Most probably an ancient Vikings' meeting place, Ales Stennar consists of 56 standing stones forming a 67- metre long shape, which from above looks like a boat. Its prow and stern are marked by two considerably larger monoliths. It is not known how these enormous stones found their way up the steep hill where they now stand but they certainly do not come from here and must have been transported to the place. The stones are much bigger than they look, being buried several metres into the sand. In fact, they were discovered as late as 1958, having been hidden for centuries under shifting sands.
The site where they stand is a flat top of a high steep hill from which there is a great view of the sea and the area around. But don't believe the guidebooks which say that tourists often do not bother to climb up the hill, just take photos of this mysterious place from below. The stones are not visible from anywhere nearby - you have to climb the hill and walk to them to see them. It looks almost as if the Vikings had chosen a secret place up there for their own safety, to perform their rituals or ceremonies in peace.
No one knows quite why or how these stones have been placed where they are but they remind you of Stonehenge. The differences are that you can walk all the way up to these and that they are on a cliff next to the sea!
If you have a car at your disposal as we did, getting to Ales Stennar from Ystad is easy and doesn't take long, just follow the signs. A bus trip from Ystad takes only 20 minutes, but the buses (#322) are few and far between. A good solution here is a bike, which you can rent at Ystad. The 20-km cycle track runs first in a pinewood, then along a sandy beach with great views and finally on the edge of some fields. A pleasant day trip from Ystad.
Since it isn't the first place you will see on a Map of the World, I can tell you that you will have to approach it by road from either Simrishamn or Ystad in the very far south of Sweden. It is in the area called Österlen and therefore you may well find it if you go in search for places from the Inspector Wallander books.