Tag: Blekinge (Page 1 of 3)

Discover Karlskrona – The Capital Of Blekinge, Sweden

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.  This summer we have taken you on our adventures around the Blekinge archipelago, and now we return to its capital, Karlskrona.  This post will complete the series I have done about the Blekinge archipelago by giving information on what to see and do, where to eat, and where stay in Karlskrona.

Karlskrona Background Information:

Karlskrona is the capital of our county that we live in here in Sweden, which is called Blekinge.  It is home to both Sweden’s only naval base, and the HQ of the Swedish Coast Guard.  It is built on many islands which are also part of the Blekinge archipelago.  The city was built in 1680 when the navy was relocated here from Stockholm, to have a better strategic location against Denmark, and less likely to be immobilised by ice this far south.  The city has kept its structure from its original design, and the streets are in a grid pattern.  This allows for the wind from the sea to blow right up into the centre of the city…..it is a very windy place most days!!!  But it is a beautiful place to visit and there is a lot to see and do here all year round.

How To Get To Karlskrona:

The city of Karlskrona can easily be reached via car, bus, train, ship, or even archipelago ferries from other parts of the archipelago.  It has very good transport links.

What To See And Do In Karlskrona:

  1. Blekinge Museum:  Here there are exhibitions about the county of Blekinge and its cultural heritage.  It also has activities for the children, an interesting playground area, and a cafe.  Entry is free, but check opening times before visiting.
  2. Wämöparken:  This a beautiful open outdoor area which is home to a small animal zoo (think farm animals), playground, old cultural replica buildings, a dog agility course, cafe, barbecue areas, large outdoor games (think oversized chess boards and pieces), and many trails to walk of varying distances through the woods.  Entry is free, but check opening times before you visit.
  3. Lyckå Castle Ruins:  The castle was built from 1545 – 1560 and is situated on the outskirts of Karlskrona.  What remains are the outer ground floor walls and the foundations of the 2 corner towers.  This is a lovely place to let children explore and use their imaginations as to what the castle used to be like in its heyday.
  4. Karlskrona Marinmuseum:  This is a museum about the naval history of Sweden.  However, the biggest draw might be the submarine exhibit, which you can explore inside and out at your leisure.  They have lots of activities they put on for children, as well as an indoor play area.  Opening times vary throughout the year (so check first, but it has lots of good opening hours), and admission is free.
  5. Saltö:  To reach this small island part of Karlskrona, drive through the main island of Trossö and out the other side, where you will find a lovely beach.  It is great for families, with a kiosk and a walking trail as well.
  6. Brändaholm:  This lovely little corner of the island of Dragsö is accessible by the archipelago boats in the summer or you can park nearby if wanting to take a stroll around it, and it is full of lovely little red wooden homes.  It is a beautiful area with the feel of the 1920’s.
  7. Take a stroll around Björkholmen.  This is where the first dock workers built their homes.  Explore and discover the old cottages and enjoy some calm in this old part of town with its narrow streets and colourful wooden buildings.

Karlskrona has lots of other islands to explore too, each outstanding areas of natural beauty with lots of trails to walk along and admire the Swedish scenery.  I have just listed a few of the main things to get you started on a visit here 🙂

Where To Eat In Karlskrona:

There are many places to take a good Swedish fika, both cafes and restaurants, to suit every style and taste (but expect to pay Swedish prices ).  I do want to share my three favourite ones with you though:

  1. Pinchos:  This is such a fun place to eat.  It offers tapas style food (think mini portions of burgers, fish and chips, risottos, garlic breads etc) that you order from a fun style app.  Brilliant for people like us who may not understand the menu 🙂 The drinks are fun too, there are alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails that involve being decorated with sweets!!  Right up my street.  You even get popcorn to nibble at while you are choosing and waiting for your meal.  Booking is needed (but you can do that online too).
  2. Sumo Sushi:  Now this place got me eating sushi for the very first time in my life and now I’m addicted!!  It is a very small lovely little light restaurant in the centre of Karlskrona, so you may have to wait for seating, but I really enjoy eating out here.
  3. Sjörök Spis Och Bar:  This a lovely family restaurant with a gorgeous view (especially in summer) of the marina and some stunning yachts that come in and out.  Sit on the decking and enjoy your meal while listening to the tinkling of sail boat masts, and really feel yourself relax.

