Åhus is a coastal town in Kristianstad Municipality in the province of Skåne. It lies along the shores of the Baltic Sea in southern Sweden. This is a popular summer resort for many, both occasional visitors as well as for a recurring summer population. It is home to around 10,500 year-round inhabitants, but the population is a lot higher during the summer months. In addition, the town is also known for its vodka. This is the home of the Pernod Ricard-owned vodka producer The Absolut Company AB.
A Short History of Åhus
Åhus has a history going back many centuries as a marketplace, a history that predates the nation-states that later were to fight over these lands. The town was in the 13th century known as Aos, which developed towards Åhus from the 14th century onward. The local fortress was built in the 11th century and was later joined by medieval constructions such as the town hall.
The town had its glory days during the Middle Ages. The decline began with the Reformation in the 16th century and continued with the many conflicts between Denmark and Sweden. Åhus lost its town status in 1617 with the establishment of nearby Kristianstad. A few decades later in 1658 Åhus and the rest of Skåne became a part of Sweden with the Treaty of Roskilde.
The railway arrived in Åhus in 1883 and with the railway came tourism and industrialization. Thousands could arrive on the train each day to enjoy some time on the beach. The railway is since 1962 only used for freight and is known for its weekly “vodka train”. Vodka has been produced here for over a century and Åhus is today the only town where Absolut Vodka is produced.
Things to Do and See
Åhus is an old town and there is still that historical feeling when walking the cobblestone streets. The many cars parked at the main square might destroy the medieval atmosphere, but thanks to the many historical buildings there is some of that feeling. This is a town where you can begin with a walk along the marina, pass one of the world’s largest vodka producers, and just a while thereafter stand at the center of a medieval town. All this should probably according to tradition end with a visit to one of the local beaches.
Åhus Museum is the local museum that stands at the central square. The museum is housed in the old medieval town hall and has exhibitions about the town’s history as well as temporary summer exhibitions.
The fortress in Åhus is believed to have been built in the 11th century and did earlier go under the name Castro Aaos. This might actually be the oldest stone fortress in Scandinavia. The fortress was for some time titled a castle before it in the 17th century was turned into a ruin with the decline of Åhus and its town status. The castle ruin has today been excavated from the sand that once covered it. It is possible to enter the ruin and explore the small space that is still enclosed by the stone walls.
Sankta Maria Kyrka
The Church of Saint Mary is the main town church of Åhus and has a history dating back to the 12th century. This red brick church with its tower is a landmark in the town. It is part of the Åhus Congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.
Täppetstranden & Åhusbryggan
Täppetstranden, or Täppet Havsbad, is the long sandy beach to the northeast of the town center. This is a beach that just goes on and on with barely an end in sight. Close to its southern end is Åhusbryggan, a jetty that stretches 120 meters out into the Baltic Sea.
Äspet is a nature area to the south of the town center. This is where you will find a forested area known as Kronoskogen as well as a lagoon known for its bird-watching possibilities. Well, most people that head towards Äspet during the summer do probably do it for its long sandy beach. The sand here does hide a mysterious shipwreck a short distance out in the water.
How to Get to Åhus
- Flights: The nearest airports are Malmö Airport (MMX) to the west and Kristianstad Österlen Airport (KID) to the north. There is also Copenhagen Airport (CPH) right across the Öresund Strait in Denmark.
- Car: Åhus is located along Road 118 just south of Kristianstad.
- Bus: Buses from Skånetrafiken connect Åhus with the surrounding area.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 563 kilometers (6 h)
- Gothenburg – 278 kilometers (3 h 10 min)
- Malmö – 103 kilometers (1 h 5 min)
- Linköping – 368 kilometers (4 h 10 min)
- Kiruna – 1793 kilometers (18 h 20 min)