Kristianstad, Skåne, Exploring Sweden

Kristianstad, Skåne – Exploring Sweden

Kristianstad is a town in the province of Skåne in southern Sweden. It is today the region’s fourth-largest locality with a population of around 41.300 inhabitants. This is a town that was once fortified and many of the fortifications are still standing. The area has been for centuries an important border area between Sweden and Denmark. Kristianstad is also home to the lowest point in Sweden (that is not covered by water). With a point located 2.32 meters below sea level, there are areas of the town that are protected by walls to prevent flooding.

Our Impression of Kristianstad

Yes, we have also struggled with the pronunciation of the name. It is not pronounced as you might expect when reading it out loud with normal Swedish logic. According to Wikipedia and IPA, the pronunciation is something like [krɪˈɧǎnːsta, -ɑːd]. The town center is compact with narrow streets and a historic atmosphere. So it is really easy to explore on foot. Cars are, however, parked almost everywhere making it hard to fully enjoy the town. There are also several sights a bit further out from the center, but it is really nice that Naturum Vattenriken is within reach when walking. This makes it possible to leave city life with just a few steps and the realm of water will surround you.

A Short History of Kristianstad

The Danish king Kristian IV founded Kristianstad in 1614. You might notice how similar the names are. The province of Skåne was at the time still a part of Denmark. The new town replaced the former town of Vä, which had been burned down during the recent war with Sweden. The granting of town privileges was done in 1622 and by doing so both Vä and nearby Åhus lost their town statuses.

Kristianstad was built like a fortress. This was to protect it from raids or conquer attempts by Swedish forces. It would, however, only take until 1658 and the Peace Treaty of Roskilde before Kristianstad and the rest of Skåne were ceded to Sweden.

Its history as a fortified city continued under Swedish rule. The fortifications stayed a part of the Swedish defense policy up until 1843. The garrison that had been based here began to be dismantled in 1992. The Swedish Army left the last of the former garrison buildings in 2002.

Kristianstad was the seat of Kristianstad County until 1996. This was when the county was merged with Malmöhus County and formed the new Skåne County. It now shares the seat of the regional council with Malmö.

Things to Do and See

Both lakes and fields surround Kristianstad, making sure that nature is never far away. The city itself offers a compact center with restaurants and shopping. Here you will also find the local shopping mall Galleria Boulevard.

Naturum Vattenriket

Naturum Vattenriket is the visitor center for the surrounding biosphere reserve known as Vattenriket – The Realm of Water. The center has exhibitions about the area as well as guides for anyone wanting to explore more.

Vattenriket covers almost the whole area that makes up Kristianstad Municipality. There are plenty of paths for hiking and cycling in the area, making it easy to enjoy the local nature.

Bastionen Konungen

Bastionen Konungen is one out of ten bastions making up the fortifications of Kristianstad. Several canons have been placed along the walls, making this into an open-air museum.

Regionmuseet Kristianstad

This is the regional museum telling the story of Kristianstad and Skåne. Exhibitions are connected with the local history and the change in the regional landscape over the centuries.


This is a city park that was founded in the early part of the 19th century. The green areas offer space for play as well as picnics. This is also where you will be able to find a larger playground, which might be appreciated when traveling with kids.

Kristianstad Theater

Kristianstad Theater dates back to 1906 and can be found in the park Tivoliparken. It is still in use and has a capacity of 362 spectators.

Railway Museum

This is a seasonal museum about the history of the local railway. Old locomotives and train carriages are on display for train enthusiasts.

Holy Trinity Church

Heliga Trefaldighets kyrka, as it is known in Swedish, is the local church. It was inaugurated in 1628 and was built on an order by the Danish king Kristian IV. It is one of five churches that covers the Kristianstads Heliga Trefaldighet Congregation. The congregation is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.

IFK Kristianstad & Kristianstad Arena

IFK Kristianstad is the local handball team that is playing in Handbollsligan, the top-tier league in Sweden. The team was founded in 1899 and has since played 51 seasons in the top league. They became Swedish champions for the first time in 1941 and have since collected a total of 8 championships. They dominated the league between 2015 and 2018, winning four straight championships.

The team is playing its home games at Kristianstad Arena. This is a multisport arena taking 5.200 spectators during handball games.

Kristianstads IK & Kristianstads Ishall

Kristianstads IK is the local ice hockey team that is currently playing in Hockeyallsvenskan, the second-tier league in Sweden. The team was founded in 1966 and qualified for Hockeyallsvenskan for the first time in 2019. They are as of early 2023 playing their fourth season in the league. The team has fostered the current Toronto Maple Leaf player Timothy Liljegren.

Kristianstads IK has its base at Kristianstads Ishall, an arena with space for 2.130 spectators. The arena was completed already in 1969 but saw a larger update in 2007.

How to Get to Kristianstad

  • Flights: The closest airport is Kristianstad Airport (KID) 16 kilometers away. The airport has a few domestic routes as well as seasonal charter flights.
  • Car: Kristianstad is on road E22 between Bromölla and Hörby.
  • Bus: Buses from Skånetrafiken connect Kristianstad with the surrounding region.
  • Train: Pågatåg and Öresundståg service Kristianstad. Destinations include Karlshamn, Karlskrona, Malmö, and Copenhagen.

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

  • Stockholm – 536 kilometers (6 h 21 min)
  • Gothenburg – 263 kilometers (3 h 1 min)
  • Malmö – 93 kilometers (1 h 5 min)
  • Linköping – 353 kilometers (4 h 1 min)
  • Kiruna – 1775 kilometers (19 h 42 min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

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