The southern Swedish region of Skåne is packed full of summer activities, with great days out at castles and fantastic museums, mile upon mile of beautiful sandy beaches, stunning gardens, outdoor activities and lots of events. Here is our pick of the very best:
Explore Skåne’s Castle Gardens
One of the best ways to experience Skåne’s castles and manor houses during the summer is to explore their gardens. There are several beautiful castle gardens open for visitors throughout the summer months, and they’re definitely worth a visit. A real highlight is Sofiero, the former summer palace of the Swedish royal family. The garden was designed and planted by Crown Princess Margaret, who was English and Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, and has an English country garden feel with over 300 different types of plants. The Slottsträdgården in Malmö is another beautiful castle garden, and has a fantastic café and kitchen garden in the centre run by TV chef Tariq Taylor.
Be inspired by Wanås, a rural estate and art exhibition
Feeling arty today, but still want to enjoy the summer sunshine? Wanås is a beautiful rural estate with a medieval castle, gardens and organic farm, which also offers a fantastic sculpture park with works of international importance. This outdoor art gallery is particularly good for families with young children, as they can be as boisterous as they like!
After you’ve spent all day exploring many of Skåne’s beautiful gardens, you’ll probably have worked up quite an appetite, and what better way to spend an evening than by joining the locals for a real Swedish dinner? A Slice of Swedish Hospitality enables visitors to join a Swedish host in their own house, who will serve you a two course supper and give you a true insight into everyday life in Sweden. The experience is available for anyone, whether a family, group of friends, or solo traveller.
Although Scandinavia is not traditionally known as a wine destination, the increasingly mild climate of Skåne has led to a number of quality wine houses popping up around the area – so much so that it even has its own wine route! There are various wineries you can visit along the route, including Arilds Vineyard, Åhus Winery and Skeppars Vineyard, which offer guided tours and tastings.
It would be remiss of us not to include Skåne’s beaches in our list of summer must-dos. Sometimes referred to as Sweden’s Riviera, the Skåne coastline boasts miles of powder white sandy beaches dotted with pastel beach huts and, once the Swedes have finished their summer holidays in August, they’re practically deserted. Make haste!
Known for its trendy design shops, cool cafes and laid back coastal lifestyle, Gothenburg offers visitors relative wilderness in the form of its idyllic southern archipelago: a collection of car-free islands within easy reach of the city centre where locals spend their summers, and now, following the launch of cool, new guesthouse, travellers can too.
News from the archipelago:
With a new guesthouse on the waterfront, miles of beautiful car-free walking and cycling trails and some fantastic seafood restaurants, Gothenburg’s southern archipelago is the perfect destination for a summer break.
The islands of the southern archipelago are completely car-free, making it the perfect place to get back to nature on long walks, bike rides, kayaking and wild swimming. Travellers can enjoy fresh seafood, trendy bars, new boutique accommodation and the chance to spot seals in their natural habitat on the islands.
The archipelago is just a short 30-minute tram ride and ferry trip from the city centre and travel to the islands is included in the Gothenburg city card.
Our top five recommendations to do in the southern archipelago are:
On 1 June, a new guesthouse, Kajkanten, opens at the quayside on the island of Vrångö. Travellers can stay in one of 11 boathouses and experience island living. Guests can also relax in a hot tub, take a fishing tour, rent kayaks and take guided walks of the island. Boat house rooms costs from 600 SEK (£55) per night based on two people sharing. For more information visit kajkantenvrango.se/en/
Styrsö Skäret is a first-class restaurant and guesthouse located on the island of Styrsö. Guests and day trippers can enjoy a menu of dishes which are made from locally sourced ingredients including freshly caught fish and seafood, homemade bread and herbs grown in the herb garden. The guesthouse is steeped in archipelago history and provides guests with a warm welcome and relaxing atmosphere. A double room with a garden view costs from 1495 SEK (£135) per night based on two sharing including breakfast.
