Kalmar: City Visit and Marina Review
The beautiful city of Kalmar is almost entirely surrounded by water. It was an important trade centre for the Baltic countries throughout the middle ages and into the early modern era. According to Wikipedia, the oldest evidence of the establishment of a town dates from the 11th century.
Lighthouse just south of the entrance to Kalmar’s harbour
Many of the buildings constructed during this period are still standing, making it a fantastic visit for anyone interested in history or architecture. Even if you aren’t, the city, with its cobblestone streets, charming boutiques, and friendly population make it a “must visit”.
If you arrive from the south, you’ll pass in front of Kalmar Castle
The jewel in the crown of Kalmar is its castle, Kalmar Slott. This fabulous example of medieval architecture stands majestic on its own island. Though the construction of the castle began during the 1100s, it has been renovated many times throughout its history.
It was a symbol of peace in the 1300s as the treaty called the Kalmar Union was signed here. It united Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Kalmar Union was dissolved however, in 1523, and a long period of war and bloodshed followed. One of the worst battles was the during the Kalmar War with Denmark-Norway, which took place between 1611 and 1613. The treaty of Roskilde in 1658 marked the end of the worst hostilities and the end of the era of Kalmar as an important military city outpost.
Outer part of Kalmar Harbour
Arrival at Kalmar Marina
We had left Kristianopel early and were aiming for an arrival in Kalmar at about 12.00. We figured that most people who were leaving, will have left by then, and those coming would not arrive for another couple of hours.
View of inner part of Kalmar Marina
Although the marina does not take reservations, I called the marina manager about 2 hours before our arrival to ask what the situation was (in other words: “we have a 17 meter long boat — is there a berth free?”). He informed us that there was one berth large enough for Freja was free. I said we would call back when we passed the Kalmar castle (about 10 minutes before entering the marina channel). When I called the second time, he informed me that a big catamaran, a Catana 54, was in the processing of casting off and that we could take her place. Yay!
We got help with our lines from the marina manager, Thomas, and after we finished mooring, I went directly to the marina office, while Jacques took Senna for a walk. The marina office is quite cleverly installed in the tourist office next to the waterfront. After I paid for a two-night stay, I collected tourist information on Kalmar and the entire southeast coast of Sweden. The tourist office houses a gift/souvenir shop as well, but I didn’t find anything that we really needed for the boat. You know the rule for the boat — anything that comes into the boat will mean something else going off! At least when it comes to things that aren’t a necessity.
This part of Kalmar is only a 5-minute walk from the marina
Speaking of things that are a necessity, we did need a few things from the local chandlery. Baltic Skeppsfournering (Baltic Ship Supply), is one of the largest boat supply shops we’d seen until now. The personnel speak Swedish, English and even excellent German.
We then went to the Coop Supermarket in the Baronen shopping mall at the marina to stock up on food for the next week or so. The Coop is actually my least favourite supermarket chain in Sweden. Both the ICA shops and the Hemköp stores are better — with more choice of things we like, especially organic food. But the Coop in Kalmar is right at the marina, so in the interest of convenience, we shopped there.
Visiting Kalmar Slott (Castle)
The next morning, we hopped on our bikes to ride over to the castle. It’s 5 minutes from the marina by bicycle, 15 minutes by foot.
This is the amazing view of the castle if you approach from the marina
The gorgeous Kalmar castle, built in the Nordic Renaissance style, was gleaming in the morning sunshine as we approached. The first thing I wanted to do is to try to reserve a table at the castle restaurant that evening. It was Jacques Birthday and the restaurant there has excellent reviews. Success! They had a table for two available.
Kalmar castle greeting us in the summer sun
Coat of Arms at the Castle
These ducks on the grounds of Kalmar Castle are incredibly tame
We then went for a tour of the castle itself. We ended up spending about 3 hours — not as part of an organised tour, but on our own. There’s just so much to see and examine, especially if history and architecture are some of your personal interests.
Map of the nordic and Baltic countries back in 1539. Note all of the fascinating sea monsters!
Model of Kalmar and its castle from the early 1600s
Room after fascinating room presented the most amazing craftsmanship — marquetry, embroidery, painting, glass and metalwork.
Beautiful scenes depicting hunting are painted and carved into the walls. Notice the incredibly intricate ceiling carvings.
Another scene in the “hunting room”
And yet another scene in the same room
The two temporary exhibitions were wonderful: one on large glass sculptures and the other on the illustrations of Björn Bergs illustrations of the Emil i Lönneberga children’s books by Astrid Lindgren. Just lovely!