Where To Stay In Karlskrona:

Around Blekinge there is lots of choice from stugby (little huts), youth hostels, B&B’s, various camping options, and hotels.  Here are a few options for Karlskrona itself;

  1. Camping:  Dragsö Camping and Skönstavik Camping both offer an array of camping options (including a few huts), with a whole heap of facilities and activities available.  Both are positioned beside the sea, so have lovely locations.
  2. Hotels:  There are number of hotels in central Karlskrona for differing prices. They are the Hotel Aston, Clarion Hotel, Scandic Hotel, First Hotel JA, Hotel Conrad, and First Hotel Statt.
  3. RV Parking:  On the main quayside in Karlskrona, you can also just pull up in your RV and plug into special spaces made available.  The parking isn’t so scenic as it is a car park. But get at the front, and you’ll have a stunning view of the marina, sea, and other islets out there.  You are also ideally placed to explore Karlskrona on foot or bike then as well.  Contact the harbour office for more details.

I hope you have enjoyed our whistle stop tour of Karlskrona and if you plan to visit, I hope to have given you a few ideas and starting points to get you going.Discover Karlskrona, Karlskrona, Blekinge, Sweden, Visit Karlskrona, visit Blekinge, Visit Sweden, Travel in Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Discover The Blekinge Archipelago – Explore The Islands

Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  Since April we have spent 4 months exploring the Blekinge archipelago and in total we have visited 16 islands.  We have caught many boats, and had a lot of fun in the process.  The fabulous summer weather made the adventures much easier for us, but it also meant that due to fire bans, not only in our county of Blekinge but around the whole country, the latter half of our adventures were without our trademark camp fires.

We have visited AspöHasslöTjurköLångörenHästholmen-Ytterön,   HanöSenorenSturköStenshamn and UtlänganTorköInlänganUngskär,   KarönÖstra BoköTärnö, and Tjärö.  We have hiked trails, done some wild camping, visited lighthouses, been to a British cemetery, explored old buildings, Viking villages and a lot of forts, played in nature, enjoyed the Swedish outdoors summer laid back life style, Dadda has done some very high jumps into the water (8m and 12m), we have swum in a quarry, and done a lot of beach/sea play and swimming. 

Lots of memories have been made, along with a lot of learning!!  The photos may show the shiny side of life, but don’t panic, we were not without squabbles, whinges, and strops.  Not to mention the overwhelming tiredness that hits you once you have returned from one of these adventures only to have to sort out all the kit that goes with it.  However, I think all five of us will say without a doubt, that these good and shiny photo memories are the ones that will be sticking with us, and overall the mission of exploring our islands of Blekinge turned out to be a huge success and well worth it! 

If you want to know about the background to these islands, how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, or about our adventures, just click on the links for that island.  I hope I have inspired you to want to explore our beautiful corner of Sweden one day, and I will leave you with some highlight photographs.  Enjoy the rest of the summer as we will be doing here in Sweden, and as my children’s ten weeks of sommarlov draws to a close, I can honestly say we have had a blast, but I may need some time to recuperate from having them home!

   

 

Discover The Blekinge Archipelago - Explore The Islands, Blekinge, Sweden, Southern Sweden, Archipelago, Skargard, Visit Blekinge, Islands

Discover Tjärö – Take A 12m Leap Of Faith!

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….sixteenth up is the island of Tjärö and it was our final island adventure of the summer….a fantastic one as well to finish up with.

Background Information About Tjärö

This lovely beautiful island was inhabited as early as the bronze age, it had a farm registered on the land registry in the 17th century, and from then on the population gradually increased.  Unfortunately after it reached its peak, the population began to decline again until in 1939 there was only 1 person left on Tjärö.  It has since changed hands a few times, but in 2016 lots of hard work was undertaken to install new facilities so people could come and enjoy the island, its amazing and unspoilt scenery, rocky beaches, meadows, and forests.  The charming old houses and cottages are now restored and rented out to visitors.  There is lots of wildlife to see here as well as grazing cattle.

Our Adventure To Tjärö

This was going to be a family trip with all five of us, due to there being a HUGE cliff jump into the sea that could be done on this island, and only Dadda was brave, or mad, enough to think of doing it!!  We caught the ferry from Järnavik which was closer to home.  It was a lovely boat, but could only take 51 passengers.  It was by now peak summer season and there was a queue which we joined 20 minutes before departure and we were numbers 37-41 to board the boat, so it paid to get there a little early.

The scenery around where this island is situated is a little different from where we have been exploring.  It is much more dramatic with its rocky cliffs rather than being flat and low lying.  The area is truly beautiful and even more so on a sunny, blue skied, summers day!  We pulled into the marina of the island at the end of a very long jetty where many private boats were moored on either side.  This made a very interesting walk up the jetty from one end to the other as we had a good old nosy inside everyone’s beautiful vessels!!