The Isbolaget on the island of Donsö started its life as a store for ice but has since been transformed into a modern bar and restaurant run by a local family. A homemade lunch using locally sourced produce is served every day from 11.30am till 2pm and the bar is open on weekends. Lunch costs around 89 SEK (£8) per person and includes a main course, salad, soft drinks and cake.
Colonies of seals live, hunt and play out in the archipelago and travellers can take a closer look at their fun and frolics on a seal safari from Fiskebäck marina. Refreshments are provided on board as part of the tour and the experienced skipper will tell stories and anecdotes from the places the boat passes. Tours can be tailored to individual guests and can be combined with lunch or dinner on Bohuslän’s cliffs.
The best way to explore the archipelago is by bike. Bikes can be rented on Brännö, Björkö or Hönö and travellers can explore the islands at their own leisure and because the islands are car free it is a very relaxing way to explore. Bike rental costs from 50 SEK (£4.50) for adults and 25 SEK (2.30) for children aged between 5 – 18. For more information click here
A 24-hour Gothenburg City Card costs from SEK 355 (£35) per adult, and covers public transport across the city and archipelago, and entry to dozens of attractions. For more information about Gothenburg and its archipelago visit www.goteborg.com
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Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg, is stepping into the limelight this summer, with a hotly anticipated new rollercoaster opening at the iconic city centre Liseberg Amusement Park, a feast of new restaurants, and two new hotels for visitors to enjoy.
News from the city:
New rollercoaster ‘Helix’ opens at Liseberg Amusement Park
At the end of April 2014, Liseberg Amusement Park launched a brand new roller coaster for the summer season. In building the Helix, Liseberg aimed to create the best roller coaster in the world. The ride lasts for just over two minutes, hits speeds of up to 100 km/h and has a track length of almost 1.4km, including two high speed launches, seven inversions, three airtime hills, and lots of drops, twists and turns. Admission from SEK 90 (around £9) or free with a Gothenburg City Card. liseberg.com/en/home/Amusement-Park/
Swedish food is enjoying the culinary limelight for its focus on fresh, home-cooked food, and Gothenburg has seen a number of new restaurants open during the last few months, including Barbicu, Upper House Dining, Levantine, The Barn and Deliverket, a water-side wine bar serving the freshest local seafood.
Koka is a new restaurant from Michelin-star chef Björn Persson focusing on high quality local ingredients from West Sweden, whilst S.K Mat & Människa is the hottest new ticket in town, headed by Stefan Karlsson, one of the pioneers of New Nordic cuisine, who shut down his last restaurant in January to start at this new, more intimate venue, where he can experiment even more.
Already this year, two new hotels have opened in Gothenburg to match every budget. Five-star Upper House is a beautiful new boutique hotel offering fantastic views of the city, clean Scandinavian lines and a luxurious spa. For more budget conscious travellers, the new centrally located STF Gothenburg Hotel and Hostel just opened at the end of March and rooms cost from £45 per person per night based on two sharing.www.svenskaturistforeningen.se/
For more information on Gothenburg go to www.goteborg.com
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As one of the most remote and exciting parts of Europe, Swedish Lapland has typically been an area of Sweden that only the most determined of travellers have had the fortune to visit.
However, that is all set to change, as Ryanair has just launched a brand new three-hour flight to Skellefteå in Swedish Lapland from London Stansted – opening up this wild and picturesque area to the UK from less than £50 return.
Each season in Swedish Lapland has its own particular charm. We’re in summer at the moment, which means there are 100 days without nights - all the better to explore the vast coastline, deep subarctic forests, lakes, rivers and charming towns of Europe’s last wilderness. Nonetheless, it’s an equally appealing winter destination, with fantastic winter activities and polar nights lit up by bright snow and millions of stars, and if your luck is in, the chance to see the Northern Lights.
