Category: Exploring Sweden & Days Out in Sweden (Page 1 of 4)

Discover Sturkö – Blekinge’s Largest Island

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….eighth up is the island of Sturkö.

Background Information About Sturkö

Sturkö is Blekinge’s largest island.  It has a permanent population of around 1500, which grows during the summer months.  It is a beautiful island that allows for a lot of cycling on its roads and trails, walking in nature, a great place to fish, and plenty of places to enjoy swimming in the sea 🙂  It can be found nestled between the islands of Senoren and Tjurkö.

Our Adventure To Sturkö

We set off one sunny Friday afternoon, after school, and chose the car as our method of travel (we have lots of opportunity this summer for the archipelago ferries!).  The first place we headed for was Sturkö Runsten.  This stone is from the viking era when this part of Sweden was part of Denmark.  Rune stones are dotted all over the county we live in, and we have seen quite a few before, but what was different about this one was that it had an inscription…..”Gude’s skipper raised….stone”.

After this we headed off to locate the windmill on the island and walk around it.  During the summer this is a lovely cafe, but it was still closed when we visited.  Nevertheless the children were fascinated to get up so close to such a lovely old windmill.

The penultimate place on our agenda for that afternoon was Sturkö skans.  We have got used to discovering forts and battlements on these islands, but it is still fun to see different ones and see what they look like.  This one had a few unexpected inhabitants much to the delight of our trio.  It seemed a farmer thought this made the perfect enclosure for his herd of goats.  My three were more than happy to say hello to them, before we headed off to walk around the perimeter of the fort area and take a look.

Although we love to explore the nature reserves around our area, today Uttorp Nature Reserve was not on our agenda.  What was on our agenda, was enjoying a good few hours of late spring warm sunshine on a good beach on this lovely island.  So we headed off to Sturkö camping, where we drove through the campsite to a lovely little beach for a good few hours of play with the beach all to ourselves.  The children soon immersed themselves in their play and building, and we enjoyed the stunning panaramic views places like this offer.

How To Get To Sturkö

There are bridges that link Sturkö to Senoren, and on the other side Tjurkö.  So you can either travel on the E22 easterly from Karlskrona, or take a bus from Karlskrona centrum.  For a more memorable journey, during the summer months you can take one of the archipelago boats for your adventure.

What To Do And See On Sturkö

  1. Breda’s medieval herb garden:  This is a beautiful garden with herbs and flowers, and even the odd animal roaming around. They also sell locally grown and made organic products.  You can learn more about the beautiful place here.
  2. Sturkö Kvarn:  This is a mill that was finished in 1901 and operated until 1964 (although it did have a few upgrades, including an engine!).
  3. Västra Skällön Nature Reserve:  Here you can find a Rune stone, from the end of the viking times (Sturkö Runsten).  A lovely place to hike and cook outdoors.
  4. Sturkö Skans:  This is a fortress built in 1904.  You can visit all year round and take yourself around the grounds, but if you want a tour you must ring ahead and book it (although with the presence of goats I am not quite sure if this still stands!!!)
  5. Uttorp Nature Reserve:  This is on the south side of the island, and when you stand on the far point, you are as far out in the Blekinge archipelago as you can go on land, without needing a boat.  This is a really good place for a spot of birdwatching.
  6. Relax on a lovely beach/bathing spot.

Where To Eat On Sturkö

  1. Sturkö Rökeri:  This is a smokehouse where the fish is cooked in stone ovens.  Throughout the summer months they have a cafe open, and for the rest of the year, they can provide catering to order.
  2. Andrens Bageri:  A bakery well worth a visit for some tasty treats.  But check opening times before visiting as they change according to the time of year.
  3. Sturkö Mill Cafe:  The mill has a cafe you can take some refreshments at, and at the same time peruse any exhibitions that are happening there.

Where To Stay On Sturkö

Sturkö Camping is in a sheltered bay making it a perfect spot to pitch up with your family and enjoy the Swedish life.  There is a restaurant on site.  You can use your caravan, motorhome, or tent, as well as having the option to hire a hut as well.

This is a beautiful island to discover at leisure either on a bike or in a car.  You can do it on foot too, but being a bigger island it would take a lot of walking compared to some islands!!  We certainly had a beautiful sunny long afternoon exploring this lovely place.Discover Sturkö - Blekinge largest island, Sturkö, Sturko, Blekinge, Karlskrona, Sweden, Archipelago

Discover Senoren And Become A Viking

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….seventh up is the island of Senoren.

Background Information About Senoren

Senoren is a beautiful island, linked to the mainland by a bridge, and to the next island along by a bridge also.  Historically it has been a place for small farms and fisheries, and a lot of potatoes and strawberries were grown here.

Our Adventure To Senoren

It was forecast to be a sunny-cloudy day, so we set off on our adventure to explore this island.  However, all did not go exactly to plan!!  First off being the weather.  It was chucking it down with heavy unforecast rain, and secondly, although we hunted high and low around the island, we could not find one of the things on our list of “to see”.  However, we did manage to see a few things.

