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. This archeology and cycling tour covers 70 km on flat rolling land and forest trails. The tour includes over 80 archeological sites, 4 natural reserves, 2 bird observation parks and 3 museums. The tour concentrates essentially on the "Alvaret" this strange steppe special to Oland and on the exploration of a few forgotten Viking cities. Accomodations, dinner and breakfast take place at the best and most charming hotels of the region - Luggages are transported by van and individual research documentation, maps and a bottle of drinking water are distributed every morning at Smorgasboard time, the traditional large size Scandinavian breakfast. Professional guiding is available in English, Swedish, French, Spanish and Italian.
Day 1: Starting early, we leave the comfort of Farjestaden’s Hotel Skansen to ride north along the Kalmar Sound coastline. We stop to detect a few archeological sites on the way to the charming small harbor of Stora Rör where we stop for coffee and croissants. The rest of the day then takes us across the island via forest trails, to some of the most impressive archeological sites, including Odin’s raised stones, Noah’s Arch (a stone boat setting), Ismanstorp Borg (lost fortified city in the forest), and the East Coast collection of Rune stones. A stop at the open-air museum of Himmelsberga (Swedish culture and traditions) gives us the opportunity for lunch and coffee before riding south to a number of other sites and to our newly renovated Swedish 18 century-style residence hotel with its magnificent dining hall. Includes: (B).
Day 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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).
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Sweden Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Archeology/History
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