Oland, pronouncer ‘erland’, is the second largest island in Sweden but it is connected to the mainland by a beautiful 6km bridge. Here are our 5 top tips when visiting:
Stora Alvaret is a vast limestone plain designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional diversity of butterflies, wildflowers and grasslands. For around 5,000 years herders and grazers have lived off the plains and they have left plenty of evidence. 1 of 19 Iron Age Ringforts remaining on the island, Eketorp Fortress, was reconstructed and enlarged in the middle ages. The preserved fort is now a tourist attraction with a museum and actors providing a fascinating insight into medieval life.
Borgholm Castle was once a mighty Swedish stronghold, and the site of many battles with arch-enemies the Danes. However, after extensive damage it was rebuilt in 1654 as a Baroque palace for Charles X Gustav. Sadly a fire in 1806 the castle burnt down, but what is left is often referred to as “the most beautiful ruin in Scandinavia”. Royalty has not abandoned Öland yet, the Swedish monarchy have a beautiful summer house at nearby Solliden Palace.
Oland’s harvest festival (Skorderfest) has grown from a small local fete into one of the country’s most popular autumn festivals. Sample true Swedish country life with fairs, markets, art shows and lots and lots of pumpkins in September.
In Sweden Oland is famous for its shallow beaches and its sunshine. The summer fills up with Swedish families, camping, golfing and frollicking in the sand dunes.
For restless kids, visit Oland’s Animal and Amusement Park. The zoo contains 160 different animals, boasts rides and water slides and even a ‘Pirate Park’ for the little scallywags.