Dangling off the southern end of the archipelago, Kökar is sea washed and windswept – a rocky island with few trees and a lovely desolate air. Most of the 240 inhabitants live in the quaint village of Karlby.

The islands’ appealingly barren landscape attracted Bronze Age seal hunters and Hanseatic traders. Archaeologists have uncovered early settlements at Otterböte. Little remains now, but a tangle of atmospheric walking trails criss-crosses the area. Nearby, the Sankta Anne Kyrka sits on the ruins of an ancient Franciscan monastery – a site replete with historical and spiritual import.