On the western shore of Sweden’s second largest island, Öland, Borgholm castle guarded the entrance to Sweden. Today, the ruins leave no visitor untouched and most are overwhelmed by the location and sheer size of the castle when they visit.

900 years ago a defensive keep was built at Borgholm. Only a hundred years later buildings for the castle itself began. After having been a premier residence in Medieval times of among others Ingeborg, the daughter of King Erik of Norway who married Magnus Ladulås’ son Valdemar, it fell in to a period of decay until the Vasa Kings – Johan III started refurbishing it around 1569 and it became one of the first grand bastions of Sweden. 

When the Kalmar War broke out in April 1611, Danish troops captured the castle but the future Swedish King Gustav II Adolf recaptured it within two months. Only 23 days after the 16 year old future King’s feat, his father, King Karl IX, died on October 30. It continued to play an important role throughout the 17th Century but it was never actually completed. The partially completed baroque palace built by Karl X Gustav is the closest it ever came to being completed. After his death in 1660 and changes in succession meant priorities continuously changed.

It burnt to the ground in 1806 when it functioned as a clothing factory under Axel Adlersparre. 

Today, it is owned and maintained by the National Property Board of Sweden. It is phenomenal place well worth a visit, especially in the summer when the castle’s courtyard is turned in to an epic concert venue!