Varberg: Sweden’s surfer’s paradise on the Kattegat

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At first glance, Varberg on Sweden’s west coast appears to be a rather inconspicuous place – but appearances are deceptive, as the coastal town is one of the most popular surfing centres in the whole of northern Europe. With a good 80 kilometres of coastline and fantastic conditions, this is no wonder. But Varberg is also a cosy holiday destination away from the beaches and bays. Here you can find out everything you need to know about the spa town on the Kattegat.

Why should you make trip to Varberg?

The small coastal town of Varberg is the perfect place for a beach holiday with a difference. Not only bathing fans gather here, but above all surfers – because the town is considered Sweden’s surfer’s paradise. So it’s no wonder that you can find kilometres of sandy beaches here, which offer the best conditions for tours on and in the water. But you can also spend your dream holiday here away from the water – you can visit nature reserves as well as the historic fortress that rises above the coastal promenade. And there’s no shortage of relaxation in the spa town of Varberg – in a very special setting.

Varberg: Holidays
Varberg is not just a real holiday paradise for windsurfers.

Where is Varberg?

Varberg is located on the Swedish west coast on the Kattegat in the historic province of Halland. On the way from Malmö to Gothenburg you drive past the coastal town, Malmö is about 200 kilometres away and Gothenburg about 75 kilometres. Halmstad, Halland’s largest city, is about 70 kilometres away.

Varberg: weather

If you are planning a beach and surfing holiday in Varberg, you should visit in the summer months. The best time to visit Varberg is from June to September, as the temperatures are warm during this period and there are plenty of hours of sunshine and enough wind for surfing. The warmest month is July, when the average temperature is around 20° Celsius. The water temperature can also reach up to 21° Celsius in midsummer. In general, however, Varberg has a rather mild climate for Sweden, as even the winters are not too cold with an average of 2° Celsius in January.

Activities and sights in Varberg

Beaches in Varberg

Varberg has a total of 80 kilometres of coastline – enough space for sun, beach and sea. The beach promenade, which is over 100 years old and stretches for five kilometres, is particularly popular. It is a wonderful place to stroll or cycle and passes many of the resort’s hotspots, including a number of nudist beaches.

However, the beaches to the south of the town are the most popular, especially the sandy beach at Apelviken. The “Apple Bay” is very wide and rather shallow, which not only makes it family-friendly, but also a real paradise and hotspot for surfers of all kinds – windsurfers in particular love coming to Apelviken, as the bay is considered one of the best windsurfing areas in Northern Europe.

Another popular beach is Björkängs Havbad, which is a little further south but also offers a fantastic sandy beach. The Getterön bird sanctuary is also worth a visit, as you can learn about the local flora and fauna at the visitor centre.

Varberg: Beaches
The sandy beach at Apelviken is particularly popular with windsurfers.

Varberg Fortress & Halland’s Museum of Cultural History

Anyone interested in the culture and history of the region should pay a visit to Varberg Fortress. Here, right on the beach promenade, you will find Halland ‘s Museum of Cultural History in the 13th century fortress, which was used by the Danes as a defence fortress and served as a prison from the mid-17th century until 1931. Today, the fortress houses a number of interesting exhibitions on the historical development of the region. The most famous exhibit is probably the Bokstensmannen, a bog body from the 14th century.

Varberg Cold Bathhouse

Varberg is not only a coastal town, but also a spa town. There have always been several spa facilities here – the best known is probably the historic cold bathhouse, which is located on a jetty directly above the sea. There was already a cold bathhouse there in 1820, but it was only a simple swimming pool. The two subsequent bathhouses were destroyed by storms and replaced in 1903 by the current oriental-style complex.

In addition to swimming pools, the building, which looks like a fairytale palace, also has saunas with large windows so that you can enjoy a fantastic sea view while relaxing and sweating. The bathhouse, which is open all year round, is divided into two areas – one for women and one for men. And as is customary in Sweden, saunas here also take place without clothing.

Varberg: Cold bathhouse
In Varberg’s cold bathhouse, you can enjoy sauna sessions with a sea view.

Accommodation in Varberg

Camping in Varberg

Varberg is one of the most popular camping regions in the whole of Sweden, so you will find excellent conditions for a camping holiday here. Camping is particularly popular here, as the many campsites are often located close to or directly on the coast and water. This means you can spend a simple holiday in close touch with nature, but you don’t have to do without amenities either, as many campsites offer a whole range of different accommodation and services.

If you want to be a little more adventurous, you can try wild camping. This camping option, which is permitted in Sweden, is particularly suitable in Varberg, but also in the entire Halland region, as there is a lot of wilderness and nature here. You can find general information in the article on camping in Sweden and wild camping in Sweden.

Hotels in Varberg

Many of the hotels in Varberg are also located directly on the beach or just a few minutes’ walk away. Hotels are also often centrally located and close to other hotspots. What’s more, you often don’t have to do without any luxury – everyone can find the right accommodation for them depending on their budget, whether it’s a hostel or a design hotel.

Highlights in Varberg include Fästningens, a B&B located in the historic fortress and offering rooms in the former bakery, hospital and prison. Another highlight is the Apelviken Lägenhetshotell, which is located directly on the beach in Apelviken and where you can enjoy your holiday in typical Swedish cottages.

Travelling to Varberg

By plane to Varberg

If you want to travel to Varberg comfortably and quickly by plane, you should fly to Gothenburg. The airport of Sweden’s second largest city is well connected to the European flight network and is served directly by some British airports. From there, you can travel to Varberg by public transport – the train journey from Gothenburg to Varberg takes around 50 minutes – or by rental car.

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