Telephone code 0485Öland, lying off the southeast coast of Sweden, is the country's second largest island, now linked with the mainland by Europe's longest bridge, which spans the Kalmarsund in a bold arch. The chief place on the island is the little town of Borgholm, and there are two rural communes. The landscape and vegetation are very different from those of the adjoining mainland. Since the island is no more than 16km/10mi across at its widest point, there is usually a light sea-breeze blowing. The most unusual part of Öland is the Alvar steppe country, where the limestone rock is exposed or covered only by a thin layer of soil.The Stora Alvar, an area some 40km/25mi long by 10km/6mi across, extends from Vickleby on the west coast to Ottenby, near the southern tip of the island: an expanse of treeless steppe made up of bare rock, karstic formations, grassy heathland and flat moorland. This southern part of Öland, however, also has some of the most fertile land on the island (e.g. around Mörbylånga).The landscape of central Öland, between Borgholm and Färjestaden, is very different, with deciduous and coniferous forest predominating along the Kalmarsund and a broad swathe of hazel scrub and wooded meadowland in the interior.Northern Öland has a rocky west coast and a series of alternating promontories and shallow inlets on the east coast. In between are expanses of meadowland and some steppe country, with junipers. At Böda a belt of coniferous forest extends from coast to coast.Öland has a long history of human habitation. Among the most striking remains of the past are the cemetery areas, mostly dating from the Iron Age, and the refuge forts constructed for the protection of the settled population during the period of the great migrations. In the 12th and 13th centuries the churches were fortified by the construction of defensive towers - sometimes one at each end of the church. Although most of the island's churches date only from the 19th century there are still some surviving medieval churches. Other relics of earlier days are the stone walls, the fishermen's huts, the long straggling villages and the windmills.