One of the breathtaking glass sculptures at the castle
Björn Berg’s illustrations for one of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books “Emil i Lönneberga”
One of our favorite rooms in the caste is the banquet hall. It’s exhibited as fully prepared for a banquet with wax “food” done in the gastronomic style of the period. Notice how they used birds and waterfowl as table decorations 😟. Beautiful but horrifying!
Banquet hall at the castle with wax “food” and decorations
Close-up of the pie decorated with fake birds
After our 3 hours at the castle, we rode our bicycles back to the boat and got Senna (our dog) for a walk around town. One word of advice — stop at the chocolate maker called Johannas Choklad. They have the best dark chocolate sorbet! Another boutique we love is Gerdas Te och Kaffehandel. In addition to the many tea and coffee blends on hand, the shop is full of other gourmet foods. We have to be careful not to blow our budget here!
Johannas Choklad, a lovely chocolatier that serves dark chocolate sorbet during the summer
A home in the old town of Kalmar
Colourful residences in Kalmar’s Old Town
The Kalmar marina is relatively small but it’s almost in the middle of town and a short walk from almost everything you’d want to visit. The service is excellent, and although it’s not possible to reserve a berth (with the exception of a few small berths managed by Dockspot), the manager did find and hold a place for us when we phoned in a couple of hours before arriving. If you’re boat is less than 45 feet, Dockspot has a few berths but be warned that they do charge a commission for the reservation (almost 100 crowns for a boat our size).
The state of the toilets, showers and laundry was pretty much spotless. Everything seems to have been recently renovated, and you need a code to enter. You’ll get the code when you pay for your berth. The marina office is housed in the tourist office (located in the one the inner corners of the marina — it’s clearly marked with a huge “Tourist Office” sign). We experienced efficient and friendly service all around. We heartily recommend the Kalmar Marina.
Facts about Kalmar Marina:
- Total number of berths: about 150
- Mooring Methods: Bouys, Y-booms, Alongside
- Water depth: 2- 4.5 meters
- Facilities: Toilets, showers, sauna, washing machines and dryers (10 SEK per load), free WiFi, fresh water, electricity (40 SEK per day), black tank pump-out self-service dock, fuel dock.
Our berth in Kalmar. We are lying just in front of the shopping mall “Baronen”.
Prices per day (2016)
Low season (1 MAY to 25 JUN and 15 AUG to 30 SEP):
- Up to 10 m (33 feet): 180 SEK
- Up to 12 m (40 feet): 200 SEK
- Up to 14 m (46 feet): 220 SEK
- Up to 16 m (53 feet): 240 SEK
- Up to 18 m (59 feet): 260 SEK
- Up to 20 m (66 feet): 280 SEK
- Over 20 m (67 feet): from 300 SEK (call to ask)
High season (26 JUN to 14 AUG):
- Up to 10 m (33 feet): 200 SEK
- Up to 12 m (40 feet): 220 SEK
- Up to 14 m (46 feet): 240 SEK
- Up to 16 m (53 feet): 260 SEK
- Up to 18 m (59 feet): 280 SEK
- Up to 20 m (66 feet): 300 SEK
- Over 20 m (67 feet): from 320 SEK (call to ask)
There’s a discount of around 200 SEK if you stay for an entire week.
Diagram of Kalmar Marina. Please excuse the bad quality of the image, but it was the only one I could find!
Full-service repairs are conveniently located in the marina at Kalmar Marina AB (sails, engine, lift-outs, general maintenance and repairs. Telephone: +46 (0)480-316000. email: email@example.com. They even have indoor winter storage of your boat (up to 60 feet), if you fall in love with sailing on the east coast of Sweden and want to keep your boat here!
If you’re in need of spare parts or products for maintenance of your boat, Baltic Skeppsfournering is across the street from the marina office/tourist bureau.
Casting off for more adventures on the Swedish east coast
Marina Review: Kristianopel – first stop on the east coast of Sweden
After a wonderful sail under southwesterly winds across the southeastern coast of Sweden, we headed up the east coast. Kalmar, the city on one end of the bridge to the island of Öland, was a bit far. Again, we need to arrive early to find a berth large enough for Freja. We decided to stop at the tiny marina of Kristianopel taking the chance that an early arrival (around 14.00) would enable us to snag the only berth that would take a 55-footer.
The only berth available for boats longer than 15 meters
Success! We moored to the outer pontoon that’s reserved for boats over 15 meters with a sign of relief. Now it was time to pay our marina fee and go explore the village.