Our plan for the day was to hike one end of the island and then make a base for a few hours so we could swim and relax.  Then we were going to head over to the cliff with the notorious huge jumping spot, before going back to the marina for ice creams from the cafe.  However, in order to have the energy to even start all this on such a hot summer’s day, we needed to kick off with ice creams too 🙂  Having replenished our energy supplies we set off on our chosen trail, enjoying the absolutely stunning views.  There are some beautifully located fire pits on the trails, but due to the current fire ban (Sweden has not seen rain for months and has forest fires raging all over the country) we were unable to use them.  This island is so lovely that I might try and return with the children in September, if the ban has been lifted, to have a fire pit supper and enjoy it when it is a little quieter too.

With the temperature pushing 30 degrees, by the time we reached our chosen cove to relax at, no one hesitated to get in the water as we were soooooo hot and sweaty!  Lots of swimming, relaxing, and nature play was had over the next few hours.

After this it was time to head over to the place for Dadda to put his nerves to the test by doing the 12-15m jump off the cliffs into the sea.  There were a few lower ledges on the cliffs too that others were jumping off, still too high for me though!!  There was also a jetty there, and the drop off from rocky edge of the water was so steep and deep that you could also have a lot of fun leaping in from there too.

After a fun filled day it was time to head back to the harbour for our second ice cream and return trip home.  The ferry arrived and there was no way we would fit on so we resigned ourselves to waiting an hour for the next scheduled boat. But then to our surprise another boat turned up.  They had laid on extra boats as it was so busy.  We were five tired, but happy people having really enjoyed our time on this island.

How To Get To Tjärö

In the summer months the island is accessed via the archipelago boats.  You can either take one from Järnaviks Brygga in Järnavik, or from Karlshamn.  Both can be found west of Karlskrona, along the E22.  You can visit between April and September but you need to check dates before travelling.

What To See And Do On Tjäro

The beauty of this island is you can do a lot of physical activity or as little as you fancy, with the facilities available.

  1. Take a canoe or a kayak around the island and discover its beauty from the sea.  Check out the website for rental of either.
  2. Swimming:  There are no sandy beaches here, but it is still a lovely place to take a dip from a grassy patch or a rocky beach.  There is a 12-15m “death cut” jump from a rocky cliff outcrop at Korpaberget for those who are brave enough N.B. DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!!
  3. Hiking:  There are good marked trails.  One heading to the south and one heading north.
  4. Tjärö Nature Reserve:  This is really most of the island!!  But it means there are good trails, lots of fire pits to cook on, and lots of bird life to be spotted amongst the wild natural surroundings.
  5. Floating Sauna:  Enjoy this facility out on the water at Kerhallsbryggan.  Check the website for more details and instructions on how to use this lovely facility.

There are also often events on the island too throughout the summer, details of which can again be found on the island’s website.

Where To Eat On Tjärö

  1. There is a new restaurant where you can order breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, or other drinks and snacks.  This is located near where the ferry comes in from the mainland.  Check the website for opening times as these change throughout the year and seasons, and if you want to eat in the evening, it is recommended you book in advance.
  2. There is also a cafe which is open Saturdays and Sundays from May, and then everyday from June.

Where To Stay On Tjärö

Lots of information can be found on http://tjaro.com/ but accommodation varies from cottages, to rooms, or sites to pitch your tent.  With the sauna, a store, pets welcome, and other facilities nearby it would be the perfect Swedish island get away 🙂

Discover Tjärö - Take a 12m leap of faith! Tjaro, Tjärö, Blekinge, Sweden, Karlshamn, archipelago, Skärgård, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Tärnö And Sweden’s Oldest Wooden Lighthouse

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….fifteenth up is the island of Tärnö.

Background Information About Tärnö

For several centuries this large island had a permanent population, but in the 1950s and 1960s this declined, and now there are no all year round residents.  The population decline coincided with the decrease in profits in small scale fishing.  There are also traces of stone age settlements around the island. The island is home to Sweden’s oldest wooden lighthouse.  There is a tale that there is an “old silver cat” buried on the island that was discovered in 1862, and there are legends of dragons too.

Our Adventure To Tärnö

We caught our ferry from Matvik and headed out into the archipelago towards the island.  It was a VERY hot day, and the summer sun had now been shining for around 4 months with only the odd day’s rain here and there.  Cooking on open fires now had a ban well under way, with forest fires raging in much of the country.  So, we packed up our ready made food and headed for our adventure.  Once we alighted, the plan was to hike up to see the lighthouse, and then return back, via a sandy cove for a swim and play.

