Helsingborg, Skåne, Exploring Sweden

Helsingborg, Skåne – Exploring Sweden

Helsingborg is a coastal city in Skåne County in the southern part of Sweden. This is the closest that you will get to Denmark from the Swedish mainland, with Helsingør located directly across the narrow Öresund Strait. Helsingborg is, with a population of around 113,000, the second largest city in the province of Skåne, with Malmö being the largest. This makes it the 9th-largest locality in Sweden. It is not only important today, but it is also one of the oldest towns in the Nordic countries.

The harbor in Helsingborg was for decades an important link between Sweden and Denmark. It still is, but the importance of the ferries has declined slightly with the construction of the Öresund Bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen.

A Short History of Helsingborg

The first written mention of Helsingborg is from the 1070s. It is already in the 11th century mentioned as a town. This was an important communication and transport hub between the Danish island of Zealand and the Danish provinces of what is today Sweden. The town developed as an important defensive position for Denmark, something that would be put to a test during the many wars between Denmark and Sweden. Helsingborg and the rest of Skåne became a part of Sweden in 1658, but the town still suffered from the many wars far into the 18th century.

The peace of the 19th century would see Helsingborg grow and for a time be the fifth largest town in Sweden. The town had a population of around 4.000 in the mid-19th century. That number increased to more than 50,000 in the 1920s. It was the trade of grain, foreign relations, and later industrialization that were the leading factors for the development. The 20th century did see increased activity within maritime transports, trade, and the within the rubber and chemistry industries. The rubber factory Helsingborgs Gummifabrik AB was for a time the largest employer in the town. They were in operation from 1891 until 1979.

Things to Do and See

Helsingborg is a large city by Swedish standards and there is plenty to explore. There are beaches at several places along the coast and the waterfront is rarely far away when exploring the center of the city. There are plenty of shops in the center for those who look for shopping possibilities, otherwise, there is also the shopping center of Väla Centrum to the northeast of Helsingborg. For many, it is the waterfront and majestic atmosphere of the center that will be remembered.


Kärnan is in many ways one of the symbols for Helsingborg. This is a defensive tower that was built in the 14th century as a part of a larger fortification and the castle of Helsingborg. Its height is an impressive 35 meters, in addition to the hill on which it is located. During clear days it might even be possible to see the Turning Torso in Malmö and even the Öresund Bridge. There is an entrance fee to the tower.


Terrasstrapporna is the stairs leading from the main square up towards the tower Kärnan. The stairs were built between 1899 and 1903 and include two observation towers. From its top, you have a view straight towards the Öresund Strait.

Helsingborgs Rådhus

It is hard to miss the City Hall with its high tower. The building dates back to 1897 and is of Gothic Revival architecture. The impressive tower reaches a height of 38.5 meters. It is from the tower that music is played a few times per day.


Ångfärjeparken is a small park on the waterfront of Helsingborg. It is framed by Clarion Hotel Sea U on one side and the restaurant The Tivoli on the other. The park was completed in 2021 and has a fountain at its center. There are also several memorials and monuments nearby, including the Sjöfartsgudinnan, or the “Maritime Goddess” in English.


Tropikariet is an indoor zoo to the northeast of the center. The zoo was founded in 1994 and today houses several different species. Here you will find different primates, sharks, and crocodiles, to mention a few. Meet the meerkats of the African savannah, the lemurs of Madagascar, and the Western pygmy marmoset of South America.

Helsingborgs Konserthus

Helsingborg Concert Hall was completed in 1932. This is where the local orchestra Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester has regular performances. The great hall has space for 849 seated spectators while the smaller hall can seat around 245 spectators.

Helsingborgs Stadsteater

Helsingborgs Stadsteater, the City Theater, was established in 1921. The old theater building was demolished in 1976 when the current theater was built. The large scene has space for 589 seated spectators. This is the oldest city theater in Sweden and once had Ingmar Bergman as its manager.

Dunkers Kulturhus

Dunkers Kulturhus is a cultural center at the northern harbor. It was inaugurated in 2002 and houses both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The center is named after the local businessman Henry Dunker and is, in addition to exhibitions, used for different kinds of events. It also houses space for the local youth.

