Skåne is not known for being a mountainous landscape. On the contrary. However, my husband claims that Skåne is not flat at all - he says that you discover it when you cycle around the fields outside Malmö. But in my eyes the yellow canola undulates on flat fields as far as the eye can see and where the canola ends the sea takes over. Perhaps it is therefore both a little unexpected and a little delicious that Skåne has a mountain that can be seen from a distance in large parts of Skåne. Kullaberg. Skåne's wildest side.
Kullaberg located outside beautiful small Mill. The city that just over 100 years ago was a seaside resort that attracted visitors from all over northern Europe. Bathers did not flock here for either paradise beaches or hot springs. People came here for Mölle's so-called "community bath". At the time, something really sinful and that required a little hush hush hush. Today, Mölle is one of Scania's coziest towns, with really good restaurants and plenty of boat guests during the summer months.
Kullaberg is a nature reserve that not only includes the 187 meter high mountain. Here, the nature-protected area actually goes a good distance into the sea and embraces the entire cape. Diving is popular and during the summer you can actually book a snorkeling tour (with a wetsuit), which takes you to secret caves and exciting rock formations. Don't expect to see Nemo, but if you're lucky you might meet a curious porpoise or a seal. The porpoise looks like a dolphin, but is actually a small toothed whale. A rather exotic feature of Swedish nature, if you ask me.
The vast majority of people who go out to the nature reserve visit Kullens lighthouse at the far end of the cape. The road here is called The Italian way because of its fine views and steeps. Maybe not quite as dramatic as the roads around Cinque Terre, but definitely a surprisingly steep road.
Kullens lighthouse is Sweden's highest lighthouse. From the top of the mountain, the lighthouse shows ships passing through one of the world's busiest straits. Not seeing a boat here from the top of the headland is almost impossible. Between 35.000 and 40.000 ships pass through here every year. And then we're only talking ships - not all smaller boats. Despite all the boat traffic, the area is full of fish and other marine animals. If you think you see a porpoise, check again. They have actually caught cod that weighed over 30 kilos (!) here in Öresund. Unexpectedly, there are also lobsters here, although lobsters actually only live in really salty seas.
Despite the lighthouse guiding the ships, Kullaberg's rocks have taken their toll. More than 200 ships have run aground or sunk here off the cape. In the 13th century there was no lighthouse here, but the lighthouse keeper - The hill man - every evening lit a fire out here on the headland. Perhaps you have heard of the Kullamannen from books or TV? During the late 1960s, the popular youth thriller series was filmed here.
The nature out on the cape is really dramatic. It doesn't feel at all like being in Scania, but rather like I'm in my home region around the High Coast and hiking. High cliffs plunge steeply into the sea and the wind blows strongly. The seagulls stand almost still in the air and flutter in the upwinds on some days. Despite the strong wind, honeysuckle flourishes and some kind of wild onion squeezes into the mountain crevices. During the 1970s, inventories were made of the flora in the nature reserve, which showed that as much as 70% of the Swedish flora grows within the area (if you exclude purely scaly species).
All around Kullaberg goes Skåneleden. A popular stretch to hike is the part of the trail that goes around the headland between Mill and Arild – a challenging 16km hike through fishing villages and cliffs that I would love to try.
At the far end of the headland by the sea is a tiny little lighthouse – Kullaberg west. Here below the mountain you can visit The Silver Cave, one of many caves found here in the nature reserve. The Silver Cave's name comes from the fact that the Danes once thought there was silver here, but it turned out to be pegmatite - also called crow silver. Hiking down here is recommended, but keep in mind that the hiking trail down here can be quite steep in parts.
How do I get to the Kullaberg nature reserve?
Kullaberg is located in northwestern Scania, right next to the town of Mölle. The easiest way to get here is by car, but you can walk here from Mölle or take bus 202 from Mölle bus station (during the summer).
Kullaberg nature reserve can be visited all year round, we have been here both spring and summer. Naturum is open every day during the summer, but limited opening hours during the rest of the year. Read about the opening hours here. It is also possible to go on a lighthouse walk and have a coffee at the lighthouse's café.
Where the road ends up on the mountain is a large parking lot (on a lawn) that has been filled with foreign cars every time we've been here. Kullaberg is neither Sweden's largest nor wildest nature reserve, but it is probably the first experience of Swedish nature for many of the foreign motorhome tourists.
Do you want to read more?
- Kullaberg nature reserve's official site
- Guide to western Kullaberg – family-friendly hikes on the cape (pdf)
- The Kullaberg folder (pdf) – with map
- Caves at Kullaberg (pdf)
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