Backpacking in Ladonia: Touring the Driftwood Structures in Nimis

“Where the f**k is Ladonia?” – six people to me.

Backpacking in Ladonia - touring Nimis

Backpacking in Ladonia – touring Nimis

Yes, it was another crazy one. After booking into my hotel in Copenhagen, I headed out to re-explore Christiania with Abbi from Life in a Rucksack. It was during the afternoon that I told her of a couple of other unknown countries/separatist republics in the nearby area that I was hell bent of backpacking through:

  1. The Kingdom of Elleore (which is an island off Denmark, self declared country)
  2. The Royal Republic of Ladonia (which is a rocky coastal area that borders Sweden, self declared country)
The flag of the Royal Republic of Ladonia

The flag of the Royal Republic of Ladonia

However, my visa and entry to the Kingdom of Elleore was refused the same week that Sealand rejected my backpacking idea. So I told Abbi I was heading to Ladonia the next day instead. It was going to be yet another fast and furious reunion.

Backpacking in Ladonia: Touring the Driftwood Sculptures in Nimis

Backpacking in Ladonia: Touring the Driftwood Sculptures in Nimis

I became aware of Ladonia earlier in 2015, after backpacking through Uzupis and Austenasia and through my friend Daniel Evans. Dan and I partied, backpacked and lived together in Australia in 2009 – 2010 in what were some of the best times of our lives. Yet it took us five years to be reunited again, as I got a train to Angelholm on the day five years to the day we said goodbye in Hobart, Tasmania.

Daniel and I at Nimis, Ladonia

Daniel and I at Nimis, Ladonia

Yet it was time to meet Daniel again, as I crossed back across the border from Copenhagen into Malmo, Sweden and got a train north to Angelholm. Angelholm is a perfect place to be based for heading to Ladonia. If you have read my article on crossing the border into Ladonia, you will be aware how wacky a country this really is.

Backpacking down to Nimis in Ladonia

Backpacking down to Nimis in Ladonia

Once you have arrived in Ladonia, you reach the wooden structures at Nimis, that lead down to the rocks and this area is the capital and heartland of Ladonia.

Downtown Ladonia - Central Nimis

Downtown Ladonia – Central Nimis in rush hour

There are a few different towers here in Nimis. The towers are made from driftwood. They have been nailed together and built intricately in a tidy yet sturdy system. They are pretty strong structures. Here are the top 3 things we did in Nimis, Ladonia.

1.Have a Beer
Obviously Daniel was driving so couldn’t drink but I had a beer and we both had a bite to eat here on the rocks.

Having a beer in Nimis, Ladonia

Having a beer in Nimis, Ladonia

2.Climb up a Driftwood Structure
These driftwood structures have to be climbed. Inside there are clear routes to the top, so head through them and to the top. On the way up be careful for nails that stick out and could cut your clothes.

Climbing up a driftwood structure in Nimis

Climbing up a driftwood structure in Nimis

3.Fly the Flag
I travel round the world with a Northern Ireland flag (my country) so I flew it proudly at the top. As a separatist, I believe in freedom for Ladonia and I recognise this place as a country.

Northern Ireland flag in Ladonia

Northern Ireland flag in Ladonia

Some Information and History on Nimis
You’ll probably want to know how it all began and whether this place can really stake a claim for being a separate country. On July 30. 1980, Swedish dude Lars Vilks began building a series of sculptures made of driftwood in the nature reserve Kullaberg, in the northwest corner of county Skåne in Sweden. A few days later the sculpture was named “Nimis”. Vilks worked on the sculpture for two years before it was “discovered” by the local authorities in 1982. Once it was “discovered”, a series of legal battles began that went on and off until 2004.

Typical driftwood structure in downtown Nimis

Typical driftwood structure in downtown Nimis

Although there were ongoing court cases, Vilks continued working on and expanding Nimis until it included multiple towers and the towers were connected by a massive wooden labyrinthe that allows visitors to climb down from the side of the mountain to the shore.

Looking back at the Labyrinth and driftwood passage down to Nimis

Looking back at the Labyrinth and driftwood passage down to Nimis

Nimis is in the heart of Ladonia and is the capital city of the country, with a population of zero residents permanently living there. There are no shops, hotels, passport stamps or immigration offices here. Nimis lies a few kilometres northwest of the Swedish towns of Arild and somewhat farther from the town of Mölle, if you read my previous post on crossing the border, you’ll know the score. Nimis in Ladonia can only be reached on foot following a well-worn path with yellow “N”s painted on trees and fences.

Ticking off another disputed country - Ladonia

Ticking off another disputed country – Ladonia

The path begins as an easy stroll past Himmelstorp, a well-preserved eighteenth-century farmstead, but quickly becomes a steep and rocky climb down to the coast. If you’re planning to visit Nimis and Ladonia, please wear good hiking shoes, and remember that getting *down* to Nimis is the easy part. Getting back up and out is a different story. So once you are there, you are free to admire Nimis and then it’s time to head back to Sweden! Here are some photos from the trip – I highly recommend checking this wacky country out.

Nimis, Ladonia

Nimis, Ladonia

Nimis, Ladonia

Nimis, Ladonia

Near the top of Nimis, Ladonia

Near the top of Nimis, Ladonia

Having a beer in Nimis, Ladonia

Having a beer in Nimis, Ladonia

Local food and beer in Nimis

Local food and beer in Nimis

Daniel tours Nimis

Daniel tours Nimis

The wood structures at Nimis, Ladonia

The wood structures at Nimis, Ladonia

Crossing into Nimis, Ladonia

Crossing into Nimis, Ladonia

Here are some of my videos from backpacking through Nimis in the Royal Republic of Ladonia:

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