The trails are really well marked with colours, and there is a very good map down at the harbour that we took a photo of first so we had it with us.  It would have been lovely to have walked more of the trails, but with temperatures pushing high 20’s I needed to be sensible with the children.  So, we settled with climbing up to the top of the hill where the lighthouse was situated, so we had seen the main point of interest on this island.

Then after we’d made our way back down, it was time for a revitalising dip in the sea and a play for a few hours.

We then headed back to the main harbour to enjoy a much deserved ice cream whilst we waited for the ferry back home…..hoping he’d return, as last time out with this boat he’d whizzed past the island we were waiting on, and didn’t pick us up!!

Much to my relief the ferry did indeed return and stop at the jetty properly to collect its passengers!!

How To Get To Tärnö

The summer archipelago boats run from both Karlshamn and Matvik.

What To See And Do On Tärnö

  1. There are 2 nature reserve areas on Tärnö, so enjoy the trails and nature. The trails are well marked, with a good map at the harbour as well.
  2. Dragon Hill is the highest point on the island with lovely views, and apparently there is also treasure buried there, which has yet to be found.
  3. Lighthouse viewpoint is on the top of Dragon Hill and is Sweden’s oldest wooden lighthouse.  It is still in operation and was built in 1910.
  4. Enjoy the lovely clear waters for a spot of swimming.

Where To Eat In Tärnö

Laxboden is both a grocery store and a little place where you can buy some refreshments to enjoy.  It also has a postbox and refuse bins.  It is located where the archipelago boats come in.

There are also lots of fire pits sited around the island, making cooking outdoors a lovely part of the adventure.

Where To Stay In Tärnö

Contact Karlshamn tourist office for more information about boathouses you can stay in.  These have bunk beds and a kitchenette, a shared toilets and showers, plus a communal water supply.  There are also 2 apartments which have 2 rooms and a kitchen with cold water, a stove, fridge-freezer, and a microwave.  You share the toilet and shower facilities.  Email turist@karlshamn.se for more information.

 

This is a beautiful island and it was really bustling with people coming and going on their boats in the harbour when we were there.  Whether you just pop in for a few hours on your way somewhere else, or you make a day of it exploring all the trails around the island, you will enjoy this lovely island.Discover Tärnö, Tarno, Karlshamn, Blekinge, Sweden, Skärgård, Archipelago, lighthouse, fyren, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Discover Östra Bokö – A Day In Nature

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….fourteenth up is the island of Östra Bokö.

Our Adventure To Östra Bokö

This was our first island hopping adventure that took us away from the Eastern part of the archipelago, over to the west of Blekinge, and the archipelago off the coast from the town of Karlshamn.  So we would be using a new boat, but not entirely sure where to find it!  We decided we would catch the ferry from Matvik, a little less distance to drive, and our destination was the first stop on this route, and only 5 minutes across the water.

We took the first sailing of the day and I was so pleased we did, as it soon became obvious once we alighted on the island, that this was a popular place to while away a lazy, sunny, Swedish, summer day.  The island is quite small and also uninhabited, but very popular to visit in private boats or kayaks.  Whether just for the day or a for a spot of camping.  A fully flushing toilet block, a rare occurrence out in Swedish nature (they are what we would call “drop boxes” usually), complete with a supply of drinking water, makes this an even easier place to spend a day on with young children.

Although we did have a little wander around the island and a little nosy, we spent a good six hours playing in nature.  The shallow, beautifully clear waters around the one side of the island make this an ideal place for children to play.  There is a wide open grassy area beside it so you can easily make a base for the day.  Our three loved exploring the small island just the other side of the shallows too, clambering up a huge rock having waded through the water to get there.  There is sand to play with as well, and mine built sandcastles, roads, went searching for fish, chased a ball in the water, and generally had a very easy going day.  They were given hours to fill themselves in this place with my general parenting tactic of  free play in nature.  I believe these kind of days are the best for them and I hope they will remember them when they are older!  

Throughout the day many private boats of all shapes and sizes, came and went, slowly drifting in to beach themselves on a sand strip, and then families unloaded for a day of relaxing in sun.  It was so fun to watch and the children liked seeing all the different boats.

The day was drawing to a close, and we started packing up, only to glance up and see our boat home sail past the island a whole 10 minutes early!  We raced to the jetty and arrived 7 minutes ahead of the boat’s scheduled stop time, only to see it sail on past and return to its harbour on the other side of the water!  That was the last boat home, and we’d missed it….through no fault of our own.  However, for some islands (like this one) boats only stop if they see you clearly waiting on the jetty.  We were not, but he was very early.  So I located a phone number off the timetable and rang the boat.  At first he tried the tactic of telling me it was our fault as we were not there.  I pointed out that we could see him from our place on the beach and he was very early, and we had got to the jetty with 7 minutes to spare.  He then said he had one more trip to do, and although our island was not on it, he would come by and fetch us…we had no choice but to wait for him.  When he did pick us up and we boarded, he graciously said that although we’d paid for our return fare, he wouldn’t charge us anymore for this route around the islands that was an hour and a half, rather than the five minutes home!!  I would think not!  So, a little more tired, and rather later than planned we finally got back to our car.  My advice is if you are using this route, get to your pick up point VERY VERY early!!

