If you come by ship to the rocky island Bornholm, you will arrive in Rønne Harbour at the foot of St Nicolai Church. The harbour is the biggest one of Bornholm and lively frequented by ferries, fishing boats and cargo vessels. Here, the sea and land mix air with each other.
Take a walk on the cobbles in the quiet streets of the old part of Rønne behind the church. Rønne is a “garden town”. Behind the half-timbered houses and walls you find both back gardens and big gardens. It can be difficult to see these gardens from the street, but you can smell the many lilacs and fruit trees, hear the bird life and sense the peace between the houses and gardens.
In many of the small windows, the natives of Bornholm show their porcelain figures, handmade glass or knick-knacks of special importance. A personal signal to you from each window. Or go for an evening walk. Without being a window peeping Tom, you can experience many beautiful illuminated living rooms and interiors in the old houses of the town – from high-tech to best parlours from the beginning of the 20th century. Here, there are exceptional many fine half-timbered houses but in between you see the more recent “bomb houses” of red or yellow bricks, which were built as replacement for the many houses, which the Russian bombed in May 1945.
Rønne (and Nexø) are the only towns in Denmark where you can experience the consequences of the violent bombardments. While the rest of Denmark was celebrating the liberation in 1945, Bornholm was still occupied by the Germans. The island was an important bridgehead for German refugees on their way home from the Eastern front. Therefore, on 7 and 8 May the Russians bombed the town so badly that every tenth house was destroyed. A huge work of reconstruction replaced the destroyed houses with the new so-called bomb houses, which you can see today as newer brick houses between the old half-timbered houses.
The area around the street Snellemark was hit very badly and now the street consists of only new bomb houses. See the stone relief above the door of the bomb house just south of the church. You can almost hear the noise of the machines. Another proof of the bombardments is the several hundred wooden houses, the so-called Swede-houses, which Sweden gave to Bornholm to help rebuilding the island. Today, these houses are desired residences in the residential neighbourhood of Rønne (and Nexø).
St. Torv is the living centre of Rønne. Originally, the market place was a drill ground for the military, but today this is the place where guests and natives are gathering. Around the fountain, the granite sculpture, on cafés and in the shops. Experience the special atmosphere of the market days on St. Torv. Here, the natives of Bornholm present their own products. Get a chat with the people behind the booths. Early in the morning they come from the other parts of the island and from Rønne and line up their booths with homemade handicraft, vegetables etc. A butcher of the island and a fishmonger sell their fresh goods from their own vans.
Rønne offers many restaurants and cafés and several hotels. In short distance from the town centre, you can get sand under your feet. The town has three very nice sandy beaches, which are called Nørrekås, Antoinette beach, and Galløkken. By Galløkken and Antoinette beaches you find two camping sites, which attract many guests during the summer. Just south of the town, between the citadel and Galløkken, the youth hostel with midget golf is situated. The real 18-hole golf course, one of the four courses of the island, is situated just 4 km from the town centre towards Aakirkeby.
Rønne is full of experiences, opportunities and the central starting point for excursions to the whole island.