Swedish Language Blog

Fun Places in Sweden – Öland Posted by on Aug 21, 2009 in Culture

If you read with some regularity what I write here on this blog, you might have gotten the impression my most favorite places in Sweden are all in the north. True, many of them are, but not all. Take Öland, for example. Definitely not in the north. In fact, as far as Sweden goes, it’s positively down south. Very south.

What? You’re surprised that I like Öland? And what’s there not to like? The place has everything – history, culture, nature, beaches (yes, beaches, and as far as Sweden goes, they’re quite OK), it’s sweet and charming and it’s definitely worth a visit. Or two. Or three. And the best part? It’s totally on the way from Kalmar, which just happens to be one of my favorite Swedish towns NOT located in the north.

I’ll never forget the first time I was traveling to Öland. I was a kid and had a massive panic attack while crossing the bridge (Ölandsbron) linking the island with the Swedish mainland. The bridge is six kilometers long, and while it might not be all that impressive by today’s standards, it was a feat of engineering back in 1972 when it was opened.

Oh, didn’t I tell you? Öland is an island. It’s pretty much self-explanatory when you look carefully at the name:

  • Ö + land = Ölan
  • ö (def.: ön, pl.: öar, def.pl.: öarna) landområde med vatten på alla sidor – in other words – an island.

And by the way, don’t you just love those one-letter words? I know I do.

But where were we? Ah yes, visiting Öland. Personally, I think that the Öland Tourism website does not do the place justice.

It fails to stress that while most of its info is indeed very summer oriented (and in Sweden, for all intents and purposes the summer season ended on August 16th this year), Öland is a very nice year-round destination, especially if you’re not a beach person (but then again, if you were, you’d go to Greece or Spain, not to Öland) and prefer history and nature.

Yeah history… can you believe that people settled on Öland back in 6000 BC? Isn’t it when the dudes in Egypt were busy carving sphinxes and building pyramids? It just boggles my mind when I realize that during that time things were also going on in other parts of the world. Namely – in Sweden.

But the ruins you can see on Öland these days are positively modern when compared to those very ancient times – they come from the Viking era. So if you’re into Viking stuff, then Öland should definitely be on your itinerary.

And if you like harvest festivals and pumpkins, then Ölands Skördefest will be right up your alley. This year it’s scheduled to take place on September 24 through the 27th. And even though I don’t like pumpkins, this event sounds like a lot of fun.

So, if you’ve been to Öland before, please tell us what you thought of the place. Would you recommend it as an interesting destination for a visit? (I’m asking, because I know that my opinion might not necessarily be for everybody).

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  1. John Eastlund:

    What about the kroppkakor and distinctive windmills?

  2. Cornelis:

    And do not forget that Öland is a very important place for birdwatchers in autumn. A lot of rare birds on the swedish list are just seen on Öland.

  3. Ann:

    Yes, absolutely, go. See the castle in Kalmar and then drive across the bridge, see the beautiful fields of flowers, the lovely beaches (real sand) and — Ölands Djurpark! I saw a lion family relaxing together while the lioness suckled her young, quite close, and the Siberian tigers are amazing. Close up stuff. The rides are rinky dink but the fact that you can do all you want make up for it (no lines). The waterpark is also cool, unfortunately there was a very bad accident there this summer 🙁 when a boy fractured his leg hitting the protective plastic on the side of one of the slides. Very nasty. Speaking of waterparks, my husband and 8 year old daughter had a wonderful time at Sommarland in Skara http://www.sommarland.se

  4. Anna Ikeda:

    ugh, you got me there – I HATE kroppkakor! LOL!

    you are absolutely right! Actually, that was the reason we went to Öland back then – my hosts were serious birdwatchers.

    I LOVE the Kalmar castle!!! The whole town is just lovely!


  5. Ölänning:

    Skördefesten (the harvest festival” sucks. It’s not a real tradition, it’s just amde up by the tourism board. Mostly people just get very drunk and drive around in the middle of the night looking at art. Not a good combination. Believe me it’s not fun. At all.

    About the beaches, what do you mean “quite okay”? Most of the beaches (and there are a lot, and I’d say 95% of them are sand beaches) are very beautiful and unique. Take Byerum for example. A stunning view of the island and national park Blå junfrun (btw a great travel destination, definitally go there!) and the cool rock formations called “raukar”. Stunning views. Take Böda sand, very long sandy beach. What’s not to love? They’re as good as the beaches in Spain or whatever. The only problem with going to beaches in Sweden is that most of the time the water is too cold.

    Other than that, I’m very glad that you’re writing about my native island and I’m glad you like it.

    Keep it up!

  6. Ölänning:

    And btw, there’s another very typically “Ölandic” dish other than kroppkakor, it’s called lufsa. it’s basically the same ingredients as kroppkaka (funnily enough) but it tastes very different and imho, a lot better. Look it up on google and try it next time you’re on Öland or make it yourself! You won’t regret it! Bacon is one of the ingredients! How can you go wrong?!

  7. Spike:

    Anyone who doesn’t like kroppkakor isn’t using enough lingon berry. I think lufsa tastes like dog food.

  8. Barry:

    Try the kroppkakor fried. Much better.