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Make the most of your summer holiday in Skåne

As a summer destination, Skåne is hard to beat. The quiet local rural lifestyle meets continental flavours and lovely refreshing swimming options. The fact that Skåne is Sweden's sunniest region is a special bonus. But what is there to do in Skåne? Don't fret - here are our top tips for enjoying your holiday in southern Sweden to the full.

Biking on Ven. Photo: Viktor Silfverhjelm Hultqvist

Beloved Skåne Sweden's southernmost landscape offers a wealth of exciting architecture, culture and history. Many traces remain from the Viking Age and old wars with the Danish neighbours to the south west. Alternate exciting excursions in the footsteps of Sweden's ancestors with continental city life and delightful strolls in the evening sun on boardwalks by restaurants, bars and beaches. The possibilities for a relaxing holiday are truly endless in Skåne.

Summer swimming in fresh, salty or brackish water?

When the city feels too stuffy, it's wonderful that a refreshing dip is never far away! Skåne boasts a coastline in three directions: east, west and south. On the western side of Skåne is the salty Öresund, while on the eastern side you can take a dip in the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea. In many parts of Skåne there are also swim-friendly lakes with warmer, fresh water.

Whether you prefer long sandy beaches, diving off piers, steep cliffs, taking cold water dips Swedish style down a ladder off the jetty or pottering along pebble beaches, there's something for everyone. And it's often only a short distance away by car.

Strand i Ystad, SkåneThere are plenty of white sandy beaches in Skåne. This one is in Ystad, on the Baltic side of Skåne.

Österlen - the Provence of the North

Nowhere in Sweden resembles French Provence as much as Österlen. Enjoy vast fields, shady beech forests and sandy beaches, old-fashioned limestone houses and poppies by the roadside. In Simrishamn and Kivik there are even vineyards. It's no surprise that national poet Ulf Lundell and many other Swedish artists have settled here.

Skillinge på Österlen i Skåne. Foto: Julius Jansson, UnsplashSkillinge is one of the many small villages with traditional houses that can be found around Österlen. Photo By Julius Jansson, Unsplash

A convenient hour and a half's drive from Malmö, or an hour from Kristianstad, reaching Österlen from other cities in Skåne is a bit easier than getting to the Riviera. And if you're missing home, there's also Sweden's answer to Stonehenge here: the ancient Ale stones in Kåseberga.

Ale stenar i Kåseberga på Österlen i SkåneThe ancient Ale stones form the outline of a ship, and stand in Kåseberga near Ystad. Photo By Arvid Hoidahl, Unsplash

The vineyards.

It's easy to forget that Skåne is in Sweden, when you discover that there are at least forty vineyards in the region. Both the soil and the climate in Skåne are well-suited for viticulture, especially the green grape Solaris, which thrives in the relatively short Nordic growing season.

Winemaking is a growing industry in Skåne. The very first wine companies were started about 20 years ago, but it's only in the last five to ten years that the number of vineyards has really increased. Around all three coasts (and also inland) you'll find farms that offer wine tasting and, in many cases, even a bite to eat at their own restaurant. You can take a leisurely stroll among the vines, learn about grape varieties, the unique terroir of the farms - in Sweden's very own Napa Valley or Tuscany.

The website Vinvägen (in Swedish) has a map with addresses and contact details for most wineries throughout Skåne.

The gold of Österlen

You might think that it's Kivik's golden apple juice that is called Österlen's gold, but it's actually the rapeseed oil that earned this name. It's not really a surprise, as one of the symbols of Skåne is the sunshine-hued rapeseed fields that sway in the breeze.

Rapsfält i solnedgång. Foto: Marigna Roth, UnsplashSeeing the yellow rapeseed fields is best experienced before the height of summer, as they only bloom between May and June. Photo By Marigna Roth, Unsplash

If you'd like to immerse yourself in this liquid gold, we recommend a trip to Gunnarshög's Gård in Hammenhög, near the tourist attraction Glimminge house. As well as a shop where the entire Gunnarshög range is sold, there's also a farm café where you can enjoy a coffee break and at the same time get inspiration for new uses for rapeseed oil. The staff is knowledgeable and happy to tell you about rapeseed and why the cold-pressed oil is just as useful as olive oil.

A day trip to the island of Ven

In the middle of the sparkling waters of Öresund lies the island of Ven. You can get here by a 30-minute boat ride from Landskrona (a town between Malmö and Helsingborg). With a circumference of just ten kilometres, the island is perfect for exploring by bike. In addition to its beautiful beaches, rolling waves and small gravel roads, there's a rich history that began shortly after the ice sheet released its grip on Scandinavia.

The Tycho Brake Museum has more information about this history, as does the island's farm, where you can have coffee and buy the farm's own honey. Spirit of Hven also has lots of thirst quenchers, with a distillery that produces its own whiskey. There's even a gourmet pub and restaurant.

St: Ibbs kyrka på Ven. Foto: Viktor Silfverhielm HultqvistSt. Ibbs church on the hill overlooking the harbour and the Öresund. Photo By Viktor Silfverhjelm Hultqvist, www.upplevven.se

If you want to learn even more about the highlights of the island, you can take one of the guided tours. Did you know that Ven has almost 400 permanent residents and is a living community all year round? If a visit to Ven has whettted your appetite, the active and enthusiastic members of the local village association will be happy to answer questions about moving in and getting established on the island.

