Halmstad, Sweden, Weekend exploring Halland

Halmstad, Sweden – A Weekend Exploring Halland

How did we end up in the town of Halmstad and the province of Halland? Our summer of 2021 didn’t really start the way we had hoped it would. The pandemic had been going on for about a year and once we hoped for it to decline, our neighbor in Kista had some troubles in their apartment which burned down and caused smoke damage to ours. In early May we were kind of moving to my parents in Vagnhärad for an unforeseeable future and most of our possessions were shipped to a facility for decontamination.

So what to do when looking for new toys for your child and trying to get some distance to what has happened? Susann and I chose to head out on a road trip while Little A got some quality time with her grandparents. This is how we ended up in the province of Halland on the western coast of Sweden. Here we explored places like Ullared, Varberg, and Falkenberg, prior to staying the night in the town of Halmstad.

Read more about these towns:

Read more about the two provinces:

Shopping in Ullared

Our road trip took us from Vagnhärad and south through Sweden along the highway E4 to Jönköping. From here, we continued on smaller roads to the small locality of Ullared. This is probably one of the best-known placenames in Sweden if you made a survey among the country’s residents. Ullared is famous for its huge low-price shopping center with visitors traveling hours to just get the chance for what is believed to be cheap shopping. I think few people stay within their pre-set budget, probably meaning that it is one of the most expensive places to go to.

For our part, we decided to give it a go to get some toys for Little A. The pandemic meant that they had limited the number of visitors inside the shopping center, but that just meant a long queue outside. Fortunately, we were there rather early and didn’t need to wait for too long (it seemed to have gotten worse once we were done inside). Finally inside, we looked around and as the bad shoppers that we usually are, we barely found anything. The main target was, however, achieved as we had been able to replace Little A’s favorite toys with identical ones. We were still the ones leaving the shopping center with only a small bag, as we walked past both the now much longer queue and the number of people who tried to carry or push their shopping to their cars.

Exploring the Fortress in Varberg

Just a short drive from Ullared is the historical town of Varberg. This is today a beautiful small coastal town with an impressive fortress. As we approached lunchtime we headed towards the main square to find some food. But as the sun was shining and people tried to forget the pandemic many of the restaurants were really crowded. We eventually ended up at the local grill for a hamburger.

After lunch, our explorations focused on the fortress and the area around it. We walked along the beach, enjoying the sunshine, something that would soon change. As we walked along the castle walls a mist blew in from the sea. Eventually, there was little left of the sunshine and we walked carefully up to the castle walls and along what otherwise would have been nice viewpoints. With the fog thickening, we were soon on our way back to our car to try our luck in the next town along the coast.

A Stroll in Falkenberg

A short drive south of Varberg is the town of Falkenberg, another of the towns in Halland that has a long history. Here we took a walk along the river Ätran, one of the four rivers in Halland that most Swedes get to know in school. There was even a poem that would help the pupils remember the four rivers: Viskan, Ätran, Nissan, and Lagan.

Our exploration took us to one more fortress. Well, actually we visited the ruins of a 13th-century fortress that has seen large parts of it being dismantled for its material in other building projects. But it is a cozy small town for a walk and we were lucky that the sea mist had not reached this part of the coast. Our stop was, however quite brief this time. We still had a short drive left before reaching our final destination of the day, Halmstad.

Enjoying an Evening in Halmstad

So we left the town with the river Ätran and reached Halmstad, home to the river Nissan. As with Falkenberg and Varberg, Halmstad has a long history as both a part of Denmark and in more recent centuries Sweden. Halmstad is the seat of Halland county and is the 17th largest town in Sweden.

Once we reached Halmstad we checked in to the hotel and dropped our things off in the room. It was time to find a restaurant for dinner and we headed out toward the central parts of the town. Of course, we strolled around for quite some time prior to actually finding a restaurant. Not due to any lack of them, but mostly because we happened to get stuck sightseeing instead of actually deciding to sit down somewhere. We eventually ended up having some Italian food while talking about everything that had happened. Sometimes there is just that need to get away, get some distance from recent events, and look forward.

A night of good sleep and we woke up to a rainy Halmstad. We still had a quite long drive for the upcoming day, but we still had two things left to do in Halmstad. The first one was to enjoy breakfast at the hotel. The second was to head up the nearby hills to see if we could get a good view of the town. The hill Galgberget was our target. This was where people in earlier centuries were executed by hanging, but it does today offer a view out over Halmstad. Well, it at least would have had it not been raining. The vegetation also obstructed much of the view. It was, however, a nice walk in the forests on the hill prior to our long drive back to Vagnhärad.

A Ride Back Home

Our drive back to Vagnhärad soon took us through the province of Småland. Småland is probably one of the provinces in Sweden that competes with the most boring roads to drive. There are mostly forests along the roads and there is not much that you will be able to see from your car windows. Leaving Halmstad we had to cross through most of the inner part of Småland and could enjoy the never-changing nature outside our windows. To get some change, we made sure to make a few stops in urban areas.

Our first stop was in Ljungby, a locality that is also a major logistical hub. Curious about how it actually looked we made a stop and walked around the central part of the town. Especially the Old Square was cozy but it didn’t offer us any possibility to find some lunch this early. As we were getting hungry we continued north along the E4.

We soon reached Värnamo, another town with a few more possibilities for lunch, especially since the standardized lunchtime had finally arrived. Looking around the town we came across an Asian buffet where we sat down and ate way too much. So much so that we forced ourselves for an additional walk through the town and its parks afterward. Either way, we still had a long drive ahead of us and were soon back along the highway E4.

Our final stop before we decided that we just had to keep driving until we reached our destination was the small locality of Skillingaryd. This was mostly because I wanted to stretch my legs a bit, but it was still a cozy walk in the now-increasing rain. It was then just a few hours of driving before reaching my parents’ home in Vagnhärad. It had been a nice road trip and Little A was really happy that we were back. She was even happier that she got some toys again, but couldn’t really understand why she got toys that she already had. She would probably have preferred to get completely new toys that she hadn’t already in her boxes back at home.

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