The first thing we wanted to visit was the Valshall Viking village.  This is not open all year round, which we were aware of, but we could go in and have a little nosey on our own.  When it is open, they have people acting the part of vikings walking around and also markets as well where you buy wares, and have a go at some activities.  The children did enjoy having a look around this deserted and slightly eerie viking village!  And yes, twin 1 is wearing a pink oversized hoodie!!  He was a little chilly and big sister took pity on him 🙂

After our tour round the viking village, we headed off on our wild goose chase to try and find the Kumla Rune stone.  We could not locate it.  Despite trying to research this, various sources can not agree on its location, and although we visited all of them, it was not to be seen.  We may return passing through to another island, at a time when the cafe is open so we can pop in there and ask and try and locate it.

So, armed with food to cook on a campfire, we headed off to a good swim-beach spot at Sandvik.  This is a lovely little cove, and quite sheltered, so if it had not been pelting with rain, my trio would have had a lovely time playing there.  I do have waterproof children and we do play out in all weathers, but when the rain is the sort that hurts you, it is time to admit defeat, especially with lighting a fire, and head back home.

Senoren is a lovely island though, and in another week’s time it has a great cafe open and life there will be bustling.  It is definitely a place we need to head back to in slightly more pleasant weather conditions, and to find that blooming Rune stone!!

How To Get To Senoren

Due to its good road links and bridges, you can travel there by car on the E22.  You can also use public transport in the form of buses from the centre of Karlskrona.  During the summer months, for a more relaxed but memorable way to travel, the archipelago boats will travel there.

What To See On Senoren

  1. There is a beautiful sandy beach and swimming area at a place called Sandvik.
  2. The small, quiet lanes are perfect for exploring the island by bicycle.
  3. Senoren has a lovely sheltered coastline so you can venture around it in a canoe.
  4. Valshall Viking Village, which is located at Brofästet rest place is a good place to explore.  You can experience life as a viking, and there are markets as well.  However, check their website as they only happen on selected dates in the summer months.
  5. The Stone of Kumla in Västernäs…..or east of the main road…..it depends what you read and where….we did not manage to find this, so if you visit and you do, LET ME KNOW!!

Where To Eat On Senoren

At Brofästet rest place there is a lovely cafe and farm shop, where you can rehydrate and sample some yummy food. There is also a great little playground for the small people

Where To Stay On Senoren

  1. Kustgården has a lovely campsite with places to camp, huts to hire, or youth hostel accomodation.  It is set by a sandy cove as well, making it the perfect place for a summer stay.  You can read more about it and its facilities here – Kustgården
  2. There is also camping available at the Valshall Viking Village, but apart from modern camping equipment to keep you comfortable, I believe for the rest of the experience you immerse yourself into viking life.  You can read more about it here.
  3. The Bröfästet rest place has camping spaces for motorhomes as well as stugor too.

Senoren was so beautiful and we are looking forward to exploring it again and testing out the cafe!

If you want to follow our adventures in Sweden through pictures, head over to our Instagram and take a peek 🙂

Discover Senoren and Become A Viking, Senoren, Sweden, Southern Sweden, Blekinge, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Hanö And Its Legends

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….sixth up is the island of Hanö.

Background Information About Hanö

Hanö used to be royal property of Sölvesborg Castle.  There have been permanent residences on the island from around the mid 1800s.  Hanö harbour is the heart of the island, and it used to be a typical fishing port.  Now there is a shop and a restaurant.  From 1810-1812, during the Napoleonic wars, it was a base for English Navy exercises, and there is now a graveyard there to 15 English seamen (only 2 are named though).  British ships still come to pay their respects to the sailors, and a huge cross they have erected can been seen out at sea.  There are a few legends about this island as well.  One is about a lonely lady, another about a dragon.  It is cited in some places as being the windiest place in Sweden (apart from the Swedish mountains), but on the positive side there are no mosquitoes….those of you who live here (or have visited us!), will know this is something of a relief!!

Our Adventure To Hanö

We were so lucky to be able to take Dadda out on this adventure with us, and it was a juicy one too.  We were to catch a 10:00 ferry from Nogersund and it would take around 25 minutes to reach the island.  We arrived early, as although it was not summer season yet, these ferries can get very busy, but it was not too bad.  Mainly people heading out to summer homes for the day, or long weekend.  It was a red day in Sweden, which happened to be a Thursday, a day off work for most.  Then many people also take the next day off to make a long weekend out of it.  We boarded the boat and settled in to watch everyone else board.  We have caught a fair few archipelago boats now, but we have not quite seen this side to Swedish living before.  I thought we looked over packed at a hiking day sack each, but I need not have worried!  We sat waiting for our departure as people boarded with various small family pets in crates, a variety of dogs, plants to be planted in gardens in boxes and bags, luggage, food, firewood, and so on.  One chappie even loaded on 10 bags of garden centre soil, scurrying backwards and forwards to his car.  This is summer hut living on a remote island in Sweden and it was lovely to watch it going on around us.  Finally, all animals and plants aboard, we set sail.

Once we arrived on Hanö we did have a vague plan. There were a few things we wanted to see, we also wanted to hike a little of the island, and make time for a campfire lunch complete with nature play time.  So we headed off on one of the trails that was to lead us to Bönsäcken at the northern tip.  This is a shingle spit that constantly moves and changes according to the wind and sea.  However, legend has it that it is actually as a result of a lonely giantess who lived on the island trying to build a bridge.  She collected rocks and stones in her apron, but she stumbled and they all fell out.  It might have been a lovely spot for lunch if, firstly it was not 10:30 in the morning, or secondly another family had not just settled themselves there.  There are so few people on the island at any one time, to suddenly have 8 in the same small location seemed very odd!!  We admired it, and moved on.

