Vastervik Tourist Attractions
The Baltic port of Västervik, on the coast of Småland, is one of the most attractive examples of Sweden's old timber-built towns of the 18th century.Västervik is a popular summer destination for camping, yachting, and daytripping.
St Gertrude's Church
The Cederflycht Poorhouse (Cederflychtska Fattighuset; by Carl Hårleman, ca. 1750) in Västervik led a contemporary historian to remark, "In Västervik the poor live better than the rich." Aspagården, the oldest house in the town, is now occupied by craftsmen's workshops.
In the Fiskaretorg (Fishmarket) of Västervik visitors can sample the local fish specialties, and in nearby Batmansgränd can be seen a row of little red-painted seamen's houses recalling the days when Västervik was an important port.
Near Västervik's Fishmarket are the ruins of Stegeholm Castle (14th C.), which in recent years has been the scene of an annual song festival. Here too is the Slottsholmen summer restaurant. On Kulbacken, a hill from which there is a good view of the town, is the Provincial Museum (Tjustbygden Museum; local history and crafts, with a section on ships and seafaring).
3km/2mi east of the center of Västervik lies the Lysingsbad recreation area. One of the great attractions of Västervik is its girdle of skerries: the so-called "skerry garden" consists of some 5,000 islands and islets.
10km/6mi south of Västervik is Lundsby (17th C.), an interesting market village (torgby) laid out round a central square.
65km/40mi south of Västervik is Oskarshamn (pop. 27,000), a port and industrial town on Döderhultsvik, an inlet on the Baltic between Kalmar and Västervik, which received its municipal charter in 1856. Oskarshamn was the birthplace of the Swedish doctor and author Axel Munthe (1857-1949), whose "Story of San Michele" (1931) was a bestseller in many languages. Munthe, who lived in Paris and Rome and on Capri, died in Stockholm.Oskarshamn is a town of many ups and downs, reflecting its hilly topography. At Hantverksgatan 18-20 can be found the House of Culture, containing the Maritime Museum, a library and an art gallery. The gallery displays Småland woodcarving and works by the sculptor Axel Petersson (1868-1925), who was born at Döderhult, near Oskarshamn. The church, on a hill in the Municipal Park, is neo-Gothic (19th C.). Opposite the harbor is the Fyknet quarter, a district of little wooden houses.
From Långa Softan (the "Long Bench"), in the old seamen's quarter around Oskarshamn harbor, there is a fine view of the coast. 20km/12.5mi out to sea, half way between the mainland and the island of Öland, lies the rocky island of Blå Jungfrun, the "Blue Maiden" (alt. 85m/280ft; National Park).
In summer there are daily ferry services from Oskarshamn to Byxelkrok on Öland and Visby on Gotland.
Inland from Västervik, to the west, is the former market town of Vimmerby (pop. 16,000), with old houses and a medieval street layout. The open-air museum is ideal for those looking to enjoy nature and discover the past. The Grankvistgård (18th C.) has finely executed wall and ceiling paintings.
To the west of Vimmerby is one of the oldest wooden churches in Sweden. The writer Astrid Lindgren was born in this area, and this was the setting of some of her books, the fairytale village of Sagobyn.
Norra Kvill National Park
North of Vimmerby, near the border between Småland and Östergötland, extends the Norra Kvill National Park - 27 hectares/ 67 acres of unspoiled natural woodland. In the park is Sweden's largest oak-tree, the "thousand-year-old oak", which has a girth of 14m/46ft.