Sweden! Last summer, we had the privilege of visiting the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for the first time. From Estonia, we ferried over to Helsinki, Finland and began our summer camping trip there. In June and July 2022, we camped our way through a bit of Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
Summer up here in the north was the greatest thing, so my mom especially was set on coming back again this year. Norway wasn’t our favorite, so we decided we’d rather invest our time this summer only in Sweden and Finland, two countries we thoroughly enjoyed last year.
From Świnoujście, a Polish port town on the border with Germany, we took Polferries to Ystad in Sweden. The ferry takes from 6.5-7.5 hours and costs US$30 per person, if you buy tickets from the ticket office in person.
Many campgrounds in Sweden are reachable only with some kind of transportation, whether a car, camper, or bicycle. For us as walkers, we were happy that, although 1.6 miles away, this Ystad camping was within walking distance from both the ferry, train, and city center.
Ystad is a gorgeous beach town with colorful, historic buildings that draws lots of visitors each year. Ystad camping is nicely located about a 2 minute walk from the beach and a beach promenade that leads toward the city center.
The campground is mostly a campervan park, with a small forest area for tent campers, near the road. Some of the campervaners lived there, which gave the place a slightly different vibe. However, the campground was kept clean (cleaned twice a day), and there were places to sit in the kitchen and in a games/tv room. Overall, the facilities were pretty nice! There were huge “family room” bathrooms and a great laundry room. Laundry was 100kr ($9-10ish) for three hours access to one washer and one dryer– both of which worked really well. Yay for clean clothes!
One strange development that has become popular at many campgrounds is charging extra for showers. At Ystad, 3 minutes of hot water cost 5kr (about $0.50). Cold water ran for free in some shower stalls if you’re okay with braving the cold!
Wifi worked well in the kitchen area for me, but was very slow or nonexistent in other areas.
We met some neat people from the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark who were biking their way around the south. We definitely noticed that people were very active there!
For the three of us, with one tent, we were charged 315kr ($29) per night.
We arrived in Sweden on June 21st, the very first day of summer, the summer solstice. The midsummer holiday, celebrating the summer solstice, is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Sweden.
Most stores close and everyone heads out to nature over a long weekend. Every little town seems to set up their own festivities. The main event is setting up a maypole that people dance around, just as in the times of ancient Roman paganism.
Beach Huts/ Badhytt
These are Swedish badhytt, or directly translated, bathhouses! We were so intrigued by these tiny little huts by the beach and made many guesses as to what they are used for. My mom saw a woman watering her flowers outside one and went over to ask her about them. The Swedish woman told us these badhytt have been around for less than a hundred years in this southern region of Sweden, referred to as the Swedish riviera.
The huts used to be closer to the water, but a large storm made it necessary to move them further back. They are used for changing clothes and relaxing by the water. Sleeping in them is prohibited and there are strict size rules, as they are not allowed to be built larger than a certain square meterage. She told us that back in the day, a badhytt could be bought for something like US$300, but now they can sell for even up to $30,000. Wow!
You learn something everyday.
Thanks to some helpful suggestions by locals we met at the campground, we chose our next camping destination to be a lake in a small town called Almhult. We’d get there by train. Off we go!