Planning has taken on a new meaning in 2020… We had three holiday destinations in mind as alternatives for late summer, and in the end, we went with number four.
Just like that, on our first day off, mid-September, we felt like changing our plans. We actually really like planning our road trip routes, the excitement and quest for beautiful destinations, because that’s part of the whole process. But aren’t the benefits of spontaneity precisely what make having a motorhome so appealing? So we briefly reflected on our favourite holiday ingredients: a big beach, lots of nature, lots of water, lots of idyllic surroundings, preferably with a bit of uncharted territory. But without too many or too few kilometres for the two weeks. Perhaps we could throw in some ferry trips? Yep, that would be nice: et voilà – doesn’t Sweden also have lovely beaches? And isn’t there a summer island in the south east of the country? Öland!
The island, which isn’t actually that small, had been saved as a “some day” on a holiday list. We had heard that it had all things quintessentially Swedish in condensed form. That meant it was time to take a closer look…
Our holiday began in Polch by taking a quick look through Marygold. Everything looked good, and we headed north, freshly serviced. We took the ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg. We were fortunate enough to get a spot on very short notice. The first few kilometres along the coast let us know it was going to be a great holiday with great discoveries. The country road wound through gently rolling hills, ancient forests, ocean views and picturesque villages – with the typical red and white Swedish houses everywhere you looked – each one prettier than the next. The first marina (Stora Rör) confirmed that we had chosen the right holiday destination. Ocean view, beautiful light, peace and quiet, idyllic scenery in abundance! And it stayed just that way over the next few days.
Öland is the summer holiday island of the Swedes. In late September, early October, the season had definitely come to an end. The only thing that was disappointing was that all the pretty cafés were closed that would have otherwise enticed us with their suuuuper tasty cinnamon rolls! And also that places like the summer residence of the Swedish Royal Family, Solliden Palace in Borgholm, were closed. No summer, no summer palace tours. Which is a pity, of course. What we did find on every corner were freshly picked apples and pumpkins, as well as “loppis”, private flea markets that are fun to have a look at. This was where cash unfortunately held us back. We didn’t have any change, and the Swedes take care of everything, even private transactions, with an app that’s similar to PayPal. But it only works with a Swedish bank account. You basically almost never need cash here.
We were particularly taken by the Swedish street posts in their national colours! That automatically makes paying attention more fun.
Thanks to excellent network coverage even in the most remote corners, Frohmi was able to make up for the lack of travel planning in the passenger seat while Bo drove. Öland, with its 137 kilometres of length and a maximum width of 16 kilometres, has an impressive amount to offer! We stayed for six nights. That makes it possible to see all of the major sights at a comfortable pace.
The first thing you learn is that Öland is the island of windmills. In the 19th century, they were a status symbol for farmers. 400 of the 2,000 mills are still intact. There’s no missing them.
In the south of the island is the lighthouse “Långe Jan”. For being Sweden’s tallest lighthouse, it was rather unspectacular. The drive through the rocky scenery, however, is very much worthwhile. There’s a bird and bird-watching paradise there with a research station where you can also watch seals. Långe Erik is the lighthouse counterpart in the north, but we only saw it from a distance.
Öland abounds with stone graves, stone ships and menhirs in all conceivable sizes. When you see how the landscape is covered with big boulders, it’s no surprise that they’re used as grave fields. One of the biggest sites on Öland is the “Gettlinge Burial Field”. But beware – the island is so wonderfully relaxed that you need to make sure you put your blinker on early enough to see the sights, otherwise you might just drive past them. A small sign suffices here, which is easy to miss.
The island has enough campsites throughout, so you can choose the prettiest one to suit your personal preferences. We only stayed the night at marinas, which meant we always had a view over the water – after all, that is one of our major prerequisites for a perfect holiday spot! There were small, big, willy-nilly, more marinas, more fishing ports – there was a little bit of everything. All of them cost around 20 euros and you can usually pay with a card.
The weather definitely lived up to the summer-holiday-island reputation and gave us some gorgeous late summer days!
The romantic marina surroundings regularly gave us gorgeous evening walks and picture ops.
The landscapes of Öland are surprisingly diverse across the length of 137 kilometres. The agricultural landscape of southern Öland’s “Stora Alvaret” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is unsuitable for farming and has very little vegetation on its rugged limestone terrace. You drive through the landscape for kilometres. We decided to take a small hike, and there are options of all different distances. You feel pretty desert-Mars-esque where you’re there. Quite fascinating.
As you head north, you encounter an increasing amount of forest on the island and more farming. What’s also unspectacular but still interesting are the “Byrums raukar” limestone stacks in the northwest that rise up to four metres out of the sea and are located in a bizarre, bleak and dusty area.
And then in the very northwest of the island, we finally reached the beach that lured us here. 22 kilometres of the finest white sand with a huge pinewood forest right beside it. And we practically had it all to ourselves this time of year! Böda is the main holiday destination on the island with lots of campsites right on the beach, but they were all already closed. We found a great pinewood car park and enjoyed a few hours of beach and kite fun, but unfortunately without much wind. But we felt like we were in the South of France and were enchanted. A dream!
The icing on the cake of our day of highlights was taking a hike through “Trollskogen”. Trollskogen translates to enchanted forest and definitely lives up to its name. And you can basically hear trolls scurrying around behind every boulder.