Next up was a visit to the British cemetery…..read on to find out more about this place below.  Needless to say, it was an appropriate place for us to visit with where we are from, and the children found it interesting.  We also saw the grave of a family who had died from cholera.  

We then continued along the trail up to the lighthouse. It was at this point we saw our first sighting of a few throughout the day, of fallow deer.  There are around 300 on the island, and the children loved being able to see them in their natural habitat.  We don’t usually see anything as we are so noisy as a unit, but after the first sighting the children were quiet and learnt they’d see more.  They were rewarded too throughout the afternoon.  We must have seen at least 20 in various sized groups.  Once we got to the lighthouse, the children were getting very hungry so we headed off down the path to make lunch.

On the menu today were pizza wraps and fire cones.  The fire cones tasted sooooooo good.  The first time we had made them I had forgotten the tin foil so they were a little charred.  But today, stuffed with marshmallows, chocolate, banana, and raspberries, they were perfect!  The children played.  They had a vast area to use for a nature playground.  They climbed huge rocks and boulders, hid in trees, and wandered off into the valley with a huge sense of freedom away from us…..we generally had tabs on them, but playing on an island like this for children is perfect.  They feel free, but from a distance we can allow them to go further, but at the same time keeping an eye on various hazards like the sea!  After lunch we managed to locate the Drakmärket.  This is the second legend of the island.  Every night a dragon would travel 20km between Tjärö and Hanö in just 2 beats of its wings.  However, when the lighthouse lit up for the first time, it resulted in blinding the dragon and it crashed, leaving a wing print on the rocks below the lighthouse.

That was the last of our “sights” before we hiked a little more to see some more of the island (complete with more deer spotting) and then head back for our return boat. We had spent 5 hours on the island, and although we hadn’t used the optimistically packed swimwear, we had really enjoyed our visit,  There were 6 very tired little legs that were rewarded with huge ice creams once we got back to the mainland.

How To Get To Hanö

This is a 25 minute sailing on the archipelago ferry M/F Vitaskär from Nogersund.  During the busy summer months it is recommended that you ring ahead and make a booking.  This is foot passengers only.

What To See And Do On Hanö

  1. Bönsäcken:  A shingle spit into the sea and a lovely spot to paddle or have a picnic.
  2. English cemetery from the Napoleonic wars.  It was the base for the English Navy exercises in the Baltic Sea between 1810-1812.  15 seamen are buried here.  In 1973 a huge cross made from a ship’s mast was erected there and reads “HMS Plymouth 21st June 1973”. About 10m to the south there is a grave of a mother and her two children who died of cholera in 1834.
  3. Drakmärket:  Where the dragon crash landed and left a wing mark on the rocks
  4. Lighthouse:  This is 16m tall and built between 1904 and 1906.  It was automated in 1980.  It is one of the brightest lights in the Baltic Sea with an amazing range.
  5. Nature Reserve:  The whole island is a nature reserve with mainly grass heaths to the north, and forest to the south.  The north east part has a granite cliff with views. There are fallow deer that were introduced onto the island in 1956.
  6. Hiking trails:  There are a few different trails around the island so you can pick a distance or area that suits you.  Some are also suitable for wheelchairs.

Where To Eat On Hanö

  1. Restaurang Briggen:  You need to check the website as its opening times are season dependent.
  2. Hanöborg:  Again check the website before you visit to see if it is open or not as it depends on the season, but when it is you can eat fresh waffles, cream, and jam.

Where To Stay On Hanö

The youth hostel, Hanö Vandrarhemmet, is open all year round, it is the old school house.  Pre-booking is recommended and you can get contact details from the island’s website.  It is the island’s old school house.

Hanö was a beautiful island, with lots to explore and lots of nature to enjoy.  We thoroughly enjoyed our day on this island, and the journey there was lovely too.

Discover Hanö and its legends, Hanö, Hano, Blekinge, Karlskrona, Sweden, Southern Sweden, archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Discover Hästholmen-Ytterön-A large Nature Reserve

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….fifth up is the island of Hästholmen-Ytterön.

Background Information About

Hästholmen-Ytterön

The earliest written records of habitation are from 1671, just after an earthquake, but objects have been found on this island that date back to the stone age.  Originally, the main livelihood was fishing, and then in the late 1600’s a pilot station was built on the island, and pilots worked on the island too.  During the 19th century, an increase in population meant that farming was developed which led to the more open landscapes that still remain today.  During the 20th century, farming eventually came to a stop, but three brothers set up a boat building industry on the island.  This stopped production in the 1990’s, but the history of boat building is still important to the island, often hosting classes or exhibitions.  As with most of the archipelago islands, there remains evidence of a previous military presence.  In 1965 the first ferry connection to the island was made and it also took cars as well.

Our Adventure To Hästholmen-Ytterön

It was a sunny Friday afternoon, and straight after school we left and drove to catch the 2 minute car ferry across the sea to the island.  Driving the car onto the ferry, even though it is only for 2 minutes, just adds to the sense of adventure for the children.  It was such a glorious early spring afternoon, and the island looked very beautiful.

