You don’t need to go to the Mediterranean to enjoy water sports,
island-hopping and private beaches.
Blekinge, Sweden’s smallest mainland region, boasts 80 kilometers of coastline that hide all sorts of wonders, from tiny isolated beaches to the archipelago’s countless islands, many of which remain uninhabited. With almost 1,000 tranquil lakes and tons of babbling brooks running through the region, Blekinge is the very height of serenity, and perhaps unsurprisingly, its wonderful waters have long been a favorite summer retreat for Swedes.
Life in Blekinge is inextricably connected to the water. Karlskrona, the regional capital, is spread out over 30 islands. It is also home to Sweden’s last remaining naval base and the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard, as well as the fantastic Naval Museum, which showcases warships, a shipwreck and an actual Cold War-era submarine.
Ronneby Brunn, an old spa resort with a 300 year history, was once Sweden’s most visited health resort, and has today become an outstanding leisure center with water-slides, pools, barbecues buffets, a Japanese Spa Garden and an indoor heated pool. The surrounding park was named Sweden’s most beautiful, a prize it has also ranked for at the European level.
More importantly, Blekinge is also an outdoorsman’s dream: kayaking, hiking, sailing, cycling, camping and world-class fishing are all within easy reach, and the region’s natural splendor makes for a stunning backdrop to them all. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite ways to discover the watery landscapes of Blekinge.
Relaxing at the beach
As a region, Blekinge enjoys more sunlight hours per year than any other part of mainland Sweden, and as such is one of the country’s most fabulous spots for a summer dip in the Baltic Sea – hence the nickname “Blekinge Riviera”. Beautiful beaches can be found throughout the county, from soft sand strands to rugged but lovely rocky coasts, and it is not uncommon to have them all to oneself.
Some of Blekinge’s best beaches and bathing spots can be found at: Sandviken and Hallarum, both family-friendly, white sand beaches; Vägga and Kollevik, which boast both beach and cliffs; Saltö, once designated Sweden’s second best beach; Piren, which consist of two beaches in the charming village of Kristianopel; and Halen, a popular bathing area in an extensive lake complex.
If you want a little more adventure, and a more intimate experience with the water, visit Sweden’s first ever snorkeling trail in Kollevik, outside Karlshamn, to learn about the flora and fauna that can be found along the Blekinge coastline. Or take things a step further and learn to scuba dive in Karlskrona. Unique Dive & Travel offers courses for all levels, both in the ocean, where divers can spot several shipwrecks, and in the region’s numerous lakes.
Venture just a bit further afield to discover some of the region’s fabulous and alluring islands, each with its own unique features. Tjärö, for instance, sports a 12-meter cliff at Korpaberget for adventurous swimmers, while those looking for a more laid-back vacation can rent their own floating sauna for the ultimate relaxing experience.
Tiny Hanö has just 20 or so residents, but fascinating natural characteristics, including a high rocky ridge crowned by a lighthouse and grassy heaths with wild deer, while far to the east lies Utklippan, a pair of rocky islands with a charming lighthouse and marina, home to a growing population of seals.
There are plenty of boat tours in operation around the archipelago. Several companies explore the city of Karlskrona, while others go out as far as the fascinating tower of Godnatt, an old and solitary fortification that looks as though it’s floating in the middle of the sea.
Canoeing and kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking are some of the most popular activities in Blekinge. The region’s numerous lakes and streams, as well as the imposing Baltic Sea itself, become a veritable playground, as perfect for exploration as for relaxation and communion with nature. Kayaking is inexpensive, incredibly fun, and can be enjoyed just about anywhere in the county.
The Halen Nature Reserve is a very popular canoe route system that stretches across several lakes, including Halen, Southern Sweden’s largest. Canoe and kayak rentals can be found all along the Blekinge coast, and even in the regional capital itself. Karlskrona Kajak – with their inviting motto “Everyone Can Paddle” – offers guided tours of the World Heritage City as it was meant to be explored: from the water.
With a fishing rod in hand
Wade knee-deep in one of the world’s best salmon fishing spots at Mörrumsån, or take a boat out to the middle of one of the county’s hundreds of lakes, or pick your favorite peer to hang out at for the afternoon. Fishing is ubiquitous in Blekinge, a region with world-famous spots and a prolific variety of settings to admire and species to catch.
Ask any seasoned fisherman about Mörrumsån and they’re sure to get a rush of excitement. As one of the world’s premiere salmon fishing spots, professionals and novices alike have been flocking to Mörrumsån since as far back as the 13th century, to enjoy both the world-class fishing and the absolute serenity of the area, which is surrounded by beautiful oak and beech forests. Salmon season runs from late March through September, but the area is worth a visit any time of year, not least to enjoy the 30-kilometer hiking path that runs along Mörrumsån.
But there is much more to fishing in Blekinge than just Mörrumsån. The area around Karlshamn offers a wide range of fishing options to suit just about everyone, from absolute beginners to seasoned pros. Widely known to be an angler’s paradise, the Karlshamn area boasts a wide variety of species, from salmon and pike to rainbow and sea trout, as well as eels, perch and whitefish, and it has been the site of numerous record-breaking catches in the past.
With the kids
Children of all ages can find excitement and adventure in Blekinge. Barnens Gård, in Karlskrona, is a lovely petting zoo with goats, pigs and rabbits, among many other species, and it is also home to Vattenlandet, a fabulous water park with heated pools, a 120-meter long water-slide, an irresistible inflatable island to bounce around in, and a “pool river” where you can float around and let the current gently sweep you along.
Kreapark, in Karlshamn, is a fascinating science and education center, with a whole world’s worth of exploration. Located on a small peninsula and a nearby island, it has games, fountains and a wonderful obstacle course for kids to challenge their limits while having oodles of fun.
By now it should be abundantly clear that there are plenty of activities to keep you busy on a visit to Blekinge, but one of the greatest joys of visiting this lovely region is difficult to express in writing. It is a sensation, more than an event, a feeling of absolute tranquility and serenity, in tune with the region’s stunning natural setting. In Blekinge, the air is fresh, the forests lush and the waters cool and clear. Listen to the gentle lapping of Baltic waves, or the trickle of a babbling brook, and let the wonderful waters of Blekinge soothe your soul.