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.
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:
- 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.
- KA2 Museum of moving coastal artillery: This is a place to explore and see big guns!
- Ride Icelandic Horses: This needs prior booking so phone+46 708 703627
- 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.
- 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:
- Drottningskär Citadel restaurant: The citadel does have its own restaurant, but you need to check opening times before you visit.
- Drottningskär Citadel Cafe: Here you can grab a coffee and a snack, but again check opening times before visiting.
- Kiosk at the harbour where the car ferry arrives.
Where To Stay On Aspö:
- 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.
- Aspö Folkets Hus offers places for motorhomes and campervans.
- 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.