I am a castle fanatic. Well, anything having to do with the medieval and renaissance periods, really. As such, I have made it my goal since moving to Sweden to explore every castle left standing. We discovered Svaneholms Slott on a road trip to visit a friend in Trelleborg. Svaneholms Slott is just a bit north of that in a little town called Skurup, which is in the southern Swedish region called Skane. For the record, the word 'Slott' is Swedish for pretty much any old historical building from magnificent Keeps to reinforced manors to castles. In this instance it is absolutely a castle.
Svaneholms dates back to 1530, but has been refurbished, parts rebuilt, and added on to over the years. So, while many of the castles of this age are mere ruins, Svaneholms Slott is whole and has been turned into a historical museum. Yes folks, it is open to the public. You can tour this wonderland various days from April through October. Do check their website for exact days and times.
Part of the reason I think Svaneholms castle survived while others were being leveled by the Danish is because it is built on an island in a large lake. As such, it was, and is, in a very defensible position. I've seen so many sad ruins of once-great structures that it was a real pleasure to see one still in tact and so lovingly cared for.
As you enter the castle you will find the obligatory book & souvenir kind of shop. The prices are reasonable, comparatively… and I for one was glad to see this. I'm a souvenir junkie from way back and am delighted when I can find such things. The first floor also holds a huge hunting collection, the library, and a grand stone hall, among other things. Go up the impressive stairway to find the music lounge and a few drawing rooms. On the third floor is where you can see the defense room & garret, along with museum pieces depicting peasant garb and hand-made laces of the region. The fourth floor holds the old school along with more museum articles ranging from women's fashion to furniture to toys of the era.
Svaneholms Slott also holds annual events so do make sure to check ahead on their website for these also. Alas, I failed to do so and missed the Traditional Misdsommer Days Celebration held the third week of June each year. Apparently they had everything you associate with the Midsommer holiday including costumed dancers, the 'May' Pole, drinking, singing, and local crafts. I hope to make that this year. Another very popular annual event is the Jul Marknad – or Christmas Market. This is usually held the middle of November for one weekend.
The outer grounds of Svaneholms are every bit as remarkable as the castle itself. Due take note that this island is considered protected historical land, so no dropping your litter here, Alright? There are wonderful lush gardens, a path that was once the royal hunting path, and of course all around you is that gorgeous lake. Speaking of that lake, you can actually rent a boat at the castle and spend a day out on the water.
You are not allowed to take pictures of the interior, as with most castles in Sweden, but you can snap away on the outside all you like. There is also a very popular restaurant on the premises. They specialize in traditional Southern Swedish dishes, and can be booked for meetings and such… even weddings! Oh how I would have loved to have gotten married here.
If you are planning to visit southern Sweden and love delving into history, or just love the romance of an old castle, do schedule in a stop to Svaneholms Slott. There is something here for everyone in the family.