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Top stunning stops along the Skåneleden hiking trail

Travelog · Skåne
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Beneath the foliage of ancient beech trees, along cliffs, beaches and fields of wheat. Everywhere we look, they emerge: the orange signs of the Skåneleden, the famous long-distance hiking trail through the south of Sweden. We follow them to the most stunning places.

Over 1.000 kilometres. You can’t cover it in a day. Not even in a week. Many people choose to walk sections every year, just like on the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The Skåneleden trail is divided into five multiple-day sub trails and 89 sections, varying between 5 and 25 kilometres in length. Each route has its charms. One part guides you through tiny fishing villages, another goes past steep cliffs, bright white churches, abandoned beaches, and then crosses phenomenal beech forests. You can spend the night anywhere you like: in your tent beneath the stars or in a small hotel along the trail. Even camping wild is allowed, thanks to Swedish Everyman’s Right, Allemansrätten.

A Viking ship of rock art

By far the most famous megalith is Stonehenge in England. Sweden has its own Stonehenge; a stone monument near the town of Kåseberga, located atop an impressive cliff.

We will hardly ever find a place more magical than this: a Viking ship of rock art. Ales Stenar.

No one knows who built Ales Stenar, or why. Some claim it is a tombstone to mark a burial ground. Others think the boulders were used as a sundial.

Ales Stenar

A post-modern fairytale

Skåne was Danish until 1658, which is beautifully exemplified by Hovdala Castle. The holes of Swedish cannonballs are still visible in the gatehouse’s giant door. Taking a tour gives you a glimpse of Skåne’s Downton Abbey.

We hear stories about Eva and Elsa Ehrenborg, Hovdala’s last residents. The sisters lived in a small part of the castle until the 1980s. When you look outside, you see a park where silence now reigns, but it wasn’t always this calm. There used to be a military training ground here until well after World War II. When Eva and Elsa awoke in their bedrooms, Leopard tanks rolled past the windows. Being here feels like a post-modern fairytale, written by the sisters ‘Eva and Elsa Grimm’.   

Wake up with the sun shining on your face

Hovdala is popular among hikers. Several sub trails and sections start at the castle, among them the 57-kilometre long Hovdalaleden. In the summer of 2019, Sweden gained a new and unique outdoor crash pad: two wooden wind shelters, Birk and Birka, situated at Hovdala Hiking Centre with a magnificent view of lake Finjansjön. The name of the campsite could not be more appropriate: Between Dusk and Dawn. In Birk or Birka we wake up with the sun shining on our faces.

Birka and Birk

Thailand? No, Sweden

You might not expect this from a country known for its deep dark forests, but in Sweden’s most southerly region you will find the most idyllic beaches. The Swedish Rivièra, if you will. So we bring our bikini for our hiking holiday: Skåne boasts 380 kilometres of coastline and the beaches are truly breathtaking. The absolute winner is Knäbäckhusen beach, near Stenshuvud National Park. What we smell are the pine trees. What we hear are seagulls. We kick off our hiking shoes and get our feet in the water - The sand won’t get any whiter than this. !

Another day in Paradise

On the beach stands an abandoned fishing cabin, several spikes in the sand for fishers to dry their nets. When it rains, you can find shelter here and leave a message in the guestbook.  Another day in Paradise, it reads. Yet it’s not raining, and it is not going to rain either. We can tell from the sky it is going to be a beautiful day.  

Haväng is prettiest in the morning, about half an hour before sunrise, when the heather is still crisp, and the horizon slowly transforms into a Mark Rothko painting. Here we walk among animals: sheep, horned dung beetles, pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies. We almost step on some sea holly because we get distracted by a flock of swans, skimming the surface of the water. 

We automatically whisper, when we pass Havängdösen, a 5500-year-old megalith, Ales Stenar’s little sister. The best is yet to come. The reflection of tree roots in the Verkeå river, which discharges into the Baltic Sea. The sunbeams above it. Almost imperceptibly, the day has begun.

 

On the Skåneleden near Haväng

Visiting Hansel and Gretel

 

The comparison with houses from the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel has probably been made many times by people who walked into Knäbäckhusen, located north of Stenshuvud. We see white plastered timber houses with thatched roofs, and impeccably painted window frames in blue and red both left and right. These are often second homes or holiday homes, owned by people in search of the tranquillity of the Swedish countryside. This paradise surrounded by hollyhocks only has one road, an unpaved track that leads to Hanöbukten, the bay where the two most southern provinces of Sweden come together: Blekinge and Skåne. Just before we get onto the beach, we see a small chapel. Many people get married in Knäbäckhusen and, in keeping with most fairytales, live happily ever after. 

Hiking past ancient hornbeams

Stenshuvud towers over the sea, 97 meters high; it literally means ‘Stone Head’. The climb is not too steep, just a one-kilometre hike from the main entrance of the park. The reward is a marvellous panoramic view of the Baltic Sea and the green of the hornbeams that covers Stenshuvuds National Park.

Nature Reserve · Skåne

Stenshuvud National Park

Skåne
The Stenshuvud National Park (stone head) is located on the Baltic coast of Skåne, just a few ...
by Svenja Rödig,   Outdooractive Editors

This area, slightly south of Kivik, was declared a national park in 1986 and covers 401 hectares, 80 of which are sea. A park with (by Swedish standards) wide sandy beaches, a lighthouse, erratically mossy rocks, rivers, heather, pine trees and ancient beech trees. It is also the habitat of the hazel dormouse, which is the park’s symbol. Each year the park draws Thousands of visitors, so we start our hike early. 

Stenshuvud

On the cliffs

One of the most beautiful stages of the Skåneleden crosses Kullaberg Nature Reserve, a peninsula in northwest Skåne. At the highest point, 78.5 meters above sea level, stands a lighthouse with the brightest light in all of Sweden.

We go down into several caves and watching the daring go abseiling. 

 

The Kullaberg Peninsula is one huge adrenaline rush. You can mountain bike, surf, and abseil. We try to spot bottlenose dolphins in a boat travelling over the waves.

Kullaberg

Time to log off

Nyrups Naturhotel describes itself as a slow hotel. There is no better word for it. Everything slows down here. The outdoor cooking alone takes up a couple of hours. All guests get the ingredients for the recipe of the day. We have to make your own fire and get started with it, such as cooking a piece of lamb or melt white chocolate.

 

We put on some warm socks, stare into the fire for hours and philosophise about life. We sleep in a round tent, inspired by Mongolian yurts, where the morning sunlight fights its way in. We hear the forest around you: a snapping twig, the call of an owl. A short walk to the lake for a quick dip ensures we start our next day on the Skåneleden as fresh as a daisy.

Nyrups Naturhotell

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Outdooractive Editors 
outdooractive.com User
Author
Nicolline van der Spek
Updated: March 03, 2020

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