Like a deranged vision of Don Quixote, Öland is covered in old wooden windmills. Symbols of power and wealth in the mid-18th century, they were a must-have for every social climber and the death knell for many of Öland’s oak forests. Today 400 or so remain, many lovingly restored by local windmill associations.
At 137km long and 16km wide, the island is Sweden’s smallest province. Once a regal hunting ground, it’s now a hugely popular summer destination for Swedes – the royal family still has a summer pad here. The island gets around two million visitors annually, mostly in July. Around 90% of them flock to the golden shores fringing the northern half of the island to bask and bathe. Behind the beaches, fairy-tale forests make for soulful wanders.