Varberg, located on Sweden’s west coast, is a gorgeous holiday destination for Swedes. It also happens to be where some lovely family members whom we connected with on our Scandinavian Adventure live! Originally a military fortress under Danish rule, it became Swedish in the 1600s. The town has long been known as a seaside health resort, as people have believed the sea and fresh spring water there are therapeutic. As such, Varberg has the highest density of spas in Sweden. It’s also home to the best surfing in Scandinavia!
Varbergs Kusthotell – We stayed in the loveliest spa hotel in Varberg (pictured at the top of the page), which turned out to have been at one time a children’s tuberculosis hospital. Families would send their ailing children here in hopes the sea air and therapeutic waters would make them well. Sadly, there was a little cemetery behind the hotel. More recently, it was converted into a gorgeous hotel, keeping much of the historical beauty intact.
Brittas Strandveranda – Varberg is popular for water sports: paddle board, parasailing, surfing, etc. A few, great seaside establishments dot the coastline and our favorite was Britta’s, and not just because we happen to also have a sister and grandmother by that name! We had a sunset glass of wine here and stayed for some delicious food. Once great thing about outdoor dining in Sweden is blankets! Nearly everywhere we went had a basket at the ready.
Family Ancestry – Our cousins drove us about an hour inland from the coast, and we toured around some churches and family homes, stopping to take photos and see where our shared ancestors once lived.
Ekelund – We made a great stop along the way at this textile outlet. Ekelund is a big name in Swedish textiles, a family-owned company of master weavers since 1692. The factory store where we stopped was a treasure trove of gorgeous, original Swedish patterned dish towels, blankets, napkins, tablecloths, you name it! We were so happy to come home with a small token from here. Of note, Ekelund textiles are all organically produced without pesticides and socially responsible farming practices.
Öströö Fårfarm – One of our destinations from Varberg was a sheep farm where we had so much fun! This working sheep farm is super tourist-friendly with a beautiful shop filled with handmade wool items, local berry preserves, meats and cheeses, as well as a restaurant and outdoor seating where you sit among the grazing sheep.
Tomte – In Nordic lore, Tomte is a mischievous litttle man in a tall, pointy cap with a long white beard. He lives in the pantry or barn, does chores all year and looks after things in the household, making sure everything under his watch is neat and orderly. His only demand is on Christmas Eve, Swedes leave him a bowl of oatmeal with butter (he is said to be very greedy for butter, and no good will come to you if you begrudge him butter). Tomte is also the same word in Swedish for ‘Santa.’
Ästad Vingård – Our cousin arranged a tour of a Swedish vineyard, and it happened to be the northern-most vineyard in the world! They grow only one type of grape, Solaris, which was engineered in Germany to grow in very cold climates. We had an excellent tour guide and winemaker take us through the full winemaking process, and finish with a glass of their signature wine, which was utterly fabulous. There was also a spa on the property for weekend getaways. Unfortunately, since this winemaking house is in its infancy, they had no wine to sell yet, only to taste on the property, but they hope to be able to start distributing in the near future.
Thank you to Hans and Linda for showing us your beautiful corner of the world!