What to do on the island off the coast of Kalmar!
Since the extended July vacation is fast approaching and we are still in Covid-19 times, many of you living in Sweden might be looking for inspiration for summer travels that don’t require getting on a plane or leaving the country. And I have just the place for you!
In my this post, I listed 5 my top places to visit in Sweden. But today I am going to mention one place that didn’t make that list, but is definitely worth the visit: Öland!
Öland is an island off the coast of Kalmar in the Baltic Sea. If you happen to be in Kalmar for a weekend, and it is during the summer, definitely make the short drive over the Öland Bridge to Öland.
Öland is the second largest island in Sweden (behind Gotland) and there is plenty to do here! Here are my top tips:
Visit the Beaches and Swim in the Baltic
If you are visiting Öland during the summer, then you have to spend a few hours at the beach. It is complete with white sand and turquoise water, and you might even feel like you are in Greece!
We were there in July 2020 and took a dip in the water. It was refreshingly cold! The water is so clear and it felt so nice to get some sun after a long winter.
Enjoy the Food and Drinks
While we only went to a few spots during our day in Öland, we really enjoyed the places we went to. First was Mormors Bistro for the best kardemummabullar (cardamom rolls) in Sweden! Be prepared for a line, but they are worth the wait!
The second spot was Elise, a great restaurant with tapas-sized portions, yummy cocktails, and plenty of outdoor seating. It really felt like a day abroad and was such a fun dining experience with good friends!
Of course there any many other options too, including the restaurant at Hotel Borgholm, which was awarded a star in the Guide Michelin!
These famous rocks attract many visitors who, like us, just want to stand on top the pillars and take some funny pictures (handstands were involved). But these rock formations have been carved out over millions of years by the sea’s movements towards the limestone.
In fact, research shows that ~490 million years ago lime sludge began to settle in large coral reefs in these warm, shallow seas. According to Allt på Öland, “the coral reefs were compressed under high pressure and the Öland limestone was formed. Researchers believe that it took 1000 years of limestone deposits to form one millimeter of today’s limestone. The thickness of the Öland limestone layers amounts to a maximum of 40 meters, which means that it took 40 million years for Öland’s limestone bedrock to form.” How amazing is our Earth?!
Plus Much More
These where the activities I prioritized during my day in Öland, but of course there is plenty more to see and do. Hiking is plentiful. Handicrafts are abundant. And there is plenty of history to be found here.
If you are here in September, join for Öland‘s Harvest Festival – Sweden’s largest!
- Ö means island in Swedish. So Öland literally means “island country”. Aptly named for an island, right?
- The island has 26,000 inhabitants.
- The Öland Bridge opened on September 30th, 1972.
- Archaeological evidence indicates the island of Öland was settled about 8000 BC, with excavations dating from the Paleolithic era showing the presence of hunter-gatherers. In the early Stone Age, settlers from the mainland migrated across the ice bridge that connected the island across the Kalmar Strait.
- Öland is mostly a summer island, so be sure to check ahead to see when things are open if you are visiting outside of the summer period.
- Eketorp Fortress, Sweden’s only reconstructed ancient castle, is worth driving by, but we didn’t pop in due to Covid restrictions. The The limestone pavement that can be seen around it, known as Stora Alvaret, has been entered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000 and the underlying bedrock is between 540 to 450 million years old!
Hope you learned some new Swedishness today and I’ll see you in the next post!