The north of the island is covered in thick woods and the northernmost tip is home to said nature reserve. A 4.5 kilometre hike leads you through it, but don’t think that you’ll simply be wandering through. The forest stretches all the way to the water to a pebble beach, where there’s a shipwreck to admire. The forest gets its name from the contorted trees and you get dizzy just trying to figure out where they start or end. The amazing, ancient, intergrown trees and mosses and stones never ceased to amaze us. The definite highlight was the 900-year-old oak tree, just imagine everything it must have witnessed… And as if the whole ancient landscape wasn’t enough, then you have a beautiful section at the end along Grankullaviken Bay. With a view of Långe Erik.
We processed all the impressions in the comfort of our motorhome in the Böda harbour.
The six days on Öland had come to an end and there was definitely still so much more to discover! The trip was absolutely worth it! We did some serious relaxing for the rest of the holiday. The weather got a bit more capricious. Every morning, we tossed what we had originally planned for the day. A spell of inland rain quickly nixed our plans to look for a typical Swedish lake. Should we take the ferry back or potter through Denmark to get home? We can always hear the North Sea coast beckoning us from the west, which is something we have difficulties resisting.
But fortunately before that, the weather map sent us to a beautiful little marina in the southeast: Hörvik. It doesn’t get more picture-perfect Swedish than there!
It became our highlight overnight spot that, after non-stop rain during the day, took our breath away with a phenomenal sunset, bright moonlit night sky and an enchanting sunrise and it almost overwhelmed our camera.
The weather decided for us that we would head to the peninsula Skanör next. It’s located to the south of Malmö, you can see Denmark from there and it enticed with some beautiful beaches, kite surfing and surfing spots. We planned to decide on our further plans from there. Everything was nice and quiet since it was off-season, but the many motorhome regulations let us know there are a lot more people here in summer. It is a pretty and popular holiday destination for the more densely populated southwest coast. We were out on the water for two days of kite surfing and wing foiling at a lovely surf spot in Falsterbo and otherwise admired the pretty, colourful beach houses.
We decided to take the land route back home over the Øresund and Storebælt bridges. We paid about 190 euros in total for both bridges. A stiff price. Whether with the ferry from Trelleborg or as the crow flies over Fehmarn – it doesn’t make all that much of a difference in terms of price. But it can be worth checking the prices depending on the season. The ferry probably would have been the most reasonable option. But we wanted to answer the call of the North Sea ;)
We spent two nights on the Danish island Funen. It drew us in with its hyggelig streets and the pretty little town Kerteminde. Here you definitely notice that their off-season is still part of the holiday period. The city woos with its attractive shops and restaurants, the marina still had plenty of boats and the sailing boats were slowly being transported to their winter quarters.
The streets and towns, in contrast to Sweden, get smaller, narrower and have more hills, but they are just as pretty. We tried to compare it all with Sweden, but it’s just different, a different pretty. We spent a great day on the northernmost tip of the island: Fyns Hoved. The advantage of having such capricious weather is the dramatic sky that comes along with it. Bo gave wing foiling a try in Danish water without much wind. Frohmi wandered around the area armed with the camera. And because rain is always followed by sun, we were able to take what felt like a Scottish hike through the small nature reserve of the headland. It was an altogether great day. Because we still had plenty of time for our last days of holiday, we went ahead and spent another night in the pretty marina of Kerteminde. We had an extraordinarily good time there! Over the years, we’ve learned on road trips to just stay put when it’s nice and to postpone leaving to the next day.
But then the call of the North Sea was simply too loud. A kind of mandatory programme when we travel up north is Rømø. Spending one day there on the beach can sometimes be as relaxing for us as an entire week and was an absolutely brilliant conclusion to a fantastic road trip. And anyway, it was high time for Marygold to drive on sand. It never ceases to feel like a big adventure for big and small, because you’re allowed to drive on the beach here. We booked two nights on the popular campsite Oasen Rømø and enjoyed the cosy hours of rain in the motorhome. The plan for the next morning was to be on the beach by sunrise. The good thing about an autumn holiday is that you can almost sleep in AND take pictures of the sunrise. And it was worth being early birds. And it’s even better when you practically have the huge beach all to yourself! We were pleased to see how well Marygold’s colour combo matched the beach with the subtle matt champagne accents. It was exactly how we had imagined it would be! Throughout the day, the sky delivered an impressive array of cloud formations. The toughest job after our holiday is picking out the best pictures for you…
It “luckily” rained in the afternoon, which made it a bit easier to say goodbye. But hey, there are definitely some worse spots for spending a rainy day.
On the way back, the A7 to Hamburg was full, so we once again departed from our plans for the day and drove through the country to Brunsbüttel. You can see some major boat movements there at the locks of the Elbe to the Kiel Canal. Always interesting to watch. The next day, we took the ferry from Glückstadt on the Elbe and then it was finally time to go home. There was no chance of changing plans in this case ;)
The holiday started with a rainbow in Polch and ended with a rainbow in Brunsbüttel. We drove roughly 3,200 kilometres and had the perfect combination of days filled with discovery or relaxation. A delightfully spontaneous trip had come to an end and we are ecstatic about having a motorhome that lets us flexibly and autonomously discover the world!
Campsites, facts, figures? Our road trip report with all of the relevant information is on our website here: https://stranddeko.com/category/schweden/