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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Room after fascinating room presented the most amazing craftsmanship — marquetry, embroidery, painting, glass and metalwork.
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 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!
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!
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.