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Ales Stenar: Ales’s Stones Are The Swedish Stonehenge

Did you know that Sweden has its own Stonehenge? This is Ales Stenar, which means Ale's Stones.
Did you know that Sweden has its own version of Stonehenge? Neither did I until shortly before I visited this mysterious Megalithic monument called Ales Stenar (which translates to Ale’s Stones) in Kåseberga, Sweden.

After spending a few days in Stockholm last July, my husband, toddler and I drove six hours south to Skane to stay with our Swedish friend, Elisabeth, and her family. Originally from Lund, Elisabeth has been going to her summer cottage in Skane since she was a child. She was excellent tour guide, and on our first day of sightseeing we went to the charming fishing village of Kivik and then onto Glimmingehus. For our second day, Elisabeth told us we were going to Ales Stenar, a historic site that’s like Stonehenge. I was instantly intrigued. I’ve never been to Stonehenge, but I’ve always wanted to go. A Swedish Stonehenge sounded pretty good to me. After an amazing lunch at Olof Viktors in Glemminge and then we were off to Ales Stenar.

The lovely views of the Southern Sweden coastline are a treat as you walk back down from Ales Stenar.

The lovely views of the Southern Sweden coastline are a treat as you walk to and from Ales Stenar.

To get to Ales Stenar, you have walk uphill for about 10 minutes. Like much of Skane and Osterlen, this is lush farmland and there are even cows around (fenced in, not running loose). Turns out you’re actually walking up a cliff… Yes, when you get to Ales Stenar, you realize that it’s a large open field, not too far from the edge of a cliff! Stunning views though.

Another view of Ales Stenar... You find yourself just walking around and around it.

Another view of Ales Stenar… You find yourself just walking around and around it.

Ales Stenar is comprised of 59 boulders, varying in size of about three to eight feet tall. And some of them weight up to 4,000 pounds! The stones are arranged in a 200-foot oval, which is said to be in the shape of ship. Local legend has it that King Ale lies beneath the stones, hence the name of Ale’s Stones or Ales Stenar. And something has amazing happened since our visit in July 2012 that gives that myth some credence: a 5,500-year-old tomb was discovered beneath Ales Stenar. But even that has brought up plenty of unanswered questions, and no one knows how long after the tomb the stones were placed there. Stone Age? Iron Age? Bronze Age?

Sweden has their own version of Stonehenge: Ales Stenar. Ales Stones is a megalithic monument in Southern Sweden.

Some people climb on the boulders… Felt disrespectful to me. But they’re quite sturdy. They can take it.

The whole place has such a mysterious vibe, as so little is known about it. You just kind of find yourself walking around it again and again. And then you’re walking through it… And then you’re walking to the edge of the cliffs to admire the view. And  you’re back to the stones to admire the grain. It’s hard to feel connected to the past here because so little is known. One thing is for sure: it has stood the test of time.

Ireland? Hawaii? Nope, just some lush cliffs descending into the Baltic Sea at Ales Stenar in Southern Sweden.

Ireland? Hawaii? Nope, just some lush cliffs descending into the Baltic Sea at Ales Stenar in Southern Sweden.

There are 59 sandstone boulders at Ales Stenar -- the whole place has a very mysterious vibe!

There are 59 sandstone boulders at Ales Stenar — the whole place has a very mysterious vibe!

The path up to Ales Stenar is surrounded by farmland -- classic beautiful countryside of Skane, Sweden.

The path to Ales Stenar is surrounded by farmland. Even though I had been warned that the barbed-wire fences were electric, I forgot and leaned up against one to take this cow’s photo. Ouch! I remembered after that…

9 Responses to Ales Stenar: Ales’s Stones Are The Swedish Stonehenge

  1. Jennifer Miller June 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    I had NO IDEA this place even existed!! We are keen to go to Sweden… haven’t been yet… and we’ll definitely look this place up! Great pictures! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Jennifer Miller recently posted..On Travel & Perspective

  2. Steve
    Twitter: SteveWBT
    June 25, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    First I’ve heard of this place. Agree with you that climbing all over them is a bit off.
    Steve recently posted..Templo Mayor in Mexico City

  3. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    June 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    sooo beautiful! i’d like to go.
    wanderingeducators recently posted..A Distinct Island Favorite: Jerk Chicken

  4. Larissa
    Twitter: changes_long
    June 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    This. Is. So. Cool. I love these ancient stones, and seek them out wherever I go. Did not know about this site in Sweden-thanks so much for sharing!
    Larissa recently posted..Has the farm to table movement gone too far?

  5. Sandra Foyt
    Twitter: SandraFoyt
    June 27, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Amazing! Would be interesting to compare origin stories between the “stonehenges.”
    Sandra Foyt recently posted..Lincoln Highway Begins In New York City

  6. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    June 30, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    ooh we love mysteries! Love the seaside setting of the boulders. I don’t think I would feel comfortable climbing on a king’s grave site either.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..45 Things I Wish I Could Tell To My Younger Self

  7. gabi klaf (the nomadic family)
    Twitter: nomadfamtravels
    July 1, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    looks simply amazing. what a clear day. the photos are unreal. thank you for showing me another place i now have to visit in the world! gabi
    gabi klaf (the nomadic family) recently posted..The Reality of Family Life on the Road- Rain for the Limping Soul- Philippines

  8. Dale
    Twitter: ai_followus
    July 1, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Now that I think about it, Stonehenge isn’t even the only stone circle in Britain, there are in fact hundreds of stone circles left by pagans and as so much of Europe was so deeply Pagan it doesn’t at all surprise me to find these here looking fantastic.

  9. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    July 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    I’ve been to the actual Stonehenge in England and it was rather underwhelming. This actually looks more dramatic and more interactive.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Our European Bucket List

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