This is the guest marina area. You’ll find all of the marina services here.
The marina office is located in the corner of the L-shaped marina. It’s run by a jovial fellow who seems to get around the marina in a golf cart, accompanied by his trusty Jack Russell Terrier. The fee was not expensive for Sweden — just 250 SEK, including electricity price of 25 crowns.
A view of the village of Kristianopel
We began our walk with a visit to the boutique called “Sköna Ting” (Beautiful Things). It’s a shop for both home ware and clothing for women and children. There’s a small selection of local and international gourmet foods (honey, balsamic vinegar, olive and nut oils, mustards, marmelade, etc.).
The boutique “Sköna Ting” is just a stone’s throw from the marina
Next stop was the “general store” called the Handelsboden. This is a supermarket with a selection of everyday items you’d need for home and garden. Nothing, alas, for cruising. We found some local seafood – mostly smoked fish and shrimp from the Smoke house (rökeri) called Blomlöfs Rökeri. If you haven’t tried smoked shrimp, you should! It’s delicious!
A charming doorway in Kristianopel
As it was the “pre-season” (before the school summer holidays), a few of the small boutiques in the village were still closed. We walked through the residential areas to admire the vintage charm of the homes and gardens.
Interesting flower arrangement in the village
Summer flowers in Kristianopel
Café Sött & Salt next to the marina is a great stop for hand-crafted (not factory-made) ice cream. We settled down for ice cream and coffee at a table in the garden with a view of the sea. They serve traditional Swedish lunches and dinners as well and sandwiches.
The view from the Sött & Salt café
Kristianopel Marina Info:
The marina office is located in the corner of the marina. You may have to phone the manager (+46 708 27 77 39) as he’s also the handyman in the harbour. He’ll come in his golf cart to help you. You’ll find tourist information in the marina office.
- Total berths: 50
- Mooring method: buoys or anchors. One berth for large boats (over 15 meters) on the exterior of the first pontoon.
- Depths: 1.5 m to 2.8 meters
- Marina Facilities: electricity, fresh water, toilets, showers, laundry room, sauna.
- Facilities near the marina: Small supermarket including postal and pharmacy services at the “Handelsboden”, cafés, restaurants, boutiques, fuel and propane, beach. The beach is quite shallow so it’s great if you have children and it warms up quickly during the summer.
GPS Coordinates: 56°15,30 N; 16°02,48 E
Marina prices (2016):
- 205 SEK during low season for our 17 meter boat.
- During the high season (school summer holidays) the prices are: Less than 12 meters: 175 SEK, 12-15 meters: 240 SEK, over 15 meters: 21 SEK per meter.
- Electricity is 45 SEK.
Fresh water, showers and toilets are included in the price.
View of the marina from the café
Note: the marina does not offer WiFi, but you can connect at the Sött och Salt Café next the the marina.
Marina Contact: +46 455 366 130 or +46 708 27 77 39, firstname.lastname@example.org
City Visit: Copenhagen
Many cruisers who visit Copenhagen only stay for a couple of days. We understand, they perhaps have only a month or two in their cruising schedule — perhaps much less. But Copenhagen deserves your time. We certainly had lots of time for Copenhagen.
It’s truly one of the most amazing cities in Europe (in our opinion, in the top 3). It’s charming without being cute. Friendly without the fake smiles. Stylish without the pretension. Historic, yet cutting-edge modern. Beautiful, yet humble. Sophisticated, yet down-to-earth.
Perhaps the best word to describe the vibe in delightful Copenhagen is cosy or confortable. You get the feeling that there is no stress going on here — not even during rush hour. We stayed in Copenhagen for a week and could have stayed for a month!
Our marina is a few metro stops from the center of town, but a 5-minute ride to the Amager Strand metro station. Copenhagen has a big bicycle culture, so we didn’t hesitate to unpack our folding bicycles and take them on the metro with us. Bicycles are allowed on the metro outside of rush hours (7.00-9.00 and 15.30-17.30). You need to purchase a ticket for your bicycle (DKK 13 in 2016). The walk to the metro station would have taken us around 15-20 minutes.
We explored the Christianshavn area on our bikes on the first day. It’s the part of Copenhagen that most resembles Amsterdam with it’s criss-crossing canal system. Some of the canals have guest harbours, but your boat needs to be less than about 45 feet to get a space. The cobblestone streets, cafés, canals and beautiful architecture made for an interesting morning of exploration.
