As you already know, while I frolicked around Sweden, I had an opportunity to explore beyond its capital city Stockholm. Visiting Karlskrona (and its surrounding area!) was definitely a highlight of my Swedish trip!
I only spent two days in Sweden’s naval city. So, of course, I already wanna return for a leisurely seaside holiday: one where I reside in a quaint red cabin, read piles of books, and eat fresh fish over a fire. Ahhhh, in my dreams!
I want you to experience Karlskrona’s magic for yourself. This beginners guide will help you plan your journey to southern Sweden. Let’s go!
Why You Should Visit Karlskrona?
Karlskrona Sweden isn’t often seen on American traveler’s itineraries. Most visitors go to Stockholm and then depart for Copenhagen or another Nordic capital. And you know what? That’s sad. I love big metros, I do, and I’ll recommend both Stockholm and Copenhagen to anyone.
But don’t you think we deserve to see more than well-promoted capitals?
As travelers, it’s important to break away from the trodden urban route so we can experience smaller cities and towns – the souls of any country.
Now I get it. You want to maximize your vacation time, especially if you’re American and limited to a crappy two or three weeks of paid time off. But make time!
Karlskrona seriously has everything! Great restaurants, lots of outdoor activities, unique day trips, museums, and more. You’re especially in for a treat if you’re visiting in the summer. Karlskrona is located in Sweden’s southernmost archipelago. You have access to 1,650 islands. Karlskrona’s nature is simply magical glimmering in the midnight sun.
I could’ve easily spent a week here. Easily.
Transportation to Karlskrona
Coming from Stockholm or Copenhagen? Not a problem! You can reach Karlskrona using Sweden’s extensive rail system. It’s roughly a four hour train ride from each capital. Depending on your tickets, you may have to switch trains halfway through your journey. Never fear! Swedish stations are easy to navigate with clearly marked signs.
Pro-tip: allow yourself some extra time if you’re coming from Copenhagen. You may have to show your passport before you cross the border into Sweden. As of summer 2016, I needed to have all my documents ready and available for border control.
Where to Stay?
Karlskrona has plenty of accommodation to choose from, but I highly recommend Hotell Conrad. As a family-run historical hotel, Hotell Conrad offers comfortable rooms that you make you feel right at home. I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the road, I actively search for accommodation that makes me feel welcome and Hotell Conrad perfectly fits the bill. Plus the courtyard is so, so, so, so cute and peaceful, the perfect respite from Stockholm’s hustle and bustle.
Karlsrkona’s a very walkable city, but honestly I think you ought to rent a bike when you explore here. Seriously. Bike riding is super easy and fun, as well as environmentally friendly. Nervous about biking? I’m not athletic by any stretch of the imagination, but seeing Karlskrona on two wheels was still an enjoyable way to zip around the city’s streets, harbors, and squares.
And Karlskrona’s mostly flat so you won’t huff and puff for air every five minutes, haha. Hotel Conrad or the local tourism office can assist you with bike rentals.
If you’d rather see Karlskrona from the water, then book a tour with Karlskrona Kayak. You’ll savor terrific views of the colorful holiday cabins.
What to Eat?
Karlskrona and its surrounding areas have an abundance of great food choices to fit every budget. I had no idea what to expect from the local cuisine but found myself pleasantly surprised.
In the city itself, I’d highly recommend “pop up” Restaurant Skeppsgossen which offers a delicious Italian and seafood menu. In particular, the pizzas are to die for. The restaurant’s owner also runs an amazing ice cream truck in the harbor. The chocolate ice cream is perfect way to gain back all the calories you lost while kayaking and biking.
Outside of the city, I fell in love with Kafé Måsen in Torhamm. I enjoyed a uniquely Swedish dish called Kroppkakor, dumplings with minced meat, berries, and lots of cream, for lunch. Mmmm, yum. And if you like cheese? Orranäs Farm Dairy offers local organic milk and goat’s cheese. So. Good.
Beyond the City
Karlskrona provides a solid base for exploring the rest of the region, which is absolutely worth your time. Check out the small historic towns of Kristianopel and Torhamm. From the main city, they’re easily accessible by bus or taxi.
If you’re feeling daring and want to fully immerse yourself into the true spirit of the Swedish archipelago, then take a RIB (a super fast boat) to uninhabited, rugged, and gorgeous Utklippan with Saltstänk. You already know I adored that particular adventure.
Are you visiting Sweden soon? Get your Lonely Planet Guide here. Are you interested in going to Karlskrona? As always, thank you for reading. Please note that some links are affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission on your purchase. And THANK YOU to Visit Karlskrona for sponsoring my two day trip.