It is quite a large island compared to quite a few, so having the car meant that we could see a lot more of it.  We have actually been over to this island before, but only for a rainy hike, campfire, and some geocaching.  Today we were more focused on seeing some of the heritage sites on the island.  Our first port of call was the Mårtensson’s Boat Building Yard.  This is where the three brothers set up and operated their boat building business on the island.  The children enjoyed peering in through the windows, looking at the equipment outside, and generally trying to work out what everything was for.

After this we drove to take a look at Battery Killeberget.  An old battery which started to be built in 1928.  It was in use between 1929-1955.  You can’t get inside it, but the few parts of it that are above ground lead to a lot of thinking about what on earth is under the ground where you are standing.  It is quite extensive.  The children enjoyed being able to go into one of the sentry boxes and peer out of the look out slits.

We saw much of the island taking a leisurely drive around it.  There are not many homes here, and a lot of natural countryside that makes it such a beautiful place to visit.  After touring the island, it was time to fill our tummies and have some play in nature, so we headed to one of the island’s sandy coves.  Although we had taken the buckets and spades, they remained untouched.  Double trouble leapt about on the great rock boulders, clambering around and making up stories for their play, while our little lady opted to do the cooking for the day.  

On the menu today we were trying for the first time pizza wraps, followed by an old favourite of chocolate orange brownies.  Everyone was happy and stuffed after, and it was time to head back for our ferry home after a good few hours of play in the fresh air.

How To Get To Hästholmen-Ytterön

There is an all year round cable ferry that takes cars from Yttre Park.  It is a VERY short distance taking only a few minutes, but a fun one none the less.  In the summer months you can take the archipelago ferries from either Karlskrona or Yttre Park.

What To Do And See On Hästholmen-Ytterön

  1. Nature Reserve:  Most of the island is a nature reserve.  You can meander through dramatic open landscapes, beach meadows, juniper heaths, and some forest areas as well.  There is a rich marine life and lots to see in the shallow coves.
  2. Geocaching:  There are a few dotted around the island.
  3. Beaches:  There are lovely beaches to be found at Dragsviken and Buddevik.
  4. Mission House:  There used to be three different mission houses, but today only one remains.
  5. Mårtensson’s Boat Building Yard:  This is where the three brothers set up and operated their boat building business on the island
  6. Battery Killeberget:  An old battery which started to be built in 1928 can be seen.  It was in use between 1929-1955.
  7. U137:  In 1981 there was a rather large diplomatic incident when a Russian submarine ran aground here.
  8. Visit Strannabacken:  A beautiful area where people can enjoy relaxing together for such occasions as midsummer celebrations.

Where To Eat On Hästholmen-Ytterön

This is very much on a self catering basis!  However, there a lot of lovely firepits around the nature reserve that you can utilise to cook on.  If you need inspiration for food, check out my outdoor cooking section for ideas.

Where To Stay On Hästholmen-Ytterön

There are no offical accomodation places, but you could always enjoy a spot of wild camping and utilise the benefits of allemansrätten but make sure you do it responsibly!

The island has a very comprehensive website so click and take a look around some more of the information.

We had such a lovely afternoon exploring, but I would recommend taking a whole day to enjoy the simplicity and natural beauty of this island, and its beaches.  We have been a few times now and it never fails to disappoint.

Discover Hästholmen-Ytterön, Hästholmen, Ytterön, Hastholmen, Ytteron, Blekinge, Sweden, Archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Långören – An Island Retreat

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….fourth up is the island of Långören.

Background Information About Långören

This is the most eastern island in the Blekinge archipelago.  It has a historical tradition of being home to marine station pilots and fishermen, from about 1750.  The pilots would guide both civil and military vessels, until the station shut in 1960.  The pilot station on Långören was responsible for the other pilot stations around the archipelago islands.  The island is very flat and at risk from rising sea waters.

Our Adventure To Långören

The day we chose for our adventure the weather was not the best, but at least it was dry. We caught the boat from Torhamn, and it was a very small one due to the jetty for the larger archipelago boat being under repair.  However, the children loved it and didn’t even mind bouncing around the sea in the gusty winds!

I had decided to base our day around the nature/culture trail.  The island is very small (the 2.5km trail route covers most of it), but due to it being out of season we only had one boat option to get there, and one to get home, leaving us 6 hours on the island.  I also knew there would be no shops/cafe for hiding in, eating, drinking, or warming up, so we took EVERYTHING!  We started the trail at the Pilot House and the children loved this.  The side that is not the youth hostel was open for us to just wander in and look inside at our own risk.  A few rickety narrow staircases later, and we were emerging at the top, taking in the views.  Even on a foggy day, they were impressive.  You can lift the hatch and walk onto the roof, but we had very strong winds and with the three children I decided we could look from the high windows.

We were then out into the elements for the rest of the day looking at points of interest that ranged from medieval times to World War 2.  The children love the old bunkers, so we stopped and made our lunch cooking spot sheltered behind one from the strong winds.  They explored, built a den, and climbed while I cooked some food from my outdoor recipes.  We used our hobo stove for cooking as there are no fire pits around this island to cook safely on.  The sun even popped out for about 10 minutes. 

