Sample the good life all year round
TEXT: LIZ LONGDEN | PHOTOS © BÅSTAD TOURISM AND BUSINESS
Visitors have been entranced by Båstad’s stunning beaches and forests for over a hundred years. Today, with its unsurpassed hiking and cycle trails, golf courses and sailing opportunities, combined with top-class restaurants and spa facilities, Båstad is the perfect destination for an active break in an unforgettable setting.
Båstad lies on the Bjärehalvön peninsula in western Skåne, midway between Gothenburg and Malmö. It is a geographical area that has long been renowned for its beauty, but Båstad is much more than just a pretty place. As Annika Borgelin, project manager at Båstad Tourism and Business explains, the unique profile of the area’s natural landscape also provides the perfect setting for a comprehensive range of outdoor leisure pursuits.
“Bjärehalvön has such a varied landscape. It’s surrounded by the sea, so we have a very diverse coastline, and there’s the Hallandsås horst, which means that you can climb up high and get some fantastic views of the surrounding area,” she says. “And then we have forests, ravines, and pretty much anything else you could wish for. So it’s a natural environment that gives almost limitless possibilities for relaxation and recreation.”
These include numerous beaches and sites perfect for outdoor bathing, snorkelling, or swimming with young children; 12 different road cycle routes, and excellent terrain for mountain biking, including a downhill course with cycle lift; and innumerable hiking and running trails, which run through the area’s many nature reserves, along the coast, and up the Hallandsås.
Golfers, meanwhile, will feel immediately at home, with 126 holes available within a 15-minute drive, including Sweden’s second oldest 18-hole course, while those who enjoy sailing or fishing, have the North Sea and Bjärehalvön’s picturesque coastline at their disposal. And for anyone who would like to venture a little further out to sea, how about a trip out to the island of Hallands Väderö, an unpopulated nature reserve prized for its quiet beauty and wealth of flora and fauna? “You can enjoy just about every activity you can think of here,” Borgelin says. “And all in the midst of incredible natural scenery.”
Of course, after exercise must come recovery, and after a day out in the open air, Båstad also has everything visitors could need to rest, rejuvenate and relax. Thanks to a mild climate and its rich, fertile landscape, Bjärehalvön is renowned for the high quality of its produce. Visitors with an interest in food and drink will enjoy whiling away many happy hours exploring the area’s farms and local producers. The peninsula also has a wide range of restaurants, many of which are proud to serve up local ingredients. For those who like their relaxation to involve a touch of luxury, meanwhile, at Hotel Skansen, Torekov Hotel and Lanthotell Lögnäs Gård, Båstad boasts no less than three high-class spas.
There are plenty of cultural highlights, too. Anyone with an interest in botany and history will find a treat in store at Norrviken, a ‘living garden museum’, founded in 1906, and famous for its stately home and innovative and elegant themed gardens. Classical music lovers, meanwhile, can explore the home of legendary opera singer Birgit Nilsson, which is now a museum and café.
Something for everyone
For many people, Båstad is synonymous with tennis, and the town has hosted the Swedish Open tennis tournament since 1948, welcoming such legends as Björn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Rafael Nadal. Tennis, however, is only one element of Båstad’s sporting calendar, which attracts visitors from across Europe. Others include the Båstad Horse Show, the Swedish Padel Open, Båstad Marathon, Sailing Week, Båstad Hiking Festival and the Torekov Swimrun and Open Water Swimming races.
“We have things going on all year round,” Borgelin explains. “Lots of sporting events, but also concerts and cultural events, and festivals and events celebrating the area’s rich gastronomic heritage. So there really is something for everyone.”
This diversity of events and activities that Båstad offers is one reason why the area remains popular with so many different guests, from families, to couples, to groups of friends. Yet, wherever they come from and whatever age they may be, all are guaranteed a warm Skåne welcome.
“Hospitality is the art of making people feel welcome, and that has been a part of Båstad’s culture and heritage since the late 19th century, when tourists first started to flock to the beaches here,” says Borgelin. “People here are incredibly proud of their home and their food and the local landscape, and they love to show it off and share it with visitors.”