Emmelie tries the Kalmar beaches

Emmelie Brengesjö

This is such a lovely coastal town, I have to go swimming. That’s how Emmelie Brengesjö felt when she moved to Kalmar and began to explore the city. She sat down with a map of all the nearby beaches, and marked those her family could easily reach by bike from their house in Skälby. All in all, that made 15 beaches to try.

Using the map, Emmelie then started visiting the Kalmar beaches with her husband Oskar, and their son Billy. By now the family has grown, welcoming its youngest member, Jon.

It’s so easy to just get comfortable and always go to the same beach, because you know it’s a good one. Now we had 15 different spots to try, and that proved a real motivation for us. We’d go even if the weather wasn’t perfect, and we’ve discovered a number of favourite locations which we would have never found otherwise, says Emmelie.

How did you pick a beach to visit?

The map was on the fridge, and that was a good source for inspiration. What would we like to do today? Should we go somewhere we can buy ice cream, or do we just need a lot of shade? And then we’d just grab our bags and get on the bikes.

Did you always have a beach bag ready?

I’m a bit lazy sometimes, and I’d prep everything to make it easier. I sewed this big holiday bag with room for arm bands, sunscreen and everything else we might need. All our beach things were just ready, so all we needed to add were some snacks.

Were you always fond of swimming?

I’d say it’s grown on me recently. It’s really reviving. If I’m stressed out or tired, and I go for a bath, all those negative feelings just sort of wash away. It doesn’t matter if the water is 25 degrees, or 7.

So you’ve gone from barely swimming at the beach at all, to bathing all year round?

Yes, but winter bathing is something rather new to me. When I was bathing in September, I thought that would be the last dip of the year, but then a couple of friends made me come with them in the winter. It’s a real kick to bathe when the water is super cold, it’s a whole new level of revitalisation.

Emmelie Brengesjö

Which are your favourite beaches to visit with your family?

Björkenäs, Ekö and Värsnäs are great for families with children. I prefer to not have any sand where we keep our things, but I don’t mind sand where we go in the water. Another important thing is that there’s shade, and that it’s easy to keep track of the kids.

Which is your favourite beach to visit when you go on your own?

In the summer, Svinö is a real treat. You can get in from the jetty, with a view of both Öland and the Öland bridge. When I’m going swimming on my own, I prefer a rather quiet place, to get some peaceful me time.

Emmelie Brengesjö

Where are the best places to go winter bathing?

I prefer going in from a jetty, and I like places with a bit of privacy. Koudden at Norrliden is one of my favourites. Another good place is the open-air swimming baths with a view of the castle.

Will you be doing the same thing in the future?

– There are a few places we didn’t have time to fit in last year, so we’ll get to those this summer. We really don’t feel the need to go anywhere else. Last year we were nowhere but here, and we had an amazing summer. We’re really enjoying Kalmar, and I hope I never get used to it, but keep seeing it with fresh eyes. There was this moment last summer in August, that really stuck in my memory – we were bathing at Stensö with some visiting friends. And I just suddenly had to call out to them: “I live here, just look how nice it is!”

– When you have been living somewhere for a long time, you will no longer think about how many things are within easy reach, and how lovely the place really is. I hope I will never take this for granted. I want to keep enjoying it, and hold on to this feeling of gratitude for living here.

Suddenly I just had to call out to them: “I live here, just look how nice it is!

Emmelie Brengesjö

Five tips from Emmelie

  1. Björkenäs is north of the city, and is a great place for taking the kids for a swim. There’s a jetty and a small sandy beach here.
  2. Ekö is south of the city, and another favourite for family outings. There are both jetties and a beach.
  3. Svinö is located near the Öland bridge, and has several places where you can go for a bath, but so far I have only tried the jetty on the east side. It’s perfect if I’m going without the children.
  4. Norrlidsbadet is north of the city, and this is where we go when we want to buy ice cream. It’s a really good spot for families with children, but a bit more crowded than our other favourites.
  5. Värsnäs is north of the city and has both a jetty and a beach. The forest makes it a particularly lovely place.

Last summer we took the bike ferry across to Öland for the day, and went swimming at Talludden, just beyond the bridge. That was one of our summer goals. That time, we didn’t get around much on the bikes, but I think we will this summer. It’s a great opportunity to discover Öland a bit further. We had no trouble at all bringing the cargo bike.

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