After lunch we flew our kites.  I had packed them as a bit of a time filler, but they were perfect due to windy weather.  Twin 1 found them very amusing and didn’t stop laughing the whole time they were flying them.  They really enjoyed doing this, and it made being so exposed in the elements for 6 hours much more fun 🙂

After this interlude it was time to complete the trail to make sure we didn’t miss the one and only boat back to the main land.  There are a few summer homes on the island but there is nothing else, and we didn’t want to be stranded there!

How To Get To Långören

The archipelago boats run to the island throughout the summer season.  You can either take the boat from Karlskrona town centre, or catch one from Torhamn.

What To See And Do On Långören

  1. Nature and culture trail:  This is a 2.5km route through the village and countryside of the island.  It takes in ruins from medieval times between 500-600 years ago, as well as World War 2 fortifications.  There are signposts along the route detailing what you can see, and you can collect a paper guide from either the harbour or the Pilot House.
  2. There is a very small exhibition about the history of the island at the Pilot House, but you can also go up to the top of the tower and take in the surrounding views.  These are stunning (especially on a sunny day) as the nearby islands are so low lying as well you can see for miles.
  3. The island is abundant with wildlife so there is plenty of spotting to be done.
  4. There is a lovely small chapel to take a peek inside and stop for a quiet moment.
  5. You can rent kayaks from the cafe so you can explore the waters surrounding the island.

Where To Eat On Långören

There is a coffee shop which is seasonal, so do not rely on it as your sole supply of refreshments. It is usually only open throughout July.  There you can find homemade cakes, soups, and ice creams, while enjoying a very natural and unspoilt view.  It is housed in a historical building.

Where To Stay On Långören

Part of the Pilot House is a hostel.  Check the website for details on how to book, prices, and what you need to bring along with you.

This island is definitely somewhere to head to if you want to get away from it all as there are no distractions.  Just gorgeous Swedish scenery, simple living, and nature.  If you are content just being, choose a nice day and head out to it for a good dose of calm, peace, and tranquillity.  Just remember to take your refreshment supplies for the day!!Discover Långören, Langoren, Blekinge, Sweden, archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Tjurkö – The Stone Cutter Island

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….third up is the island of Tjurkö.

Background Information About Tjurkö

Tjurkö has the nickname the “stone cutter island” due to its past history.  In 1862 it became a source of quarrying for rock and stone, and there was a small “village” of buildings built to accommodate both this production and the labourers who worked there.  Some of whom where prisoners.  Business boomed until World War 1, and then it never really recovered.  It was continued on a much smaller scale until the 1950’s when it ceased altogether.  Remains of the buildings can still be seen and visited.  There is evidence that people first settled on the island of Tjurkö around 400-500 AD, and the population is known to double in the summer months as those with summer cottages swell the permanent inhabitants’ numbers.

Our Adventure To Tjurkö

As it was only a fortnight since the snow left us, and we were not yet in the season for the archipelago boats, we were limited at the start of our adventures to islands with bridges (so we could drive), or all year round boats.  Tjurkö is the third island along in a string of three, all connected by bridges to each other and the main land.  The first thing on our agenda was to do the culture trail at Herrgården.  This is a 1.5km trail around the old stone quarries and accommodation.  The trail was really well marked out, with some really interesting buildings that you could read about on the information boards as you went around, and also take a look inside.  This was so exciting for my trio, who loved reading the history and role of a building and then looking inside.

After enjoying our really lovely and very scenic walk in the spring sunshine, we headed off to Tjurkö Skans, a fort in the middle of the island.  This underground military fort was used in both World Wars.  We have seen similar things in other places before all locked up, so imagine our delight when we could creep inside into the dark, damp, and cold interior to explore with only our torch for light.  It was a huge adventure, and twin 2 was a little bit scared.  The little lady, to my surprise, was all up for exploring every dark corner, and we all had fun going in and out of the empty rooms, before heading back into the sunshine to walk over the top of it.

With the “sightseeing” done, it was time to head to a sandy sheltered cove in Hägnaviken, to play in the sand and enjoy the views, whilst cooking on a small campfire .  My three always totally lose themselves in their play when they are allowed to just be on a beach somewhere, and today was no different.  The water was cold so we kept the boots and waterproof trousers on. But the sun was warm, the wind was asleep for once, and it was so lovely to ditch the hats, gloves, and coats.  They had a very happy few hours there.  I think they really enjoyed the freedom that having less bulky clothing on generates!

How To Get To Tjurkö

In the summer months you can take one of the archipelago ferries from the centre of Karlskrona.  It will stop at many islands on the way, you just alight at the right one.  There are also buses from the centre of Karlskrona all year round as part of the public transport system.  As the island is linked road bridges, it is also possible to drive there, the method we used outside of summer season.

What To See And Do On Tjurkö

  1. At Herrgården you can take the 1.5km cultural trail around the old stone quarrying area.  There are signs to read on the way about old building remains, or what happened there, and is a lovely little loop to amble gently round.
  2. Tjurkö Skans:  This is an old fortification used both in World War 1 and World War 2.  It is roughly placed in the centre of the island.
  3. Hägnaviken:  There is a lovely sandy beach to be found here, where lots of fun can be had!!
  4. Of course there are trails to be hiked as well like anywhere in this beautiful country.

