8 things to know about visiting southern Sweden for first timers


A pristine sandy beach awaits you on the Falsterbo peninsula. — Photos: GERALDINE FRIEDRICH/dpa

Southern Sweden is just a few hours’ ferry ride away from the German coast. Skåne, with its sandy beaches, rapeseed fields, and beech forests, is a typical entry point for those arriving in Sweden.

Here are some tips for getting there and enjoying your holiday in Skåne.

1. Arrival by car

Many families choose to travel to Sweden by car. This certainly gives you flexibility, especially if you want to explore more remote corners.

Those travelling by car now have a number of different options. In addition to ferry connections, for example from Sassnitz on the island of Rügen, Lübeck, or Rostock, it’s also possible to drive into southern Sweden via Denmark and the Öresund Bridge – the bridge tolls are often cheaper than the ferry tickets.

The tourist agency Visit Sweden has summarised all the common car travel options online – including lesser-known routes, such as the ferry from winouj cie in Poland to Ystad.

2. Travelling without a car

This is possible by flying to Copenhagen-Kastrup airport in Denmark and from there by train over the Öresund Bridge. Of course, you can also travel directly by train to Malmö, Helsingborg, or Trelleborg. The journey from Hamburg to Malmö takes six hours. There is also a night train from Berlin to Malmö.

It’s perfectly possible to travel around Skåne without a car. Public transport is well developed in the region, says Viveca Burkhardt from Visit Sweden.

Her tip is that if you travel more often in Skåne by bus and train with the regional transport operator Skånetrafiken, it’s easier to book your tickets while travelling using an app.

Good to know: The Skånetrafiken’s website includes the Google Translator in the top right-hand corner. Simply click on “Oversatt” (translate) and select the language.

3. Accommodation

A holiday home by the sea is of course the ultimate for a summer vacation in the south of Sweden. However, you can usually only book them by the week from Saturday to Saturday. In addition, the best locations are quickly snapped up.

Stay in one of these houseboats moored in Malmö’s West Harbour.Stay in one of these houseboats moored in Malmö’s West Harbour.

A good alternative is to stay at campsites. They are more flexible when it comes to bookings. However, the disadvantage is that cottages on campsites are usually smaller, and are closer to others. The kitchens are not as well equipped as in a fancy holiday home either. In other words, a dishwasher is the exception rather than the rule.

Another option for families is to stay at a youth hostel. At Smygehuk Lighthouse Hostel between Trelleborg and Ystad, for example, families can stay right next to a lighthouse close to the sea.

4. Towns

Exploring Skåne’s coastal towns is also wonderful for families with children, especially in the summer, because the water is never far away. If the kids start to whine, you can simply go for a swim. In Malmö, for example, you can go for a swim and a sauna in the art nouveau Ribersborgs kallbadhus (cold bath houses) or take a plunge from the chic wooden terraces in Malmö’s western harbour (free admission).

Helsingborg has three cold bath houses. Kallbadhus Kallis also offers time slots for families on Tuesday (9am to 3pm) and Sunday (4pm to 8pm).

Important to know: In Sweden, men and women usually visit saunas separately. In hot-air baths where saunas are taken together – for example, at a campsite – you leave your swimsuit on.

5. Museums

Sweden’s museums not only offer a lot for children in terms of content, but the prices are often family-friendly as well. In Malmö, for example, adults can visit several museums in one day for SEK40 (RM18), while children go for free.

These include the city museum, which includes the history of the settlement of the region, an art museum, the natural history museum popular with children including an aquarium, and an exciting technology and maritime museum. There are huge halls with airplane cockpits and submarines to explore.

Older kids might enjoy the Disgusting Food Museum, which only opened in 2018. The “fare” ranges from Swedish speciality surstrømming (“stinky herring”) to the Sardinian maggot cheese casu marzu to grilled guinea pigs.

Families who keep guinea pigs as pets are hereby warned.

6. Folkets Parkin Malmö

Children can let off steam on the two large playgrounds. There are snakes, lizards, turtles, and mini monkeys to marvel at in a terrarium, and free workshops, for example on skateboarding. But you can also just eat your ice cream at leisure, stroll through flea markets, and attend concerts.

There is also a miniature golf course and a paddling pool in the park. The entrance is free.

The promenade in Malmö’s western harbour is a great place to relax. You will also find bathing spots here.The promenade in Malmö’s western harbour is a great place to relax. You will also find bathing spots here.

7. Naturums

One special feature in Sweden are the 33 visitor centres called naturums, which are spread throughout the country. Admission is always free, you learn a lot about the animals, plants, geology, and cultural history of the area, and there are often hands-on elements for children.

There are some particularly nice visitor centres in Skåne, such as the naturum at Strandhus on the Falsterbo peninsula.

The naturum at Kullaberg north of Helsingborg on the Öresund strait is not only interesting, but like the Vattenriket (Water Kingdom) located inland in Kristianstad, it is one of Sweden’s most visited visitor centres.

Tip: Stop for a coffee and a cinnamon bun (kanelbullar) or an open-faced sandwich, (smørrebrød) at one of the picturesque fishing villages such as Arild, Mölle and Viken.

8. Finances

Sweden is now almost completely cashless. Even small amounts at parking metres or kiosks can be paid by credit card.

Tip: Always pay with credit card, not with Maestro (or debit) card. With the latter, fees of several euros are often charged per booking.

If you can travel with children in the off-season, you will save a lot of money. The ideal time to visit is from mid-August, when Swedish children have to go back to school, to mid-September.

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