• Borgholms slottsruin, Öland. Foto: Oktod AB. Photographer: Oktod AB

    Borgholms slottsruin, Öland. Foto: Oktod AB.

  • Insidan av Borgholms slottsruin. Foto: Oktod AB

    Insidan av Borgholms slottsruin. Foto: Oktod AB

  • Borgholm från Alvaret. Photographer: SFV

    Borgholm från Alvaret.

Borgholm Castle

Borgholm Castle on Öland perches high up on a plateau overlooking Kalmarsund and the Borgholm harbour. What is now a majestic ruin was once a baroque palace.

The royal castle in Borgholm was one of the nation’s most important fortresses. Throughout the Middle Ages and up until the 1700th century, Borgholm was repeatedly the scene of battles and sieges, destruction and reconstruction. Swedes, Danes and Germans have alternated possession of the castle and kings have held court in its halls.

Roots in the 12th century

The original defensive tower was erected during the 12th century surrounded by a powerful defensive wall. During the Middle Ages, the castle was expanded in several phases. King Johan III appointed architect Dominicus Pahr to 1572-92 turn the old fortress into a renaissance castle. The castle was given the shape of a monumental square with round corner towers and a square tower on each extended wall. The left row with its protective position overlooking the hill was equipped with grand staterooms and large windows in both stories.

During the Kalmar war of 1611-1613, the castle was completely destroyed and the Swedish heir to the throne, the future King Karl X Gustaf, hired the leading architect of the time - Nicodemus Tessin senior - to rebuild the castle into a strict and coherent baroque style palace. Karl X Gustaf is the only Swedish king to have lived in the castle for a longer consecutive period of time.

From grand baroque palace to majestic ruin

The plans for the palace were only partially realised. During Karl XI’s time the construction work continued to slow down and finally in 1709, in the middle of Karl XII’s Russian military campaign, it came to a complete stop. Only one security force remained, but up until 1772 regular church services were still held in the castle church.

The castle deteriorated and in 1803 a clothes factory and a dye works opened in the northern row. It was in this building that a violent fire broke out on October 14 1806 and turned the castle into the ruin we see today.

Popular destination

Today Borgholm Castle is a popular cultural and historical destination that attracts visitors with concerts, exhibitions and other events.

Place on map

Stor karta



Borgholm, approximately 40 kilometres north of Öland Bridge

56.870603, 16.643686


Year of Construction:
Dates back to the 12th century, reconstructed 1572-92, reconstructed in the 1650’s.
Reconstructed 1572-92 Dominicus Pahr, reconstructed 1650’s Nicodemus Tessin senior.