How To Get To Östra Bokö

You can pick up an archipelago ferry from Karlshamn or Matvik during the summer, giving you some flexibility in what is more convenient for you.  

What To Do And See On Östra Bokö

Being on this island is all about relaxing in nature, or using it as an exploring pit stop in your own private transport, whether this is a boat or a kayak.  Take your time and enjoy having nowhere to be with nothing to do.

Where To Eat On Östra Bokö

This is a bring it and do it yourself affair, but there is a fire pit with a beautiful view.  Cook up some tasty outdoor food and relax beside a campfire and watch the sun go down 🙂 Unusually, we were unable to do this for this trip, as we are under a fire ban…..we have had literally 1 or 2 days rain since April, and there are currently forest fires raging all over Sweden 🙁

 

Where To Stay On Östra Bokö

This is again a do it yourself affair, so bring a tent for wild camping.  But it is made a little easier with the toilet and water provisions.

 

This is a definite must to place on the list of islands to visit, to experience a day of relaxing with no distractions….no shops, no roads, just you, nature, and a barbecue if that’s what you fancy.  Watch the world go by, see the boats and families come and go, and let the children have free play in nature to their hearts’ content 🙂

Discover Östra Bokö - A day in nature, Östra Bokö, Ostra Boko, Sweden, Karlshamn, Blekinge, Blekinge Archipelago, Karlshamn archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Discover Ungskär In The Blekinge Archipelago

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….twelfth up is the island of Ungskär.

Background Information About Ungskär

There are currently only around 8 residents on this little island.  In 1880 there were 364, in 1955 there were 100, in 1977 there were around 30, and in 1995 there were 17.  The numbers increase during the summer with the summer homes.  But the population has been declining steadily for a while.  It is a very low lying island, so at times can be quite wet underfoot, so sturdy footwear is recommended to visit this island.  Fishing was the trade of the people that did live here, and there have been tales of Viking treasure, but none has ever been found.  You can see remnants of a military presence in the form of bunkers, and there used to be an underground military hospital at the highest point on the island.

Our Adventure To Ungskär

It was a really windy day to be heading off out into the archipelago as this island doesn’t have much to stop the wind in its tracks!!  We picked up the boat this time from a little further along on its route, which would enable us to make it home quicker for bedtime later 🙂  We picked it up from Yttre Park instead of Karlskrona.

After our shorter boat trip, we alighted on the island of Ungskär.  As it was so windy, and so not a day to be sitting around paddling in the shallows, we intended to head off on the 4km trail route around the island, which has various marked stations on the map, which you can then read a little about.  Still not quite used to things being left for the public and not being either vandalised or pinched, despite living in Sweden for over 18 months now, I had printed out the map, although you should be able to get one in the harbour.  However, on arrival I was glad I had printed it, as I could not locate any place in which the maps were.

We headed off on the trail which is marked by either red splodges on rocks and trees, or red tipped posts.

The path was great to follow, although in some places we did struggle to pick up the next red marking, but we didn’t get too lost, and we always ended up discovering one eventually.  How accurate the location markings are on the map I am not sure, and it may be down to my terrible translating, but for instance number 7 I thought should have been the underground military hospital, but this was in fact at number 17.  That was the main thing to see on the trail.  You can’t go inside it, which would have been an experience, but under the ground you walk on, there was a hospital for 300 people during WW2 and this was accessed from the other side of the island by a narrow gauge railway, of which only a gravel path now remains.

My trio did have fun climbing up and down the mound which is the highest point on the island, and there were some fantastic views from up there.  They enjoyed pointing out all the islands they had already visited around it.  The rest of the trail was uneventful, but a really beautiful tour of this flat and tranquil island.

After we had walked the route, we headed back through the “village” of a handful of summer homes, and sheltered behind some boat houses out of the wind for our picnic in the sun.  It was so peaceful here.

