Orkidéer på Stora alvaret
28 Jun 2021
Ten day trip treasures

Day trip treasure 9. The Great Alvar

World Heritage, southern Öland's agricultural landscape

From Karlevi in the west to Gårdby in the east, and all the way down to the southern tip, a wondrous landscape and a unique cultural heritage presents itself. The Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland, a World Heritage Site, consists of linear villages, cultivated farmland, seaside pastures and the Great Alvar. Agriculture on Öland dates back thousands of years. The specific conditions on the island mean that only part of the land can be cultivated. The Great Alvar and the seaside pastures along the Baltic Sea are not suitable for farming and have mostly been used as grazing fields. This has created the unique medieval agricultural landscape we see today, which is farmed with modern equipment. Much of Southern Öland which today may be regarded as nature's untouched beauty, is actually the result of a successful interplay between man and nature. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, this agricultural landscape is considered to be one of the world's most unique places.

Read more about the world heritage

The road between Resmo and Stenåsa

Along the road between Resmo and Stenåsa, the flat and majestic alvar plains spread out into the vastness of the world's biggest alvar - the Great Alvar. Halfway between the villages lies Möckelmossen, the alvar's biggest lake, a breeding place for many species of birds. Here you will find a parking area, information displays and a toilet.

Öland's test field

In the 1950-60s, 184 pieces of white-painted concrete were laid out across the Great Alvar. The locations were not random: seen from above, the objects form a clear pattern. In 1955, work began to test the accuracy of cameras used in aerial photography. Before then, such cameras had only been tested 
in laboratories. The results became internationally renowned and, as a consequence, camera manufacturers were forced to make adjustments to their products. Most of these concrete slabs can still be found today. Why 
not go out on a hiking trip or run on the alvar and see how many you can discover? Möckelmossen's resting area is a good starting point.  

Gettlinge burial field

The field stretches almost 2 km, which makes this one of the largest burial fields on Öland. Of the original 250 graves, about 200 remain today. At the northern end of the burial field stands an impressive 30-metre long ship tumulus (stone ship) consisting of 23 upright blocks of granite with 20 or so cup marks.

Gettlinge Graveyard

The burial ground is one of the largest on Öland, with a length of almost two kilometers that runs north from Gettlinge village. Today, more than 200 graves remain of the original 250. On the northern part of the burial ground is an impressive 30-meter-long shipwreck consisting of 23 erected granite blocks with about twenty bowl pits.