A journey across Sweden could begin in the South — a region known for its pastoral countryside, beautiful beaches, cozy restaurants and endless forests.
The Öresund Bridge connects Malmö in Sweden with Copenhagen in Denmark. Photo: Andreas Kindler/Johnér/Image Bank Sweden
With its wide range of leisure activities, southern Sweden has something to offer everyone. The granite cliffs along the western coast, battered over thousands of years by the North Sea, make an ideal setting for sailing and old-fashioned seaside holidays. Many visitors spend time in the picturesque fishing villages with their welcoming harbors and the archipelago in the east. There are thousands of kilometers of hiking and bicycle trails criss-crossing the south, and numerous historical and archeological sites.
Combine the stay with a city break in Gothenburg, known for its seafood and Scandinavia’s largest amusement park, or a stop-over in Malmö, where you will find the Turning Torso — the architectural masterpiece of Santiago Calatrava — and the 8 kilometer long Öresund Bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark. Or why not spend a few days in Österlen, in the extreme south, where there are ample opportunities to explore modern Swedish gastronomy at its best.
The south has a history which is rich in myths and legends. Many of the old tales carry the moral sense of the need to watch out for ill intentions and guard your secrets well. In the wrong hands, some information can become lethal and the most innocent of secrets may be used against you. When stakes are high, sweet dreams can turn into virtual nightmares.
Henning Mankell, author of nine books about detective Kurt Wallander. Photo: PalFest (CC BY)
At the southern tip of Sweden, you will find the small town of Ystad, known for its picturesque streets with old timber framed houses and beautiful white beaches surrounding it. This is where Inspector Kurt Wallander, the main character of Henning Mankell’s crime fiction novels, starts to realize that a wind of change is blowing Swedish society in an uncomfortable direction. Wallander, a divorced, somewhat depressed music-lover, is one of the most famous and captivating personalities in modern Swedish literature. Mankell, in turn, is one of the most popular Swedish authors, selling millions of copies of his books around the world. Although the final book featuring Wallander has already been written, the novels and films (not least in the British TV series featuring Kenneth Branagh in the leading role) ensure that his name will live on.
Öland used to be one of the poorest places in Sweden. The farmers and fishermen of the island in the Baltic Sea had to struggle hard for their survival. In the dark winter nights, tales of supernatural phenomena took shape, spurred on by the cold and powerful sea and the solemn scenery of Stora Alvaret — a UNESCO World Heritage site. After the construction of a bridge connecting mainland Sweden and Öland in 1972, the situation changed. What used to be the end of the world has become the heart of Swedish summer tourism. In Johan Theorin’s books, the past meets the present and the ghostlike heritage of Öland is elegantly paired with modern crime fiction stories of greed, guilt and revenge.
Johan Theorin's latest book "Saint Psycho" (Sankta Psyko) is the final book in a quartet all taking place on Öland, one book for each season.
Photo: Nicke Johansson
Gotland, the Pearl of the Baltic Sea, is a summer paradise, which may appear quite the opposite in the tired autumnal dusk or in the cold of winter. Anders Knutas, police inspector in the city of Visby, knows just how scary the island, with its rich history, can be. In Mari Jungstedt’s novels, the ancient vaults of the city turn into places where men in high positions molest young girls, corpses of murdered people are found in pretty historical surroundings and everyday pleasures, like going fishing with a good friend, turn out to be a lot more dangerous than one might expect. Since her debut in 2003, Jungstedt has written one new novel a year, to the great satisfaction of her large and dedicated audience.
Mari Jungstedt's book "The Fourth Victim" (Det fjärde offret) is her ninth since her debut in 2003. Photo: Anna-Lena Ahlström
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city with the country’s largest harbor. The city, often referred to as “Little London”, is where Åke Edwardson’s Inspector Erik Winter resides. The Anglo-Swedish dimensions are picked up in Edwardson’s first novel, when Winter goes to London to investigate the murder of a young man. In the succeeding novels, we continue to follow the private and professional life of Winter, going through ordinary family issues while solving spectacular crimes. Edwardson’s novels have been translated into some 20 languages, several have been made into films and the author has become one of the most read in Sweden.
Åke Edwardson. Photo: Anders Deros
The idyllic fishing village of Fjällbacka, surrounded by a breathtaking archipelago, is situated not far from the Norwegian border on the Swedish west coast. It is a place that attracts large numbers of tourists in the summer, when the weather is pleasant and the sea inviting. In Camilla Läckberg’s novels, however, Fjällbacka is also the scene of gruesome and violent crimes. The lead characters are Inspector Patrik Hedström and his wife, Erica Falck. A theme that keeps coming back in Läckberg’s novels, in between the crime horrors, is the difficulty and joy of the modern double-career family in Sweden. Läckberg's novels are, according to the author herself, the result of boredom with her career as a marketing professional, an inspiring writer’s course and hard, dedicated work. Läckberg has nurtured a public image of herself as a successful business woman with crime fiction as her product.
Prolific writer Camilla Läckberg's latest book The Angel Maker (Änglamakerskan) is her eighth book in the Fjällbacka series.
Photo: Bingo Rimér
Created by the Embassy of Sweden, New Delhi, India, in cooperation with VisitSweden, the Swedish Institute in Paris and other individual authors and publishing houses. Author presentations largely based on texts by Gerard Meudal.
The authors alone are responsible for the opinions expressed in this article.
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