How To Get To Ungskär

Access to this island is by boat only. In the summer m/f Wittus can be taken from Karlskrona, and in the winter months m/f Ungskär also from Karlskrona

What To Do And See On Ungskär

  1. Be sure to check out any events they have planned mainly in the summer months, as these are well worth a visit.
  2. There is a lovely 4km hiking trail which is a marked route and you can also collect maps from the harbour on your arrival, although I never did discover their location, but maybe we were too early in the season.  The underground hospital is the main feature on this trail.
  3. Swimming in the sea and generally enjoying a lazy Swedish summer’s day!  It was a little too blustery for us to do this the day we went.

 

Where To Eat On Ungskär

This is all down to you to remember to bring supplies!!  There is no store or cafe.

Where To Stay On Ungskär

You can rent cottages, amongst them one being the old school house 🙂

Discover Ungskär, Ungskär, Blekinge, Karlskrona, Sweden, archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Inlängan

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….eleventh up is the island of Inlängan.

Background Information About Inlängan

This beautiful island is made up of a huge amount of wetlands, making it an excellent place to see large numbers of seabirds.  It is one of the highest and largest islands in the archipelago, and stone cutting has been done here a long time ago.  Despite being one of the larger islands, in 2012 there were only 12 residents living on the island of Inlängan.  There are 6 quarries from the stone age, originating from around 2000 BC.

Our Adventure To Inlängan

The plan for our adventure to Inlängan, was to get off the boat and take the footpath up to the north of the island and check out the beaches for a spot of nature play and food.  When we got off the boat, a man who was collecting some of his visitors from the boat asked us if we wanted to swim.  We said we did, and he suggested taking the path north as we had planned, and where that ended head 50m to the right and there would be a small sandy cove.  So off we set.

This island is so stunning and the walk gave us plenty of time to admire the landscape.  The warmth from the sun made the pine in the wooded areas smell beautiful, and the views were panoramic and gorgeous.  It took us around 40 minutes to get to the end of the island.  Usually we take in all the sights an island has to offer and then chill by the water’s edge, but today’s plan was a lot more simple.  Get to the lovely cove and then spend all our time enjoying it, before heading the 40 minute walk back to pick up our ride home.

The children got on with the important task of playing and splashing, while I made a small fire pit  and lit a small campfire to cook our supper of hot dogs, sweetcorn, and fire cones 

We had also brought along our Kelly Kettle but with the lovely weather, after our little hike, we opted for drinking the home made elderflower cordial mixed with some fizzy water….delicious!

The children passed a lovely couple of hours playing in nature before it was time to (reluctantly) pack up and head back along the beautiful footpath towards our boat that would take us home again.

How To Get To Inlängan

In the summer months, the archipelago ferries run to the island.  You can either catch one from Torhamn or Karlskrona.

What To See And Do On Inlängan

  1. At the northern part of the island there was a lovely small cove to relax and play in.
  2. Äggaviksberget.
  3. Fortifications – the islands in Blekinge are full of them.

 

Where To Eat On Inlängan

You need to remember your own supplies!!

Where To Stay On Inlängan

You could opt for a spot of wild camping or look online for a hut rental.

This is a very beautiful island, where there is no option but to take life in the slow lane and live in the moment.  Take time to enjoy it with your closest friends or family, and experience life on a small Swedish island 🙂Discover Inlängan, Inlängan, Blekinge, Karlskrona, Archipelago, Southern Sweden, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Torkö – Swim In A Quarry

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….tenth up is the island of Torkö.

Background Information about Torkö

We were tipped off about this lovely little island by a friend, who let us in on the fact that it had an old, very deep quarry that was now used for diving and swimming in.  This quarry is a remnant from World War Two, the history says, and is now abandoned as a quarry.  During the middle ages the island also was home to a Franciscan monastery, but all that remains of that now are a few bricks.

Our Adventure To Torkö

One hot sunny Friday afternoon we set off in the car to Torkö, lured by the sniff of a new cafe to discover (which would hopefully have a supply of ice creams), and a quarry to cool off in and swim.  A new and different kind of place for us to paddle around in.  The cafe was easy enough to find, and we headed in.  We only needed ice creams, but if you want anything other than a drink and a snack you do need to let them know in advance.  Three huge ice creams bought, we sat and admired the view from the cafe’s decking.

This lovely cafe also has some artwork for sale and a little shop which you can buy little items or art supplies.

