Port Profile: Kalmar, Sweden

Learn everything you need to know about cruise destinations under Avid Cruiser’s Port Profiles section (you’ll find a tab above on the navigation bar). Each week, we’ll provide one or more port profiles for those are planning trips or for those who need inspiration to do so. Today’s feature, Kalmar, Sweden.

Kalmar Castle is a main attraction in Kalmar Photo: Destination Kalmar

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Voted one of Sweden’s best summer cities, there are many other facets to Kalmar than that as a popular destination for vacationers.

One of the most visible of those facets is the history of this city on Sweden’s east coast. Kalmar slott (the Kalmar Castle) is a symbol that the inhabitants quite rightly take pride in. In a way, the castle epitomizes Kalmar’s entire past. Once visitors start to scratch the surface, though, they will find that there is more than the castle to experience.

It was in Kalmar that Kalmarunionen (the Kalmar Union) was signed in 1397. The union united the three kingdoms of Sweden (including Finland), Denmark and Norway. And it was here that the well-known Swedish King Gustav Vasa landed in the year 1520 after having escaped from Danish imprisonment.

One of Sweden’s oldest cities, Kalmar’s port activities date back more than 1,000 years. In the Middle Ages, the port played an important role with its strategic location on the Kalmarsund trade route. Trade with the Hanseatic League was robust, imbuing Kalmar with Germanic atmosphere.

The city center is crammed with historical sites and renovated buildings that serve as reminders of developments and events like these, and of Sweden’s era as a country of great power in the Baltic region. Many of the more newly erected buildings have also been designed so as to blend in with the older houses.

Kalmar’s Old Town, with its characteristic buildings Photo: Destination Kalmar/Jenny Roloff

But Kalmar has also developed while, at the same time, glancing at its history. This is a contemporary city, which attracts visitors from near and far. To many Swedes, Kalmar is synonymous with vacation, beaches and summertime fun. Witness Kalmar’s tenth place in a poll that ranked the favorite destinations for Swedes in summertime.

Quite a few Swedes also associate Kalmar with Öland, Sweden’s second-largest island. Öland is possibly even more of a summer paradise than Kalmar. This is where Sweden’s Royal family spend their summers, at the Solliden Palace. Öland is connected to mainland Sweden by a bridge that starts (or ends) in Kalmar. The bridge is one of the longest in Europe.

Read Avid Cruiser’s full Port Profile featuring Kalmar.

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