Tag: Southern Sweden (Page 1 of 2)

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 Karön – A Swiss Style Summer 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….thirteenth up is the island of Karön.

Background Information About Karön

This is the largest island that makes up part of the archipelago in Ronneby, still in Blekinge.  In the early 1800s it was used for grazing animals as it is very green, and there was just one building on there.  Then between 1876 and 1885 they built some  beautiful Swiss style summer villas.  It used to also be home to a cold bathhouse with 6 pools (split into men, women, boys, and girls), a restaurant, as well as the villas.  The bathhouse is now gone, but the rest is still standing.

Our Adventure To Karön

The day we chose to go, the temperature was nearing 30 degrees Celsius and we were glad to be boarding a boat heading to a small island with a refreshing sea breeze.

This boat is different from the other archipelago boats we have caught, in that it is very flat, wide, and completely open.  The reason for this shape became clear as we headed off, going under the low bridges over the river that would lead us to the open sea, even having to all crouch down for the last bridge (a warning is shouted!) so we didn’t lose our heads.  The trio enjoyed the different boat and could also listen to a recorded tourist guide with headphones on the way if they wished.  This was available is Swedish, English, German, and Danish.  

The plan for our time on the island was to hike round the outer perimeter paths, and then enjoy a few hours in a sandy cove.  The island was truly stunning, and the paths were wide and well maintained, with the going quite easy for my three.  Although it was very warm, they were all up for the hike after three weeks off doing it, and enjoyed perusing other peoples summer homes and jetties, while making complicated plans as to how we were going to be doing the same and having a summer cottage on a tiny island.  I didn’t like to point out that our home on a medium sized island in this long hot summer was like having an all year round Swedish holiday home 🙂

After our little yomp, it was time for a well deserved play and swim in a little cove.  Here there was golden sand to play and relax on, and clear water to swim in with jetties to leap off.  My trio wasted no time in getting stuck in and had a great few hours spending their summer’s day the Swedish way, before we needed to head back to catch the boat for the trip home.

On our trip we kept the plan very simple, walk then swim.  It is definitely the way to live life over here in the summer, and in the outdoors all day long.  We packed our own food so we could eat once we grew hungry from the outdoor activities.

How To Get To Karön

Take the M/F Spättan or M/F Astrid archipelago boats from Ronneby.  They go from Ronneby centrum, Ronneby Brunn, or Ronneby Hamn.  This is during the summer season only.

What To See And Do On Karön

  1. Swim in the beautiful coves and clear waters.
  2. Hike.  There are well marked trails around the island of varying lengths, and none very taxing.  I certainly did not hesitate to take my three small children around them.  It was a lovely way to see around the island.
  3. The sea around the island is good for fishing.
  4. Meander to look at the old Swiss style holiday cottages.

Where To Eat On Karön

Restaurang Karön, with the nickname “The Swisserie”, is Blekinge’s oldest restaurant, dating back to 1877.  It opens in mid June for the summer season only.  You can check opening times, book tables, and take a look at the menu, all on its website.  It takes its nickname from the Swiss business people that came to Sweden and had ideas to open small cafes that would also serve alcohol.

Where To Stay On Karön

The island has a collection of 15 cottages that can accommodate 4 people in each, with a small kitchen area.  There are shared loos, laundry facilities, showers, and a larger kitchen.  These were built in the 1950s at Kalvbacken and you can get more details from the website.  We managed to get a sneaky look at these and they looked lovely, but unfortunately couldn’t take photos due to the occupants privacy and it wasn’t long before someone told us we couldn’t wander that way!!

I would definitely recommend packing the cool box for the day and heading out to relax and spend a sunny Swedish day here.  Surrounded by the sounds of the sea, children playing in the sand, and families splashing in the sea, you can not help but let the sounds of the Swedish summer relax and unwind you.  Just don’t forget the buckets and spades for the golden sands. Discover Karön, Ronneby, Ronneby Brunn, Karön, Karon, Ronneby archipelago, Blekinge archipelago, Sweden, 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 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

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