Where To Eat On Tjurkö

  1. Öboden Cafe has supplies for refreshments, as well as a gallery and selling some souvenirs, but is only open in the summer months.
  2. Tjurkö Stengods is another coffee shop and sells stoneware as well, also only open in the summer months.

Where To Stay On Tjurkö

Stenbräcka Kurs och Lägergård is the perfect place to stay near the sandy beach on the island.  It offers camping (tent and caravans etc), or you can rent a stuga (cottages from 4-6 beds, with their own toilet facilities and some with kitchens, some without), or there are rooms in the youth hostel on site too.  You can find out more information on their website

This is a beautiful place with a very interesting history.  Everything is relaxed, even the sightseeing, as that meanders around a short and beautiful trail.Discover Tjurkö The Stone Cutter island, Tjurkö, Tjurko, Sweden, Blekinge, www..mammasschool.co.uk

Hasslö – The Perfect Swedish Island To Relax On

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….second up is the island of Hasslö.

Background Information About Hasslö:

This beautiful island epitomises Swedish summer living, with its harbours full of boats, its beautiful sandy beach to relax on, and the shallow waters at the beach to splash and play in.  You definitely need to take life in the slow lane on this lovely island.  It is nicknamed “little Hawaii” due to seemingly having a lot of warm sunshine in the summer months, and it is connected to the mainland by a road bridge.  There is a small supermarket for supplies, and Sweden’s politician, journalist, and poet, Fabian Månsson originated from this island.

Our Adventures On Hasslö:

We have enjoyed seeing the island from the footpaths and hiking around it.  Good footpaths run right around most of this island, and you can either stay on ones where you are likely to bump into others, or use the more secluded ones through the woods.  We have also enjoyed a sunrise picnic in a quiet cove, in the wintertime, as I am not so keen on the very early Swedish summer sunrise times!  During the summer months we have enjoyed visiting and spending many hours on its sandy beach at Sandvik playing, swimming, cooking outdoors on the fire, and generally enjoying life.  This island is so beautiful, and despite having more residents than compared to some of the islands in the archipelago, nature is never far away to be able to lose yourself in.  It’s really handy to access too, due to it having a bridge, which the children have enjoyed watching open for boats to sail through.

How To Get To Hasslö:

If you do not have a car, you can come on a direct bus from Karlskrona.  In the summer months the archipelago boats visit the island, docking on the east side of the island at Horn.

What To See And Do On Hasslö:

  1. Fabian Månsson has both a statue and his grave on the island if you fancy visiting either of those.
  2. The beach at Sandvik provides lots of sand for play, as well as a volleyball court in the summer months.  The shallow water is excellent for children to play in as well as being able to swim in.
  3. Cycling around this island is one of the better ways to see it.
  4. There are lots of hiking trails around the island or through woods, and you can even geocache for a few treasure finds here as well.
  5. In July, Hasslö has its very own music festival which you can read about here.

Where To Eat On Hasslö:

  1. Hamn Café:  This is a beautiful café down at the main harbour on the southeast side.  You can get hot food, cold food, ice creams, coffees, beers, wines, delicious cakes and all sorts.  In good weather you can sit on the decking overlooking the sea. Check the website for more details and opening times.

    Photo: Eva Afferdal

  2. Hasslö Doppet:  This is a bakery/pizzeria/restaurant.  It serves the most delicious pizza buffet as well as other food choices.  Both alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages can be bought to quench your thirst, as well as pick and mix sweets.  They also freshly bake their cakes and breads there.
  3. Lilla Hawaii:  This is another pizza restaurant on the island where you can be tempted to buy some more pizzas.

Where To Stay On Hasslö:

  1. Hasslö Stugby rent out some cabins, as well as having space to park your motorhome or caravan.  See the website for more details
  2. Vandrarhemmet Skärgårdsvilan:  The island also has a youth hostel on it which you can book into.

We have discovered for ourselves that this is a most beautiful island, full of such lovely and friendly people, where you can truly kick back and relax in a very Swedish way.  I can thoroughly recommend spending some time exploring what this island has to offer and generally enjoying life here for a few days 🙂

Discover Hasslö, Hasslö, Visit Karlskrona, Visit Blekinge. Visit Sweden, Sweden, Travel in Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Aspö – An Island Full Of History

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….first up is the island of Aspö.

Aspö Background Information:

Aspö is the only major island in the area without it’s own bridge connecting it to the mainland.  It has around 500 permanent all year round inhabitants, and during the summer months the numbers swell as people come to stay in their stugor (summer homes).  The island has a supermarket, a school, and a church.

Our Adventure To Aspö

With a plan formed to try and visit as many of our archipelago islands as we can this summer, I knew we needed to get going although summer was still a long way off.  So on a sunny, blustery, early April day, with a hint of the promise of spring in the air, we set off on the car ferry to visit the first island of our adventures.  We chose to start with this island, as until the summer archipelago boats start running we are little limited with where we can explore….we either need islands that have all year round boats, or ones with bridges to them.  So, we boarded our ferry and off we headed.

