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Öland is the second largest island in Sweden and also home to the smallest province. Located off the southeast coast of Sweden, it is full of winding, narrow roads that lead to farms and small villages. The population is a mix of locals and people who own second homes here, including the Swedish Royal Family – in fact, the royals traditionally celebrate mid-summer in their home close to Borgholm Castle.
This is Öland in a nutshell: the sea, the farm, the windmill.
Located on the south end of the island, Ottenby Bird Station is one of Sweden’s most famous and exciting bird habitats. It attracts bird watchers from not just the country but from around the globe.
One of the many winding, narrow roads that snake through Öland.
Like any island, Öland has a lot of beaches, but don’t mistake them for the Miami or Riviera kind. Instead, most are quiet, secluded, and have no bars or restaurants, although you might come across the occasional ice cream stand.
Fields surrounded by traditional stone fences are around every corner, often dotted with grazing animals.
Clouds sweep across the many fields quite quickly, pushed by the strong winds from the sea.
Öland is famous for its windmills. They are wooden and made in the traditional Swedish style that reflects the farming heritage of the island.
Some windmills are just for show and some are still in use. This one is very old and has become a tourist attraction.
There’s an old Viking burial ground in the village of Gettlinge, on the southern tip of Öland. This place is brimming with the island’s long history, which dates back to 96 AD.
Öland has a strong farming tradition, and many villages are populated by generations of the same farming families.
A solo swan makes its way across the gentle sea as the sun comes down.
Harvest time is an important time of the year here. Crops are gathered and fields prepared for the coming spring.
As the sun moves across the sky, it plays on the water that surrounds Öland, creating picture-perfect moments.
Late afternoon is the time for exploring and hanging out, just after leaving the beach.
The sea is often quiet on Öland, but when there’s a storm, the waters rage.
The forests are perfect for quiet walks and foraging for berries and mushrooms.
The northern end of Öland is even more remote, wild and secluded, with houses grouped in tiny villages and wide, open spaces in between.
Öland attracts bikers from all over who are drawn to the relatively flat surfaces stretching across long distances. That said, biking to a store for merely some milk can take an hour or more.
With its slow-moving lifestyle and sense of solitude, Öland has the kind of subtle charm that you don’t even notice – until one day you say to yourself, “I need a trip to Öland.” Once there, you end up never wanting to leave.