Did you know that Skåne is the province in Sweden with the most castles? Skåne's landscape is full of fertile cornfields, medieval towns and attractive beaches, but here among the beech forests you will also find 240 castles and manors. The majority of castles are open to the public, but many are still privately owned. We have visited the area around Kristianstad and discovered four of the area's finest castles, but we have also discovered the exciting surroundings and workers' housing at an old gunpowder mill. Follow along from castle to hut, quite simply!
If your picture of a real fairytale castle consists of round towers and a moat, Vittskövle castle is the perfect castle. Vittskövle castle is one of Sweden's best-preserved Renaissance castles and has over 100 rooms. The current castle was built in 1553 and once had a classic folding drawbridge over the water-filled moat, but nowadays the drawbridge has been replaced by a stable stone bridge.
The castle is privately owned, but the English park surrounding the castle is open to the public. Stroll around among the lilacs, the well-trimmed bushes and the fine stone bridges. Parking is available on the other side of the main road.
Vittskövle castle is located in Vittskövle, 2,5 miles south of Kristianstad.
The castle that I basically knew nothing about before my visit, was Maltesholm Castle. The castle began to be built in the 17th century, but it wasn't until 1780 that the castle got its current appearance. The castle is privately owned and has been passed down for 14(!) generations, but it is possible to visit the large park during the summer months. The park has many exciting natural statues and in the spring the park is completely covered in ramslök blossom. An exciting detail is that here is an orangery from the 18th century where Sweden's first ever bananas were grown!
On the way up to Maltesholm, you cross the K-marked stone road "Höge väg" which took 50 years to build. In order to gather material for the road, the castle's workers had to bring one stone to the construction site each day. The workers are said to have created expression "If His lordship wasn't mad, the poor man would have no bread".
Maltesholm is located 2,5 kilometers south of Kristianstad, outside Östra Vram.
The golden Christinehof Castle was built by Christina Piper in the 18th century. The story of Christina is so spectacular that it perhaps is even more interesting than the history of the castle? Christina's husband Carl Piper dies in war in 1716 and Christina then moves from Stockholm to Skåne and takes over the family's properties. Christina thus begins her journey towards becoming one of Skåne's biggest castle builders and one of the biggest entrepreneurs of her time. When you visit the castle, you will learn more about this exciting woman during the guided tours.
Christinehof's nature and eco-park spreads out around the castle, well suited for a beautiful walk with or without a dog.
The castle is mainly open to visitors in the summer, but this year (2022) the castle also holds a spooky 18th-century masquerade in early November.
Christinehof is located 5 kilometers south of Kristianstad, just outside Kivik. There is both a castle café and a castle stall here.
Bäckaskog castleis located on an isthmus between Ivösjön and Oppmannasjön, 20 km northeast of Kristianstad. This is the only castle on this list that you can actually both stay in and dine at, as the castle nowadays is a popular hotel and restaurant.
The history of the castle did not begin as a castle, but as a monastery in the 13th century. After the Reformation in the 16th century, the monastery was dismantled and since then the castle has both changed its appearance and seen an occasional royal party. If you want to read more about Bäckaskog's history and see more pictures, look into my post Bäckaskog castle - Where the angels sang the loudest.
There are no tours of the castle itself, but the castle park with its art and herb garden is well worth a visit.
Torsebro Gunpowder Mill
After Skåne became Swedish in 1658, there were troubled times in southern Sweden. The fortresses along Scania's coast desperately needed gunpowder and to meet the need, Karl XI in 1681 started up Torsebro gunpowder mill. The gunpowder mill was for a long time a closed society for security reasons and inside the walls lived both workers and lords protected by guards. The mill had state monopoly on gunpowder production until 1858, when black powder slowly began to be replaced by other explosives.
The workers on the mill lived with their families in five worker's homes. It was crowded and simple, but thanks to cultivation, the community was self-sufficient. Gunpowder production ceased completely in 1926 and the buildings fell into disrepair for a few years, but the old worker's homes that remain are today rented out as holiday homes.
Large parts of the area are today architectural monuments and nature reserves and there is also a small museum. The park with its old house is open to the public to stroll around all year round.
Torsebro gunpowder mill is located 2 miles north of Kristianstad.
Which other castles have you visited around Kristianstad? Do you have a favorite that I missed?
Do you want to read more from Skåne? Look into my Scania page.
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