Karlshamn, Blekinge, Exploring Sweden

Karlshamn, Blekinge – Exploring Sweden

Karlshamn is a town in the province of Blekinge in Southern Sweden. Already when the area was a part of Denmark, it was a harbor known as Bodekull. The era of shipping and trade at the local harbor has continued ever since. Karlshamn is today home to around 20.000 inhabitants. It is also the birthplace of the Swedish swimmer Emma Igelström who during her career won four world championships and conquered seven world records. In other words, it is not only fast ships that have traversed the waters of Karlshamn.

In recent years Karlshamn has become more famous due to the Karlshamn Power Station, Karlshamnsverket. This oil-fired thermal power station is a part of the Swedish power reserve and each time it starts up it creates headlines in the national news.

A Short History of Karlshamn

The province of Blekinge became a part of Sweden after the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. There was no town here prior to that time. Instead, there was a harbor named Bodekull. After the peace treaty, the Swedish king Karl X Gustav wanted to establish a town here. Karlshamn was established in 1664.

The 18th century saw development in trade and the manufacturing of goods. Production was made possible by the establishment of companies such as a shipyard and factories for tobacco, wool, socks, and dye. The production has since changed. Companies have been established and then disappeared. Diary products were for a long time produced here. Nowadays, there are companies such as vegetable oil-producing AAK that make up the local manufacturing capacity.

The other industry that has put Karlshamn on the map during cold winters is Karlshamn Power Station. This is an oil-fired thermal power station that was opened in 1969. In domestic media, it is this power station that puts Karlshamn on the map. It is a part of the national power reserve in Sweden and is mostly started up during cold winters when the other electricity sources are not sufficient. It has, however, also been up and running during the summer of 2022 to fill the power gap in Europe.

Things to Do and See

A maritime town with a long history? That does usually mean a lot of sights and easy access to great views of the sea. Karlshamn is no exception and there is plenty to explore in and around this town.

Karlshamn’s Museum

Karlshamn’s Museum is located within the cultural center of the town. The museum exhibits collections related to the history of the town. Its focus is on the former businesses of the town, such as the old tobacco corporation.

Punsch Museum

Karlshamn is famous within Sweden for its Punsch. This is an alcoholic liqueur that consists of a mix of spirits, arrack tea, and sugar. Carlshamns Flaggpunsch was produced in Karlshamn from the 1850s and onwards. The production has since moved to Finland and the former factory in Karlshamn has been turned into a museum.

Skottsbergska Gården

Skottsbergska Gården is a part of the cultural center and a former merchant’s house from the 18th century. It is a unique building considering that it is a very well-preserved burgher house. It can be considered a gateway back to the 18th century and the life of a merchant family.

Art Museum Martinssonska Gården

The Art Museum Martinssonska Gården is dedicated to the sculputres of Johnny Martinsson and art made by Thure Wahlström, Oscar Wickström, and Per Serre.

Maritime Museum

Karlshamns Sjöfartsmuseum, the Maritime Museum, exhibits part of the maritime history of the town and region where shipping and trade have been a central part of life for centuries. It is housed in an old tobacco warehouse dating back to 1875.

Kollevik Beach

Kolleviks badplats, which is its Swedish name, is east of the center. This is a sandy beach that is managed by the municipality. There are some basic facilities at the location.

Ortholmen Lighthouse

Ortholmen Lighthouse watches out over the Baltic Sea and its surrounding cliffs offer the same possibility for visitors to this small island. There is a bridge connecting the island with the mainland. The lighthouse was built in 1896 but received its current form in 1976. The original stands outside of the maritime museum.

Karlshamn Citadel

The Karlshamn Citadel stands on a small island directly outside the harbor of the town. As of the summer of 2022, it is hard to see the island from the town, due to ongoing construction work making a large part of the waterfront inaccessible. There should however be boat excursions to the island at specific times. The citadel was built in the 18th century as a defense in the many conflicts with Denmark and other nations around the Baltic Sea. The Swedish army used it from 1675 to 1865.

How to Get to Karlshamn

  • Flights: The closest airport is Ronneby Airport (RNB) 32 kilometers away. The airport has a few domestic routes as well as seasonal charter flights.
  • Car: Karlshamn is along road E22 between Sölvesborg and Ronneby.
  • Bus: Buses from Blekingetrafiken connect Karlshamn with the surrounding region.
  • Train: Pågatågen and Öresundståg service Karlshamn Station. Destinations includes Karlskrona, Kristianstad, Malmö, and Copenhagen.

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

  • Stockholm – 531 kilometers (5 h 55 min)
  • Gothenburg – 319 kilometers (3 h 37 min)
  • Malmö – 148 kilometers (1 h 33 min)
  • Linköping – 311 kilometers (3 h 59 min)
  • Kiruna – 1761 kilometers (19 h 44 min)

Explore More of Blekinge and Sweden

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