Karlskrona: the world heritage site in the archipelago

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If you want to enjoy a beach holiday in a particularly historic place, you should head for Karlskrona – the cosy harbour town was once the centre of the Swedish navy. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts countless travellers to the beautiful archipelago landscape of the southern Swedish Baltic Sea coast. Find out everything you need to know about a holiday in Karlskrona here.

Why should you travel to Karlskrona?

Karlskrona’s history began in 1679 when King Charles XI founded a naval base, which was elevated to a town the following year and became the most important base for the Swedish fleet – and the town is still inextricably linked to the navy and the sea today. The harbour city invites you to enjoy a varied holiday and is therefore very popular with tourists – relaxed swimming in the Baltic Sea is just as possible here as leisurely shopping in the city centre, which, with its many historic squares and buildings, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the former naval port. But the city’s exciting museums also invite you to explore and discover, as does the varied archipelago landscape that stretches to the south of the city.

Karlskrona: Holidays
Karlskrona is an idyllic and diverse harbour town on Sweden’s south coast.

Karlskrona is the setting for the ninth chapter of Selma Lagerlöf’s world-famous novel The Wonderful Adventures of Nils” – a sculpture in honour of the little traveller can be found at Amiralitetskyrka.

Where is Karlskrona?

Karlskrona is located on Sweden’s south coast in the Blekinge region. The town is part of the archipelago and is itself scattered over several islands. The nearest major city is Kalmar, which is around 90 kilometres away by car. It is around 200 kilometres from Malmö and Ystad, 230 from Trelleborg and 185 from Lund, and almost 500 kilometres from the Swedish capital Stockholm. The islands of Öland and Gotland are closer.

Weather in Karlskrona

Karlskrona offers fantastic conditions for a beach holiday by the Baltic Sea, pleasant temperatures in summer, little rainfall and many hours of sunshine. The best time to visit is from June to September, when temperatures are at their highest. The warmest month is July, when the average temperature is 20° Celsius and the water temperature can also break 20° Celsius. The winter months in Karlskrona are mild, the coldest months are January and February with average temperatures of 2° Celsius.

Karlskrona: sights and activities

Karlskrona Naval Museum

Karlskrona: Naval Museum
At the Karlskrona Naval Museum you can learn a lot about the history of the Swedish navy.

The Karlskrona Naval Museum is located on the island of Stumholmen to the east of Karlskrona city centre. It is Sweden’s national museum for the history of the Swedish navy and is one of the three central museums in the museum network for Sweden’s military heritage. The island and the former naval base have only been open to the public since the 1990s, and today the fortified town complex from the 17th and 18th centuries is a World Heritage Site.

However, the naval museum is not just about theory, but also offers a number of activities and exciting exhibits. For example, there is a galleon hall, a model chamber, a submarine hall, an underwater tunnel and numerous museum ships that can be entered and explored. The submarine “HMS Neptun”, which travelled in the Baltic Sea in the 1980s during the last years of the Cold War, can also be entered. Admission to the museum is free and it is open Tuesdays to Sundays between 10 am and 5 pm in the summer season and until 4 pm in the winter months.

Blekinge Museum

The Blekinge Museum in Karlskrona not only deals with the history of the provincial capital Karlskrona, but also with the entire province of Blekinge. The main building, an impressive baroque palace, houses a permanent exhibition about the history and life in the province in the 18th century, while events such as concerts are often held in the adjoining garden. Other exhibitions in the museum’s other buildings deal with the entire history of the region, boatbuilding and shipping in Blekinge and the famous artist Erik Höglund, who was born in Karlskrona.

Out and about in Karlskrona’s archipelago

Karlskrona: Archipelago
Karlskrona’s archipelago invites you to explore in many different ways.

A trip to the archipelago is actually a must-do during a stay in Karlskrona. The city on the Baltic Sea is scattered across 33 individual islands, all of which are worth a visit – whether for swimming, shopping or simply walking and exploring. There are also 1500 other islands in the southern Swedish archipelago.

In summer, excursion boats depart from Fisktorget and sail around the city island of Trossö, including the islands of Tjurkö and Aspö. The four large islands of Hasslö, Senoren, Sturkö and Tjurkö are connected by bridges, and there is a free car ferry to the island of Aspö.

We also recommend the small island of Brändaholm with the allotment garden settlement “Brändaholms Kolonistugor” – 43 red cottages on the water in an idyllic green setting provide a view of one of Sweden’s most popular postcard motifs for pure Swedish romance.

Beaches in Karlskrona

Of course, swimming in the Baltic Sea is not neglected in Karlskrona. The city has several beaches, such as the family-friendly Stumholmens Badplats, which is only 10 minutes away from the city centre and right next to the Naval Museum. The island of Hasslö is unofficially nicknamed “lilla Hawaii” – little Hawaii – due to its many hours of sunshine and ideal bathing conditions.

Accommodation in Karlskrona

Camping in Karlskrona

Camping is a popular way to spend a holiday in Sweden – especially in the summer months. Camping holidays are easy, often inexpensive and close to nature, as many campsites are located close to the water. Camping is particularly popular with families and pets are often allowed. At the same time, you don’t have to do without a certain level of comfort, as many campsites now offer a whole range of services – and the type of accommodation on a campsite can also vary depending on your wishes.

If you are just passing through or want a particularly exciting holiday in Sweden, you can try wild camping. In Sweden – as in Norway and Finland – it is permitted to spend one or two nights in a tent in the great outdoors.

Holiday cottages in Karlskrona

An alternative to camping is to stay in a holiday home in Karlskrona. Holiday homes are often popular with families and other groups, as they offer plenty of space, independence and their own cooking facilities. They also give you a feeling of home and your own four walls while on holiday. Holiday homes are particularly popular in the coastal regions of Sweden, as they are often located on or near the water – and so there are also some picturesque holiday homes in Karlskrona and the surrounding archipelago.

Karlskrona: Holiday Home
A holiday home in Karlskrona offers plenty of space to relax and unwind.

Travelling to Karlskrona

Travelling to Karlskrona by plane

If you want to travel to Karlskrona comfortably and relaxed by plane, it is best to fly to Copenhagen, Gothenburg or Stockholm, as many airlines also offer direct flights from UK to the major Scandinavian airports. The nearest airport to Karlskrona is Ronneby Airport, around 30 kilometres away. There are regular flights to this airport from Stockholm. If you are travelling via Copenhagen or Gothenburg, you can continue your journey to Karlskrona by public transport or rental car.

Cruises via Karlskrona

As a harbour town on the Swedish Baltic coast, Karlskrona is not only called at by ferries, but also by some cruise ships. Baltic Sea cruises in particular not only stop off in the Baltic countries, Poland and Finland, but also in Sweden – Stockholm and Karlskrona are popular coastal destinations. On a cruise, you can get to know many interesting and exciting places in a short space of time and often enjoy a high level of luxury and comfort.

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