2-day Road Trip in Southern Sweden
Updated, August 2019
Visiting Skåne and Malmö
After phase 2 of our quest to travel to 50 countries in 50 months was derailed by unexpected illness, we were looking for a relatively close and accessible itinerary to judge our readiness to hit the road again. Convalescing in Copenhagen and with a rental car parked in our possession, southern Sweden crossed off all the boxes. It is astounding what you can see and do in 36 hours when you put your mind to it. The Øresund Bridge opened in the year 2000, linking Copenhagen and Malmö, Sweden. Forty-five minutes after departing Copenhagen, and we could finally increase our country count by one.
What is Sweden famous for
Delighted to finally be exploring new territory we eagerly pointed out everything Swedish we saw or remembered. The hundreds of Volvos on the road, the Ikea sign right after the bridge, the Danish-Swedish TV series, “Broen”, where the opening scene takes place at the border in the middle of the Øresund Bridge. We talked about Abba songs and spotted a group of roller skiers.
Places to visit in Sweden
We had originally planned to visit the capital city of Stockholm but the best laid plans are just that. Google is a wonderful tool for impromptu planning and as we were driving, Di researched interesting places to stop along the south coast and quickly created a circle itinerary driving back to Copenhagen via Malmö the next day. These were our highlights.
Skanör and Falsterbo on the Swedish South West Coast
It was about an hour and a half from The Øresund Bridge to Skanör - Falsterbo. The roads were good and it was an easy drive. We were happy to be on the road again. Our summer 2018 trip had been delayed as a week into our travels Di was hospitalized for a week with Ramsey Hunt Syndrome, plus a couple of weeks of recovery. The sight of the small town on the Swedish west coast brought smiles to our faces. It was nice to travel again and forget about health challenges for a while. We drove straight to the harbour and beach area. Skanör is right on the Sea of Øresund.
The weather was warm and welcoming and we decided to invest an hour or two. We parked by the Skanör Boat Club and marveled at the many sailboats but quickly ventured on to the beach. When planning a road trip the danger can often be to cram in too much into one day. Skanör was one of those surprise locations we had never heard of before but we could easily have stayed for a day or two. It is so close to Copenhagen too! The sandy beach was absolutely superb and the weather did not hurt our first impressions. We stuck our feet in the water, walked for a while along the coast and admired the tiny colourful beach houses. Alas before long, it was time to move on.
Ystad - Quaint town on the South Coast of Sweden
The drive from Skanör to Ystad is about 3 and a half hours along the south coast of Sweden. On this stretch, you drive through dozens of smaller towns, many of them catering to summer tourism due to their stellar location along the sea. Traffic does not move as fast here but that is okay, as there is plenty to feast your eye on along the route. Campsites, small supermarkets selling ice cream, holiday apartments, beach access roads, people headed for the beach and lots of towering trees along the road. We drove straight for the centre of Ystad and parked near the main square. Ystad is quaint and immaculate. The brick buildings have every imaginable colour combination and I spent some time walking along the cobbled streets while Diana was shopping along the pedestrian only downtown. We enjoyed lunch at a sidewalk café where we could take in the atmosphere on the stellar summer day.
Kåseberga - Swedish Stonehenge and fishing village
Another hour in the car from Ystad and we arrived at Kåseberga. Admittedly we did not know about this gem until we turned off the highway. We spotted dozens of paragliders from a distance and could see they were playing in the updraft wind by the tall bluffs. The photographer in me had to take a closer look. As it happened Kåseberga is a tourist hot spot in Skåne with Sweden's Stonehenge from the iron age; 59 large boulders, standing in a 67 meters long and 19 meters wide ship-like formation.
The boulders were a short hike from the parking lot. The plateau was windswept and packed with tourists. Despite the crowds, it was a great stop and as an added bonus, I snapped a few photos of the paragliders also. We walked into the small village of Kåseberga and gave in to the temptation of ice cream in the sun.
Simrishamn Swim and Kivik Dinner
We continued our drive along the coast and picked a route to Brösarp via Simrishamn and Kivik. By the time we reached Simishamn, we were highly due for a swim. We had a few GPS navigation issues but finally found a place where we could access the beach. Our afternoon nap on the beach was followed by a refreshing swim. The drive to Kivik was stunning as small communities and an endless number of cute cottages were basked in the low sunlight of an early August evening. A photographer’s golden hour. Given our location, the logical choice for dinner was seafood. Enticed by the lineup and seemingly happy customers dining at picnic tables along the dock, we opted for Sillaluckan, a cafeteria style hangout where fried herring and other treats are sold from the take out window. It was one of those beautiful summer evenings with no wind to speak of. We pinched ourselves and enjoyed the evening atmosphere.
Booking last minute there were limited choices for accommodation. We opted for an affordable and very basic Airbnb in Brösarp, the Old Doctor's Annex. A few things surprised us about the old doctor’s annex. The shower was in the adjacent building and we had to make the beds upon arrival. A flyer in the unit advised we were to strip the beds in the morning and vacuum before checkout or risk additional fees. Come to think of it, we also did all of the work booking it online. Practical Swedish, Ikea-like efficiency to get the job done I guess. All kidding aside, we slept well and the host was super friendly and offered plenty of advice on what to see in a region he was clearly very proud of.
The Hills of Brosarp
The Hills of Brosarp, or in Swedish, Brösarp Backar is host to rolling hills, trees, and hiking trails in abundance. We arrived in Brösarp at the golden hour and as a photographer this means you drop everything and grab your camera. I did just that. Despite the fact that we had been on the road for the entire day I was enticed by the light and went out to explore for another hour after we had checked in to our Airbnb to chase the light.
The local bakery in Brösarp was recommended for their hearty breakfast buffet. A perfect start to the day. The weather on this second day of our Sweden road trip proved to be every bit as good as on the first and we started out with a hike to the top of the hills of Brosarp to see the views down the valley. Hallmölla was our next destination a half hour drive from Brosarp. Hallmölla is the site of the largest waterfall in Skåne but we are sorry to relay the message; it wasn't much of a waterfall compared to what we are used to in Canada. It took a little while to find it and when we arrived we still weren't sure we were in the right location. With that said, we still enjoyed Hallmölla. We cooled off by the creek and I captured a few frames.
Exploring Central Malmö
After our hike and visit to the waterfall in Hallmölla we were ready for the final stretch of our road trip. We had only booked one night away and knew we had to be back in Copenhagen by the end of the day. But first, we wanted to make a stop in Malmö. Because of our early start to the day, we still had time despite the four-hour drive to reach Malmö. Traffic was light and we put on some good tunes and spent the time in the car planning our Europe trip, which was to start two weeks later. Parking is always a challenge in cities and Malmö was no exception on a busy summer day. We settled on a parkade near the centre. It was a bit further away from the action than we had anticipated but it made little difference as our goal with the stop was to take in the atmosphere of the city. For lunch, we picked a pasta place with seating in a cozy back yard. The service was good and the meal was okay but forgettable.
Sweden wrap up
The days are long in Scandinavia in the summertime. At the beginning of August, in Malmö, the sun sets at 9:14 pm. This fact gave us plenty of time to explore so many things in just two days. Prices are perhaps a bit higher than what we are accustomed to in Canada but after spending a month in Denmark it wasn't hugely different. The Scandinavian countries are known as being expensive for travellers. We come away with an increased appetite to travel more in Sweden. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our trip to Stockholm this year but we could definitely see our selves going there sometime in the future. We still had daylight as we rolled into Copenhagen happy with our choice to go to Sweden for a couple of days.