A 17th century naval fortress – Christiansø

In June 2020, I joined my colleagues for a 2-day work outing on the archipelago Ertholmene. You might not have heard of Ertholmene, and it’s two main islands Christiansø and Frederiksø since they often become overshadowed by their larger neighbour island Bornholm. However, a local ferry sails from Gudhjem on Bornholm to Christiansø island almost every day and it is well worth a visit!

Ertholme: to the right is the main island of Christiansø and to the left is Frederiksø.

Ertholmene archipelago is often just called Christiansø, and I’m going to refer to it as such in this post as well. Besides being a small cluster of islands, it is also an old naval fortress from the 17th century and a bird sanctuary.

One of the redoubts on the islands. Many are boasts a fearsome display of cannons.

Within recent years the local administration (officially under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Defence) has worked had to transform the Christiansø into a tourist-friendly spot. While it is possible to stay overnight on the island, most visitors visit for a couple of hours and then return to Bornholm.

I only visited Christiansø once in the past for a few hours, so getting the opportunity to stay a night meant I could both take photos of the sunset and sunrise – though it meant very little sleep!

Sunset at one of the defence towers “Lilletårn”

Fueled by a Monster energy drink, I managed both and was even joined by some colleagues with their own cameras.

The local administration even gave special permission for drone flights over the island. Fearing to disturb the birds, I flew a bit higher than usual, but it gave me some great views of the area.

If you visit Bornholm, I strongly recommend taking a trip to Gudhjem to catch the ferry to Christiansø for a few hours. It is the perfect one-day trip with great photo opportunities and a chance to soak in the atmosphere.

Read more about Christiansø here.