A common site in Christianshavn, Copenhagen
Live-aboard boat in Christianshavn, Copenhagen
Seagull protecting its territory in Christianshavn, Copenhagen
One of the marinas in Christianshavn
Yet another marina in Christianshavn
Afterwards, we had lunch on the sunny terrace at Almanak, part of the restaurant group housed in “The Standard” building. The lunchtime smørrebrød is fantastic and we can recommend the superb dinner menu as well. We had dinner there last summer.
“The Standard” houses the restaurants “Almanak”, “Studio” and “Verandah”
Lunch at Almanak in Copenhagen
The next day, we did the shopping thing and hit the Strøget area. The Strøget is Copenhagen’s pedestrian shopping street and includes most of the major Danish brands and Design houses. Ilum, Illums Bolighus, Georg Jenssen and Royal Copenhagen are all here. We had lunch at Café Europa which turned out to be a nice surprise. We weren’t expecting the food to be so good as it’s located just at the Amagertorv square. Usually, restaurants that are well-located don’t have to try hard to get people in the door, so the food quality and the service suffers. Not in this case. We had a delicious 3-plate smørrebrød menu and the service was quick and friendly. Then it was back to the metro before the 15.30 “bicycle curfew” and back to the marina and our dog, Senna.
Luckily, she’s used to us leaving during the day (for work) so she usually sleeps while we’re away. We’ve been leaving her on the boat for about 4 hours with no problem at all, as long she gets a long walk before we leave. And of course a long walk when we get back to the boat. It hasn’t been very warm in Copenhagen, around 18 degrees, so if we leave all of the smaller windows open, it’s not hot in the boat. We leave a couple of fans running for Senna as well.
Day four was a rainy one, so we decided to walk to the National Aquarium, “Den Blå Planet” (the Blue Planet). It’s a large aquarium that’s a breath-taking architectural masterpiece in itself. Five different wings show five different water environments, such as the deep oceans, the amazon jungle, coral reefs, or the baltic sea. It’s well worth a visit on a rainy day.
We bicycled to Slottsholmen on day 5. The tiny island of Slottsholmen is home to the former royal residence of the kings and queens of Denmark, Christianborg palace. It’s quite a huge place to visit, so you can buy tickets for the entire palace, including the stables, or for just some of it. We opted for the royal kitchens and the ruins underneath the palace, this time around. The ruins are fascinating because the tour tells the history of the palace, from it’s humble beginnings in the 11th century, through to the 20th century. The palace was torn down and built up as a bigger and better version several times. It was also victim of fires three times in its more recent history and had to be built up again from its rubble.
We spent our last day just strolling through the streets of the city center and bicycling through Nyhavn, basking in it’s ambience, its cosiness. We had lunch at the fish restaurant on the top floor of the Illum department store — not bad but not the same standard as Almanak or Café Europa.
Charming little outdoor restaurant next to one of the canals
View of the architectural masterpiece the “Black Diamond” library and national photo museum.
It’s easy to see why Nyhavn is one of the most popular social spots of Copenhagen.
Former lighthouse boat, now moored in Nyhavn
Nyhavn on a bright and beautiful afternoon
One of the many renovated former harbour depots in Christianshavn
A beautiful morning in cosy Copenhagen
Panorama of Copenhagen’s inner city from the Christianshavn district
Tomorrow morning, we will set off for Møns Klint, one of the most famous Danish landmarks, and the marina Klintholm
Even though Copenhagen has a number of marinas, even a few in the center of town, we chose the one in Kastrup because it was the most dog-friendly.
Located near the National Aquarium and just a 12-minute metro ride into the center of Copenhagen, it provided us with the best of both worlds — the space for dog walking and playing and nearness to the city. In addition, it’s located next to Copenhagen’s most popular beach, Amager Strand.
It uses the system of green and red places — your can used any place marked green (meaning the owner will not be back for at least three days). When in doubt, you can ask at the marina office. We arrived early enough to get a place for our boat, which is no mean feat. There is only one place in the marina for a boat that’s 55 feet (17 meters) long. This is the biggest disadvantage of having a long boat. You can’t just fit in anywhere like a 36 or even 40 footer.
Here’s some basic information about Kastrup marina:
- Showers and toilets
- Laundry facilities
- Marine supplies/clothing shop
- Fuel station
- Environmental station for disposal of hazardous waste (used batteries, oil, etc.)
- Playground, beach and parks
- Free WiFi
- Telephone number for the marina office: 3250 2127
- Email for the harbour office: email@example.com