Bornholm: Ronne

While technically a part of Denmark, Bornholm island is nowhere near the mainland Denmark and lies miles away in the Baltic Sea, off the southern coast of Sweden (easiest way to get here is from the Swedish town of Ystad). Throughout its history, Bornholm has been fought over by Denmark, Sweden and Lubeck’s Germany. Ronne is the largest town and the capital of Bornholm, with beautiful cobblestone streets and colorful timber houses; the town dates back to around 1000 AD, it’s a major Baltic Sea port and safe harbor. In 1945, Nazi Germany refused to surrender on Bornholm and Ronne was bombed to near oblivion by the Soviet Army, 212 houses (or 95% of town) were destroyed, but mostly without civilian casualties (who were warned in advance). Years later, Sweden contributed 300 colorful timber houses that are now a major attraction in Ronne. There is also the Sankt Nikolai Church and Ronne Fyr Lighthouse.