A couple of weeks ago we spent a week driving around Öland, which is an island in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden. It’s the second largest island in Sweden and you drive across a 6 km long bridge to get there. We drove around the whole island during the week and really enjoyed the beautiful landscape, the long white beaches and all the historic ruins. At the very south of the island in Ottenbylund, is a famous lighthouse named “Långe Jan” (Tall Jan). It’s 42 meter tall and you have to take 197 steps up to the top which we did and even more impressive, our 3-year old Liam did it twice! At the top, there is an amazing view of the ocean and you can even spot Kalmar, which is the mainland across the water.
Driving around Öland is easy and driving around the whole island can be done in a day or two, depending how fast you drive. However, this island does feature very rich history so there are many ruins all over to visit as well as old windmills and great views of the ocean so there really is no need to rush.
Some of our favorite places to visit were Bornholm Castle, a beautiful castle ruin with loads of kid’s activities June- August. Another must see is Eketorp Fortress a rebuilt ancient fort where you can do some forging and pole pillow fighting. On the south side of the island there is Gettlinge burial ground and Stora Alvaret’ which is a giant pre-historic limestone plateau with unique biodiversity and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We had a few mishaps during the week and one was that we lost one of our small windows on our camper van. We had some really hot evenings and had opened one of the small windows in the top bed. Usually we both cross-check that everything is closed, locked and secured before we drive off but this day we missed this window. So when we drove off, it flew off. Luckily we found the day after along the road and could re-attach it.
Some of the most scenic beachside campsites are on the north of the island. We stayed at a couple of different campsites on the north side and learned quickly what we look for in a good campsite. We like a place with nature, that is quiet, has a good service house and is no too crowded. In one camp site that was 5 stars we learned that five stars does not mean a nicer site, it simply means more activities and in this one there were everything and I’m not kidding. There was a candy store, pool, nice restaurant, ice cream store, clothing store, pedicure, water slide park, skateboard park, boot camp and the list goes on. There were also about a million kids and most it seemed, without parents! Therefore the noise level was unbelievable until midnight at least. Needless to say we could not wait to get out of there. Now we have learned to look for campsites with less glamour and more nature.