Last week I decided to expand my travelling beyond Stockholm and start exploring Sweden, so I went on a road trip to Kalmar with a couple of friends.
Kalmar is a medieval port city on the shores of the Baltic Sea located in the southern part of the country. It occupies several small islands connected by bridges, which makes the town unusual in the eyes of tourists, and every year it attracts more and more visitors. And we were no exception.
The road from Stockholm to Kalmar took us almost 5 hours by car, which may seem like a rather long distance if you come from a small country. However, living in Russia for all my life, I got used to everything being so far away from each other, so it is never a dealbreaker for me. Although we went there by car, Kalmar is easily accessible by train or bus, so you don’t have to own a car (or have a friend with a car, like in my case) to reach the place.
The first stop on the route was the famous Kalmar Castle, the best-preserved Nordic Renaissance castle with over 800 years of history. Historically, it has been the site of large scale international politics, court intrigues and fierce battles, and it still retains its 16-century appearance. It was really nice to walk around the place, feel this medieval atmosphere and watch the hares living there. My friends may be laughing at me, but I still can’t get used to how close you are to the wild in Sweden, being sincerely happy like a child every time I see a fox, a hare or a deer.
The next thing we did in Kalmar was going to Svinö nature reserve, a small island where you can take a forest walk or enjoy your time along the shores. The island also has an abundant birdlife, and no matter what time of the year you visit, there’s always something to see. If you don’t find any birds, you can also look for non-native trees and shrubs, including Austrian pine and Oregon holly.
However, the most exciting part about Svinö for us was the famous view on the Öland Bridge that connects Kalmar on mainland Sweden to Färjestaden on the island of Öland to its east. It is more than 6 km long, and while the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark is longer overall, the Öland Bridge is the longest entirely in Swedish territory. The place is quite picturesque, so we made sure we created as much content for our fellow instagrammers as possible.
After that, we enjoyed walking around the city with its narrow streets and headed to a local bar. We stayed there overnight, renting a cute Airbnb apartment in one of these typically Scandinavian colourful houses.
After we got some rest, we left for the next point of our route, which I will tell you all about in the following posts. Stay tuned!