En somrig cykeltur på ön Ven. Foto: Viktor Silfverhjelm HultqvistRiding a bike around Ven is something everyone should experience at least once. Photo By Viktor Silfverhjelm Hultqvist, www.upplevven.se.

Things to do in Malmö

In Sweden's third largest city there are endless activities and experiences for families with children, as well as for couples or groups. No matter what you like doing, it's easy to stay busy for days or weeks.

Enjoying the bars around Lilla Torg or Möllan is a must for anyone who's thirsty and likes to socialise. If you're looking for some more child-friendly activities, Riberborg beach is within easy reach, with a magnificent view of both the Öresund Bridge and the Turning Torso building.

malmo-lilla-torg.jpgAround Lilla Torg in Malmö there are pubs, bars and outdoor restaurants that are ideal for a summer evening in the company of good friends.

Culture buffs will appreciate Moderna Museet in Malmö and music fans can often be found at KB (Kulturbolaget) or in any of the city's many record stores. If you collect records, don't miss a trip to Lilla Torg's Seriemagasin, where the friendly staff can help you navigate the carefully selected old and new vinyl records.

Malmö Folkets Park (The People's Park)

If you only have time to do one thing in Malmö, we can guarantee that you'll get the most experience in the shortest amount of time by spending time in Folkets Park, near Möllevångstorget. In addition to two playgrounds, a skate park and a paddling pool, the park is an eclectic combination of a traditional Swedish folkpark's (people's park) fixtures, such as a hotdog stand and performance stage, to more exotic elements such as the Moorish Pavilion meeting place.

Folkets Park in Malmö is the oldest folkpark in the world and one of the oldest buildings in the park is 'Far i Hatten'. Built in 1892, today it houses a dance floor/nightclub as well as a KRAV (organic)-certified restaurant serving locally produced dishes.

Folkets park i Malmö en solig sommardagFolkets Park in Malmö attracts both Malmöites and tourists in the summer, especially when the weather is good.

Northwest Skåne's golf courses

Is Helsingborg in Florida? You might think so - only in Florida are there more golf courses than in northwestern Skåne. Within an hour's drive from Helsingborg there are a wide range of courses, all with different levels of difficulty and different landscapes, from the bare coast to lush meadows inland.

Mölle Golf Club stands out, as the unique 18-hole course is located in the middle of a beautiful nature reserve. Vasatorps Golf Club also has several courses and has been voted Sweden's best golf course several years in a row. St Arild's Golf Club is beautifully situated with brilliant views of the hills and an internationally high standard. Is it difficult to choose between them all? We completely understand!

Golf st Arlid GolfklubbA warm summer evening in the sun. A great time for a round of golf in scenic surroundings. Photo: St: Arild Golf Club

The west coast of Skåne also boasts the town of Höganäs, known for its ceramics and characteristic brown pots. Take a detour from the golf course to visit the ceramic centre and admire the craftsmanship. At Höganäs Design outlet you can buy quality ceramics at good prices.

The rolling landscape of Brösarps hills

Skåne is widely known for its flat expanses. However, as well as flat fields, there are a variety of scenic rural landscapes that make for an excellent road trip. Take a trip to Brösarp and enjoy the rolling hills in Verkeån's beautiful nature reserve.

Brösarps backar - porten till ÖsterlenBrösarp's hills don't fit the image of flat Skåne at all. Do you recognise the landscape from the Swedish film The Brothers Lionheart?

The interesting shape of the slopes was caused by the retreating ice sheets, and the slopes are well known in Swedish culture. They've been depicted in oil paintings by Prince Eugen, for example, and featured in The Brothers Lionheart as the backdrop for the fictional Nangijala. If you're an Astrid Lindgren fan, we recommend taking a detour to Källagården, right next to Brösarps slopes. The half-timbered farm dating back to the 1700s has an apple orchard that was transformed into the Cherry Valley for the filming of The Brothers Lionheart.

Discover Skåne on foot - Skåneleden

The most natural experience of Skåne is on foot. There are a variety of hiking trails around the region that come together under the name 'Skåneleden'. Some are well-suited for shorter day trips in the vicinity of Malmö or other cities, while others go from coast to coast throughout the country. Some stretches form rocky coastal walks and others run through untouched virgin forest and along small lakes. Combined, Skåneleden covers 130 miles of hiking trails.

Many of Skåneleden's routes run through private land. To be absolutely sure that you don't wander into a cattle field or get lost, just follow the orange signs for Skåneleden.

Even if you could wander for days without meeting another human being, civilisation is never far away. And in many places along the trails there are campsites with wind shelters, toilets and fireplaces with firewood, completely free of charge, for those who want to take a break and soak up the natural surroundings for a little longer.

Vandringsled i Stenshuvud nationalpark i SkånePart of the Skåne trail that runs through Stenshuvud National Park. Research from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, among others, proves that being out in nature is good for our health. You only have to look at pictures of natural scenes to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. So give your health a little boost in Skåne.

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