The visits to Kristianstad were partly made in connection with press trips with Visit Kristianstad, but all thoughts and opinions are, as usual, my own.
In the area around Kristianstad in north-eastern Scania you will find deep beech forests, lots of magical lakes, a wild sea coast, extensive wetlands and lots of popular areas for migratory birds. Quite simply, a lot of nature experiences in a small area! If you like to hike, swim or just take a simple Sunday stroll by the water, there are plenty of options. Here are my nine favorites – from scallion paradise to waterfalls!
1. Åbjär nature reserve
It ripples and roars around the moss-covered rocks along Mjöån in Åbjär nature reserve. The air is so humid that it feels like it's raining, even though it's not. Or does it? It's hard to know for sure here under the thick foliage. The entire landscape in Åbjär is lush green, although the ground is mainly covered with moss.
Åbjär nature reserve was created in 2012 and covers 93 hectares of waterways and deciduous forest. Take the stairs down into the gorge and walk over bridges and logs along the slow waterfall. There is a reasonably long hiking loop around the river that is suitable for the whole family.
There is a parking space 2 km south of Östra Sönnarslöv at Huarödsvägen. There is also an information sign here that is good to take a picture of before you head down into the gorge.
2. Åhus's beaches
From Åhus down to Kivik, Hanö Bay is bordered by some of Sweden's absolute best beaches. White, fine-grained and soft to walk barefoot on - this is exactly how you want a beach to be. During the summer months, the most popular beaches can have a lot of visitors, but there are many beaches to choose from. From the popular Täppet in Åhus, you have 40 kilometers of beaches along the so-called "Ålakusten", which spreads from Kristianstad all the way down to Österlen.
You will find one of the finest stretches of beach at Yngsjö havsbad, but you can easily find your own gems. Namely, there are over 20 official bathing areas with parking lots along the coast.
If you don't feel like swimming, you can still experience the beauty of the coast by hiking the Skåneleden SL6, the stretch between Åhus and Nyehusen – an easy 16 kilometer hike with the possibility of lots of sand between your toes.
3. Forsakar's waterfall
East of Degeberga village you will find two of Skåne's highest waterfalls in a beautiful beech ravine. The upper waterfall is 7,4 meters high and is located on an easily accessible trail, while the lower waterfall is 10,6 meters and is located on an unmaintained trail. If you want to visit the lower waterfall, you should be aware that several of the trees in the gorge are attacked by rot, which means that there is a risk that they will fall into the gorge without warning.
There are two car parks, the largest of which is on the outskirts of Degeberga.
4. Årummet nature reserve
A stone's throw from Kristianstad's center is the Årummet nature reserve, part of the Vattenriket biosphere reserve. Helge å passes right through the nature reserve, which during the course of the seasons affects the landscape with its varying water levels. When it is high tide in Helge å, the water covers the extensive coastal meadows and creates the area's unique wetlands.
In Årummet there is plenty to do for the whole family all year round. In the winter you can spot sea eagles and otters, in the spring the cranes pass by, in the summer you can glide around on an Everglades-style boat safari, and in the fall it's the best nibbles. Wildlife is abundant and exciting all year round. From Naturum in central Kristianstad, Vattenriket's popular hiking trails Linnérundan and Tivolirundan depart, and the large Safari boat also departs from here.
Årummet and Naturum are located in the middle of Kristianstad, with plenty of parking.
5. Äspet nature reserve
Äspet nature reserve is located at Äspet outside Åhus. Here in the coastal area, a mixed forest spreads out with barren and lichen-covered ground and tall pines. The area is a popular recreation area for swimming and hiking, but in the shallow Korran lagoon there is also a perfect resting place for migratory birds before or after a long flight across the Baltic Sea. From March to September, a large area around Korran is a bird protection area, with strict access restrictions. During this period, you can instead watch the birds from one of the two birdwatching towers.
For those who like to hike, the Skåneleden SL6 Vattenriket passes here.
Äspet is located at the far end of the Äspet peninsula in Åhus.
6. Norra Lingenäset
Norra Lingenäset is an area in Näsby fält nature reserve. Visiting this area in spring is an experience hard to beat. The air is thick with birdsong and the ground is dense with blooming wild garlic and spring flowers. At Araslövsjön, seabirds swim, birds of prey circle the sky and the smell of garlic is overwhelming.
For those who want to hike, you can take the loop around Norra Lingenäset. The loop is easy to walk and the wetland areas are crossed by well-constructed wooden planks.
Please note that it is forbidden to pick wild garlic within most parts of the nature reserve. You can find a map of permitted areas here.
You don't have to go to Hornborgasjön to see dancing cranes. During the spring, mainly in March-April, thousands of cranes stop by the bird lake Pulken and rests up after his long flight over the sea. Seeing dancing cranes in all their glory and hearing the sound of their song is an experience of a lifetime. If you're lucky, you might be able to have a look through some birdwatcher's big binoculars, otherwise I can strongly recommend bringing your own binoculars. A small pair of binoculars is better than none at all.
Pulken is just outside Yngsjö, south of Kristianstad.
• Vattenriket's information on Pulken
At Ivöthe lake is an area that could be taken from the world of fairy tales. A world where giants throw boulders around and we humans are no bigger than ants. Kjugekull is a nature reserve with 50 giant craters and hundreds of large and high rock blocks. Here you will not only find cool nature, but also one of Sweden's best places for bouldering - that is, climbing on boulders without safety lines.
For those who prefer walking over climbing, there are two hiking trails through the area – the blue (3,3 km) and the red (1,4 km). Don't be fooled by the length of the red trail, it goes through blocky terrain and takes a little longer than you think.
Kjugekull is located northeast of Kristianstad, vid Ivöthe lake.
Lerjevallen is a popular outdoor area for hiking and bathing. For those of you that want to get out of town for a while, do some BBQ and take a nice walk - Lerjevallen is a good choice. There are as many as four different hiking trails here, and two of them are electrically lit.
The red trail goes around the entire lake and is 2,5 kilometers. A very pleasant walk that can be finished with a swim. A little south of the lake on the purple, blue or yellow hiking trail you will find the Romeliaek from the 12th century - the oldest mountain oak in all of Europe.
You can find the best parking on the road to Mjönäs on Mjönäsvägen, here there is a large parking space on the right-hand side signposted Lerjevallen.
• Map of Lerjevallen at Friluftsfrämjandet
Those were my nine nature favorites around Kristianstad! Was your favorite included or did I miss someone?
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