A Slow Travel Guide to Skåne - Part One (Ad)
This is a sponsored post with Visit Skåne, who paid for my flights, accommodation and expenses on this trip. All photos, words and opinions are my own.
Having spent a hectic couple of days in Copenhagen for 3 days of design, I was craving a relaxing break. Luckily, Visit Skåne sent me and my friend Abi to Sweden for a week, to explore the countryside in the Skåne region, at the bottom tip of the country.
I’ve always wanted to visit Sweden, lured in by visions of endless countryside, dense forests and archipelagos peppered with countless isles. When I very first began blogging, it was Swedish blogs that I would pour over, delighting at red A-frame houses, langoustine dinners and leaps into freezing cold lakes. I had folders saved on my laptop dedicated to the trips I would one day make to Sweden.
Despite a decade-long infatuation with the country and several trips to other Nordic lands under my belt, this was my first time visiting Sweden. Needless to say, I completely fell in love and am already plotting a return to explore further north next summer. I was every bit as enchanted as I expected by the luscious countryside, wild flower meadows and traditional wooden houses. Driving around both the east and west coast, as well as a two-hour drive through the middle of the county, I realised just how diverse just this tiny part of Sweden was. The south-east, known as Österlen, is perfect for a slow getaway with its rolling fields, apple orchards and gentle coastline. This area felt quieter and calmer than the north-west coast, where I fell in love with rocky dramatic cliffs, colourful gardens and postcard-perfect villages. Driving between the two, the road curled through dense forest with signs warning us to keep our eyes peeled for elk.
We spent six days in Skåne in total, with two nights spent in the east, two on the west coast and one in Malmö. With over 2,000 photos to whittle down and plenty of recommendations to share, I’ve split my guides into three parts that you can use on their own or altogether, dependent on how much of Skåne you are planning on visiting.
We stayed at Karlaby Kro for the first two nights of our trip, getting used to the Swedish pace of life by spending time relaxing in and around the hotel. As we drove up the driveway, surrounded by blooming yellow rapeseed fields, I was immediately charmed by the hotel’s elegance. The white buildings that make up the rooms, restaurant and orangery are arranged around a central courtyard, and despite the presence of other guests, the hotel always felt private and relaxing. I love small hotels for this reason, as the tranquil ambiance allows for you to enjoy each area of the hotel. My room was large, airy and comfortable, boasting a gigantic bed, large windows and several places to sit and read my book. I also fell a little bit in love with the floral curtains. Just outside the room was the lounge area, where we spent early evenings sipping wine before dinner. We would then relocate to the bar area, where I was completely charmed by the decor. I’m not usually one for bold prints, but I loved how the botanical printed armchairs complemented the white walls, tiled floor, cane chairs and abundance of plants. I could have spent hours there, flicking through the thoughtfully curated coffee table books, but dinner beckoned. Our meal here was one of my highlights of the trip; a starter of wild roots with mushrooms, followed by an off-menu warm salad of charred baby gem, pea puree, spring onion, hazelnuts and yoghurt, and a delicious deconstructed chocolate mousse and lingonberry desert. My mouth is drooling just thinking about this meal! On our final afternoon, we enjoyed several hours in the hotel’s spa (complimentary with your stay). A refreshing swim in the pool followed by relaxing in the sauna was just what I needed after a morning of hiking. I also treated myself to one of the best full-body massages I’ve ever experienced. I honestly can’t remember a time that I felt so relaxed, enjoying the after-glow of the massage while eating delicious food, before sinking into that comfy mattress.
Fika is a way of life in Sweden. I easily slipped into the habit of interluding my afternoons by stopping for a cake and a drink. Grabbing refreshments on the go simply won’t do; you have to sit down and make the time to unwind and make conversation (or in our case, upload photos). During our time in Österlen, my favourite place where we stopped for fika was Mellby Klockargård. I love cafes that give you plenty of options for where to sit and enjoy your drink. Here, you could choose to sit inside, outdoors snuggled up on a daybed, by the entrance admiring the view of the sea in the distance, or my personal favourite, inside the large greenhouse. I opted for a tasty chocolate cookie and a bottle of locally-produced apple cider (non alcoholic, this was mid-afternoon!) as we admired how peaceful it felt sitting below the glass roof, surrounded by plants. This place is more of a concept store than a simple cafe, and after our fika we had a wander around the grounds before spending sometime admiring the local wares for sale inside their small store. I obviously fell in love with all of the wabi-sabi ceramics (made by the owner of the cafe) and linen garments. It was one of those occasions that I wished I’d brought a separate suitcase!
Stenshuvuds National Park
We spent several hours on the Monday morning exploring Stenshuvuds National Park, just a 15 minute drive from our hotel. Perhaps because we arrived early in the morning, we seemed to have the place to ourselves, even startling a hare as we wandered down one of the green paths that led to the beach. The walk to the beach was short, weaving past luscious woodland and meadows covered in wild flowers, but it took us quite sometime as we kept stopping to take photos. Wild garlic and cow parsley were everywhere, contrasting beautifully with the vibrant green that surrounded us. There are longer trails to take, but as we were taking things slowly and had our massages booked for that afternoon, we opted for this short, meandering stroll. The beach itself surprised me - I wasn’t expecting such a beautiful, peaceful piece of coastline. Soft, golden sand stretched in both directions, backed by green woodland and lapped by sparkling blue water that would have tempted me in if the temperature had been ever so slightly warmer. We stayed on the beach for a while, taking photos and listening to the waves lap against the shore. A fun fact if you plan on visiting - take your shoes off and enjoy the strange squeaking sound that the sand makes when you walk on it!
After our visit to the National Park, we were feeling peckish so took the short drive to Kivik for a light lunch at Kiviks Musteri. This region of Skåne is known for its abundance of orchards, and Kivik seemed full to the brim of apple trees in full blossom. The orchard where we stopped for lunch also had a shop and ran tours, if you’re interested in learning more about the process. We sat in the garden, enjoying the daily special of a delicious veggie burger and (naturally) a refreshing glass of apple cider. I wish I could have brought a couple of crates of their non-alcoholic cider home with me! Once you’d paid for your meal, there was a sizable salad bar for loading up your plate. I ate so well during this entire trip, basing my meals around tasty salads and inventive vegetarian dishes. After lunch, we opted to take a walk down to the harbour, admiring the colourful houses that we passed along the way.
For our very first meal in Sweden, we headed to the south coast to experience a small restaurant that I’d heard excellent things about. We weren’t disappointed. Hörte Brygga run a relaxed eatery, where guests sit around one large table and you feel like you’re dining in a very welcoming home. We sat indoors to shelter from the rain, but if you visit on a sunny day there are plenty of communal tables outdoors with view of the sea. I loved sitting around the oval table and getting to know the people sitting beside us - including an amazing man named Patric who was embarking on a cycle ride the whole length of Sweden to raise money to fight climate change. There were three options for food, and we opted to share the vegetarian option which was presented beautifully in a wire basket. A delectable vegetable broth served with salad, pickled vegetables and the most delicious bread. I ate so much bread during this trip - it really was much better than bread back home. Even though we were dining during the day, candlelight flickered gently, creating that cosy ambiance that I associate with Scandinavian homes.
The second part of my slow travel guide to Skåne will be here next week.
Thank you again to Visit Skåne for a magical trip.