Refuelled, we set off in search of the quarry.  On my map there was a road marked going right past it. However, once we got to it, it was gated off, and even though it would only be a five minute walk down the track we were not allowed to leave the car there….or anywhere it seemed.  We drove back onto the mainland over the little bridge 50m away, and parked in a campsite’s communal car park, and then walked back to the quarry.  This only took us 10 minutes, but it is useful to know to just leave your car there rather than trying to get closer.  Once we’d gone down the track, we were delighted to find such a great natural water play area 🙂  It has large rocky outcrops (up to 8m high) that people were jumping in off, and rope swings to use to swing in, and large expanses of rock to lay on and warm up afterwards.  The water was very deep, very blue, and very inviting.  We walked around the quarry looking for a place that might give the three littlies some easier and safer access than jumping of a cliff edge, and we eventually found such a place.  It enabled me to also make sure the remaining twin waiting on the side was relatively safe as well (our little lady is a good swimmer, but they are not so competent yet being only 6, but have no fear and think they can swim marvellously!).

So, I needed to get in and then I could be on hand and near by for any mishaps or panics.  I took each twin in one at a time a few times and they loved it.  As for madam, she was swimming, somersaulting, and diving like the mermaid she is.

When it was time to leave, I think it is fair to say no one wanted to!  We had discovered, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, a lovely oasis of a place to have fun in the water…calm water not quite as cold as the sea, but still with plenty of fish and wildlife to be seen…a perfect spot for my trio and we thought that next time, we would do a spot of “pond dipping” there too and see what we can find.  It was not long until we were back again….the following day. This time with Dadda in tow as well.  With that extra pair of grown up hands we were able to go to a slightly higher point, where fearless twin 2 did a spot of leaping off cliffs (around 3m) with his Dadda.  They were able to scramble down the rocks into the water too, as well as play around with the rope swing.  Dadda himself did the 8m leap into the quarry, while his four cheerleaders watched on amazed…however I think only one (twin 2) would give it a shot given the chance….which he wasn’t!!!!  Then, they all loved it so much that we were back again on the Sunday for a third day in a row!!!

Look closely…that is Dadda leaping in from 8m!

How To Get To Torkö

None of the archipelago ferries visit this island so you either need to drive, or take the bus to a nearby place on the mainland.  Driving, you take the turning for Listerby off the E22, follow the signs for Torkö, and then drive over the bridge onto the island.

What To Do And See On Torkö

  1. Visit the old disused World War Two quarry and take a refreshing swim.
  2. Torkö is a good spot for some fishing.
  3. Visit Maja’s Kloster (which translates as monastery) Cafe which doubles as a shop/art exhibition home.  Check the website for details of opening times and events on there.

Where To Eat On Torkö

Maja’s Kloster Cafe is a beautiful cafe with a selection of tasty food and drinks in a lovely location.  To find it head to Sankta Klaras Väg and be sure to ring ahead if you want more than a drink and a snack.

Where To Stay On Torkö

There is nowhere as such to stay, but just before you reach the bridge to cross onto the island there is a large, but lovely and scenic campsite that even has a couple of sandy bathing spots itself, as well as playgrounds for the children.  It has camping places and stugor for rent.

So, it may be tiny, but this island is well worth a visit to bask on one of its rocks taking the time to leap into the quarry swimming pool for a refreshing dip in between 🙂Discover Torkö - Swim in a quarry, Torko, Torkö, Blekinge, Karlskrona, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Discover Stenshamn And Utlängan – Take Life In The Slow Lane

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….ninth up are the two islands of Stenshamn and Utlängan.

Background Information About Stenshamn And Utlängan

These 2 islands are truly a place to immerse yourself in a lazy summer Swedish adventure.  Grab your tent, and be at one with nature, enjoying the great outdoors on these beautiful islands.  Stenshamn and Utlängan have a big history of fishing.  Fishing was the profession of the inhabitants that lived here is years past, and more specifically eel fishing.  The islands had their largest population around the 1880’s at 280. The reason they have a road bridge between them, was that in 1957 the military wanted to make use of Stenshamn having such a good harbour which could serve to bring in military defence supplies if required, so they built the capabilities to see that plan through if needed.  The highest point on the islands is only 2m, so when the high tides are at their highest of just over 1m, half the islands disappear under water!

Our Adventure To Stenshamn and Utlängan

Our adventure started late afternoon on a Friday.  May had been a heatwave for us here in southern Sweden, so we took advantage of the fine weather, the Swedish concept of allemansrätten, and headed out for a wild camping adventure.  The idea being we’d catch the 16:00 boat, and spend the evening setting up camp and chilling out, leaving Saturday to explore the islands before heading back on a 1710 ferry. So, off we set, on a boat trip that took just over an hour, calling in at other islands on the way.  The children had a picnic supper aboard the boat, and there was lots to see.

Once we set foot back on land, we wanted to walk through Stenshamn and onto Utlängan over the causeway to set up camp.  That is the larger of the 2 islands, and we wanted to try and find somewhere as soon as possible so we could get sorted out before the children started flagging as it was the end of the day.