Swedish Lapland is vast, and was seemingly made for a road trip. Hire a car from Skellefteå Airport and head out into nature, stopping to enjoy activities such as fishing, canoeing, mountain biking, husky training and camping. If you’re lucky, you may even spot beavers, elks or golden eagles.
It’s not just the wildlife that is exotic. Swedish Lapland is justifiably proud of its culinary heritage. The region’s food is full of wild, pure flavours and comes served with generous dose of atmosphere thanks to the superb location.
There are plenty of places for a good night’s sleep, ranging from secluded typical Scandinavian red cottages in the woods to an old lighthouse overlooking the cliffs.
So if you’re a fan of nature and you want to get away from it all and discover ultimate peace, it seems Ryanair may hold the key.
For more information about Swedish Lapland
For more information about what to do in and around Skellefteå visit Destination Skellefteå
Fly to Swedish Lapland from London
Direct flights with Ryanair from London to Skellefteå in Swedish Lapland starting April 4th 2014.
Ryanair will depart Stansted 07.45 and Skellefteå 11.45, Thursdays and Sundays April 4th - October 23rd 2014.
You can also fly via Stockholm with SAS or Norwegian to several locations in Swedish Lapland
All photos by Graeme Richardson
Photo from the West Sweden archipelago by Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se
Katie Bentley-Chan from Four bgb reviews her trip to Vrångö this Easter…
Where the Scottish Isles meets the Mediterranean is possibly the best way for me to describe Gothenburg’s southern archipelago.
Scotland because we were so far north, and Sweden’s wild, rocky islands were reminiscent of the atmospheric, beautiful islets of Skye and Mull (which, ironically, I have never visited but only seen pictures of), and the Med, because, well, it was April and the weather was wonderful: bright blue skies, a light breeze, happy families and couples soaking up the sunshine.
Last Easter was the first time I visited Gothenburg’s archipelago, and I hope it won’t be the last. My boyfriend and I visited the southernmost island of Vrångö on the archipelago, known for its spectacular walks along the coast and sandy beaches.
Here are my tips for travelling to Gothenburg’s southern archipelago:
We were advised to take the swift non stop 20 minute ferry service to Vrångö. But as it was such a beautiful day, we opted for the one hour stopping service instead, bought some good Swedish coffee on board, and grabbed seats on the outside deck for a journey which felt more like a sightseeing cruise!
Do as the locals do…
… and stay overnight in a summer cabin. Island hopping is great for day trippers but it’s definitely worth a longer stay too! A new guesthouse, Kajkanten, is opening right by the jetty on Vrångö, which will offer boathouse style cabins for really good value prices. Book your stay here: kajkantenvrango.se/en/
Stock up on local fish and seafood:
Along with a shop selling all your essential provisions (plus goodies like Swedish peppakakor biscuits, cakes, and local beers too!), Vrångö has a fantastic fish kiosk, which is well worth a visit for buying in ‘just shucked from the sea’ fresh crayfish, lobsters and fish.
Buy a Gothenburg City Card:
And you can hop to the other islands in the archipelago as much as you like for free!
Photo of Turning Torso in Malmö by Silvia Man/imagebank.sweden.se
Foodie fanatics will be excited about the new openings and tours in Skåne this year. There’s everything from Swedish craft beers, Absolut Vodka tours and new restaurants on the menu, making this dreamy part of southern Sweden ideal for a relaxing weekend break.
Although known as the ‘breadbasket of Sweden’, Skåne is becoming known for its wine and beer o
ffering too. Helsingborgs Bryggeri (beer brewery) is a new local favourite run by two beer enthusiasts. They strive to produce great beer using raw materials and treating them with the utmost respect while staying true to old Skåne beer brewing heritage. They recently won the ‘Best Pale Lager’ award for their first beer at the Gothenburg Beer Festival. Guided tours are available in English on Saturdays from SEK 250 (around £25) per person. It’s well worth a visit, especially if you like to enjoy a beer or two!
