By Søren Sorgenfri
Content paid by NOVASOL
Few people can walk in paradise and live to tell the tale. But of course, you can do that on Bornholm. You are allowed to feel a little divine.
Paradisbakkerne (Paradise Hills) is a privately owned forest and nature area, which forms the easternmost part of the large forest area Almindingen, which covers most of the central part of the island.
The white sandy beaches and rocky shores grab the attention on hot summer days, and you often forget that a considerable part of Bornholm is forested when you are a guest.
But the island’s interior has a green and prosperous life and is interwoven with easily accessible hiking trails for everyone.
Paradise Hills is the Almindingen forest’s outermost protrusion on the island’s south side near the beautiful Ibsker Church.
The hill area is nationally known for its prominent inhabitant, Rokkestenen (the rocking stone), a 35-tonne boulder that came to Bornholm during the ice age. Together with other erratic boulders, it was pushed here by the forces of nature. Today, the Rocking Stone is frequently visited.
It is believed that there are about 175 erratic boulders on Bornholm, of which the Rocking Stone is the most famous.
If you just want to see the Rocking Stone, it is just a few minutes’ drive from Svaneke or the eastern part of the island.
Drive to Paradise Hills parking area at Lisegårdsvejen 2 in 3730, Nexø. From here, there is an easily accessible and well-marked path, which is the easiest way to the Rocking Stone. In wet conditions or days with a risk of larger puddles on the path, the terrain is not suitable for wheelchairs or people with difficulty walking. Otherwise, you’ll just need a pair of rubber boots on those rainy days.
Not far from the parking area, the path splits into two. Keep to your right for the shortest and most accessible road towards the rocking stone. – it’s about 1000 metres.
Keep to your left, towards Fjeldstauan if you want a different nature experience. On the path to the left, you’ll experience rapidly rising terrain that leads you to a pine forest and an idyllic forest lake before leading you further into Almindingen forest. Fjeldstauan is Denmark’s first youth hostel founded in 1919, but today it is a private holiday home.
There are three landscaped trails lasting approximately one hour, two hours and three and a half hours, depending on whether you follow the red, blue or green marking.
The one-hour trip is the ‘long’ trail past Fjeldstauan and the trail around to the Rocking Stone. – this is an ideal trip if you have children along. Regardless of the season, there is always something to look at for the youngest in the family. However, strollers and prams cannot be recommended.
The different trails have their sights along the way. The blue trail goes past Borgesø (Castle Lake) and Gamle Borg (Old Castle), which were used as a refuge during Viking raids in the Iron Age. You will also walk past Slingesten, a boulder that, according to legend, was thrown from Chrisitansø towards Boldils Church by an angry troll, using a silver chain that has left a mark on the stone. A true story, they say, but then again, you say so much when walking in the woods.
Denmark is a paradise of hiking routes with campfire sites, shelters and other goodies, but on the trails of Bornholm, you’ll encounter far less overcrowded trails.
If you ask me, it gives the experience of walking under the vault of the trees an extra dimension when the tranquillity spreads. But only for a brief second because when people are silent, the forest’s sounds are revealed, and it is a pure paradise here in the heavily hilly landscape.
A terrain formerly filled with heather and scrub but is now dominated by forest and trunks; however, there are several open areas where, among other things, sheep help keep the trees at a distance.
The trails in Paradise Hills offers more than the mapped sights you’ll encounter along the way. Especially in the winter, when the trees are naked, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to see far ahead. The highest point in the forest is 113 meters, making it a good lookout for seeing fields, natural fences and rock formations. Furthermore, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to spot game running across the fields or maybe spot some of the island’s rich birdlife. Look for dark shadows hovering high above the fields in still positions; there are indeed good chances of seeing buzzards and red kites looking for their next victim.
For people interested in hiking and who want to go on a longer walk, the Paradise Hills is part of the 67km cross-island hiking trail called Højlyngsstien.
If that walk seems too long, you can combine your walk in the Paradise Hills with a walk to the “Onde Tvilling” (Evil twin) that is close by. – a similar, if not more hilly terrain called “Helvedesbakkerne” (Hell Hills). Read more about Hell Hills here.
After all, few people can walk in paradise and live to tell the tale.