On the east road: Camping on the east coast of Sweden
Sweden is a favorite holiday destination for us Norwegians. Most often it is the west coast and the border regions that are visited, while the east coast is an unknown chapter for many of us. We therefore traveled the farthest south and east of Sweden to see what Kalmar's County had to offer.
Kalmar's County is the easternmost part of Småland and extends from Västervik in the north down to Karlskrona in the South, as well as in Öland. The landscape consists of a lot of forest and agricultural areas, as well as a varied coastline. In the north we find Tjust Archipelago with thousands of islands. Most wooded and shiny cliffs where the Baltic Sea waves have turned inland. Further south, the coast is more sheltered behind Øland, and the coast often consists of sandy beaches. The county is one of Sweden's smallest in terms of population, with almost a quarter of a million inhabitants. With its strategic location towards the Baltic Sea, trade and shipping have always been an important part of the region's business sector. Not least to the Baltic states, but also to Germany and the rest of Europe. Besides this, small industry and agriculture is the most important trade route in the region. In addition, there is a strong focus on tourism throughout the region, not least camping.
Here we find everything from large tourist machines with several hundred places and a wide range of activities, to small idyllic places with simple facilities. In addition, we find activity parks and sights for all tastes. It is mostly along the coast we find most campsites and offers for holidaymakers. Much is concentrated around the three largest cities, Västervik, Oskarshamn and Kalmar. We packed the car and went for a ride in mid-August. The summer season was in luck, but there was still a lot of activity all around, although it was not the same pressure as during the school holidays. The weather is often good at this time, so for those who have the opportunity this is not a stupid time to go for a walk. This time we chose a slightly different type of accommodation, as camping is more than a caravan and a motorhome. This time we would spend the night in cabins, or cabins as it is called in Sweden. It has been many years since we last tried this, and the memories of this were not entirely positive. But camping cabins have also evolved over the years and hopefully the simple, cramped and tranquil cabins we remembered from family trips in the 70s were just a memory.
Summer town on the Baltic Sea.
We started our exploration journey in Kalmar. With honorary titles such as this year's summer town four years in a row, and the most motorhome-friendly municipality in 2017, Kalmar is definitely a city to include when planning this year's holiday trip. Kalmar is a city with historic charm and one of Sweden's oldest cities, founded in the 1100th century. We are happy to connect the city with the Kalmar Union, where Queen Margrethe brought Denmark, Sweden and Norway into one kingdom in 1397. The city was an important hub in traffic and trade with the rest of Europe under the Hansa Federation from the 1200th century, and is also today characterized by proximity to the Baltic States and northeastern Germany.
The most famous attraction in Kalmar is the castle, which began in the 1100th century. With its location at the very end of a small island, it was more a defense work, and was rebuilt to its present form by Gustav Vasa and his sons in the 1500th century. The castle is open to visitors year-round, and there are also guided tours with different themes. It is definitely recommended to take part in such a show as you get a good introduction to Sweden's history and learn how life was at the castle throughout history. It was not just luxury and festivities. Among other things, we learned how the king held his enemies captive and starved them to death. The castle is also used for exhibitions, and in 2018 Leonardo Da Vinci and his inventions were the theme. The castle also has its own church which is widely used for weddings. Many also choose to have the wedding party at the castle.
Inside the castle lies the old town, which was Kalmar town until the mid-1600s when it was decided to expand Kvarnholmen where the city center is today. A major fire in 1647 accelerated this work, and the devastation after the Skåne war in 1679 set a definitive point for this area as a city center. The area was then used as a residential area for the upper class, and today there are many well-preserved houses from the 17th and 1800th centuries in this area. In today's city center on Kvarnholmen there is a wide selection of shops and places to eat, and with the harbor in front it is a pleasant place for walks, shopping and dining.
Space for campers
For camping tourists, there are many options. There is an accommodation right next to the guest harbor and tourist office. 18 places with electricity, water and Wifi, as well as access to shower / WC, washing machine and toilet. There is also a large space for motorhomes near the castle, and one at the bridge over to Øland. A little south of town is Stensø Camping with 260 pitches for caravans or motorhomes. The site is idyllically situated with plenty of forest around, while being within walking distance to the city center. (approx. 2,5 km)
There is always something going on in Kalmar. A number of events all year round, but with the greatest activity during the summer months. There is a lot of focus on sports, and in August every year the Ironman Kalmar triathlon is held with participants from all over the world. Otherwise there are concerts, cultural events and exhibitions for all tastes. Tourism manager Stefan Johnson says that an increasing number of visitors to Kalmar come by motorhome or caravan. The pitch at the guest harbor is mostly full all summer, and we should like to see we could expand it, he says. They have established a little smaller parking without facilities further afield in the quay area, but many also choose to park their motorhome in regular parking lots.
We had a copious day in Kalmar, but the next point on the program was Øland, so when the evening wore on we headed out of town and towards the Øland Bridge.
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