My travels around the world

My pages about the East Coast and the Kingdom of Glass
Gotska Sandön    

East Coast & the Kingdom of Glass, Sweden

Gotska Sandön

This tiny island in the Baltic Sea is a little piece of paradise. It's not easy to reach as it is far out from the mainland. It needs quite a bit of planning ahead, as only a limited number of people are allowed on the island. But if you are so lucky to be here during sunny days, enjoying the wonderful empty beaches, sunbathing in the soft sand of the sand dunes, the wind blowing through your hair, the smell of the salty fresh air and the hypnotizing sound of the waves, believe me, you would never want to leave this place again.

Below you can find an impression of my 3 day visit to this wonderful little island. And as usual, all the photos in the collage are clickable, so you can view the larger photo if you like.

Gotska Sandön, Sweden

The Gotska Sandön National Park is the most isolated spot in the Baltic Sea, 3 hours by boat (which is the only available way of transportation) from Swedish mainland. The island is 8 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide. 70% covered by pine forest.

The boat journey

M/S Gotska Sandön is designed to land on sandy beaches, since the island has no harbour, but depending on the wind you might need to go ashore by dinghy.

The landing, and walking on the beach towards the "village"

From the beach you will have to walk on foot to the campsite, between 1 and 9 km away depending on where the captain decides to land (luggage is transported by tractor).

Setting up camp

The name "Gotska Sandön" literally translates as the the Gotlandic Sand Island, from the province of which it forms part. Since 1909, it is one of the National parks of Sweden.

All of Gotska Sandön is covered by sand, with the exception of the rubble beaches in the south-west and moraine that lies exposed at Högaland headland in the south.

The first excursion we made on the island was exploring the "Bredsandsudde"

The day has come to an end, and the sun is slowly setting. We head once more for the beach, this time closest to our campground. We find a nice spot at the bottom of the sanddunes, and enjoy the bottle of champagne we brought with us, together with some delicious strawberries. We watch the sky turn orange and the sun sinking into the sea. A perfect end to a wonderful day.

22nd August

Today we have a full day on the island, and are looking forward to exploring a bit more. Our aim is to reach the southern shore, first to "Tärnudden (8,1 km), continue on to "Högaland" (4,3 km) and then continue the way back to our camp via "Hamnudden (6,8 k)

An interesting fact weatherwise is that Gotska Sandön has significant 'seasonal lag': despite dwindling daylight hours, August is much warmer than June! And so our coincidental pick to go here at the end of August was in fact a perfect choice.

The walk towards the south towards Tärnudden is a wonderful one. The trail was easy and leads you through pine forest, where the Heather is flowering this time of year, colouring the sides of the trail in a beautiful dark purple. We are so in luck with the weather, being so sunny and warm, at the end of August. The perfect place to enjoy the heather in bloom.

We walk through the "Shipkapasset"; a hand-dugg pass through the highest of the sanddunes on the island, called "Hoga Åsen" (42 metres above sea-level). This pass was made by the lighthouse staff to facilitate transportation between the north and south of the island. The work took several years.

There have always been people living on Sandön.

Despite the fact that Gotska Sandön is one of the most isolated islands in the Baltic Sea, traces of humans dating from the Stone Age have been found. Probably people didn’t live here for longer periods and some researchers say that the finds originate from fishermen and seal hunters who happened to make their base on the island.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, there was sheep farming, and later also crop and cattle farming.

You can actually find a number of historic building in the south-western corner of the island at "Gamla Gården" (which can be translated to "old farm")



23nd August

Good morning! It is our last day on Gotska Sandön, but like the previous days we are again in so much luck with the weather. The clear blue sky is smiling at us once again, while we set course to visit the lighthouse. I saw the lighthouse from a distance on the day we arrived , but today wanted to take a closer look at it.

The lighthouse, which was inaugurated in 1859, is still in operation. If you are here on the right day, which we unfortunately were not, you can guided tour and climb up the ighthouse, to see the view over the northern part of the island from above.

After our short morning stroll to the lighthouse we return to camp to find out when, and more important from where, our ferry to the mainland will leave. The sign for todays schedules is already up, and our boat to Nynäshamn is planned as scheduled to leave late afternoon (16:45). And departure will be from the beach "Las Palmas", the beach where the boat usually lands. And more good news, it looks like to be a clear day, with temperatures up to 20C. Another gorgeous day in other words!

We pack up our tent and leave our backpacks at the tractor that will transport our luggage to the departure beach. Such great service! No carrying any weight ourselves, instead we can walk in all leasure, with nothing more than a light backpack on our back to Las Palmas Beach. 4,5 kilometers in total, through the pine forest, where the Heather is so beautifully in bloom and onwards to the empty gorgeous beaches.

But before we set off for "Las Palmas" beach, we do a quick sightseeing tour around our camp, to visit the little church on the island, as well as the little museum.

Back to top of the page