Öland is actually the best and sunniest location to study populations who preceded the Vikings, their religion, ways of life, architecture, agricultural and military skills and understand the fundamental reasons that pressed the Nordic people to sail, explore, trade and plunder in far lands. The tour covers 182 km, from the Northern tip to the Southern one, on mostly flat rolling land and forest trails. It also includes a boat excurison at Blakulla, the island from where witches gathers and fly all over Sweden every easter. The tour includes over 110 archeological sites, 9 natural reserves, 4 bird observation parks and 4 history and archeology museums. Accomodations, dinner and breakfast are scheduled at the most charming, comfortable and authentic hotels serving morning Swedish smorgasbords - No second class rest for the braves!! - Luggages are transported by van. Individual archeological maps, site research reviews and bottle of water are distributed every morning during breakfasts. Professional guiding is provided in English, Swedish, French, Spanish or Italian.
Day 1: Starting from the small fish harbor of Byxelkrok in the North, we embark for the mysterious island of Blakulla, a strange granit island that emerges in the Baltic Sea. This is where witches gather and chant before they fly all over Sweden to terrorize or give candies to Swedish children. We then inspect a number of Viking coastal burial grounds before exploring the northern tip of the island and the natural reserve of Trollskogen (The Troll’s forest). Picnic at the most popular beach on the island and exploration of the remains of an Iron Age village covered by the forest. We stop at an open-air museum about life before the Viking times. We are staying at the residence hotel nearby the inner lake, with tennis, swimming pool and boating. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 2: En route to the other coast, we visit a number of Viking burial grounds and the early medieval Kalla Church. After a fish picnic over the Baltic, we stop at the “iAlvar” Iron Age site and detect a number of less known but much impressive archeological sites before we stop for dinner at the relaxing “Harbor café” in Sandvik. After one hour ride on the sunset coast, we arrive at our charming hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Riding along the Western Coast trail, we stop at a bird reserve to observe species of the moment, relax or swim at the Djupvik beach and continue our detection of Iron Age Stone settings and house foundations along the coast toward world famous Aleklinta, a fisherman’s village hanging on the cliff. After stopping at a surprising camel farm, we ride small roads in the inner part of the island to the oldest Iron Age/Viking defensive “ring fort” on the island. The archeological wealth of the area obliges us to pay a visit to the nearby burial grounds. The road leads us to the Baltic Coast and to visit the remains of the seaside medieval monastery of Kappelluden and the “polish grave”. We are staying at the comfortable home / museum of Skedemosse Gard. Includes: (B).
Day 4: After breakfast in the beautiful garden of Skedemosse, the day takes us to the most impressive archeological sites of the island, including Odin’s raised stones, Noah’s Arch (a boat setting), Ismanstorp Borg (lost fortified city), and the West Coast collection of Rune stones. A stop at the open-air museum of Himmelsberga gives us the opportunity for lunch and coffee before riding to our newly renovated Swedish 18 century style residence hotel with its magnificent dining hall. Includes: (B).
Day 5: After the optional morning loop, including the detection of a few sites, a stop at the beach, the visit of the island’s largest field of Iron Age raised stones and the deciphering of a few rune stones, we are heading South to the seaside Viking fort of Sandbyborg. We then ride West across the “Alvaret”, this very peculiar Nordic arid steppe named in 1992 on the World Heritage list, with a stop to detect a few Iron Age villages foundations still visible thanks to this peculiar environment.
We stop for coffee at Vickleby, named as the most charming village on the island and principally inhabited by sculptors and painters, before heading West to a natural reserve with bird observation posts and to the beach of Haga. The road then takes us to a number of prehistoric and Bronze Age sites as well as to another impressive Viking ring fort. We spend the night at Kastlosa, under the substantial comfort of the local clergy who happens to host one of the best accommodations on the island. Includes: (B).
Day 6: An optional morning loop takes us to the forest and trail of the West Coast and to detect the remains of Risinge, a Viking harbor that used to be a city of 3,000. The loop then takes us to a few sites and to Stora Dalby, the island’s most prominent burial ground with nearby traces of an Iron Age village. The loop ends with the gloomy detection of an Iron Age burial ground for children, following epidemics. After lunch at Kastlosa or a picnic nearby, we are crossing the “Alvaret” again to the Baltic Coast, crossing vast plains of wild horses, to detect a number of sites on our way South to the splendidly renovated hotel of Grasgard. Includes: (B).
Day 7: After a garden breakfast, we head south to the rebuilt ring fort, re-enactment and museum of Eketorps. By this time, you are already expert on the early medieval history of the island…We ride West and stop at a few sites before entering the King’s domain of the Southern tip, which hosts an impressive concentration of Iron Age raised stones, burial grounds, dears and other animals.At the Southernmost point of the island, we stop at Scandinavia’s most famous bird observatory and visit the small but instructive museum there. On our way back to the Grasgard hotel, we ride on small trails across the King’s natural reserve. After a night spent at Grasgard and breakfast, the shuttle picks us up, stop at the Gettlinge burial ground for a short visit and drives you back to your scheduled plane or train. Includes: (B).
Note: Other customized departure dates available for groups of min 6 pers.
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