Dadda managed to locate the perfect place, complete with soft squishy grass and sunset views.  Very soon we had our home set up for the next 24 hours and we were relaxing, enjoying fredagsmys complete with crisps and cider (cartons of juice for the little people!!).  The children enjoyed playing in nature for a few hours, and picking some unusual blooms.  We all watched a lovely sunset together before clambering into our sleeping bags tired, but relaxed.

The next morning was early wake ups for all of us….bear in mind when you are camping in Sweden during the summer months, there is a lot of daylight during the night and not a lot of darkness, so our three little people were ready and awake to start the day a little too early for a Saturday morning!!  We got up and enjoyed some breakfast with a view before sorting ourselves out for a day of exploring.

We had planned to hike the trail around the island, taking in the viewing point and some information boards.  Once we were over onto the eastern side we wanted to leave the trail, head to the coast, and see if we could see any grey seals basking in the sunshine on the rocks.  After that we would head to visit the island’s lighthouse, before picking up the main track back round in a loop to our tent, which we would leave up so we didn’t need to make the children lug unnecessary items in what was a scorching hot day.  Then, off we set….

We had plenty of time to take it all at a leisurely pace and enjoy the day in slow time.  Once we’d got over to the east coast of the island we desparetaly scanned the rocks, but we were not to be lucky and see the seals today 🙁  Instead, everyone stripped off, had a snack, and enjoyed playing in nature’s playground for an hour.  After which we headed off in the direction of the lighthouse.  Again, there were no seals in sight, we had another break for lunch, and some more play.  We completed our route with enough time to relax at the tent for a while before we needed to take it down and head for our return boat.  The afternoon’s main activity seemed to end up being sitting on a little jetty while allowing the fish to come and nibble your toes; a free natural pedicure!  The children were transfixed with all the fish swimming around their tooties!!

After which it was time to pack up and head back to our boat…..just enough time for icecreams at the harbour, before 5 tired people boarded for the trip back.  Once home the children were tucked straight into bed (filthy and tired, but happy), and we weren’t far behind!!  It had been a very lovely 24 hours, but camping with little people is never going to be classed as restful!  The islands were stunning and gorgeous, and allowed us to see another beautiful part of Sweden.

How To Get To Stenshamn and Utlängan

There is access by boat all year round.  In the autumn, winter, and spring m/f Ungskär heads to the islands, which you can catch from Karlskrona or Yttre Park.  In the summer m/f Wittus runs as well, adding Torhamn onto the locations of where you can get on it, as well as Karlskrona or Yttre Park.

What To See And Do On Stenshamn And Utlängan

  1. There is an exhibition in the boathouse on Stenshamn about the history of the islands during the 20th century.
  2. In the summer there has been a yearly summer harbour party since 1988, so check for the date.
  3. There are other musical events throughout the summer season.
  4. Hiking:  There is a 3.5km hiking trail to give you an insight to the islands.  Along the route you will find information boards, a viewing tower, and a good spot to swim.  The hiking route is well marked with wooden posts with white tips, so it is very easy to find your way around.
  5. Swim in Stenshamn harbour where there are steps into this 2m rather fresh outdoor swimming area!
  6. Visit the lighthouse on the southern tip of Utlängan.
  7. Foraging!  The elder flowers are very good and abundant in June, and in August the blackberries draw people back to the island.  Living on one of the other archipelago islands, I have found it hard to locate blackberries that get a chance to ripen in the short summer and early autumn months, so it is well worth a trip to pick them if you live here!
  8. Seals:  Along the eastern side of Utlängan there is a colony of grey seals, and they can often be seen sunbathing on the warm rocks heated up by the sunshine.
  9. You can take a tractor ride around the islands.

Where to Eat On Stenshamn And Utlängan

Pelles Sjöbod is an old boathouse where you can buy ice creams, coffee, cakes, and local produce.  This is open every weekend after the 1st May, and then everyday from June to August.

Where To Stay On Stenshamn And Utlängan

You can rent some cottages  or else bring your tents and indulge in a spot of wild camping. There are less mosquitoes here on these outlying islands, which is a bonus if you are aware of the mosquito population here in Sweden!  You just need to check whether or not a fire ban is in operation before you light a campfire, as sometimes in the summer months this can be the case.  In the guest harbour you can find a shower, a sauna, and a drinking water supply.

I would really recommend exploring this island (complete with bathing suit), and letting life slow down whilst you do.  It really is a stunning place of natural beauty and a gorgeous corner of Sweden.

Discover Stenshamn and Utlängan, Stenshamn, Utlängan, Sweden, Blekinge, Karlskrona, archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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

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