The smallest region on mainland Sweden (spanning just 100 kilometers east to west and 40 north to south) packs a surprising variety of natural landscapes and outdoor activities. With over 100 natural reserves, dense beech, pine and oak forests, rocky archipelago landscapes of a rugged but spectacular beauty, and almost 1,000 lakes, Blekinge has more than earned its reputation as “Sweden’s Garden”.
The region’s 80 kilometers of coastline hide tiny isolated beaches, and the archipelago’s 800 islands, most of which remain uninhabited, are home to abundant wildlife populations, including seals and diverse bird species. With tranquil winding roads and babbling brooks running through the region, dotted by typically Swedish red cottages, Blekinge is the very height of serenity, and perhaps unsurprisingly, has long been a favorite summer retreat for Swedes.
What to Do
Blekinge is an outdoorsman’s dream: kayaking, hiking, sailing, cycling, camping and world class fishing are all readily available, and the region’s natural splendor makes for a stunning backdrop to them all. Mörrumsån is widely regarded as one of the world’s best salmon fishing spots, and the area’s eight superb and varied golf courses have earned it the nickname “Sweden’s Golf Coast”.
Culturally, Blekinge is just as active, playing host to numerous festivals each year, as well as regular events and exhibitions. Sweden Rock, held yearly just outside Sölvesborg, is one of Scandinavia’s largest rock music festivals, gathering dozens of rock, blues, and metal acts (past lineups have included big international names like Aerosmith and Scorpions). The Baltic Festival, held on the third week of July in Karlshamn, comprises all manner of musical and cultural events over four days, attracting up to 250,000 visitors each year. Moreover, there is a wealth of local town festivals and events, theater and exhibitions, and not least, abundant musical offerings, ranging from jazz to folk to classical.
Where to Go
Life in Blekinge is inextricably connected to the sea. Karlskrona, the regional capital, is spread 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 Maritime 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 waterslides, 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.
Other places worth visiting in Belkinge include Eriksberg (a wildlife sanctuary with deer, bison and wild boar), Halen (a canoe route system that stretches across several lakes) and Utklippan, a pair of rocky islands with a charming lighthouse and marina, home to a growing population of seals.
Another standout feature of the Blekinge landscape is Hanö, a small island with just about 20 residents and fascinating and diverse natural characteristics, including a high rocky ridge (crowned by yet another lighthouse) and grassy heaths with wild deer.
Eating and Drinking
The flavors of Blekinge, like many aspects of life in the region, owe much to the sea. Local staples include fish soup, fried herring, salmon and eel, but game and locally produced cheeses feature heavily, as well. Matakademi works tirelessly to preserve Blekinge’s culinary traditions, and are a visitor’s best bet to find authentic specialties, while places like Orranäs Gårdsmejeri keep cheese-making practices alive.
Similarly, Blekinge’s craft beer and cider breweries and vineyards are thriving, with new microbreweries emerging regularly. Carlskrona Bryggeri has preserved traditional craft heritage using recipes from the 19th century, while Bryggeri Skeppsgossen has developed an impressive 16 distinct varieties of brew.
Blekinge residents have grown accustomed to the finer things in life, and growing numbers of visitors are discovering the region’s irresistible allure and endless possibilities.