Continuing my Sweden travel stories, in this one I want to transport you to a place filled with history, nature and numerous flowers. Malmö’s castle, gardens and park is one of the most impressive sceneries in this city. From a vast park exposing windy pathways going through large green areas, plentiful trees, lakes and canals, to the kings gardens and castle, this is the place where one can spend their entire day! And that is exactly what I did on a warm sunny July day.
Kungsparken or the Kings Park
Perhaps you are already familiar with Malmö’s old town from my latest posts that you can read here and here. Kungsparken is one stone cast away from the unreal streets of Malmö, where only a crosswalk separates the King’s former walking grounds from the old town. I passed on the other side of the road, entering the park through an invisible gate formed by flowers and trees. A sandy-gravel lane welcomed me into the park. It was surrounded by large green areas providing people with enough space to lay down, enjoy a picnic or just relax on a blanket.
Check out these amazing activities when in Malmö 🙂
I don’t know why, but every time I see sceneries like these, my heart fills with joy. Nature is still desired by us, humans, above all. I continued my walk through Kungsparken encountering a bizarre cave – called Grottan in Swedish -, which had a snake head on top spilling water. You never know what to expect when visiting places and that’s the true feeling of traveling.
Returning back to the story, Grottan is one of the popular sights in the park. The interior of the cave is painted with different figures, such as a heart shape, which, in my view, can’t offer the construction a truthful representation. What I mean is that I wanted to get immersed into the story of what this snake represented, but then I got distracted by the decorations behind it. Is it just me or would the cave look much better without them?
Reading more about Kungsparken, I found out that, in contradiction to what I believed, the park was built in 1870 by a danish architect named Ove Hoogh Hansen. He took inspiration from the English park style and the park was named after King Oscar the second of Sweden. Why I was surprised was because I thought the park to have a longer history, maybe as the king’s hunting grounds, around the same time when the castle was built – in 1530. However, the park’s grounds were built on up until they were demolished in 1660 to offer the castle’s towers and fortifications a more visual field in the face of prospective dangers.
I let myself wander on the kings’ park alleys, imagining how the king himself walked on the same path. I reached a large lake in the middle of the park, being surrounded by numerous birds relaxing under trees. In the middle stood a fountain, overseeing the whole landscape. Everything creates an atmosphere perfect for meditation.
Different sculptures and ornaments embellished the otherwise plain alleys. Flowers make even the most simple landscape stand out. I enjoyed the view from the very start. With the lake disappearing behind me, I crossed a bridge coming closer to the king’s former living quarters.
Entering the castle gardens – Slottsträdsgård
The canal that crosses through Malmö, separating the old town from the rest of the city, divides the castle grounds from the rest of the park as well. I saw it like a strategic barrier that protected the castle and its gardens from any dangers. Nowadays the canal can be crossed easily by bridges from many sides. The one that I took got me straight to a cafe, where even the most satiated person would stop for something to eat or drink. And mainly for the landscape, atmosphere and surroundings.
Behind the cafe lies the most beautiful garden in Malmö – the castle’s gardens. It has a labyrinth style setting, where narrow paths led me to experience different types of plants and flowers. One thing I found really amazing was that in the middle of the garden were patches of land filled with diverse vegetables planted by Malmö’s young students. A place where they could learn how to live sustainable and what it takes to grow your own food.
Getting lost in the labyrinth, I discovered different species of flowers, each living in specific habitats. The sound of bees happily gathering pollen together with the numerous flower species and their distinct colors, offered me the feeling I was somewhere far in the countryside and not in the middle of the third largest city in Sweden.
Then, I found the most incredible relaxation spot in the whole city! Right in the castle’s gardens I found a magical place. Bushes and a large tree surround it, offering enough shadow to the people that want to lay down in one of the wooden lounge chairs. I think I sat there for more than half an hour, just enjoying the breeze of wind and the beautiful view I got of the oldest mill in Malmö.
Towards Malmö’s castle
Sadly I had to leave my perfect spot so that I could get closer to the castle. On my way I stopped to take a closer look at the mill. It is a piece of construction belonging to the history of the 19th century still standing and in good shape. It reminds us how people used to live and work during that time.
On the left side of the mill runs an encompassing moat and in the middle prevails the exquisite Malmö castle. You know those tales where a stream of water always surrounds a mighty castle? This place reminded me of those books I read when I was a child. Except it didn’t have any other mythical creatures lurking in the water to protect the gates of the castle. Perhaps only just fish or other small living beings. And of course a lot of vegetation. I even saw a pheasant nearby, however I wasn’t that fast to film it or take a picture.
Malmö Castle – what a sight!
After I went round the moat, I finally reached the massive bridge that led the way towards the castle’s sturdy gates. King Christian III of Denmark gave a decree in the 14th century to build the castle on the ruins of an old fort. It is the oldest preserved renaissance castle in Scandinavia, which even housed between 1567 – 1573, as prisoner, Earl James Hepburn, husband of Mary Queen of Scots.
Malmö castle itself had many uses over the years. From a royal castle and later, after the conflicts between Sweden and Denmark ended, to a strategic defense fortification. However, it was later turned into a prison at the beginning of the 19th century, as there was no need for a fortification anymore. Lastly, in the onset of the 20th century it represented a shelter for homeless citizens. I have never heard of a castle to have had so many roles.
Nowadays, the whole castle houses different museums, where one part shows the old royal living quarters and the prison, while the other parts embody three different museums: of art, natural museum and aquarium. And the price to visit them all is only of 4€. Children up until 18 enter for free.
One thing that impressed me the most was how small the beds were back in the days. How could people fit in them? Did we grow larger over time? Is it because we had more nutrition or simple evolution? One thing is for sure, I have never seen such impressive wooden carvings beautifying any bed up until now. I wish we could still have these in our days as well.
Until next time, stay safe!