Having taken the car over, it meant we could explore a lot more of the island a lot quicker, as it is quite a large island compared to many.  So, we started off with a gentle meander round the lanes, taking in the lovely wooden Swedish homes, and enjoying the scenery.  Then we headed to our first stop at the KA2 artillery museum.  Unfortunately this will be something we have to head back to, as despite checking the website before we left it was most definitely not open.  This is a common thing we have found here in Sweden that so much is seasonal. So unless you are visiting in peak summer time, July or August, you really need to check openings via phone with the tourist office, as you can find a lot closed up.  So we had a little potter around the outside seeing a few things, before heading off to Ellenabben fort.

Although you can only wonder around the outside of the fort, it is a lovely place for little imaginations to run wild, and look at some history.  You can also take a good close look at one of the guns, something my trio enjoyed the chance to do.

Look carefully…there are 2 little boys in that tree!!

After this it was time to head into one of the woods for a mini hike, some lunch, and a tree climb!  

Fully refreshed after our stop we headed over to the Kastell for our last stop of the day. Drottningskär Citadel was built in the 17th Century, and is very unique in that it remains undamaged and unchanged, since it has never been attacked.  Its main purpose was, together with Kungsholm Fortress on an island opposite, to defend Karlskrona’s sea approach.  Karlskrona being the new home (back then) of the Swedish navy.  It is a beautiful place.  You can wander around all of it (for free), and there is also a very formal dining restaurant in part of it.  The children loved running through the long upstairs living quarters, going up and down the dark and wonky tunnelled steps to discover the different parts of the castle, and going round the ramparts at the top (with no railings we had a firm grasp of our fast moving, always tripping over each other twins!!).  It was lovely and peaceful, calming, and the views were stunning.

There are so many hidden little gems of history to spot around this island, it is a little like a treasure hunt!  I would really recommend a visit to it.

 

How To Get To Aspö:

There is an all year round car ferry (bright yellow) that crosses from Karlskrona.  This is free of charge and runs every hour.  In the summer months the archipelago boats (which you need to pay on, and are foot passengers only), call at Drottningskär and Djupvik.  You need to check tickets and running times as these change depending on the weeks of the year throughout the summer season.

What To See And Do On Aspö:

  1. Drottningskär Citadel:  This is a 17th century naval citadel, with moats and thick stone walls.  There is lots to explore around the grounds and great for little people with big imaginations!  In the summer it hosts musical entertainment.  There is also a small exhibition about the bunkers and artillery remains situated around the archipelago.
  2. KA2 Museum of moving coastal artillery:  This is a place to explore and see big guns!
  3. Ride Icelandic Horses:  This needs prior booking so phone+46 708 703627
  4. Rent bicycles:  You can hire bicycles where the ferry docks, but this is very much seasonal. There are lots of marked cycle routes around the island, very well signposted.
  5. Ellenabbens Fort:  Take a walk around a huge underground fort that in its time was home to some very large guns.  Amongst other things it housed accommodation, kitchens, a hospital, power station, ammunition storage etc.  As much as it would be huge fun to investigate inside, unfortunately you can only walk round the fence, but it is still worth a visit.

Apart from the specified attractions, there is a lot that can be done on the island that is conducive to the Swedish way of summer living.  It is a great place to cycle around, there are plenty of bathing spots and coves, and there are hiking trails through forests and meadows

Where To Eat On Aspö:

If you don’t fancy utilising one of the fire pits to cook your food on a campfire, there are a couple of options.

  1. Drottningskär Citadel restaurant: The citadel does have its own restaurant, but you need to check opening times before you visit.
  2. Drottningskär Citadel Cafe:  Here you can grab a coffee and a snack, but again check opening times before visiting.
  3. Kiosk at the harbour where the car ferry arrives.

Where To Stay On Aspö:

  1. Aspö Lotstorn is an old harbour pilot house (tower) that has been converted.  It has five floors and is about 20m high, so some stunning views to go with it.  There are 5 hotel rooms, 1 per floor, and then there are 3 cottages as well which you can either book in their entirety, or you can rent a room, youth hostel style.
  2. Aspö Folkets Hus offers places for motorhomes and campervans.
  3. Drottningskärs Vandrarhem is a youth hostel with accommodation.

We had a lovely trip here, and I would thoroughly recommend a visit to explore this island as there is so much to see and do on it.  However, as with anywhere you visit in Sweden, please check opening times with the local tourist office before you turn up anywhere, as these can vary immensely between seasons, and would be very frustrating if you found them closed up for winter.

Discover Aspö, Aspo, Southern Sweden, Sweden, Blekinge, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Järnavik Naturreservat – Lose Yourself In Nature

Järnavik naturreservat in Blekinge, southern Sweden, is an interesting place to visit.  The environment has many contrasts to enjoy.  There are deep ravines and steep climbs to be rewarded with stunning views of the Swedish scenery.  There are bare rock areas, that then lead into forests, rich with plant life.  The northern part of the reserve, where we visited for our hike, is less stark than the more glacially formed rocky southern part.

In a past era Järnavik was a medieval port that was very busy, but today the harbour is used just for the summer archipelago boat, and private boats visiting the area by sea.  Easter weekend had seen blizzards for us for the first three days of the long weekend.  So when the sun shone bright on the Monday, we took advantage of the chance to get some vitamin D supplies and headed out to this nature reserve that we had not explored yet.

The Järnavik naturreservat has a lot of good marked trails, a number of fire pits, and on the southern end, a nice place to take a swim, although this was not really a priority in the freezing April weather!!  We were in the northern part, following a circular trail route, hoping to stop three quarters of the way round to make lunch on a campfire.

