We love unobvious places. The ones less known, less trampled down by tourists, the ones where you will see locals more often than crowds with cameras and phones in their hands. We’ve been lucky when it comes to such places this year… Exploring Latvia during our May long weekend (you can read about Riga HERE – there will be more soon), my favorite, mysterious Basque Country in July (you need to click HERE!) and Öland in June.
Öland belongs to Sweden and is the longest island on the Baltic sea. What’s funny is that when you type “Olandia” (which is a Polish name for Öland) in Google, you will probably be shown a recreation centre in Great Poland, and not the actual, beautiful, wild Öland. It’s small, has less than 25 thousand residents and its “biggest town” has about 5 thousand of them. It will enrapt you with its landscapes, picturesque windmills that you will see with every step you take, lazy cows lounging by the roads, and black sheep nearby Ottenby. You will fall in love with all these red houses with white window frames that will make anyone remember Öland’s landscape immediately. It’s lovely there!!! I think that once we begin to make a list of our discoveries and wonderments of 2016, Öland will be on it for sure!!! 🙂 Include it in your travel plans 🙂
HOW TO GET THERE?
It’s best if you go by your own car! 🙂 You’ll ask me: what do you mean? With your own car? To Sweden? 🙂 You get inside of your car, drive to Gdynia and get on the Stena Line ferry.
That’s how we did it! 🙂 It’s a solution perfect for a few reasons:
a) you need a car on the island if you want to see anything, so if you have yours, there’s no need to rent one
b) if you’re scared of Swedish prices of basic products, you can bring them with you – we had water, milk, cereal and something for Maks just in case he wouldn’t like Swedish cuisine with us
3) you get to sleep on the ferry, so you don’t get too tired, and neither does your child – the ferry leaves Gdynia at 8:30 PM and it gets to Karlskrona at 8 AM. Perfect! 🙂
It’s not far from Karlskrona to Öland. We lived in Färjestaden, somewhere in the middle of the island, on the west coast – it was about 100 kilometers. Öland is connected to the land with a bridge that was built in the 70’s. It’s still very impressive because it’s over 6 kilometers long! It connects Färjestaden with Kalmar County.
WHERE TO LIVE??
Färjestaden was a perfect base for us. It’s one of the “biggest” towns on the island, it has 5 thousand residents. It’s a very good place to start your travels both to the south and to the north of Öland. A huge advantage for us was also a gastronomical base in the town, especially the fabulous Seasalt Kitchen restaurant. You need to go there, even if you don’t stay in Färjestaden. Incredible shrimp sandwiches, great fish & chips, fabulous burgers! Small menu, but you will always find something delicious in it!!! Right next to Seasalt Kitchen you will find Olands Choklad, a place for every foodie – ice cream, cookies and handmade chocolate 🙂 I will write about what to eat on Öland in another post 🙂
HOW TO ORGANISE YOUR ACCOMMODATION ON ÖLAND?
Of course, you can use Booking.com to look for a room, hotel or hostel, but a very popular solution here is to rent a small house 🙂 We lived in one of them. There was a kitchen with a small living room, a small bedroom with a bunk bed and a huge bed on the mezzanine. There was also a BBQ point outside – we sometimes used it to make dinner. You will find a lot of these houses at SEMBO. Prices vary depending on the size and conveniences 🙂
HOW MUCH IS LIVING IN ÖLAND?
A lot of people are afraid of Scandinavian prices. Sure, it gets expensive sometimes, but… you can get by 🙂 You will pay about 60-80 zlotys for lunch. You will pay a little more for your groceries than in Poland, but it’s about 10-20% more, no matter what you buy. You definitely should bring some products with you if you don’t want to spend too much, but you can’t not try the local cuisine! It’s too delicious for that!!! 🙂
ÖLAND – WHAT TO SEE? – to the south from Färjestaden
You could say that our base is somewhere in the middle of the island (a little farther to the south). If you have 2-3 days on Öland, you should spend one day travelling to the south of Färjestaden, and the other one – to the north of the island.
We used our first day to go to the south of the island. We leave our base around 11 AM. A few hours is enough to get there, wander around, stop in places worth seeing and drive off the road if you find something interesting. Our first day on Öland is amazing!:)
Charming village that is everything you’ve ever thought and imagined about Sweden. A lot of flowers, trees and bushes, colorful houses, especially the red ones with white window frames amongst them. I think this is how I’ve always imagined Bullerby 🙂 Magical place for a short walk on your way to the south of the island.
I think it was the coast of Mörbylånga where we saw the first windmill on our way, undoubtly one of Öland’s symbols. If you ask Maks what he can tell you about this Swedish island, he will definitely talk about the troll’s forest, sheep, shrimp sandwiches and a huuuuuge amount of windmills. If you are travelling with a kid, you will find a playground nearby the picturesque windmill – we always need such breaks from sightseeing! 🙂
The town itself is tiny (less than 2 thousand residents). You won’t find much outside of the windmills and charming houses there 🙂
Windmills and mysterious stones near Klinta and Gettlinge
Mysterius place that we found kind of by accident. We saw it while driving down the main road to the south. Awesome windmills again, this time surrounded by a lot of huge stones. We read that this one of… graveyards typical to the Iron Age is made out of over 200 graves of different kinds. They say that after the sunset, this is one of the most beautiful places on the island. The landscape is incredible at any time!
You will find Klinta – Stora Smedby naturreservat right next to it. There’s a huge homestead full of cows there – they are another necessary element of Öland’s landscape.
The biggest attraction on the south of the island is still ahead of us – you will the amazing Ottenby naturreservat on its end. Once you enter it and go to its end, to the Långe Jan, you will want to stop everywhere and take pictures. The green, stones, lounding cows and black sheep walking slowly. Fairytale!
On the top of Öland you will see Sweden’s highest Långe Jan lighthouse. They say you get a beautiful view from it. Unfortunately, we don’t get to check it. The wind is so strong we get a shrimp sandwich and we go on.
Hamlet in Eketorp
After a short drive, we get to Eketorps Borg – undoubtly one of the most interesting places on the island and an absolute “must-see”. Eketorp is an archeological site where you will find a reconstructed defense hamlet from hundreds of years ago – locals have lived here since the 4th century.
Fishing Grasgards hamn
While going to the north through the east side of the island, you need to drive off the road and go to Grasgards hamn for a short time. You won’t find this place in any guides, but we were enchanted to see it. Small, picturesque fishing harbor. Red houses, boats and… a booth with fish & chips! We were so disappointed we didn’t have any cash on us and we couldn’t eat lunch in such climatic place! 🙂
The last place we get to see during our first day’s trip is Graborg – the biggest prehistorical site on Öland.
Uff, that’s a lot and it’s just the first day!!! 🙂 I hope I will get to write about what to see on the north (for example the magical troll’s forest) tomorrow! 🙂 TBC.
This is what our route looked like 🙂 Perfect for one day and perfect for kids because there’s not a lot of kilometers, but a lot of stops:)
*we worked on this post with Stena Line