Hultsfred, Småland, Exploring Sweden

Hultsfred, Småland – Exploring Sweden

Hultsfred is a locality and the seat of the local municipality in Kalmar County in southeastern Sweden. It became famous for its music festival Hultfredsfestivalen which attracted thousands of visitors between 1982 and 2012. Hultsfred and its population of around 5.600 inhabitants still have a strong connection to pop and rock music, a living legacy of the former festival.

This is a town along the shores of Lake Hulingen. There is a local airport to the north and in between the airport and the town is one of IKEA’s manufacturing plants. The production here has included the Pax wardrobes.

A Short History of Hultsfred

Hultsfred was earlier known as Hulingsryd, a name that was first mentioned in known written sources in 1320. The Kalmar Regiment used a local field for meetings and exercises from the 1630s until 1918. It was, however, with the railway in 1874 that the main development came. Hultsfred became a stop along the line between Nässjö and Oskarshamn and just two years later a new line was opened to Västervik. Hultsfred became in a short time an intersection between the railways and the settlement in the vicinity of the new station began to develop.

The population at the beginning of the 20th century was less than 700 people. That had grown in the 1960s to more than 4.000 inhabitants. It was especially the industrialization that came with the railway that pushed development. Several of these industries have since closed down. A few noteworthy examples are the battery factory Varta (earlier Noack) in 1999 and the house-building factory Finndomos (Earlier Hultfredshus) in 2008. The largest business in the municipality is today IKEA Industry.

Things to Do and See

The center of Hultsfred has a few shops and restaurants to enjoy and nothing in town is far away from here. It is also in the center where many of the services of the municipality are located, including the offices of the municipality and the public library. For visitors, it is three categories of sights that stand out. These are the history of the regiment, the history of the railway, and the history of Swedish pop culture.

Smalspåret Hultsfred-Västervik

Railroads and traveling nostalgia have a strong connection. It is around 70 kilometers between Hultsfred and Västervik and through the forests there is still the historical narrow-gauge railway. The railbuses run during the summer and are a way to take a step into the past.

Hultsfreds Hembygdspark

Hultsfreds Hembygdspark is the home of the local heritage society and an open-air museum for anyone interested in learning more about the life of the past. The park opened in 1932 and the first historical buildings were moved here two years later. The buildings are collected from the nearby area and are mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Svenskt Rockarkiv

The Swedish Rock Archive is located in Hultsfred. This is a collection of more than half a million objects associated with Swedish pop culture. This is mainly a place for research and access requirements are for us unknown.

Hultsfreds Slätt

Hultsfreds Slätt is today a nature area just north of the center. It was here that the Kalmar Regiment met up until 1918. Part of the former military complex still stands with the buildings being used for other purposes today. There are two things to consider here. First, there is a hiking path of around two kilometers that takes you around the former regiment area with information signs telling of the area’s history. Then there is also the exhibition Rätt & Slätt that has been set up in a former warehouse. It tells of the life in the regiment.

Lake Hulingen

Lake Hulingen is never far away and here it is possible to have a stroll along the shores with a great view of the lake. Other activities here include the possibility of swimming. Along its northern shores is the local beach with an adjacent camping location.

Alkärret Nature Reserve

Along the shores of Lake Hulingen is the Alkärret Nature Reserve. This is a wetland that is known for its biodiversity. The walk along the shores of the lake will eventually take you through the nature reserve.

How to Get to Hultsfred

  • Flights: The nearest airport is the regional airport of Hultfred Airport. There are also a couple of larger airports nearby with Linköping City Airport (LPI) to the north and Kalmar Öland Airport (KLR) to the south.
  • Car: Hultsfred lies a bit inland from the main coastal road the E22. It is along Road 23 between Målilla and Vimmerby.
  • Train: Krösatåg has trains to and from Hultsfred. This includes destinations such as Kalmar, Linköping, and Vimmerby.
  • Bus: Buses from Kalmar Länstrafik connect Hultsfred with the surrounding area.

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

  • Stockholm – 317 kilometers (3 h 30 min)
  • Gothenburg – 267 kilometers (3 h 10 min)
  • Malmö – 306 kilometers (3 h 50 min)
  • Linköping – 115 kilometers (1 h 40 min)
  • Kiruna – 1548 kilometers (16 h 30 min)

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