Built on 33 islands in the southern Swedish county of Blekinge, Karlskrona has a rich boating life and is visited by many cruise ships with travelers from all over the world who come to see the city’s world class attractions.
Apart from the yellow Frederick Church, eight-angular Church of Holy Trinity on Stortorget Square, and Karlskrona Admiralty Church, the largest wooden church in Sweden, which are all easy to find during a walk through the city, I visited a handful of other sights.
Blekinge Museum is located opposite the quay in the row of houses at Fisktorget Square, adjacent to its leafy Baroque garden and Café Greven, whose 17th century house is a UNESCO world heritage building. With a collection of relics, traces, and memories, the museum tells the county’s local history from 10,000 years ago. It also holds temporary exhibitions. Open Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 5pm.
Karlskrona Art Hall
Further up the street of Blekinge Museum, on Borgmästaregatan 17, Karlskrona Art Hall has an airy multi-function space dedicated to art, theater, music, dance, events, and seminars. Its smaller exhibition hall shows temporary exhibitions from mainly national artists. Free entrance for all. Open Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 5pm.
Museum Kulenovic Collection
In Karlskrona’s old water tower on Stortorget 5, Museum Kulenovic exhibits the Kulenovic family’s own 500-year-old collection of unique and rare art works from the whole world, from the Renaissance to Modernist. Fascinating, to say the least. Entrance: SEK 50. The museum, which is open all days 10am-6pm, also has a Café/Restaurant with lunch and à la carte.
The Naval City of Karlskrona
Founded in 1680 when the Royal Swedish Navy relocated to the Trossö island from the Stockholm area, at a time when Sweden was the Baltic sea region’s leading military power, Karlskrona is home to Sweden’s only remaining naval base. Inside its guarded fences lies the UNESCO’s World Heritage-included Naval Ship Yard. The Kungsholm Fortress has guarded the entrance to Karlskrona for more than 300 years.
The Naval Museum
The Naval Museum on the island Stumholmen in Karlskrona opened in 1997 by king Carl XVI Gustaf and describes the history of the Swedish Navy through exhibitions and object collections. Along with Stockholm’s Vasa Museum and the Maritime Museum, it is part of the government agency Swedish National Maritime Museums.
Where to Eat
According to locals in Karlskrona, the following places are true, tested and worth several visits.
Toscana on Stortorget 4 for good Italian pasta and pizza, neighboring Glassiären ice cream parlour for massive portions of natural ice cream (for every chosen flavor, you’ll get three scopes to the price of one), Tokio Sushi for well-made sushi, award-winning Montmartre for pizza that makes guests return for seconds, and trendy Chocolatte for homemade chocolate, liquorice, tea and coffee.
Where to Stay
In terms of location, Scandic Karlskrona by the quay on Skeppsgossegatan is a challenge to beat with its views of water and easy access to the railway station. Since its opening in March 2010, the hotel has grown into a much liked place to stay among Swedish tourists, business travelers and international guests.
Like many Scandic properties, it has a high number of rooms (180 in total) with same or similar room interior, which some may regard as boring or too common. Scandic Karlskrona manages to avoid this through carefully selected art and design inspired by nearby nature and the hotel’s proximity to the Baltic Sea.
A spacious lobby gives guests room to breathe before check-in, the hotel restaurant has a large summer terrace overlooking the water, and the breakfast buffet is guaranteed to give you a great start to the day. For exercise in between sightseeing, there’s a gym and Nordic walking sticks to lend.
Stay Hotel & Studio
For a place where you will feel more like a local than a tourist, Stay Hotel & Studio on the central shopping street Ronnebygatan offers studios and apartments of different sizes, as short or long-term rentals, for business travelers and visitors.
In 1999, founder and owner Louise Munthe started Stay Hotel Karlskrona with 13 rooms and an original concept. From 2002 and forth, Munthe expanded in Karlskrona with business apartments, in 2010 she sold the hotel to only work with apartments, and the company now has 40 apartments and studios. The aspiration is to give guests the experience of a second home while traveling. This, Stay Hotel & Studio achieves very well.
I am met by the hostess Anna who shows me around. The reception/guest living room on the first floor stands out, since combining the two is not norm in apartment hotels, as does every studio I see. I love how each studio has its own unique interior and atmosphere. The dreamer in me thinks about how you could choose studio depending on your mood and then spend as many days at Stay as there are studios (one night per studio).
My studio, adjacent to the reception, on the first floor, has a foresty theme with green in different nuances, dark accent colors, black furnishing and elegant touches. I love how they have furnished the studio to make the most of the space and created a feeling of several rooms on one rectangular surface.
Besides a kitchenette with small table and a “living room” with SAMSUNG widescreen TV, DVD player and speakers, studio 102 has a single comfortable bed and sturdy desk. Complimentary broadband is available throughout the building. Breakfast is available to order for an additional fee.
All guests have access to free laundry facilities, detergent included. In the corridor on the first floor, there are maps and brochures about Karlskrona and the region, timetables for buses and trains, telephone directories as well as headache tablets and band-aids. A direct phone to the reception, taxi and night guard SOS alarm is in the lobby. Every night, a guard is doing rounds to ensure utmost safety.
I loved the place so much that I spontaneously decided to stay for two more nights in a studio on the floor above, which was just as memorable as Studio number 102. Thinking about it, memorable is a word that excellently sums up Stay Hotel & Studio.