Neptuni Åkrar: a Swedish fossil-rich cobble beach that holds Viking graves, cairns, and other remains.2 min read
We are along the Northwest coast of the island of Öland, Sweden. Located in Borgholm Municipality along the Kalmar Strait, north of the village of Byxelkrok, lies Neptuni Åkrar, Swedish for “Neptune’s Fields,” a vast shingle beach dotted with unusual limestone rock formations and close to a Viking-era burial ground.
The cobble stones of Neptuni Åkrar result from stones left during the last ice age, which eroded down to their present shape by the waves over the centuries, and they are interspersed with fossils from Trilobites and Brachiopods.
During summer, the otherwise barren and colorless coast transforms into a sea of brilliant blue, while the Echium vulgare (viper’s bugloss, or blueweed), flowers bloom in June and July, coloring the entire area blue.
The area was named by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in honor of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, who visited the place on his 1741 journey to the island.
Today the beautiful landscape is a nature reserve featuring several ancient monuments, most notably, the sprawling grave field on the southern border of the reserve, that measures 150 by 30 m and contains 32 small stone circles, nine cists, twelve round cairns, and one in the shape of a three pointed star (treudd).
This ancient burial ground contains also a Bronze Age ship-shaped burial mound called the Forgalla Skepp (Forgalla Ship).
A bit further south, just a kilometer north of Byxelkrok, is Höga Flisa (the Tall Shard), a 1.70 m high limestone.
Author’s notes: Öland can be reached by driving 4 hours south of Stockholm to Oskarshamn and taking a boat across the Kalmar Strait.