Tag: visit Karlskrona (Page 1 of 2)

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 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 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 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

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 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

Blekinge Museum – The History Of Blekinge, Sweden

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

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

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

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

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

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