Exploring Skåne – The ultimate South Sweden road trip
Have you ever been to Sweden? If not, I’m sure you will be amazed as well by the beautiful countryside, the relaxed atmosphere, the pureness of the nature, the friendly people, the tranquility, quaint towns and unique hotels and restaurants.
Last month was my first ever visit to Sweden, and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised!
Although I knew that Sweden was huge, with a lot of countryside, nature and tranquility, and was expecting it to resemble Denmark a bit, I still felt it had a whole different vibe and was so diverse!
Next to the wide plains, rugged nature and cute towns, the most southern region of Sweden, called Skåne County, also offers beautiful beaches, National Parks and buzzing towns like Malmö.
Even though it doesn’t have the large pine forests, mountains and fjords which Scandinavia is known for, Skåne is called ‘Provence of Sweden’. Many Swedes spend their summers here, as it has some of the best beaches of the country, many cute towns and so much more, even a vineyard!
I will be happy to show you my favourite towns and sites of our 5 day road trip through the Skåne region, from east to south and west, including a stay in Ystad, Lund and Malmö.
Get an impression already in this video compilation (best viewed in vertical/mobile view with sound on).
But also through below itinerary with many of my own pics of our trip. But first things first:
How to get there?
Because of Malmö’s proximity to Denmark and the Øresund bridge, the longest road- and rail bridge in Europe, connects Denmark and Sweden with each other, it’s easiest and fastest to fly to Copenhagen and take the train to Malmö.
You can also get to Skåne by flying to Malmö, but this will require an extra stop and will take you much longer from the Netherlands. The flight to Copenhagen took us just 1,5 hours and it was very easy to take the train at the airport station for a short 20 minute ride over the bridge to Malmö. From there we rented a car and drove in less than 1,5 hours to the north-east of Skåne for our first stop at Wanås Hotel & Restaurant near Knislinge.
To follow our exact 5 day route, I made a custom Google map, click on the letters to see all the recommended stops along the route we did from day to day:
What to do
Skåne is easy to explore, and I would certainly do this by car, as it is more convenient. There's much to see, and it takes less than 2 hours to drive all the way from west to east.
We started our trip with a stay at a wonderful historic farm and castle hotel, which also included a great restaurant and beautiful forest area surrounding it, including an extensive Sculpture Park.
Even though we stayed here overnight, I can even recommend visiting without stayover, for the good food and a tour of the Wanås Sculpture Park and galleries. Find out more here: Wanas Restaurant-Hotel
Wanås Estate & Sculpture Park
The castle and estate of almost 100 acres have been in the same family for almost 220 years. The Sculpture park was added by Marika Wachtmeister in 1987, inspired by Central Park and her experiences with artists in NYC. She wanted to work with local artists in nature to create something unique and cultural for the region.
The park is currently run by the Wanas Foundation – Wanås Konst and receives about 8,000 visitors a year, especially during the summer months. Offering a permanent collection of more than 70 site-specific works from different artists, spread out over the forest park, the 18th century barns and farm buildings that surround Wanås Castle, with changing exhibits throughout the year.
Get a small impression of some of my favourite artworks here:
To enjoy the tranquility of Swedish nature, combined with a bit of culture and history, while discovering impressive artworks from all around the world, a visit to this Sculpture Park is a must. Open to visit, also if you’re not staying at the hotel, and easily explored in 1 or 2 days.
I would however recommend to take your time to fully immerse yourself in this experience, discover all the artworks slowly and combine it with a delicious organic lunch or dinner at the Wanås Restaurant. They also offer special workshops, themed walks and cycling routes here.
Unfortunately we only had 1 day here and were sad to leave, but also happy to explore more of this stunning region. Nearby you will find many beautiful nature and historic sites. I will show you some of my favourites through my own pics, and you can see how to get there via my custom Google Maps above:
Hallamölla falls & mill
Christinehof Castle & Ecopark
Kronovalls Slott & Sculpturepark
I was surprised to find quite some castles in South Sweden, but as it turns out there's a lot of history of landlords and nobility here as well. Currently most of them are open to the public and have beautiful estates around it, some with exhibits as well.
We would have loved to visit some of the other quaint towns, fisherman’s villages, beautiful beaches and nature parks on the east coast,which were recommended to me. But unfortunately the rain and full program prevented us from seeing more that day. I did mark them on the map for next time, and hopefully you can stop here during your visit:
After a full first day and great stay in another unique farm hotel, about which I will tell you more in my next blog, the next day we ventured on along the coast to explore some of the beautiful beaches, dune areas and historic sites in:
This megalithic ancient monument, situated in grassy meadows, looking out upon the steep cliffs and long beaches in the distance, is truly breath-taking, as well as the walk there up the hill over Kåseberga.
It still remains a mystery why this huge stone formation, shaped like a ship, was erected 1,400 years ago, which makes it even more special and a must visit in my book.
This colorful harbor town certainly deserves attention, as it's one of the best kept historical environments of the country, and one of Sweden's most famous film centres, featured in many books and movies!
Also one of my favourite towns in Skåne County, because of its quaint character, relaxed atmosphere, and the historic cobble stoned streets with colorful houses, 300 half-timbered houses and flowers all around. Easy to explore on foot, but I would recommend taking your time, as I’m sure you will need many photo stops as well😊
On the 3rd day we continued our trip to another quaint town and stopped at this stunning castle, just 15 minutes from Ystad on the way to Lund:
Known for its renowned university, which origins' even date back to 1425. Spread out over several beautiful buildings throughout Lund, this is one of northern Europe’s oldest universities.
Walking the university grounds, past the historic buildings, overgrown with ivy, was pure delight. And I was blown away by the gorgeous University Library, which was founded in 1666:
Next to the university Lund is also renowned for its ancient 55 meters high:
Situated in the center of town this historic monument, dating back to 1398, can not be missed! Every day at 2 pm there is a free guided tour of the Cathedral including a visit of the crypt in the basement, the oldest part from 1123 and still largely intact.
A beautiful quaint area of the town I recommend to stroll by as well is:
And there are also several interesting museums to visit in Lund, such as:
Housing the world’s largest collection of sketches, models and preparatory works for international and Swedish art. Founded in 1934 offering 7 large galleries with a variety of sketches and models, showcasing the artists’ process from first idea to the final model or sketch.
This buzzing town in west Skåne has so much to see and do, that we hardly had enough time to explore it during our 1,5 day visit.
We did however find some really nice and unique spots during our stroll through the town, mapped out on the custom Google Map, under day 5.
I especially loved the quaint areas of Stortorget, Fiskehoddorna, and the city parks.
Other activities which were recommended to me, and which I would love to experience myself when I come back are:
Electric boat tour
Ribersborgs Kallbadhus for some Swedish Spa time
Where to stay & eat
During our 5 day trip we stayed at many unique hotels, had great lunches and dinners in several quaint restaurants. And of course some delicious fika’s, as Swedish tradition requires, just too much to add to this blog. Therefore I decided to dedicate a separate blog to this, coming up soon!
Have I convinced you that Sweden, and especially the southern region of Skåne, has to be added to your bucket list? If you want to explore more of Northern Europe, Scandinavia, and appreciate authenticity, quaint towns, unique architecture, nature, tranquility and good food, then this is the place for you too!
I would highly recommend to explore Skåne by car, and hope you can use my custom Google Map and tips to your advantage. For more information go to the website of: VisitSkane.com
And don't hesitate to let me know if you have more questions here, or via social media through the buttons at the bottom of this page.
*While this blog was written in collaboration with Tourism in Skåne and Malmötown, it still reflects my honest opinion and own experiences, as always.