This guide delves into the best things to do this summer in Blekinge. It might be small – it's the second-smallest province in Sweden – but it sure does pack a punch. That's especially true when the Baltic snows melt away and the warmer months get into full flow. That's when the 1,000+ islands of the Blekinge Archipelago burst to life with lush oak woods and wave-sloshed beaches.

    Summer is when most visitors come to Blekinge in search of an outdoorsy, laidback life in southern Sweden. These are just a few of the enticing things that could be on your itinerary, from open-water swimming in Scandinavian bathhouses to historic jaunts through handsome Baroque towns. Read on for ideas on how you can make the most of your summer in Blekinge.

    What are the best things to do this summer in Blekinge?

    1

    Sturkö

    Blekinge's biggest island

    • Families
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    • Adventure

    Sturkö is the largest island that fragments into the Baltic Sea from the south coast of Blekinge. It's one of the easiest to travel to, mainly thanks to the main Sturkövägen roadway that comes in south from the E22 – it's less than 20 minutes in the car from the town of Karlskrona.

    The isle has risen to become a popular hot spot for summertime visitors, thanks to both its accessibility and natural beauty. The local population of 1,500 swells considerably as soon as June hits. Folks come to walk backcountry trails to seek out the ancient Sturkö Runsten stone that was left by the Vikings. Others come to whiz on bikes around the wild Uttorp Naturreservat in the company of grazing cows. There are also beaches and welcoming campgrounds for the whole family.

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    photo by Bernt Fransson,Lindås (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Trossö

    A taste of Blekinge's rich history

    • Families
    • History
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    Trossö is the beating heart and main island of the archipelago town of Karlskrona, the largest and most historic in all of Blekinge. It's super easy to reach because it hosts the big Karlskrona Centralstation – one of the region's main train interchanges – and the terminus of the Österleden motorway.

    The area is a part of the greater (and UNESCO-listed) Karlskrona. It's a joy for history buffs to wander. They'll see the only bona fide Baroque city in Sweden in all its glory, with glimpses of the lovely Trefaldighetskyrkan church and the pastel-painted buildings on Stortorget square. There's a bustling naval base on one side of Trossö for military aficionados, while the Blekinge Museum beckons for when those rare summer showers hit.

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    3

    Stumholmen

    Where naval history abounds

    • Families
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    Stumholmen is one of the top pitstops to make in Blekinge if you're interested in the long maritime history of the province. Encompassed by the designated UNESCO World Heritage site of Karlskrona, it's actually an island that juts out directly from the old town area. Simply cross the short Bastionsgatan Bridge to get in.

    Head straight to the harbour. It's the jewel in the crown of Stumholmen, where the 1752 Naval Museum beckons with one of the country's most fascinating maritime displays. Or you could check out the big Crown Bakery, which once produced hard bread for Swedish seafarers. Walking around and picnicking is half of the joy in Stumholmen, so the summer's the perfect time for your explorations.

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    4

    Ronneby Brunn Spa

    Making a splash since 1705

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    • Luxury

    The Ronneby Brunn Spa has long been one of the most prestigious places in Sweden to go for that hit of R&R. The spa at Ronneby Brunn Hotel sits by the side of its namesake river just to the south of its namesake town, about 30 minutes' drive from Karlskrona down the E22. There, it's been beckoning holidaymakers for over 300 years.

    Built in 1705 and rebuilt again in the 1950s, the resort covers indoor and outdoor recreation areas. The interior spa facility has whirlpools and 34-degree warm pools. Those spill into an ornamental Japanese garden where bubbling hot tubs give way to a fully-fledged waterpark with slides and lazy rivers. It's ideal for hotter days in the midsummer in south Sweden.

    Location: Ronneby Brunn Hotel, Brunnsparken, Ronneby 372 73, Sweden

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    5

    Halen

    Take to the freshwater

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    • Adventure

    Halen, or The Halen as the locals proudly call it, is the largest freshwater lake in the province of Blekinge. You can't miss it, because it measures nearly 4 miles from tip to toe as it dashes through the rolling oak woods to the west of Olofström.

    The summer months here are abuzz with life. Folk flock in from the nearby city of Olofström to swim and sunbathe in the Halens Badplats on the eastern banks. Others will launch fishing expeditions – the lake is known for its perch and trout. The Halen is also linked up to a whole medley of other nearby waters and lakes, so it's a fantastic place to explore by canoe or kayak when the sun's shining.

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    6

    Trollakyrka

    Hidden secrets in the woods

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    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Trollakyrka is a relatively unknown spot that won't be on many itineraries for Blekinge. It's hidden away in the very heart of the province, a touch north of the E22 from Mörtjuk. Usually, it's just the folk lucky enough to be whizzing by that get tempted to stop and start exploring.

    You're looking for an old section of virgin forest filled with moss-caked oak trees and colossal granite boulders that lurch overhead to create big caves. There's parking space on the narrow country lanes that weave into the woods, but you might need to ask a local exactly where to go. That's all part of the adventure though!

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    7

    Långasjön

    A weekend on the lakeside

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    • Budget

    The lake at Långasjön is at once easy to reach but indelibly surrounded by nature. You can cruise up the 29 roadway the moment you leave Karlshamn and be here in less than 15 minutes. But the city's a long way in the back mirror, because the terrain changes to leafy beech woodland and swaying pines before a shimmering stretch of water.

    A smattering of country huts, hostels and campgrounds make it easy to escape to Långasjön for a couple of nights in the outback. There are kayak rentals and pedalo boats for trips across the water, along with shoreline trails for those who've packed the hiking boots.

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    8

    Hällevik

    Rare sand beaches for summer paddles

    • Families
    • Photo

    Hällevik is home to some of the best beaches in the whole of Blekinge province. The town pokes out on a headland between Pukavik Bay and Hanö Bay, some 40 minutes' drive southwest from Karlshamn.

    It's a part of Blekinge that gets uncharacteristically sandy when it meets the Baltic Sea. That means some soft and shimmering arcs of powder on the coastline. The best beach is probably in Sandviken. It gets busy in the summer but is a fun-filled spot where the waters are shallow enough to paddle. The area also has golf courses and charming hamlets filled with timber-built Scandi cottages.

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    9

    Karlshamns Kallbadhus

    Swim in style

    • Families
    • Photo

    The Karlshamns Kallbadhus is a typically Scandinavian hit of uber-cool architecture right in the middle of Blekinge's rugged shoreline. You can't miss it – it rises on stilts like something from a sci-fi flick about 20 minutes' walk from the harbour in Karlshamns itself.

    Completed in 2015 at the cost of 8 million Swedish krona, the building has won prestigious urban planning awards and accolades from architects all over the world. The space is filled with muted, neutral colours and is at once organic and futuristic, with stark views of the Baltic Sea, along with several functional changing rooms and swimming platforms.

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    10

    Aspan

    An off-the-beaten track shoreline ready to be explored

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Aspan is a charming dash of proper Blekinge coastline on the Baltic. It stretches southwards from the little port town of Ronnebyhamn, so is a real favourite among boaters in the summer months. They come to hoist the sail or purr up the engine and drift in and out of the rocky inlets, swimming and birding as they go.

    Aspan itself hosts a family-friendly campground and lots of sheltered swimming spots for the warmer months. To get wilder nature, you can head south, past Byrum. That's where the ancient oak woods take over in the nature reserve, with coastal walking paths wiggling this way and that.

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    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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