A magnificent scenery
Shaped by the weather, wind and the hardships
The climate is mild on Öland and it only rains around half as much as on the highlands of Småland. This together with a landscape characterized by low beach ridges, cracked sandstone blocks, casual limestone slabs och quite often very thin moraine loam have given Öland a very unique flora and fauna.
But also the people have through the ages put their own stamp on the landscape. For about 600 years ago Öland’s farmers started actively manage cattle. The meadows, the stone wall och and even Stora Alvaret was reshaped by farming and cattleraising.
Wind power & the mills
The fresh winds made it possible to utilize the wind power to grind flour, and of the approximately 2000 windmills in the 1800s there are about 300 left today. De beautiful, weathered mills are contributing in many ways to the silhoutte of Ölands landscape.
The Great Alvar, in Swedish Stora Alvaret, is around 37 kilometres long and about 15 kilometres wide. The Alvar is characterized by its flat ground resting on a limestone bedrock, most of the time only with a very thin layer of dirt. The harsh conditions on the Great Alvar has created a unique wildlife and fauna, and there are lots of ancient monuments that you may watch here, monuments such as passage graves, guard huts and ancient roads.
The bird fauna on Öland is very rich and there are a lot of birdwatchers seeking their way to Ottenby to see rare species as for example the Olive-backed pipit, the White-throated robin, the Dartford warbler or the Rosy starling. But also the Great Alvar offers lovely birdsong. During the spring the Lark sings intensively and during the autumn you may see and hears thousands of cranes here. The European golden plover, the Red-backed shrike and the Barred wabler are examples of other species that resides here.
Öland’s flora is characterized by the dry climate and the great amount of limestone. On the Great Alvar you can find species that you can not find anywhere else, as for example the Alvar-wormwood, the Öland rock-rose and the Alvarglim – a species of flowering plant in the pink family. Orchids are happily growing on a calcareous ground, therefore Öland is renowned as the paradise for orchids. Around 28 of Sweden’s 44 species are growing here on Öland.