Hammershus Visitor Center
The twin cities of Allinge and Sandvig will welcome you with open arms. Here you'll find a remarkable combination of breathtaking nature, quaint historic houses and a warm hospitality, shaped by more than a hundred years of experience being a tourist destination.
Read more about the twin cities on Northern Bornholm
The old half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets of Allinge, are picturesquely climbing the cliffs around the harbour. Once a fishing village and collecting of farms, Allinge has now turned into a favourite vacation destination, as well as being an important trade city on North Bornholm. Between the church plaza, Lindeplads and the harbour, the city offers a delightful environment, with plenty of restaurants, cafés, bars, shops and smokehouses to visit. Throughout the summer, you’ll find plenty of outdoor market days too. Allinge Harbour is frequently visited by pleasure crafts, and the marina environment is especially cozy in the summer months.
Once a year, Allinge suddenly receives about a hundred thousand temporary inhabitants, when Folkemødet (The People’s Political Festival) takes place. This celebration of democracy completely changes the cityscape for about four days in week 24, and has done so since 2011. During the festival, the city is packed with talks, debates, events, concerts and parties.
Allinge was originally a collection of coastal farms, around which the city has grown. Later on, larger merchant houses were added to the city, of which you’ll see examples on a walk along Løsebækgade. By Løsebækgade you’ll also find an exciting coastal path, heading up and down the cliffs between Allinge and towards Sandkås. Right before the start of the path, the fine sand of Løsebæk Beach might tempt you for a swim. The painter Olaf Rudes (1886-1957) had his first studio overlooking the beach, and a lot of his paintings depict the landscape in and around Allinge.
Along Havnegade and Strandveje, it’s hard to tell when Allinge ends and Sandvig begins. In Sandvig you’ll find yourself in the northernmost settlement on Bornholm, and close to the tip itself. The massive Hammerknuden – or ‘Hammeren’ – dominates the landscape to the north of the city, almost shooting itself into the sea. Between the cliffs and Sandvig, lies the lovely Sandvig Beach, adored both by tourists and locals.
Enjoy the quiet atmosphere in the cozy fishing environment of Sandvig Harbour, along with the view of the bay and the cliffs of Hammerknuden. On a warm summer night, the combination of the hotels, the older districts, the beach and the cliffs, can seem almost Mediterranean in nature. When it comes to restaurants and cafés, there’s plenty to choose from in the old part of Sandvig, many of them located in the lovely old and restored houses. If tent camping is your thing, you can find a rentable campsite right behind the beach, with a much pleasant view of the bay. You’ll also find a hostel on your way to Hammershus.
Allinge-Sandvig was once two smaller, separate fishing villages, established sometime during the Medieval period. Since then, the twin cities have grown together in their own special way, characterized by two of the island’s most important professions; quarrying and tourism. The old half-timbered houses of the city stem from the 18th and 19th century; a time, when Allinge and Sandvig were known as fishing villages, as well as groups of closely connected coastal farms. Because of this, a lot of these old farm houses are now located in the middle of the city, and several of them nowadays act as enchanting guest houses.
The quarrying on the Hammerværket in the late 19th century greatly expanded the twin cities. The German Baron named von Ohlendorff bought Hammerværket from the local authorities in 1891, and invested a lot of money into this business venture. The Hammer Harbour was built to ship out granite, and a lot of jobs were created in the area. This in turn resulted in the influx of poor Swedish immigrants (a lot of whom couldn’t afford the ticket to the United States), who flocked to Bornholm, to work in the granite industry. Today, the quarry industry here is history, but it has left its mark on the area in a lot of places; the dramatic steep cliff sides of Moseløkken, the low terraced houses built for workers in 1890, and the local dialect in Allinge still being known as “Allinge-svensk” (Allinge-Swedish), just to name a few.
Baron von Ohlendorff didn’t just kickstart the quarrying adventure; he also spread the word of exotic and lovely Bornholm to the German bourgeoisie of the late 19th century. The steam boats soon started arriving with German summer guest in increasingly greater numbers. The number of tourists continued to rise, up until the advent of the First World War in 1914, which put a temporary stop to the new business adventure of Bornholm. A lot of prestigious hotels were built in this period, especially in and around Sandvig.
The fishing and smokehouse industry left its mark on Allinge-Sandvig, like it did on the rest of coastal Bornholm. Freshly smoked fish were shipped by steamship to Copenhagen, and the opening of the railroad between Rønne and Allinge-Sandvig in 1913 contributed further to the development on Northern Bornholm. The railroad stations in Allinge and Sandvig are still there, but the tracks themselves are long gone. As the German tourists stayed home during the First World War, the survival of the local economy depended on the quarry industry. It wasn’t until the 1930’s, that the Danes themselves started spending their holidays on the Baltic island, and the tourist industry started booming again. Since then, many nationalities have followed suit, and Bornholm has become a favourite vacation spot for people all over the globe. The quarrying industry continued until the early 1970’s, where the areas became protected by law. Today the old quarries are fantastic nature landscapes, with visible evidence of the former industry.