Last week KLM flew it’s first ever flight to Växjö, Sweden. I was one of the lucky media reporters who flew with them to explore Växjö, and the region of Småland.
Växjö is one of the greenest cities in Europe. I’m talking about sustainability here. They’ve cut down CO2 emissions big time since 1993 and are an example for other cities in the world. And if you know me, you also know I’m a girl who loves anything green, so I was exited to experience this for myself. Växjö is surrounded by lakes and beautiful forests, and the perfect destination for a digital detox. (but i didn’t have one, cause I needed to take photo’s, bummer. ;-))
How To Get There
Until last week, it wasn’t possible to fly directly from Amsterdam, so with Växjö added to their destination list, it’s now easily done in just 1,5 hours. From the small airport, you can drive pretty much anywhere. Get yourself a rental car, unless you know someone in the region. This way you can do anything you want. Try to enjoy the scenery, because as soon as you leave the airport, you are surrounded by trees and flowers, plus you might spot a Swedish Moose!
Where to Stay
There are several hotels, bed & breakfast and lodges in the area, but there are two accommodations that I would like to highlight. First up is the PM & Vänner Hotel. This modern and stylish hotel, used to be a national bank. The rooms are spacious and bright. Making use of the building, the hotel turned the bank safe into an incredible wine celar, that has even won them some prestigious prizes. When it’s nice weather, you should walk up to the rooftop, where there is a long stretched swimming pool and jacuzzi. Deck chairs are waiting for you to rest your head, and obviously the wine list is excellent. Try the PM & Vänner Bröd & Sovel bakery that is located next to the hotel, it’s a-ma-zing! The restaurant is not bad either.. it’s so good in fact, that they’ve earned a Michelin Star! And boy oh boy was it good. From locally produced nettle soup, to seasonal veggies, accompanied by the best wines. There are 22 rooms in this boutique hotel, but they are anything but standard. The bathrooms are large and all rooms give you access to free wifi, a Nespresso machine, safe ad mini bar.
Carl von Linneus, the Swedish scientist that has named all plants and flowers in the world and is a living legend in the area.
The next sleepover I enjoyed at Växjö was at Möckelsnäs Herrgård, a massive landhouse, situated by the Möckel lake. It was build in the 1300’s and owned by several interesting people. The current owners are Dutch and have renovated the place back in 2012. The classical style remains, but the bathrooms have been modernised, which gives every room a lot of space. It’s the perfect place for couples, but there are also separate family houses build on the property. In total, the landhouse has 48 rooms. Marina, the owner, showed me around the beautiful garden area, where they grow the vegetables and herbs. Even the flowers are eatable! She tells me the story of Carl von Linneus, the Swedish scientist that has named all plants and flowers in the world and is a living legend from the area. You can find several statues that represents Mr. Linneus, and one of them is located in the garden of Möckelsnäs Herrgård.
Oh, and the food here is exquisite! I enjoyed a dinner with fresh pea soup, and a seafood broth accompanied by their homemade bread. To top it off, I tasted the rather unusual basil ice-cream, which was super nice and refreshing! I slept as a baby, and woke up with a stunning view over the lake, so yes, you could say this place is a winner.
People that visit the Småland region, come here for the nature. Because of the lakes, it’s the perfect spot for camping out with friends and family, take boat rides, or cycle one of the many routes. There is even something for the thrill seekers. Here are my favourite activities in and around Växjö:
- Ziplining. It’s the first thing I did, when I arrived at Växjö. About 40 minutes drive from the airport, you will find the longest zipline in Northern Europe. It has 14 stations, all thrilling and exiting. Some are fast, others go though the forest, and have magnificent views. The highest station is 52 meters, so don’t look down! It’s the perfect thing to do with a group of friends, and there are also opportunities to camp or sleep in a special dorm hut. For more info visit www.swedenzipline.com
- Cycling. If you have the time, I always recommend you to hire a bicycle. It’s one of the best ways to explore, especially when you are surrounded by nature.
Visit Åsnen National Park & Lake Åsnen. The park will officially open on the 25th of May. Åsnen National Park brings the list to 30 national parks in total. Right located in the heart of Växjö, it’s great for hiking. The lake is huge and roughly 150 km² in size, perfect for hiring a boat with a few friends. You can also opt for a canoe and drift in between the many small islands. For more info visit. www.nationalparkasnen.se
- Swedish Glass Museum. It may sounds a bit dull to you, but glass is HOT in Växjö. They even call Småland The Kingdom of Crystal. Needless to say that most restaurants and bars get their glass locally. Very sustainable, yet again. All sorts and sizes, to drink from or just to look at. 40.000 pieces are on display at the museum and you also get a chance to see the craftsmen at work. More info here.
- IKEA Museum. Did the word Smäland sounded familiar to you? Yes, IKEA started right here. The first store opened in Smäland back in 1958. Mr. Ingvar Kamprad, who sadly passed away earlier this year, made sure he left his legacy. The store turned into a museum, where you can learn about the birth of the IKEA empire and get the chance to get involved. There are a few exhibitions running, some permanent, others temporary. If you dreamed of being on the cover of a magazine, now is your chance! www.ikeamuseum.com
In Sweden they enjoy a Fika, which is a coffee break, that goes hand in hand with a tasty (and sweet) pastry.
- Eat & typical regional foods. Always try the food of the place you’re at, is my motto. Lucky for me, a typical Swedish delight is a cinnamon roll! In Sweden they enjoy a Fika, which is a coffee break, that goes hand in hand with a tasty (and sweet) pastry.
Växjö has proved to me that it’s indeed green, full of nature, has lovely people and it has a great gastronomy. I could enjoy a few Fika’s here in my lifetime. Flights are now available with KLM from around €99,-.