Things to do in Sweden with kids? Sweden is not only Stockholm, this beautiful Country can offer a lot to families: do not be afraid to venture on a road trip with children in Sweden, because in this Scandinavian Country you will always find an excellent attention for kids, wherever you go and with any budget.
We have been visiting Sweden on the road several times: from Stockholm to the north, from Stockholm to Oslo, along the Lakes area. All journeys without Sissi, in which we milled miles even at late hours.
Things to do in Sweden with kids: Swedish Riviera
Swedish Riviera is one of the most loved places by the Swedish themselves with families. The reason? The name says a lot: a real Riviera that overlooks the Baltic Sea and that in summer has a mild climate. Surely mild (I dare say warm) for local people, and also quite mild for visitors like us (mediterranean), to swim in outdoor pools and to bathe your feet in the sea!
Swedish Riviera is a good option for visiting woth kids because you can combine culture and nature, give your children the view of a pristine beach so different from our strongly populated and urbanized beaches. I personally love beaches of Northern Europe because they are something like primitive: you still find dunes, xerofile plants, unspoilt nature. It is nice to show your kids that beach and sea are not only the expanses of umbrellas of the Adriatic coast and that the coasts are living and mobile ecosystems, to be respected.
A tour of the Swedish Riviera can start from Malmo, the main city of southern Sweden, connected through the beautiful bridge over the Oresund to Copenhagen: the center of Malmo is very nice, quite small and almost completely pedestrian, so easily walkable with kids.
From the center of Malmo, you can head north and spend half day in Lund, Sweden’s second oldest city, founded around 1000 by Danes, which nowadays has a well-known university. Its old town is small and easy to visit by foot even with small children.
From Lund, head towards the East Coast. Before you begin to travel along the coastal roads, stop at Glimmingehus, the best preserved medieval fortress in Scandinavia. Built around 1500, in the years it also became a residential castle and a warehouse for wheat, until 1924 when it was donated to Sweden and is now managed by the Swedish National Heritage Board (in Swedish: Riksantikvarieämbetet). At Glimmingehus you will find a museum, a medieval kitchen, an area in which to play the children to the Knights (look at Sissi having fun in the pictures!), a shop and a restaurant-café. During summer there are several guided tours every day. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by ghosts: will you find them?!
Near Glimmingehus, you can find the first contact with the Swedish Riviera: Simrishamn is a picturesque coastal town, where you easily park and will be able to walk even with small children: Storgatan is the main street, that crosses the market square and the small town center, until you get to the sea. The climate of this area, like the whole Swedish Riviera, is mild because these coastlines are heated by the Gulf Stream.
Heading along the coast to the South, a must-stop is at the beach of Sandhammarens which has the finer and whiter sand in Sweden and it’s one of the most beautiful and long beaches in the country. The beach begins to the east of the small town of Löderups Strandbad and extends over a distance of several kilometers to the southeast corner of the province of Skåne. Sandhammens is located in the homonymous nature reserve Sandhammaren, which is the largest area of dunes in Sweden. There are several toilets and wooden decks with benches, but be careful with bathing as, due to the strong currents, you need special caution. Near the lighthouse Sandhammarens Fyr you can find a kiosk with cafeteria. The strong and changing currents create underwater coral reefs that permanently change their size and position. A curiosity: over the centuries, thousands of ships have run aground in front of the beach, so this is the largest ship cemetery in Sweden.
A few kilometers away, another appointment with the culture: Ales Stenar (in English stones of Ale), a funerary megalithic monument probably dating from 500 A.D., at the end of the Scandinavian Iron Age. The site, in which is buried the chief of the Vikings, called Ale, from which the name derives, has 59 large stones weighing about 1.8 tons each, arranged to form the profile of a boat long 67 meters. The stones do not have the same height: in fact, those located at the bow are about 3.3 meters high and are of a larger size than those placed at the stern, which instead measure about 2.5 meters. Interesting for children who approach the study of history, but also for the little ones because the site is very green, well maintained, adjacent to the sea and to some pastures. Ales Stenar is located on a hill, easily reachable with a staircase and a short walk (perhaps a little awkward if you have kids with buggy, but the ride is really short) and if you visited Stonehenge in England you can expect something very similar. Ales Stenar has a unique fascination with its location and the interpretation of the position of the stones, which would have a calendar or astronomical function. It is established that the bow and stern stones indicate, respectively, the points where the sun sets in the summer solstice and rises on the winter solstice.
Near Ales Stenar, in the fishing port of Kaseberga, I suggest you take a break to admire the sea and eat fish cooked in the typical way!
Continuing along the coast, you will reach the small town of Ystad, a tourist town with beautiful beaches and a historical medieval nucleus very well preserved with two medieval churches where you can see the Gothic influence (Sankt Petri kyrka and Sankta Maria kyrka). A curiosity: in the last years Ystad has become quite famous thanks to the Inspector Wallander, character created by the writer Henning Kelle. Wallander is also the protagonist of the BBC TV series with Kenneth Branagh: today tourists visit the restaurant of the Hotel Continental, right in front of the port, where the Inspector often eats, and especially the address of his home, at number 8 of Mariagatan . In Ystad you can not miss the beautiful location on the sea of Ystad Saltsjöbad.
As you continue along the coast, you can’t miss the southern point of the whole of Scandinavia (55° 20′ N): Smygehuk. A small agglomeration with fishermen’s houses, a marina, a few restaurant-bars: the view is gorgeous and it’s worth the stop, even just for a pic.
Enjoy the view, stop, bathe your feet and take many photos along the coastal road from Ystad to the peninsula of Falsterbo (Falsterbonäset), which includes two villages: Skanör to the north and Falsterbo to the south. The peninsula represents the boundary between the Baltic Sea and the Oresund. The beaches, counted as one of the best beaches in Europe, are white and the sand is fine: you will find bars and restaurants, many Swedish sunbathing and bathing (if there is not too much wind, I recommend you join them!). Not far from here, you can visit the Viking reserve of Foteviken, an outdoor living museum that immerses you in the 12th century Viking customs.
You can end your tour of the Swedish Riviera back to Malmo, but stay in the south of the city, in the former popular district of Limhamn, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Oresund.