• Sweden edition
 
Royal residences in Sweden’s scenic south

Royal residences in Sweden’s scenic south

Published: 27 Jun 2008 10:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Jun 2008 10:06 GMT+02:00

The curious tourist can find many fine attractions along Skåne’s coastline – the region is home to a varied collection of charming towns and cities, impressive nature reserves, beautiful and artistically-designed parks, and sites of historical interest, writes Matt O’Leary.

Situated just outside Helsingborg – a short drive or bus journey away – the royal palace of Sofiero was built in the middle of the nineteenth century, and renovated and expanded in the decades between then and 1905, when it was given to Lady Louise Mountbatten (wife of King Gustav VI Adolf) as a summer residence.

The palace itself is, for a royal residence, relatively small, containing period furnishings and artworks; the back of the building is given over to a charming, high-quality restaurant, where it’s possible to enjoy your matjessill (Sweet pickled herring) and coffee from the terrace overlooking the gardens and out to the sea.

It’s the gardens themselves that provide the main draw for tourists. Huge, beautifully-tended and enthrallingly intricate, they stretch down towards the coast from the palace. Visitors should stroll the length of the spectacular rhododendron walk – containing an estimated 10,000 plants from 300 species – and wander down as far as possible to the seafront, where they can find a totem pole jutting incongruously from the greenery.

Upon strolling back up the hillside to the buildings, visitors can find various sculptures in the wooded footpath area. This part of the garden invites you to delve among the trees to get close to works of art, by sculptors such as Gunilla Bandolin, that can be glimpsed from the terraces. Tickets to the palace and gardens cost 85 kronor: details of opening times can be found on the Sofiero website.

From Sofiero it’s possible to make out another grand royal residence across the sound. Kronborg Castle, despite its proximity to the Swedish royal dwelling, is actually in the Danish city of Helsingør.

Those of a literary bent may recognize the name, under the Anglicised spelling of Elsinore – it’s the setting for Hamlet, and parts of the castle today retain an impressively fitting gloominess. Actors such as Laurence Olivier and Derek Jacobi have played the ill-fated Dane in performances given in the castle itself.

Although Kronborg is constructed with typical Danish architectural elegance, it is unmistakably an old military outpost, with formidable turrets and stout walls; in stark contrast to Sofiero’s air of relaxation and bright gardens, the bulk of Kronborg’s beauty is in its interiors. Visitors should browse the royal chambers, with their impressive array of tapestries. It’s behind one of these “arrases” that Polonius conceals himself in the play; try as The Local might, though, we couldn’t find any telltale sword-slashes to distinguish which one it was. Shame.

In order to get to Helsingør from Sweden, head into Helsingborg and catch a ferry from the terminal, a short cab ride from the city centre – it takes 20 minutes or so to cross the sound, and the castle is then accessible by foot and public transport (see here for details of how to find it).

Access to the castle costs from between 85 Danish kroner, for a full ticket which allows the bearer entry to the attached maritime museum, to a basic ticket for 30 kroner, which gets you into the chapel alone. Make sure you have some Danish kroner on you.

Elsewhere in Helsingborg

Helsingborg is a charming city and, if you’re in the area, a good place to consider basing yourself – particularly if you’re relying on trains or buses to bring you to and from Skåne and have no intention of hiring a car. Hotels, bars and places to eat are plentiful, and the tourist information centre will also tell you whether or not there are any public theatre or music performances (popular during the summer months) taking place.

Visitors to the city should also visit Dunkers Kulturhus, a large and attractive building at Kungsgatan 11. This museum contains modern art exhibitions, collections of older art, cultural artefacts, and more besides; it also contains a tremendously diverting gift shop. Browse the Helsingborg website for more information on places to stay and things to do (http://www.helsingborg.se/Main.aspx?epslanguage=SV).

Outside Helsingborg

You can make your trip to Sofiero and Kronborg a typically Skåne experience, and stay in one of the hundreds of guesthouses around the area. If you don’t mind a drive of an hour or so in order to get close to the city and royal residences, you can save money (bed and breakfast in one of these cottages is invariably cheaper than a hotel stay in Helsingborg) and make the most of good local hospitality.

The web is a good place to start your research; begin at a site such as skåne.com and contact the guesthouses directly for information on availability.

Matt O'Leary (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

748
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com