Lying off the coasts of Sweden and Poland, Bornholm the good light from those sunny days has always attracted artists to the island. Bornholm presents the Danish landscape in a nutshell; it is hilly and fertile with fields and large forests.
On the northern point of the island are the twin towns of Allinge-Sandvig. The result of a merger between two small fishing villages, Allinge is fortunate enough to have a small harbour, whilst Sandvig was named after a nearby sandy cove. The towns are relatively new, being established in the mid-19th century, but there is evidence that humans have lived in the area for a very long time.
Along with evidence of Bronze Age rock carvings and ancient human footprints, there are a lot of myths associated with the region. The forest that surrounds these twin communities is known as the Trolleskoe (Forest of Trolls), home to wart-covered and phenomenally ugly magical creatures that delight in brewing trouble, mischief, and the endless fog that sweeps over this end of the island.
In Allinge, the architecture is noticeably older than that of Sandvig. The town contains two hundred and three hundred-year-old half-timbered houses which were originally built to service the herring trade which once flourished in the region. Even today you can see evidence of the antique smokehouses that were used for preserving herring for later consumption or for export abroad.
Apparently, the herring and farming trades couldn’t survive the advent of industry. Especially after the German Baron H. von Ohlendorff established hammer works in 1891. These hammer works were associated with the stone industry but, for some reason, they attracted many tourists to the area, so infrastructure, such as hotels and restaurants, where built to cater for the number of new visitors.
Of course, it wasn’t the Hammer Works per se which attracted people, rather the glorious scenery and the fact that a regular ferry boat service linking Sandvig and Sweden began transporting the eager tourists to the region.
The amazing coastline with its craggy peninsulas and long, crescent beaches still attract many people to the area. Walking and kayaking are the preferred methods for enjoying such a magnificent area. There are some local attractions, such as the ancient Hammershuss ruins, but the major reason for visiting Allinge Sandvig is to enjoy the old towns and the incredible landscape that can be both wild and unpredictable one minute and extremely inviting the next.