Medicinhistoriska Museet Helsingborg

The oldest still preserved children’s hospital in Sweden also houses the Medical History Museum. The building dates back to 1888 and was in use as a children’s hospital until 1944. The museum opened here in 1986 and teaches about medical history by showcasing objects from different hospitals and medical centers that have existed in Helsingborg.

Helsingborg Sankta Maria kyrka

The Church of Saint Mary is the oldest church in Helsingborg and was built in the 12th century. It received its current appearance in the 15th century when it was rebuilt and became a Gothic-style church. The church is today a part of the Helsingborg Maria Congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.


Parapeten is the breakwater structure of the northern harbor. It was built together with the harbor in 1892 and has since developed with a marina, a bridge connecting it to the mainland, and even the beach known by the name Tropical Beach.

Fredriksdal – Museer och Trädgårdar

Fredriksdal is an open-air museum covering an area of 36 hectares. It has many times been described as a miniature Skåne with parks, gardens, and historical buildings. Buildings have been moved here from several parts of Skåne. They mostly date back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th century and includes both rural and urban environments. This is where many traditions are celebrated, such as Midsummer and the Swedish National Day.

Gröningen (inkl Surflekan & Örestrandsbadet)

North of the center is the large green area of Gröningen. This is a narrow park area following the waterfront. At its northern end is the playground Surflekan and a bit further north is the beach Örestrandsbadet.

Pålsjö Mölla

Pålsjö Mölla is the only surviving water-powered mill in Helsingborg. It dates back to 1824 and was in use up until 1901.

Sports in Helsingborg

A city of the size of Helsingborg has usually several sports venues and plenty of different sports clubs. Helsingborg is no exception and has teams competing within several of the major sports covered. The main sport here is football with one of the more traditional teams in Sweden. But let us have a look at two teams from Helsingborg.

Helsingborgs IF & Olympia

Helsingborgs IF is one of the traditional football clubs in Sweden. The team was founded in 1907 and has since become Swedish champions five times, in 1933, 1934, 1941, 1999, and 2011. In the overall standings, the team is number 6 in Sweden. The team is also the only team that has won Allsvenskan, Svenska Cupen, and Svenska Supercupen during the same season. This is an accomplishment they succeded with in 2011. Helsingborgs IF is as of the 2023 season playing in Superettan, the second-tier league of Sweden. The most famous player? That is most likely Henrik Larsson who has also played for teams such as Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona, and Manchester United.

Helsingborgs IF has its home at Olympia, an arena that was inaugurated already in 1898. The arena has a capacity of 16,000 spectators, making it the 8th largest football arena in Sweden, a spot it shares with Platinumcars Arena in Norrköping.

FC Helsingborg & Helsingborg Arena

FC Helsingborg is a local floorball club that was founded in 1979. The team is currently playing in Svenska Superligan (SSL), the top-tier league in Sweden. This is the team that the football legend Henrik Larsson joined in 2008. The team has only missed a handful of seasons in the top-tier league since its start in 1989. They have, however, not as of 2023 yet won any championships.

The club is one of several clubs within several different sports that are playing their games at Helsingborg Arena. This is a multi-sport arena that was completed in 2012. The capacity during floorball games is 5,000 spectators.

How to Get to Helsingborg

  • Flights: The nearest airport is Ängelholm–Helsingborg Airport (AGH) which is 34 kilometers to the north.
  • Car: Helsingborg lies along Road E6 between Landskrona and Ängelholm. It is also the southern end of Road E4 in Sweden connecting it further north with cities such as Jönköping, Linköping, Stockholm, and Luleå.
  • Bus: Buses from Skånetrafiken connect Helsingborg with the surrounding area.
  • Train: SJ, Pågatågen, and Öresundståg have trains to and from Helsingborg. Destinations include Copenhagen, Malmö, Trelleborg, and Mölndal, to mention a few.
  • Ferry: There are regular ferries by ForSea between Helsingborg and Helsingør in Denmark.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Stockholm – 556 kilometers (5 h 50 min)
  • Gothenburg – 215 kilometers (2 h 20 min)
  • Malmö – 65 kilometers (45 min)
  • Linköping – 361 kilometers (4 h)
  • Kiruna – 1787 kilometers (19 h)

Explore More of Skåne and Sweden

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