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Five beaches you won’t believe are in Sweden

Few people connect Sweden with a beach holiday, but there are plenty of fabulous seaside spots to enjoy in summer.

Five beaches you won't believe are in Sweden
Tanto Beach in Stockholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

1. Ribersborg, Malmö

Wooden piers jut out into shallow waters at city beach Ribersborg in downtown Malmö, which has everything a visitor could ask for: restaurants, showers, green areas and barbecues. It also caters for nudists and dogs who can each enjoy their own separate stretches of sand.

Admire the impressive skyline of Sweden's third biggest city, gaze at Copenhagen across the Öresund strait and casually stroll past the property that used to belong to Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic less than five minutes away while doing your best not to look too starstruck.

Don't forget to impress your southern Swedish friends by calling it by its local nickname, 'Ribban'. Top it off by suggesting you go back in winter when the beach centre offers bathing opportunities complete with sauna facilities.


Ribersborg with the Öresund bridge in the background. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX

2. Tanto Beach, Stockholm

If you're looking for a Stockholmer on a hot summer's day, chances are you'll find them here. 

This is the perfect place to savour those long, Swedish summer nights. Prepare to be blown away by the facts that 1) it's nearly midnight, 2) the sun has yet to set, and 3) you're going for a swim in the city centre of a European capital.

Tanto Beach does not have any barbecue facilities, but some of Södermalm district's trendiest eateries and takeaways are readily available within walking distance. Why not round off the evening with a drink at one of Stockholm's hottest outdoor bars or restaurants?


Tanto Beach in Stockholm. Yes, that's a palm tree in the background. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

3. Fårö, Gotland

Fårö is an island off an island. Located some 200 kilometres south of Stockholm, it is reached by ferry from Gotland, which in turn can be reached by ferry or plane from mainland Sweden.

Sudersand is Fårö's – and Gotland's – most beautiful and popular beach. It has a little bit of everything for everyone, from the backpacker seeking unspoiled sands to the young family looking for leisure activities to the Russian soldier looking for a good spot from which to launch a seaborne invasion (just kidding!). 

With pedal boats for hire, a mini golf course, restaurants, cafés, kiosks and ice cream bars on the beach, visitors have plenty to keep them busy should they tire of the long, wide stretches of soft sand. But why should they?


There are plenty of activities to enjoy on Fårö. Photo: Michael Jonsson/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

4. Lysekil, Bohuslän

The Bohuslän region in south-western Sweden is known for its abundance of gorgeous beaches with majestic rock formations sloping down to the sea.

The old fishing town of Lysekil alone has a total of 12 beach spots. We tried to pick just one of them, honestly, but it was impossible. Oh well, this summer's as good a time as any to start planning that beach hopping holiday – who knew Sweden would be just the place?

Several glaciation periods during the ice age created the rock faces' polished look, unique to this area. A fun fact to drop into the conversation at parties is that some of Bohuslän's oldest rock species were created 1.8 billion years ago. Get that.


A beach hut near Lysekil. Photo: Andreas Nordström/imagebank.sweden.se

5. Norrfällsviken, Höga Kusten

Bet you never thought you could go for a summer swim north of the 60th parallel? In fact, you will find few places better. Norrfällsviken on Sweden's High Coast (Höga Kusten) is not as crowded as many of the other beaches and, because it's located in northern Sweden, the sun barely sets in summer. Perfect for a midnight skinny dip, in other words.

And when you're lying outstretched on its golden swathes of sandy beach, enjoying the sunny (most of the time) blue skies and gazing at the green mountains across the water, you can almost fool yourself you're in the Mediterranean.

When you're done, read freelance writer Danny Chapman's guide to some of the other gems Sweden's High Coast has to offer.


The Mediterranean, the Caribbean… or Norrfällsviken in Sweden? Photo: Danny Chapman

TRAVEL

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans

After long months of lockdowns and curfews Europeans are looking forward to jetting off for a bit of sun and sand -- only to find that their long awaited holiday plans go awry due to a shortage of rental cars.

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans
Tourists wait outside of rental car agencies in Corsica. Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

In many areas popular with tourists cars are simply not available or subcompacts are going for a stiff €500 euros.

Car rental comparison websites show just how expensive renting a vehicle has become for tourists this summer.

According to Carigami, renting a car for a week this summer will set tourists back an average of 364 euros compared to 277 euros two years ago.

For Italy, the figure is 407 euros this summer compared to 250 euros in 2019. In Spain, the average cost has jumped to 263 euros from 185 euros.

According to another website, Liligo, daily rental costs have nearly doubled on the French island of Corsica. At the resort city of Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca, rental prices have nearly tripled.

Today’s problem is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with near absence of clients, selling off vehicles to raise cash made a lot of sense for car rental firms struggling to survive.

“Everyone drastically reduced their fleet,” said the head of Europcar, Caroline Parot.

Until the spring, most companies still had fleets roughly a third smaller than in 2019, she said.

Car rental firms are used to regularly selling their vehicles and replacing them, so rebuilding their inventory should not have been a problem.

Except the pandemic sent demand for consumer electronics surging, creating a shortage of semiconductors, or chips, that are used not only in computers but increasingly in cars.

“A key contributor to the challenge right now is the global chip shortage, which has impacted new vehicle availability across the industry at a time when demand is already high,” said a spokesman for Enterprise.

It said it was working to acquire new vehicles but that in the mean time it is shifting cars around in order to better meet demand.

No cars, try a van

“We’ve begun to warn people: if you want to come to Italy, which is finally reopening, plan and reserve ahead,” said the head of the association of Italian car rental firms, Massimiliano Archiapatti.

He said they were working hard to meet the surge in demand at vacation spots.

“But we’ve got two big islands that are major international tourism destinations,” he said, which makes it difficult to move cars around,
especially as the trip to Sardinia takes half a day.

“The ferries are already full with people bringing their cars,” he added.

“Given the law of supply and demand, there is a risk it will impact on prices,” Archiapatti said.

The increase in demand is also being seen for rentals between individuals.

GetAround, a web platform that organises such rentals, said it has seen “a sharp increases in searches and rentals” in European markets.

Since May more than 90 percent of cars available on the platform have been rented on weekends, and many have already been booked for much of the summer.

GetAround has used the surge in demand to expand the number of cities it serves.

For some, their arrival can’t come fast enough.

Bruno Riondet, a 51-year-old aeronautics technician, rents cars to attend matches of his favourite British football club, Brighton.

“Before, to rent a car I was paying between 25 and 30 euros per day. Today, it’s more than 90 euros, that’s three times more expensive,” he said.

In the United States, where prices shot higher during the spring, tourists visiting Hawaii turned to renting vans.

In France, there are still cars, according to Jean-Philippe Doyen, who handles shared mobility at the National Council of Automobile Professionals.

“Clients have a tendency to reserve at the last minute, even more so in the still somewhat uncertain situation,” he said.

They will often wait until just a few days before their trip, which means car rental firms don’t have a complete overview of upcoming demand, he added.

He said business is recovering but that revenue has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels as travel is not yet completely unfettered.

SEE ALSO: British drivers will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ to visit Europe, EU rules

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