Driving South Through Östergötland , Road Trip in Southern Sweden 2022

Driving South Through Östergötland – Road Trip in Southern Sweden 2022

How did I end up driving through Östergötland on my own? It was the last few days of summer vacation in 2022. Susann and Litle A were away visiting Susann’s parents on the Åland Islands. I was home alone on a Thursday and the sun was shining. Great weather was also forecasted for the weekend. So around 10 AM I got up, packed a small bag, and sent a message to Susann that I was heading south for a few days. At this stage, I had no clue where I was going, just that I was going to be away for at least the rest of the day. My first target was set for the province of Östergötland, about an hour south of Vagnhärad. How far would I be able to drive?

Leaving Vagnhärad on My Way toward Östergötland

I left home within half an hour of having this brilliant idea. As it turned out, it didn’t really give me time to consider where I actually wanted to go. Well, that is kind of what is fun with a spontaneous road trip. Additionally, the lack of planning limited my packing and what might be good to have in the car during the trip.

I was soon on my way out of Vagnhärad and on the road E4 heading south, through Nyköping, and almost all the way to Norrköping before getting off the highway and finding smaller roads to enjoy.

Through Östergötland

It was first along these countryside roads in the province of Östergötland that I finally made my first stops. I stopped in the small villages of Örtomta and Björsäter, places I haven’t even heard about prior to this trip. Even though the villages were cozy enough, they are places that I might not return to. But who knows, maybe we will pass by on another trip.

One stop of the day that was a bit more interesting was just a short distance from Björsäter. At Lakvik I found a sign for a local historical railway and just had to stop. There is just that something about old locomotives. Sadly this railway museum was closed, but I still had the opportunity to see a few of their engines and wagons before continuing southward towards Åtvidaberg.

It was not until Åtvidaberg that I took a long walk. The walk through the town was really nice with the sun shining and a very relaxed atmosphere. This is one of the more well-known towns in Östergötland and one that I had barely been to before. So it was nice to walk around and just see what I was able to find. It might be considered quite an uninteresting urban hike, but it was still enjoyable. During this walk, I also had some time to think. It was decision time and heading back home was no longer an option. Instead, it was time to leave Östergötland and head towards the coast of Småland.

The Swedish Baltic Coast

I was actually quite surprised to see the Baltic Sea coast getting closer and closer. The case was, that I had in the back of my head not really believed that I would keep going this far and I didn’t really know where to spend the night. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have any plan of how far to drive this first day. I actually made a short stop in the village of Överum just to contemplate if I should continue. With the sun shining and the prospect of a nice evening along the coast, I was soon back in the car driving towards Gamleby.

Gamleby is a small town that I know that we visited when I was a kid. From that visit, probably around 20 years ago, I have only a faint memory of ice cream and swimming at the beach. This time I instead made sure to see the center and to get a better view. Climbing to the top of the central mountain named Garpedansberget did offer just that, a great view out over Gamleby and the bay of the Baltic Sea.

From Gamleby I continued to the summer town of Västervik. Actually, Västervik was originally located where Gamleby is today. Along the way, I made a short stop at Lunds By, a filming location for a movie based on one of Astrid Lindgren’s famous books. The small village was located right next to Gladhammar, with an impressive church tower watching out over the fields.

Luckily the drive to Västervik was not too long and I could soon enjoy yet another walk in the sunshine. Västervik is famous for being one of the summer gems along the eastern coast of Sweden and it did not disappoint. Walking along the shores and the marina really was relaxing, even with a lot of other people out enjoying their evening. It was at a park bench looking out over the water that I finally enjoyed my dinner. The dinner was rather simple, a kebab that I had purchased a few hundred meters away. Eating like this can sometimes be more enjoyable than a restaurant, especially since there are few restaurants that can compete with the view.

Sleeping in Oskarshamn

After my dinner with the great view in Västervik, I decided to continue to the next town along the coast. That is how I eventually ended up in Oskarshamn in front of a vessel MS Solsund. This ship offered a possibility that I had not considered up until now. Because a short distance out at sea was the northern tip of Sweden’s second-largest island, Öland. MS Solsund, also known as “Ölandsfärjan”, had its next departure early the next morning.

It was according to the home page fully booked, but there was a slight chance that my car would fit. So I decided to park the car in front of the ferry, first in the queue for unbooked cars. And that’s where I waited until the morning to see if I would be able to get a spot onboard. Well, I did take the opportunity for a walk around the center of Oskarshamn in the meantime. Who wouldn’t want to see what is claimed to be the world’s longest park bench and enjoy the nice views of the waterfront?

When it was finally dark, I lowered my seat and relaxed. It was a really nice evening and people were still enjoying what Oskarshamn had to offer for nightlife. For me, it was a good night. It was time to sleep. Knowing where to go next had to wait until the morning.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nancy Loderick

    Hey Jesper,

    Loved your story and the pictures. You are brave, making this drive by yourself. Hah, I am afraid to drive 2 hours by myself to visit my cousins and this is in the same state. 🙂

    Hope your summer is going well.


    1. Jesper

      Hello Nancy, it really is an amazing feeling of freedom to just head out somewhere on a road trip. 🙂

      When staying in Sweden it feels quite safe, it is the known world where there are few surprises just like your home state probably is for you. I can really recommend giving it a try, I’m sure that you as well will find some amazing sights along the way. 🙂

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