Written by Niki Brantmark @myscandinavianhome
“Silken lakes, secluded islands, silent forests, memories of rowing to deserted islands, the slippery touch of damp rock moss underfoot, and the fragrant green embrace of dog-rose and crabapples.” This is the inspiration behind Skandinavisk’s wonderful Øy (island solitude) fragrance, a description that perfectly encapsulates the Swedish coastline with its myriad of islands, skerries and rocky outcrops – many of which are uninhabited and totally exposed to the elements. In the summer, Swedes head out to the islands to relax, recharge their batteries and lead a simple life inspired by the wild beauty of this wonderful natural environment.
This summer we took to the waters on Á La Vie, our family sailing boat to explore the remote islands off Sweden’s South East coast. Our three week voyage took us through the secluded Blekinge and Karlskrona archipelagos, to the long slender island of Öland and the stunning Baltic island of Gotland. Being on board had its limitations (there was barely enough room to swing a cat – and we were completely dependent on the wind!) but we’d do it all over again if we could! I hope these pictures help tell the tale of a coastline that’s rich, diverse and mesmerisingly beautiful and will perhaps inspire you to visit one day.
A dip in the (very ‘fresh’) Baltic, was rewarded with the ringing of a bell as you raced back to the warmth of the sauna!
A jewel between the ocean and sky, Tjärö is nestled in a cluster of islands in the little-known Blekinge archipelago. Privately owned, the entire island is a nature reserve characterised by bare rocks with deep crevices, beech forests, meadows and grassland. We loved hiking around the shoreline, enjoying barbecues on the warm rocks and a special afternoon at our very own wood-burning sauna accessed by rowing boat.
It wasn’t hard to adapt to the sleep, swim, eat, rhythm of life on the tiny island of Stenshamn. Situated the furthest out in the Karlskrona archipelago the harbour was dotted with traditional Falu red and white cottages and a shop selling homemade pies (the pies could have had something to do with how much I enjoyed this place!).
The island was connected to Utlängan via a narrow road, which turned into a stone path leading passed woodland and meadows to a lighthouse. It was wild, secluded and stunningly beautiful! And of course, there was that pie waiting for you on return!
Wildflowers were never far away. Ox eye daisies, milkwort, thistles, heather and other species were found by the roadside, in the dunes, or growing through the crevice of a rock. The scenery might be visually rich – but the scent is incredibly subtle. On my walk through Utlängan, I thought about how Skandinavisk captures this understated scent in the Øy collection (which includes a body wash, hand wash, hand cream, soap, scented candle and scent diffuser). The collection is gentle and lightly scented, yet designed to cleanse and soften exposed skin.
As with all towns and villages on this coastline, Visby has it’s own swimming piers, and the ‘dip’ is a part of every day life. The length of time spent in the water depends on the temperature of the sea – and I’m not going to lie – the Baltic is fresh! But it’s only mildly salty. If you do as our nordic friends do and submerge yourself even for a mere second, you’ll come out feeling invigorated and relaxed – and with silky smooth skin!
Ljugarn on Gotland’s east coast was another favourite spot. The day we arrived, the atmospheric sky was like a watercolour tinged with soft greys and inky blues. We tucked into a potato pizza at Bruna Dörren, hidden away in the woods beside a secluded silvery beach.
All photographs are taken by Niki Brantmark
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