Borgholm, Öland, Exploring Sweden

Borgholm, Öland – Exploring Sweden

Borgholm is a coastal town on the island of Öland, the second-largest island in Sweden. It can be considered the most historical town on the island and is one of the main tourist attractions in this part of Sweden. At its outskirts is the impressive castle ruin, but also the current royal summer residence of Solliden Palace. The town itself has around 4,440 inhabitants, making it the second largest locality on Öland after Färjestaden.

A Short History of Borgholm

The first known written mention of Borgholm dates back to the 1280s. This was for centuries a small settlement with the medieval fortification at its center. It is not known when the first fortification at the location was built, but the parish church is known to have stood next to the fortifications in the 12th century. The medieval fortifications survived until 1520 when they were destroyed during a siege. The church was later destroyed during the Kalmar War at the beginning of the 17th century.

The fortifications were restored and a castle was built here. It was, however, never completed. At the time of the 1806 fire, the castle had already been mostly abandoned. Borgholm had also after the war received the status as a market town under the control of the merchants in Kalmar. It would, however, take until 1816 before Borgholm received its town privileges. Borgholm was the only town on Öland and with its very small population, it was for a long time one of the smallest towns in Sweden.

It was eventually tourism that turned the tide for Borgholm. It was already in the 19th century a health resort due to its clean air. At the turn of the century, it sped up its growth and gained additional support with tourism when the royal summer residence of Solliden was completed in 1906.

Things to Do and See

Walking along the cozy streets of central Borgholm is an experience in itself. Here it is possible to sit down at one of the many cafés or restaurants or to just stroll around the small shops. Reaching the waterfront might mean that you stand next to the harbor, but there is a lot more coastline to explore here when walking further from the center. And remember to look up towards the south, you might see the ruin of Borgholm Castle as it watches out over the town.

Borgholm Harbor & Marina

The harbor and marina are in many ways at the center of many activities in Borgholm. It is an access point to the town for many arriving on their own boats and a place where land crabs are able to enjoy the view of the many seafaring vessels.

Borgholm Church

The yellow and white stone church is from 1879. It filled the emptiness for a town that since its foundation in 1816 had been without a church of its own. The church is a part of the Borgholm Congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.

Kallbadhuset Borgholm

At the end of a long jetty at the edge of the marina is the local open-air bathhouse. The first bathhouse was opened in 1882, but it has since been destroyed by storm twice, first in 1934 and then again in 1954.

Borgholm Castle

The castle ruin of Borgholm Castle is one of the main tourist attractions in Sweden. It is an impressive ruin of a castle that was never really completed. Restoration work was carried out after a fire destroyed the castle in 1806. This is to be able to open the castle ruin for tourists. In addition to being a sight in itself, the castle is also the venue for many events such as concerts. Artists such as Björn Skifts, Håkan Hellström, and Bob Dylan have played here.

Solliden Palace

Solliden Palace was completed in 1906 and is a royal summer residence close to the ruins of Borgholm Castle. The palace belongs to King Carl XVI Gustaf and the Royal Family are frequent visitors to the palace during the summer months. This is where Victoriadagen is celebrated each year, this is the birthday of Crown Princess Victoria. The palace gardens are open for visitors and the nearby event venue is used for many concerts during the summer months.


Mejeriviken is a bay with a sandy beach in the northern part of Borgholm. It is one of few public beaches reachable from the center of the town. There is also a larger parking lot nearby.

How to Get to Borgholm

  • Flights: The nearest airport is Kalmar Öland Airport (KLR), which is 43 kilometers to the southwest.
  • Car: Borgholm lies along Road 136 north of Färjestaden.
  • Bus: Buses from Kalmar Länstrafik connect Borgholm with the surrounding area.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Stockholm – 448 kilometers (5 h)
  • Gothenburg – 375 kilometers (4 h 20 min)
  • Malmö – 312 kilometers (3 h 30 min)
  • Linköping – 262 kilometers (3 h 30 min)
  • Kiruna – 1678 kilometers (17 h 40 min)

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