made you thirsty, you can always stop by the “Butik Lighuset”, a shop located in the former morgue. Here you can buy yarn colored by hand, pillows and knives and also beer from the country’s southernmost brewery, Chrøøl.
If you remembered to book your overnight accommodation in advance, you are in for an extraordinary experience. When the last boat leaves the island, returning a good number of the daily tourists to Bornholm, a unique tranquility sets in. When you lay down to rest at night, it will most likely be to the sounds of birds chirping at dusk. Spending the night on one of the islands is highly recommended, whether it be at the inn, at the campground or at the prison.