Now everyone has heard of Absolut Vodka, but did you know it’s produced in Skåne?
The Absolut Vodka distillery produces over 600,000 litres of vodka every day using local sourced produce. The winter wheat comes from surrounding farms; the yeast is made in Stockholm and the water is collected from wells surrounding the factory – each of these features is completely unique to Absolut which makes it one of the top selling vodkas in the world.
Tours of the distillery run from June to August. Visit www.abslout.com/uk to book your place.
If your passion is more food than drinks then you will love the new restaurant openings happening this year.
The first is the hotly anticipated Bistro Royal. The Royal Waiting Hall at Malmö Central station has been closed for over 30 years, until now! It has been lovingly restored to its former glory under the supervision of Malmö restaurateur Andreas Pieplow, and this will be the first time the space has been open to the general public. In its heyday royals and dignitaries would use the rooms whilst waiting for their trains. Check out their Facebook page for more information and pictures of the renovations.
Followers of the slow food movement will be excited about the opening of Bantorget 9, a new 70-seater restaurant in Lund - a pretty university town just nine miles from Malmö. The menu will offer inventive small plates using only organic locally sourced ingredients.
Photo by Martin Jakobsson/ imagebank.sweden.se
Spring is our favourite time of year in Gothenburg. The Swedish sun has started shining, the flowers are in bloom and the whole city becomes a riot of colour and activity. This year, it’s not just the plants that are springing to life – Gothenburg is awash with new attractions, from dizzying rollercoasters to wholesome restaurants.
Sweden’s top tourist attraction, Gothenburg’s Liseberg Amusement Park, is launching a brand new roller coaster when it opens for the summer season on 26 April. In building the Helix, Liseberg aimed to create the best roller coaster in the world, two minutes of pure fun! The ride lasts for just over two minutes, hits speeds of up to 100 km/h and has a track length of almost 1.4km, including two high speed launches, seven inversions, three airtime hills, and loads of drops, twists and turns. We can’t wait!!!
Swedish food is having a heyday, and Gothenburg is leading the charge. Over the past few months, numerous new restaurants have opened in the city to rave reviews, including Barbicu, Upper House Dining, Levantine and The Barn. Two of our particular favourites, thanks to their distinct West Swedish flavour, are Deliverket - with its delicious local oysters, shrimp and charcuteries matched with micro-brewery beers and fresh wines - and Koka, a new restaurant from Michelin-star chef Björn Persson focusing on high quality local ingredients.
If that weren’t enough, there are also some great new Gothenburg hotels on the scene to match every budget. Five-star Upper House is a beautiful new boutique hotel offering fantastic views of the city, clean Scandinavian lines and a luxurious spa. Meanwhile, the new, centrally located STF Gothenburg Hotel and Hostel has also just opened at the end of March, offering both luxury hotel rooms and quality hostel accommodation.
Photo by: Tuukka Ervasti via imagebank.sweden.se
If you are heading to Sweden for your next spa weekend why not try one of the award winning spas in Stockholm, Gothenburg or Falkenberg in West Sweden?
The winners of the SpaStar Awards 2014 have just been announced and Spa of the Year 2014 went to Yasuragi Hasseludden spa in Nacka outside Stockholm. Upper House at Gothia Towers hotel in Gothenburg won both newcomer of the year and best spa kitchen.
Here are the winners:
Spa of the year : Yasuragi Hasseludden, Nacka, Stockholm
New comer of the year: Upper House – Gothia Towers, Gothenburg.
Day spa of the year: Grand Hôtel Nordic Spa & Fitness, Stockholm.
Spa conference of the Year : Skepparholmen Nacka, Stockholm.
Spa ritual of the year : Diamond – The Retreat Club/Falkenberg Standbad.
Spa kitchen of the year: Upper House – Gothia Towers, Gothenburg.