So, off we set on our route. We had not gone more than 100m when 2 of the 3 children had already started collecting sticks….our little lady’s stick actually resembled more of a tree than a stick, but all credit to her she did drag it the whole way round!  We scrambled up rock faces to be rewarded with the most stunning views across the fjords at the top, and we walked over mini bridges through ice fields that would hopefully start defrosting soon if spring time decides to make an appearance!!  The children love to see how thick the ice is, and how much they can bang it with sticks or stamp on it before it cracks.  Today it was still very thick and strong, and not giving way.  However, the sun shining on the damp moss was creating a smell of spring in the air, and despite the snow on the ground, you could feel warmth in the sunshine at long last.  As we continued our hike we knew we were coming to the place where the fire pit should be, and on a little investigation, we found it in a mini cave!  It was so fun and interesting as we had never made our campfire anywhere like it yet 🙂

Today we were not using geocaches as an incentive to keep the trio walking.  However, our little lady was just sitting chilling in the cave waiting for lunch, and to her surprise she spotted one buried in the rocks!  She couldn’t believe she had found one without even trying.  It was a great spot to stop for lunch as the children clambered up, over, and slid down massive rock boulders, and thoroughly enjoyed their playtime in nature.

The fire was roaring, the food was cooking, and we had a new treat to try for dessert (you will have to wait for another blog post to find out what that was!).  Life was definitely more relaxed being able to share the work load with Dadda, as he could look after the campfire, and I the Kelly Kettle…usually I’m juggling both and trying not to set fire to three children in the process!!  It was so nice to be able to share today’s adventure with every member of the family for a change.

Once we had eaten our fill, we dowsed the campfire, and started the remaining part of our circular route.  Once we popped out of our little cave, we discovered 2 more fire pits out in the sunshine.  It was nice to know they were there, but I think we had all enjoyed the novelty of our cave fire pit for a little bit of a difference.

We had spent such a lovely family time at Järnavik naturreservat, and enjoyed the views, the fire pits, and the trail so much.  We will definitely be returning there, and maybe, next time if the weather is warm enough, we will search out the bathing place on the southern end and explore a different part of the reserve!

Järnavik Naturreservat, Sweden, Nature, southern Sweden, Blekinge, Nature play, outdoor play, hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Renovation Bay-Bee

Country Kids
 

Blekinge Museum – The History Of Blekinge, Sweden

On our quest for adventure and discovery of our local area during the sportlov holiday in February, one of the places we visited was Blekinge museum.  This fantastic place is free to visit (a huge bonus when there are so many of you!), and it didn’t disappoint.  It can be found in the centre of Karlskrona, and although I was initially wondering whether my three would enjoy a trip there (indoor exhibitions are not really their thing), I was pleasantly surprised, although after a year of living here I should be getting used to how the children are allowed to touch and interact with everything.  Photography that shows exhibits is limited to private use only, so my photos only show my children enjoying themselves, carefully excluding the museum’s pieces from the photos!!

The Blekinge museum is all about Blekinge county in southern Sweden, from the ancient times (the county is full of iron age monuments and drawings), through to today.  It is home to a lot of archaeological finds, and details the area’s naval history as well.  We well and truly meandered and pottered around the exhibitions, but what was so nice was that in between and dispersed throughout, there were little activities aimed at the children, giving them a “break” from the more grown up stuff every so often.  It meant I got to have a good look at what I wanted to see without having to drag them round and bribe them, but they also got to play there, making it somewhere they would like to head back to again.  I only planned a couple of hours there, one inside, and one outdoors (we’ll get to that part in a bit), treating it as a place we can dip in and out of as takes our fancy in the future.

It is worth checking their website http://www.blekingemuseum.se/subsites/1  before a visit as they do lay on activities for children as well in the holidays.  This week was African painting, but surprisingly my three bypassed this in favour of looking at other things.  Other parts of the Blekinge museum that are directed at children are a play shop, an indoor play farmhouse, there are drawing and making tables…..2 of mine made masks and one coloured a diagram of an old historical ship, there is a reading area with comfy cosy cushions and a few games to try, some puzzles, and then you can head outdoors as well to a lovely outdoor play area which has a windmill, a boat shed, a stuga (hut), and a barn complete with horse and carriage.  There are lots of pots and pans, play food, plastic flowers, pretend fish etc to do role play with as well.  My three adored the outdoors, and could have spent a lot longer than the hour we did there, but unfortunately the little lady’s dance lesson beckoned us.

Blekinge museum is very laid back and is somewhere you can really enjoy taking a relaxed tour round as a family.  My double trouble are a very active excitable pair, and they were just fine in there, and all three really enjoyed it and did not find the time we spent indoors boring at all.  I’m not sure we could have spent too much longer perusing the exhibition parts, but as it is free and they were not negative about the visit, I am sure we will be heading back there in the future.  That is the great thing about free places, you don’t feel you need to spend a lot of time in there to get the most out of it, but can just keep on returning as and when.  I would really recommend popping into Blekinge museum if you ever visit Blekinge in southern Sweden.

Blekinge Museum - The History Of Blekinge, Sweden, Blekinge, Karlskrona,Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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