Imagine sitting on the terrace of a castle overlooking magnificent garden. Birds are chirping in the trees and you can smell flowers blooming nearby. Coffee is served for you along with some pastries. You sip it slowly while enjoying the views of the royal grounds. This is not a dream, but a reality that can be experienced in Sweden.
Sweden’s Scania region is home for a number of beautiful castles. It’s a shame that most of them are private properties, so you can admire them only from the outside. However, there are a few Scanian castles that are open to the public. Not only you can see their interiors and some exhibitions, but you can also have fika or lunch feeling like royalty, at least for a short while.
One of the best preserved Renaissance castles Skarhult is situated between Lund and Eslöv. It is surrounded by English style park with a pond in the middle of it, a creek full of ducklings and huge rhododendron bushes bursting with beautiful blossom in early summer.
Only a few rooms of the castle are open for visitors with a small historical exhibition about Rosensparre family who ruled there over the centuries.
The exhibition includes a dining room and a recreated kitchen with baking and cooking utensils and old recipe books.
There is a cafe in the cellar of the castle where you can find some traditional Swedish pastries, such as cinnamon or cardamom buns or truly indulgent nutty Tosca cake. Those who are up for something more substantial will be offered a bowl of soup with stone oven baked bread.
Enjoy your treat in the courtyard of the castle or go to the terrace with the views of the beautiful park. If you brought your own picnic blanket, you can settle in on the grass under one of the trees and embrace the ambience of this place.
April to September:
Wed to Sun 11 am – 5 pm
When visiting southern Sweden, make sure to plan your visit to Sofiero – a royal summer residence minutes away from Helsingborg. At the beginning of 20th century king Gustaf Adolf and his wife Margareta built stone walkways, planted rhododendrons and flower beds, creating a beautiful park around it that has been welcoming the visitors up to this day.
The castle is open to visitors from mid April to mid September with an exposition of royal family history and a few rooms furnished in different styles.
Breathtaking views of the park and the sea on the horizon open up from the terrace of the castle. What makes things even better is that you can have coffee or lunch there.
The cafe serves a few different kinds of sandwiches with shrimps, herring, ham or vegetables and there is a real paradise for sweet treat lovers.
Chocolate, carrot, lemon, apple or Tosca cake, cheesacake and pecan pie, a few different kinds of biscuits, buns and scrumptious Mazarins – all fresh and ready to be devoured.
Cafe opening hours
Mid April to mid September:
Daily 11 am – 5 pm
Continuing northwards from Sofiero, after half and hour drive you will reach Krapperup manor. It was built in the middle of 16th century on the foundations of a medieval fortress. In 17th century the wings with seven-pointed stars were added to the castle, representing coat-of-arms of the owners – Gyllenstierna family. Renovations in 18th century gave the manor its current appearance.
The manor is open for pre-booked visits only, but the romantic layout park developed in the 19th century is well worth a visit. It covers around half a hectare and includes winding paths, ponds with golden carps and turtles, rhododendrons and a beautiful rose garden.
Krapperup cafe located in the former farm building nearby is another good reason for a visit. A selection of cakes and pies will surely give you hard time choosing: warm almond cake with apricot jam, raspberry and coconut pie, meringues with preserved wallnuts, rhubarb and white chocolate cheesecake, chocolate cake with berry compote, gooseberry cake with gooseberry compote, chocolate truffle pie with peanuts, apple cake with almonds, Tosca pie with rhubarb, key lime pie with Italian merengue, pineapple cake with chilli marinated pineapple and the list continues.
You can also order a large freshly made shrimp sandwich with egg & mayo, fried & pickled herring with egg, mature cheese and dill sauce on rye bread or salad with chicken, pickled onions, parmesan and lime dressing.
Settle down in the shadow of a huge tree in the stable yard or go straight through their boutique shop and you’ll end up in a small enclosed garden with just a few tables there.
The shop is worth a separate mention. There is a big selection of unusual jam flavours such as tomato and cardamom or blueberry and bay leave. Freshly baked breads that they sell are gorgeous, especially the one with olives, onion and sea salt, so make sure you pick up a loaf to take home with you.
Cafe opening hours
June to mid August:
Daily 11 am – 5 pm
April to May & September to mid December:
Sat – Sun 11 am – 5 pm
Located halfway between Malmö and Ystad, Svaneholm or ‘Swan islet’ castle is surrounded by a unique setting of a forest and a lake. It was built in 16th century by a knight Maurits Sparre who was granted the land by the king. Originally the castle was surrounded by a moat filled with water and it was three storeys high. In 17th century two more floors were built on the top of the eastern wing giving it a baroque look.
Today there is a museum in the castle with four floors of exhibition containing various pieces from different historical periods including dishes and dining room settings.
Since 1969 a restaurant has been operating in the castle serving changing seasonal menu. During summer months a nice setting in the inner courtyard welcomes visitors for lunch.
At the time of my visit lunch menu consisted of sandwiches, burgers, salad and fried fish. My choice was traditional Swedish dish – fried fresh herring fillet with garden salad and young potatoes.
A few sweet options are available on the menu for those who just want a relaxing coffee break and you will not regret if you choose layered almond cake.
There are afternoon tea sessions that take place in Svaneholm castle once a month. You can check the schedule on their website.
Restaurant opening hours
Tues – Sun 12 pm – 3 pm
The rest of the year:
Tues – Sun daily 12 pm – 4 pm