Spa treatment of the year: Elemis Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow –Sankt Jörgen Park Spa, Gothenburg
Can diversity and openness help promote creativity? To explore this question Sweden is launching Democreativity, a collaborative tool, where the world is asked to contribute with underrepresented ideas to co-create the most unlikely video game ever.
The platform Democreativity.com is a collaborative tool designed to promote diversity and create new ideas, and in doing so encouraging creativity all over the world. Sweden is now inviting gamers to submit ideas they see as underrepresented in games today. Ideas from the games community together with input from industry experts will later be developed by students at the Swedish University of Skövde, as a voluntary project assignment. All ideas will also form a brief that will be posted on democreativity.com, accessible to anyone and everyone to realise. Sweden welcomes all creators to join in the quest for new formats, stories, heroes and heroines beyond best-seller charts and media headlines.
In 2011 the Global Creavitity Index ranked Sweden as the world’s most creative country due to its high level of talent, technology and tolerance. The latter is where Sweden stands out compared to other countries. Being open to new ideas and promoting diversity, having “freedom of impression”, have proven to be successful conditions in which to build its creative industries.
“Our belief is that creativity is less about pulling ideas out of thin air and more about connecting things. But in order for this to happen one must be open to new ideas, and that is why receptiveness is essential to all creative work. Democreativity is an open invitation to explore the potential of creativity and aims to highlight diversity and underrepresented ideas, hopefully inspiring creators all over the world in the process,” says Sofia Kinberg, Global Marketing Director, Visit Sweden.
Sweden has a very strong position within the gaming industry, having created some of the world’s most popular games, including Minecraft, Candy Crush Saga and Battlefield. The gaming industry also has a long history of being open to external impressions, for example in how they work with player involvement in order to test and improve the products, which makes it a fitting industry for this initiative.
Building a creative nation
The creative process has been revolutionised in most areas - from music and fashion to technology and business – social platforms, user-generated content and crowd funding have democratised the process and made it possible for anyone to participate. This development goes hand in hand with the Swedish tradition of participation, collaboration and non-hierarchy.
“Sweden ranks first in our global creativity index with high scores in both talent and technology. Sweden stands out as one of the most tolerant societies in the world, welcoming all types of people from all walks of life. Together, these qualities put Sweden in an excellent position to attract creative ingenuity and talent globally,” says Charlotta Mellander, research director at the Prosperity Institute of Scandinavia and close collaborator with Professor Richard Florida at the Prosperity Institute in Toronto.
Sweden’s new initiative Democreativity, following on from the much publicised Curators of Sweden @Sweden project (www.curatorsofsweden.com), is a tribute to the development of democratised creative processes. It’s designed to promote creativity and the underlying factors that have helped Sweden achieve enormous success in industries such as music, cinema, literature, food, games and fashion despite its small population.
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For seafood lovers, Gothenburg is the place to be in September for the beginning of the lobster season. Due to the city’s proximity to the cold, clean, salty North Sea, the seafood available is some of the best in the world - in fact there’s even a fish church!
Feskekôrka, which literally means ‘fish church’ in Swedish, is an indoor fish and seafood market offering a huge variety of freshly caught delicacies including oysters, crayfish, shrimp, lobsters and much more.
As well as shopping for fish in Feskekôrka, there’s the opportunity to eat it – as one of Gothenburg’s top restaurants is located within the building. Restaurant Gabriel has its kitchen in the centre of the room, so you can watch your dishes being lovingly prepared, and the well-stocked seafood buffet makes for a fantastic photo opportunity. You can expect to find everything from fried herring to Swedish lobster on the menu.
The archipelago is just 15 minutes from city centre and is one of the most picturesque coastal locations in Sweden. The Långedrag Värdshus seafood restaurant has a huge outdoor seating area with a great view of the archipelago and the entrance to the Gothenburg harbour. It’s a perfect place to watch the world go by and the boats coming and going. Naturally, the menu has a good seafood offering including seared cod, halibut fillet in white wine sauce and shrimp. Smaklig måltid!