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One Day Exploring Kalmar Castle, A Swedish Delight

Do you love castles like I do? Swedish castle have it all: beautiful furnishings, gorgeous robes, and even women’s prisons. Find out more about Kalmar Castle.

What do you do when you wake up to a drizzly rainy day and you are on vacation? My answer is to go to a castle, especially when it’s one that has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I don’t know what it is about gray, wet days, but they seem to help capture the ambiance, the authenticity of castle life.

The drawbridge and moat in front of Kalmar castle.
Round wall tower at Kalmar castle and moat.

Inside The Swedish Medieval Kalmar Castle

That’s how we ended up in Kalmar. It was pouring, and we really wanted to visit the castle. The parking lot is near the cemetery, and it’s a bit of a walk to the main entrance and ticket area, so by the time we had paid and were ready to go in, we were all a bit soggy. I imagine that many days that’s how the castle residents felt too… a little soggy.

Massive fireplace and study area in Kalmar castle.

Kalmar is a gorgeous castle, and as you walk up to it you can wander down inside the old moat, which now is a very well-manicured grassy area where there are sometimes kids shows. After buying tickets, you immediately walk on the wooden drawbridge and can see the first of many defenses that the fortress provided.

Glass art display in Kalmar castle.

The first defense tower, which is now the main area of the castle, was built in 1180. Kalmar was built on the previous border of the Danish border so it was in a very strategic location. At that time it was ruled by King Magnus who continued to build it up.

Pews in the Kalmar Castle chapel.

After the unification of Denmark and Sweden, thanks to the vision of Queen Margareta, the rule turned to the Vasa kings. It was the Vasa kings that kept building, renovating, and furnishing the palace into what we see today, a gorgeous palace. For a brief time, the castle was taken over by the Danes, but it was given back in 1658 and has remained Swedish ever since.

Kalmar castle kitchen with old pots, pans, and stove.

We love wandering from room to room. Many of the rooms are still full of portraits, furniture, and keepsakes belonging to the castle. In one hall, they hold a changing art exhibit and while we were there the art work on display was a series of glass pieces. Just beautiful! You also have the option of attending a guided tour in English which is highly recommended.

Interior courtyard in Kalmar castle with interactive displays.

We really enjoyed the exhibits including many facets of Swedish history, the kitchens, some bed chambers, interactive displays, and even the old women’s prison.

Exterior side view of Kalmar castle with canon on the walls.

This is also the castle where Jim met a young ghost in one room. Additionally, children can dress up in armor and ride jousting “horse” or practice at bows and arrows in the castle courtyard, weather permitting.

Kalmar grill house for lunch after visiting the castle.

By the time we’d had our fill of life from the Middle Ages, the sun was starting to make an appearance, and our stomachs were complaining. We’re always on the lookout for a cheap delicious local lunch, so we stopped by one of the hot dog stands and filled up. I’d never thought of eating mashed potatoes with my hot dog, but I must admit it is delicious!

Hot dogs and mashed potatoes at the Kalmar grill.

Practical Information For Planning A Trip To Kalmar Castle

Kalmar castle central tower.

Getting To Kalmar Castle

Kalmar makes the perfect stopover spot for a road trip between Copenhagen and Stockholm, with about 4 hours driving time on either side of the trip. The route is easy and very scenic.

Once in Kalmar you can drive and park at the castle or walk from the center. If you are traveling by rail (on a eurail pass for instance) travel time from either Copenhagen or Stockholm is about the same as driving.

The castle is an easy 10 minute walk from the station. Address: Kungsgatan 1, 392 33 Kalmar, Sweden Opening Times: Daily 10 AM – 4 PM

The throne room at Kalmar castle.
Royal robes on display in Kalmar castle.

Where To Stay In Kalmar 

One good option in the mid-range category is the Slottshotellet across from the castle and the nearby museum. This beautiful and affordable hotel has rooms in some 18th and 19th century villas. Breakfast and dinner, both very good, are included in the price along with good wifi and parking on site.

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Save Kalmar Castle for later!
Do you love castles like I do? Swedish castle have it all: beautiful furnishings, gorgeous robes, and even women's prisons. Find out more about Kalmar Castle.

Agness of eTramping

Monday 24th of April 2017

Amazing castle, Corinne! I would love to visit it one day!

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 25th of April 2017

Agness, It really was an amazing castle, complete with residents.

Rhonda Albom

Thursday 13th of April 2017

The castle looks very formidable. I think it shows very well in the damp rainy weather.

Corinne Vail

Thursday 13th of April 2017

Rhonda, I think so, too. It's a great thing to do during the rain.


Wednesday 12th of April 2017

This looks so pretty inside and outside. The sausages look very yummy too!

Corinne Vail

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Barbara, It is a gorgeous castle and eating sausages was the icing on the cake.

RobRob @TravelLatte(.net)

Monday 10th of April 2017

Yes please! We will take one trip to the castle, and a weekend at the Slottshotellet, please. This looks like just the sort of place we love to explore. Can't make it this year, but definitely Pinning this for later. We don't know too much about Sweden, so thanks for putting Kalmar on our radar!

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 11th of April 2017

Rob, We absolutely loved it, and so will you. I can't wait to read about your experiences.