The upside of high gasoline prices in Sweden is that it encourages people to bike to school, work or shops. And since southernmost Sweden, the region known as Skane, has so many cyclists, it has developed an extensive system of bike lanes and trails, including converted rail lines, to accommodate them. That plus terrain ranging from level ground to rolling hills makes Sweden an unusually bike-friendly country. Another plus for travelers — English is almost a second language there.
My husband and I have taken up cycling in our retirement, and since we have friends in Lund we decided to make a bike tour of Skane.
When we were planning our adventure, we had a hard time getting tourist information in English via the Web, but now Daily Scandinavian offers information in several interesting subhects, including cycling all over Scandinavia. The site mapmyride suggests biking routes on Skane and you may rent a bicycle here. The site Bopalantgard lists farmstay accommodations.
Using the Web to locate the tourist bureaus for some of the towns we planned to visit, we ordered a cycling map of Skane and a brochure from Osterlen, the southeast corner of Skane.
You find digital maps of Skane here.
We used the Web and the Lonely Planet Guide “Sweden” to locate lodgings along our route and booked via the Web.
We arrived at Copenhagen by plane and took the train across the Øresund Bridge/tunnel, which lasted for 20 minutes and deposited us in Malmö. Our friends from Lund picked us up at the train station and stored our baggage while we went on our week-long ride, cycling in Sweden.
Our route took us south from Lund, through Malmö and down to the port town of Trelleborg. The next day, we biked mainly along the coast to Ystad, and from there, again skirting the coast or passing quiet pastureland, we biked on to Brantevik, a small village on the coast just south of Simrishamn.
We stayed two nights there so we could spend a day biking around some of the old farm villages and visiting a 16th-century fortress, Glimmingehus, as well as touring the postcard-pretty town of Simrishamn.
We then headed north along the coast to Yngsjö and inland to the village of Everod. The next day, our only rainy day, we made directly for Horby, where we stayed on a small sheep farm. The route for our last day took us south through the nature preserve at Krankesjon and then over to Sandby, where the bike path follows an old rail line into Lund. We celebrated the completion of our trip with coffee and pastry in the old square in central Lund before picking up the bike trail back to our friends’ subdivision south of town.
Food and services were never a problem on our trip. Breakfasts at our lodgings were more than ample. Lunch consisted of fruit, bread and cheese purchased from stores along the way. Local restaurants provided ample, reasonably priced, well-prepared evening meals. At the sheep farm, the owner prepared us lamb stew in the evening, which was a real treat.
Skane is characterized by small fishing villages, farms, windmills, castles and neat old towns. For the most part, our route tended to follow marked bike routes or paths, so we were “off the beaten path” and avoided road traffic. We had to use some roads to make connections and found that most had shoulders, plus the drivers were used to seeing cyclists.
The prevailing wind blows west to east in the summer, which made the first legs of our adventure a “breeze,” though the trip back was a challenge. We generally covered about 35 miles a day, which made for easy rides with time for touring. We had rain one day, but otherwise the weather was cool and sunny.
Considering what a pleasant bicycling area Skane is, we were surprised at how few touring cyclists were there. We met only a few other folks, mostly Germans, who were making a similar circuit.
We felt our Scandinavian adventure was unhurried and relaxing and worked out well. We hope to try a repeat in the near future.
Written by guest contributor.