The Adventurer's Guide to: Southern Sweden / by Gustav Thuesen

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Southern Sweden is a place to breath. A place to escape from everyday life in the city. An exotic place for a Copenhagener: Different language, different landscape, different food. It feels like you're far away but actually it's only a short drive, a ferry trip or a swim away if you're really adventurous. But even if you don't live in Copenhagen it is definitely worth a visit. Here I've collected my favorite spots in the very southern end of Sweden.   

Söderåsen

Probably my favorite place for a quick getaway. Söderåsen is a forest covered ridge running 20-some km. The most interesting place is the fissure valley at Skäralid which is stunning year-round. My favorite time of year to visit the area is probably autumn when the beech forest is in its beautiful fall colors and the colder temperatures have made the crowds stay on their couches. Generally, the entire Söderåsen area is fairly crowded - not insanely, but expect to meet other people especially in summer and in the area close to the valley.
Other than the main valley the lake called “Odensjöen” is also worth a visit. A perfectly round lake where you can take a swim if weather permits.   

It is possible to stay overnight close to the main valley in either the public-hut “Dahlbergs” or at the campsite at “Liagården”. If you want to catch sunrise the campsite at “Liagården” is the closest to the valley.  

There are a lot of gems on the entire ridge! For example, go to Klåveröds strövområd and explore. Let me know if you find the watchtower or the small cave where you can sleep in!

If you’re up for it there is another stunning spot not far from Söderåsen. It doesn’t have a name as far as I know but it is situated here: goo.gl/maps/QzFATjKQQL82 . In summer, you’ll feel like being deep in the jungle watching the twisting amazon river – in winter it is probably flooded and not particularly interesting.

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Kullaberg

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Kullaberg is a Peninsula and nature reserve. The peninsula is mostly covered in forest (apart from a golf course which I have no idea how the hell they got permission to build in the middle of a nature reserve…). On either side, it drops steeply down to the coast – a solid workout going up and down. In summer, it’s a great place to go for a swim. A good starting point is the small town of Mölle which consists of cute houses, old seaside hotels and a harbor. From Mölle you can follow a trail to the end of the peninsula and then continue to make a round trip – there are a lot of trails so bring your best shoes.
If you are into climbing bring your climbing shoes too! There are a few routes around peninsula. Did it some years ago and climbing right next to the water is great as you can take a swim after a sweaty climb. 

If you’re up for an experience you should visit Nimis. Nimis is a (huge) wooden sculpture and was created by Swedish artist Lars Vilks entirely from driftwood. It’s kinda hard to find as it isn’t marked on the maps of the area. Although when you get to the start of the trail down to Nimis it is marked with yellow Ns. You can find it here: goo.gl/maps/x4i8vNw9cu72

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A bit east of the nature reserve is the tiny town of Arild. There isn’t really anything going on here. But the beautiful houses at the harbor and quiet town life is worth a visit.  

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Mountainbiking

If you need a bit more speed and adrenaline in your life there a few places where you can shred the gnar on your mountain bike. If you enjoy some mixed gravel and natural singletrack riding “Snapphaneturen” is a great opportunity. The 40 km loop starts at the parking lot at Hovdala castle but isn’t marked so loading the track onto a GPS is a great idea (GPX file: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/863507). Some places are somewhat technical but manageable for most riders. As seen in the above pictures you can also pack your bike and just go exploring! (Check out this little stupid video for some bikepacking in southern Sweden: https://youtu.be/utV9px3VxPc)    

If that’s too boring you can go to Vallåsen Bikepark where there are proper manmade downhill trails with jumps, berms and whatnot – and (if open) a lift to get your lazy ass up the hill again.  

Cities

If I had to visit one city in southern Sweden I would go to Varberg. The gigantic fortress is worth a visit and the incredible bath house looks like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. Lund is also nice a nice city, but Varberg wins. If you are on your way to or from Gothenburg make sure to stop in Varberg. To be fair I haven’t visited a lot of cities in southern Sweden as I usually go there to escape the city so you might find some gems - although I rolled through all cities on the west coast on my bikepacking trip to Bergen.

What to eat?

Whenever I’m in Sweden there are a few things I enjoy eating. Polar bread is one of them. It is a soft flat bread which is really nice toasted over a campfire – and used as hotdog bread. Another perfect companion for the bread is the “Prästost” – the priest cheese. The church used to make this cheese from the milk they collected as tithes. The taste is nutty, fatty with a hint of acidity. Another great cheese is the “Herregårdsost” – manorhouse cheese. This cheese is milder with a sweet nutty taste. Some enjoy putting some “sötstark senap” – sweet strong mustard – on their bread and cheese. This mustard also goes very well with a campfire grilled sausage!
Swedish meatballs is a no-brainer. You can get them in every supermarket and they go very well on the grill.
Another important thing to do in Sweden is to “fika” which basically means to have coffee (and cake). To accompany the coffee a kanelbulle – cinnamon roll – is almost mandatory. You can get them in every supermarket. Heat them over the campfire and you’re on your way to heaven!  

So that's a few spots to get you started! There are probably many more spectacular places in southern Sweden waiting to get discovered (if you find some please let me know). Now go and see for yourself!  

(If you have any questions feel free to contact me)