Bornholm, the small Danish Island in the Baltic Sea, is one of the big, big destinations of summer sailing activities. The island offers half a dozen nice marinas and small harbors for sailing yachts both at its west and east coasts and during high season one must be either very lucky or very early to get one of the berths in the small, nice marinas here. Last time I was here, I was lucky. Very lucky – because I´ve moored in one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen.
Gudhjem harbor was instantly catching me upon arrival. It is a magical place indeed. A place so beautiful that you don´t want to leave. I would first suggest any skipper landing in Gudhjem – don´t leave the next day! Don´t just stay here for one night, plan your trip as such that you remain moored here for at least a full day, because it is then you and your crew will be able to fully enjoy the beauty of this small town.
How to sail to Gudhjem Marina
Gudhjem is situated some 6 miles south of the northern tip of the island of Bornholm. The rocky rugged coast line is as beautiful as it is dangerous in terms of stones, so keep well clear of the 15 metres depth contour. Approaching the harbor is possible day and night as there is a bearing line clearly well visible at all times, but be aware that the entrance to the harbor is very, very narrow: Not more than 10 metres in width, you should steer very concentrated. There is a small sandbank right on starboard side in front of the entrance so hold your course due port if possible when entering.
From Gudhjem a ferryboat is leaving for the small island of Christiansö a couple of times. The ferry can be mooring right within the entrance to take on new passengers. If this is the case, there is no chance to enter the harbor and you´ll have to wait outside until the ferry has left. Sometimes the ship is mooring inside the first basin of the harbor, then make sure that you have enough maneuvering space inside the basin because … Gudhjem harbour is very, very, very narrow!
Mooring in Gudhjem Marina
Gudhjem harbor consists of three basins, of which the first is the biggest. “Big” is a relative word, meaning, that the measurements of the basis are 45 to 45 metres the best. And this is the big basin. Upon entering, you turn to port and enter the second and third basin. Mooring is either alongside the very few berths to starboard or by means of mooring lines stern-first along the large stone walls.
Mooring is a bit complicated because there are no bollards. On top of the stone walls you´ll find some large steel rings to get your mooring line through but as the walls are easily higher than 4 metres the lines may get damaged by rubbing at the sharp stone. Most of the boats, as well as mine, moored by putting the lines around the wooden bumper-traverse that is installed near waterline. Once moored, you can connect to shore power – be aware that (at least this was the case in July 2018) they have 220 V-plugs here so you´d need an adapter.
Demurrage in Gudhjem
Demurrage is paid at the large red house just in front of the first basin. There are also toilets, the harbourmaster office and a small ticket office for the Christiansö-ferry. If the office of the harbourmaster isn´t manned you ought to pay upon arrival at the vendor machine. This machine will print out one of these colourful adhesive labels which you put around your shrouds or railing. Do it, because if the harbourmaster upon control will find a boat without such a label, demurrage is generally higher than at the vendor.
Daily rates are moderate. A boat 10 to 13 metres will pay 31.50 Euros per day, a yacht 13 to 16 metres will pay 40 Euros a day. Of course, as with nearly all Danish marinas, included is a perfectly working WiFi (in all corners of the harbor with video-streaming quality, just wow!) and unlimited shower-time (ladies aboard will be happy). I found this reasonable and well priced.
Speaking of the shower. Bathroom facilities are a bit special in Gudhjem. As the town is so small and space right at the harbor extremely limited, you have the choice: For just using toilets there are public WCs without entry restriction in the red house right at the harbor. I found the toilets clean and sufficient although anybody can (and does) use them. Then there is the “sailors bathrooms” which are a bit hidden …
You walk up the main street (where the bearing line marks are installed) right into the town. Some 100 metres uphill there will be a sign to the library, called “Bibliothek”. In small letters underneath the word – can be overseen easily – the remark for the sailor´s bathrooms is to be found. You enter on a property that looks like a small village´s church. This is the library. On the right side of the building stairs go down and after inserting the code you´ll enter the bathroom. There are just 2 showers, so be either very early or very late, otherwise you will have some nice waiting time under a beautiful cherry tree. Or you can read a book in the library …
Eating and Resting One´s Oars
Gudhjem is – like every other spot on Bornholm (well, except maybe the main place, Rönne, which is a bit of an industrial harbor) – a very picturesque place. It is not just that, it seems to have been fallen out of time, like walking in a past century. Not in terms of the people or the quality of stuff, but in terms of the rate of how time passes by here. It seems that one minute in Gudhjem lasts for hours. The town is built into a sharp, step ridge. There are colorful houses alternating with bare stones, small, winding paths between them, great views from everywhere. It is breathtaking!
The town is littered with restaurants of all kind, sweet and ice cream shops, pottery and gift shops, clothing and stuff, even a well-equipped sailor´s clothing shop is to be found. You can sit down and have a decent meal almost everywhere, just look around and choose the nicest place you feel comfortable with: Either directly at the deep blue sea, on top of the hills or in hidden courtyards under old trees between old half-timbered houses in every color imaginable. It´s a magical place, as I said!
Gudhjem Marina: My Overall Assessment
I was bewitched by Gudhjem and friends as well as other sailors assured me that this small harbor is really one of the most beautiful of whole Bornholm. Once moored here, you definitely should pay a visit to Christiansö (can also be done by boat but be aware that there are just a handful of berths available) and you should rent some bikes to discover the island by your own.
The harbor is not the most modern one, but that would simply not work for Gudhjem, as everything there is just as perfect as it is. You will be received by welcoming, friendly people, enjoy their food and local stuff (like smoked fish) and enjoy this most picturesque scenery.
My overall assessment of Gudhjem marina is 10 out of 10 points. Bravo!
Link to the Marina Website here
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All marina reviews here
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Second Bornholm-sailing trip in a 40 feet aluminium cruiser