After Nexø, the topography of the island gradually changes from tawny sandstone to a more heavily forested area with thin topsoil, deep veins of clay, and outcroppings of gray granite. From Nexø, drive 5.5km (3 1/2 miles) north along the coastal road, following the signs to Svaneke, Denmark's easternmost settlement, with fewer than 1,200 year-round residents, lying 20km (12 miles) east of Rønne.
An idyllic retreat from the urban life of Copenhagen, this is the one settlement where we'd like to anchor if we lived on Bornholm. Many writers, sculptors, and painters have acquired homes in Svaneke, a former fishing village and the most photogenic town on Bornholm. In 1975, it won the European Gold Medal for town preservation. Its most famous citizen was J. N. Madvig, Denmark's influential philologist, who was born here in 1804.
The little town bears some resemblance to certain eastern regions of the Baltic with which it has traded, and it still has many 17th- and 18th-century cottages along cobblestone streets leading to the harbor, where fishing boats bob idyllically at anchor. Sights are few here and easily covered on foot. It's the appealing town itself, filled with red-tile buildings, that's the attraction. The town's main square is the Torv. Directly south of here is Svaneke Kirke, which has a runic stone dating from the mid-14th century. The church itself was largely reconstructed in the 1800s and is only of minor interest.
In and around the area are a number of windmills, including an old post mill on the north side of town. At a point 3km (1 3/4 miles) south of Svaneke, in the hamlet of Årsdale, there is an old working windmill where corn is still ground and sold to locals.
For information about the area, contact Svaneke Turistbureau, Storegade 24 (tel. 56-49-70-79; www.svaneke.net), open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm.