Borgholm Castle

Borgholm Castle

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Borgholm Castle, also known as Borgholms Slott, is a ruined medieval castle and palace complex located on the Swedish island of Öland. It is now a popular tourist attraction and one of the most picturesque castles in the country.

The origins of the original fortifications built on this site are obscure, but it is believed that a castle has stood at Borgholm since around the 12th century AD.

Over the following centuries, Borgholm Castle was often involved in the conflicts which often took place between the Nordic kingdoms and was damaged and rebuilt several times – including a significant rebuild under Gustav I of Sweden and his son John III.

In the 17th century Borgholm Castle was remodelled along the lines of an opulent Baroque palace by King Charles X Gustav – he is the only king to have actually lived at the castle. However, the lifetime of this palace was short due to a devastating fire which swept through the complex in 1806, leaving just the impressive and striking ruined shell which still survives intact.

Today, Borgholm Castle is a popular tourist attraction and visitors can explore the castle ruins as well as learning more about the history of this strategic crossroads.

Sweden '15. VII: Isle of Öland: Borgholm castle

The Castle of Borgholm was one of the sights we wanted to see on Öland. It is a ruin of an ancient castle, probably originally built in the 12th century, and rebuilt many times over. The purpose of the castle was quite simple: to defend the Strait of Kalmar, mostly from the Danes. Borgholm (Swed. Castle Island) saw most of its fighting in the Kalmar War of 1611-1613. The war was caused by the Swedes being unwilling to pay tolls to Denmark for ship passage through Öresund Strait (out of the Baltic Sea, basically), and attempting to establish new land trade routes far in the north, through Norway, which was a part of Denmark at the time. The Denmark had the upper hand in the war, but their victory was far from certain. In the end Denmark agreed to grant free passage to Swedish ships, and Sweden paid ransoms for castles conquered by Denmark, and renounced its claims to the Norway north. The castle of Borgholm in particular was conquered by the Danes, reconquered by the Swedes, reconquered by the Danes again, and then ransomed by the Swedes after the war, taking heavy damage in the process. After that, the castle took its modern shape, designed by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, but fell into disuse soon, and was destroyed by a fire in 1806. The castle ruin remains a popular tourist destination. Like Vasa Ship Museum, we found the castle more interesting than we originally thought.

1. Tourist information board near the town of Färjestaden, Mörbylånga Municipality. It has a nice map of the island, narrow but stretched for 150 km from north to south. The town of Borgholm is the center of Öland, and the castle ruin is just outside the town. The drive from Öland Bridge to Borgholm is about 20 km.

2. So off we go! My trusty cheap LG Optimus L5 II Dual phone with TomTom application served us as a GPS navigator throughout the trip. I kinda like it, as I tend to like boring inexpensive things. It’s annoyingly slow sometimes and has very little memory though.

3. Apart from Borgholm and other castle ruins, Öland is known for its landscapes, which are unusual for Sweden (which isn’t really known for interesting landscapes, in general). Stony plains known as alvars, with little soil and sparse vegetation, are very common. The largest stretch of alvar on Öland and indeed in the entire Europe is called Stora Alvaret (Swed. literally Great Alvar), designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and also known for the fort of Eketorp, a really ancient fortress dating to 400 AD. Stora Alvaret takes up most of the southern part of Öland. Sadly we didn’t have the time to go there, but we still saw some similar plains from the car. Grazing cows are very common throughout the island.

Apart from Öland, alvars can be seen on another large Swedish island of Gotland, and, perhaps a bit surprisinglty, throughout the north of Estonia (which as far as I know is not known for natural attractions either).

4. The main road on Öland is called Road 136, going in a circle aroung the entire island. The road is an ordinary 1+1 road, and, unexpectedly, it was the most congested road in Sweden we saw. There is very intensive tourist traffic, with lots of motorhomes, and in villages it occasionally slows down to a halt due to intersections or pedestrian crossings. Simply entering the road to the left may take up several minutes, yielding to everyone from both directions.

Borgholm Castle parking lot

5. Still, it didn’t take long to reach the castle. There is a large parking lot and a souvenir shop. Entrance cost 95 SEK.

7. Entering the castle. The castle is square, with large round towers in the corners. The castle building is surrounded by star-like bastion fortifications from the south and the east. A mansion called Solliden Palace, serving as a private summer residence of the Swedish Royal family, is just a few kilometers nearby.

Borgholm Castle courtyard

9. The courtyard. A guided tour is ongoing.

10. More hallways, showing a bit of pareidolia.

12. The castle is quite photogenic.

Borgholm Castle courtyard

15. A stairway leads up to one of the bastions (the southern one). Other bastions can be reached from this one. The castle is built on a cliff overlooking the Kalmar Strait, visible on the horizon here, although there is about a kilometer of forest in between. Bastions therefore form artificial cliffs on the more gentle southern and eastern slopes.

16. Information tables in English and Swedish tell about the history and the architecture of the place.

18. Another bastion, with a few holes covered by iron grates.

19. Huge doorways lead here from the now-destroyed castle second floor. This bastion apparently used to be a front porch of sorts.

20. From the last bastion you can walk on top of a wall stretching further north. The wall surrounds an outer courtyard and ends with a small tower, housing a large stove. Its chimney is visible on the top of the tower.

21. The small town of Borgholm (pop. 3000) is about a kilometer to the north of the castle. The town as far as I know is not particularly notable by itself.

22. The outer courtyard holds an old building, the purpose of which I don’t remember now, and also a playground where you can try shooting from a bow or cooking pieces of flatbread on an iron sheet on an old stove.

23. A somewhat better-preserved wing of the castle seems to hold a museum of sorts.

24. I have no idea whatsoever what this stuff in the "museum" is, though.

25. Other rooms of the "museum" are even odder, like this one with a few crude model airplanes.

26. Now, this one is easy to understand! Sit on a throne with a sad lion face and take pictures of yourself! We made lots of these.

27. Stocks at the corner of the outer courtyard.

28. A stove in the outer courtyard tower we saw before.

29. The most magnicent castle resident.

30. After examining the castle and eating Swedish meatballs at the castle restaurant, we drove on to the north, intending to reach Långe Erik lighthouse on the northernmost tip of Öland. To be continued!

Borgholms Slott

The mighty ruin of Borgholm Castle is located near the town Borgholm, on the west side of the Baltic island Öland. Borgholms Slott is one of the most significant historical sites in Sweden and is one of the most visited destinations on Öland.

After walking through the large entrance portal of Borgholms Slott the pleasant coolness of the ruin surrounds the visitors. The path leads through staircases, on whose steps once walked the powerful of the northern hemisphere, in the various floors of the castle, with large empty halls and seemingly endless suites of rooms.

From the massive bastions you can enjoy an extensive view of the steppe landscape of the Stora Alvaret. The empty window frames on the west side offers an undisguised view over the Kalmar Strait.

In the permanent exhibition Uppgång & Fall (Rise & Fall) you can learn interesting facts about the 900-year-old castle history, the threat on the island by pirates, about kings and royal love stories, legends and war. Scale models also show the different stages of development of the castle, from the defense tower to the baroque Royal Palace.

The special atmosphere of the ruin is regularly used for changing art exhibitions, and the large courtyard is frequently the scene of musical events and theater performances.

During high season, from late June to mid-August separate castle tours take place for children especially. They can paint their own knight shields in the castle workshop or practice with bow and arrow. In the knights school the 4-to-12-years old learn everything what they ever wanted to know about knights.

The ruin is open to visitors daily in the period from early April to late September. Dogs may be brought, but have to be on a leash anytime. The tickets can be purchased in the castle shop in the entrance building in front of the ruin. The ruin itself is only partially wheelchair accessible - the upper floors can be reached only by stairs.


The castle of today is the ruins of the 17th century baroque palace Charles X Gustav had constructed. [7] It is owned and managed by the National Property Board of Sweden (Statens Fastighetsverk). [6] It is open for visitors and houses a museum. [8] [9]

The inner courtyard hosts concerts, theater performances, and other events. In the summer of 1989, Swedish pop group Roxette shot material for six music videos during a concert. One of them is "Listen to Your Heart" which became the group's third number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 later that year. [10]

Sweden 2021 part II - Öland Island northern half

Over Easter we took some time off from work and went on a short road trip to Öland Island. Öland Island is one of the 25 traditional Swedish districts. Actually it is the smallest of all these districts. Öland is roughly 135 km from north to south but only about 15 km from east to west at its widest. As you understand, Öland is very elongated from north to south.

Öland Island is in the Baltic Sea, to the east of mainland Sweden. The distance from the mainland to Öland in only about 5 km and there is a bridge going there. So it is easy to travel to Öland. Also, there is plenty to see there so we think Öland should be high on the agenda for anyone who is making an extensive road trip in Sweden. We actually saw so much when we were there that we couldn't fit everything into one blog entry.

Let's jump into what we saw and did these days.

Much of the interior of Öland is semi-barren.

There is at best only a very thin layer of soil and the vegetation is shrubs or grass. The most famous part of the interior of Öland is called Stora Alvaret. Hiking there was a given thing for us to do.

In Swedish the name Stora Alvaret sounds like "the large seriousness", which of course gives rises to many jokes.

When visiting Öland the Öland Bridge, the bridge that connects Öland with the mainland, is difficult to avoid. Öland Bridge is the second longest bridge in Sweden, surpassed only by Öresundsbron. Öresundsbron is not only longer, it is also more famous. You might be famliar with it if you have seen the Swedish-Danish TV series the Bridge.

The 17th century Borgholm Castle is today a mighty ruin which stands on top of a hill outside the town Borgholm. The ruin is open for visitors and routinely it is used for exhibitions and concerts. If you want to see what a concert there might look like you can watch the music video for the song Listen to Your Heart by Roxette. The video was recorded at one of their concerts there in the 90-ies.

In case you feel nostalgic and want to listen to more pop music from the 90-ies we also found another recording of Roxette playing live at that castle.

By the way, concerts at Borgholm Castle have been known to receive visits by the royal family. Nearby they have a palace, Solliden, that they use in the summers. We wanted to visit Solliden but it is only open for visitors in summer.

Trollskogen is a nature reserve in the far north of Öland. The name translates into English as the Enchanted Forest. This name comes from the trees that grow close to the ocean. They have spectacular shapes from being windswept their entire existence.

In the nature reserve there are also various remains from human activity such as a small shipwreck, a disused railway line and a tar extraction pit.

Långe Erik, or Tall Erik, is a lighthouse at the northern cape of Öland. Modern navigation technology has pretty much rendered the lighthouse obsolete and today its value is mainly historical and as a symbol.

ocean erodes limestone rock and only leaves freestanding pillars. Rauks are far more common in the island Gotland, to the east of Öland. But they also exist in Öland and the most visited of them is probably Byrums Raukar.

Alvedsjö Bodar is a row of small huts that used to be storage for fishing gear for the local fishermen and were possibly used also for catching sleep between trips on the fishing boats. The huts have thatched roof and are very pretty.

The trip in Öland provided us with so many nice pictures and we visited so many interesting places that we prefer not to present all of it in one go. We will here stop the presentation from Öland. But before quitting we will continue with telling a little bit of what we saw on the way from Stockholm to Öland.

The drive from Stockholm to Öland would, according to Google Maps, take four and a half hours if no stops are needed on the way. When we are on vacation we want to do more than just drive so we made some stops. In the beginning we

mentioned that we made this trip during our Easter holiday. We ended up having a bit of an Easter themed journey before arriving in Öland.

The Swedish word for Easter is "Påsk". When we passed the village Påskallavik we felt that the name was fitting for the season and that we just had to stop and have a look.

It turned out that Påskallavik once was the home of a rather famous sculptor, Arvid Källström, and that there in the village is a museum with some of his works. Sadly, we have to admit that we didn't find his sculptures any interesting.

Another place we stopped in was the town Oskarshamn. In the town centre they had put up several Easter decorations. Much more than what we expected. Easter really isn't celebrated much in Sweden and decorations in public areas are typically low key or even non-existing.

We don't know how Easter is celebrated elsewhere and what typical traditions are. One tradition in Sweden is to say that this is the time of the year when witches fly on their brooms to the mythical

place Blockula and party with the devil. We admit that it is weird tradition, but it is very common that children dress up as witches during Easter. This place Blockula, or Blåkulla, is often said to be in the island Blå Jungfrun, just off Öland Island. We didn't visit Blå Jungfrun because there is no public transport there in March. But we saw the island in the distance and found it fitting considering the season.

We have now reached the end of this blog entry. Before we quit we just have to mention the restaurant Ölandsfiskarn in Byxelkrok and their mixed fish plate. It was absolutely awesome. We posted a photo of it but we also want to do something we almost never do, put in a recommendation.


A beautiful sight of Chillon Castle at night. Credit: Fawaz Al-Arbash CC-BY-2.0

Switzerland has more than its fair share of remarkable castles, set against the jagged alps.

The awe-inspiring Chillon Castle, above, stands out as one of the most beautiful of all European castles.

Chillon stands on the banks of Lake Geneva, and is filled with perfect pointy turrets and grand Medieval banqueting halls.

Beneath the castle, you’ll discover huge, vaulted dungeons cut into the castle bedrock. These dungeons inspired the poet Lord Byron, whose work ignited the tourist boom that Chillon Castle still experiences today.

The environment

The gardens of Solliden Castle are very close to the ruins . This villa , designed according to Italian models, was built in 1906 at the request of Queen Victoria . The building now serves as the summer residence of the Swedish royal family, but the gardens are open to visitors. The park with its water features offers a charming contrast to the neighboring ruins, surrounded by the Öland steppe. In front of the castle ruins, there is also the hunting stone built in memory of royal hunts .

Exciting History, Fortresses and castles, Ancient Monuments [. ] An unforgettable visit at Borgholms Castle. Wander around the various castle chambers and feel the presence of history! Enjoy the fantastic views over the surrounding alvar and . Read more

Exciting History, Museum, Fortresses and castles [. ] Welcome to Eketorp’s Castle! Eketorp is an excavated ancient fortress where the houses have been recreated directly from the ancient monument in the ground. If you have an inter. Read more


The municipality of Borgholm covers the entire northern part of the island. The municipality borders the Baltic Sea to the north and east and Kalmar Strait to the west . In the far north is the Grankullaviken bay , to the east of it the Böda bay , known for its long sandy beach . The east coast is characterized by many small bays such as Melösaviken . On the east coast are Gaxa and Sikavarp, two desolate ports that were important in earlier centuries.

With Amunds mosse , Djurstad träsk , Dyestads mosse , Gillsby mossar , Knisa mosse , Norra mossen , Petgärdeträsk and Vanserums mossar , the municipality has various wetlands. Many swamps such as Skedemosse were drained in the past. In the north of the municipality is the Hornsviken , the only real lake in Öland.

Special features are the rocky stone area Byrums raukar , located on the coast of Kalmarsund , and the scree banks Neptuni åkrar, north of Byxelkrok .

With the Mittlandsskogen in the south of the municipality, extensive forest areas in the Ökopark Böda ( Trollskogen , Bödakusten östra ) in the north and areas on the west coast ( Halltorps hage ), the municipality of Borgholm has larger forests.

Directly to the east of the road 136 between Borgholm and Köpingsvik is the striking rock formation Köpings klint , at the foot of which the Sankt Elof spring rises.

A railway line that existed in the 20th century was discontinued. Only in the northernmost part of the island is there a small railway line called Böda Skogsjärnväg .

Borgholm is the birthplace of the Swedish singer Folke Rydberg ( 1900-1969 ). The Swedish writer Eva Bexell (* 1945 ), published their works in part to German, grew up in Borgholm. 1946 1 racer Slim Borgudd was born in Borgholm future Formula. The area for the Oscar-winning sound engineer sound editor Per Hallberg was born in 1958 in the village. Swedish journalist Jens von Reis, born in 1973, also from the city.

In Borgholm politician Johan Fredrik Caspersson (1813-1880) and the sculptor Johan Gustafsson August died ( 1852-1932 ). The Swedish singer Brita Borg (1926-2010) died at the site.

Watch the video: Κάστρο Θερμησίας (January 2023).

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