10 Vittsjö - Hårsjö
Degree of difficulty
Vittsjön Lake is the incredibly beautiful, quiet starting point for your hike – you may want to stay right here for a bit! But rich, woodlands and wetlands, and idyllic ancient pastures are waiting for you, as are ruins from the 1300s and the rocky remains of retreating glaciers from 12,000 years ago.
Leaving Vittsjö, you wander out into rich woodlands and wetlands. The section of trail near Pjäcket is known for its peaceful pastures and at the village of Hårsjö the trail once again follows along the top of an esker – Jären Ridge. Eskers are formed from deposits of sand, gravel and rock left behind when glacial sheets of ice melted.
At the village of Hårsjö your trail meets the Skåneleden sub-trail SL2 – Nord-sydleden Trail. This SL2 section is quite short and after just a couple of kilometres of dense forest with a little wilder character, you reach a campsite that has it all – beech woodlands, springs, a lazy creek, and of course, Hårsjö Lake itself.
The little community of Vittsjö was known for its spas and rest homes during the 1800s, as the air and surroundings were considered health-giving. Perhaps you agree that they still are. Vittsjö is a long, narrow village with water almost everywhere you look, and the old hotels from the spa days are scattered throughout the village.
Once upon a time, the border between Denmark and Sweden went through this area and many battles were fought right here over the highly strategic and resource-rich lands. In 1612, King Gustav II Adolf almost died when he broke through the ice on his horse on Vittsjö Lake while fleeing from Danish troops. And in 1959, a mass grave was uncovered with the remains of at least 220 soldiers who died in a battle fought here. Monuments commemorate both the fallen soldiers and King Gustav II Adolf’s near death experience.
As you wander south through the tranquil Vittsjö lake system with its wetlands and forests, you might visit the site of Vittsjöborg Fortress. You will need to rent a canoe or boat to get there, but if you like canoeing and or medieval history, then this will be an exciting excursion. The fortress was long thought to have its origins as a stronghold for pro-Danish partisans during the 1600s. But archaeological excavations in the 1980s revealed that it was most likely built 1330 and then probably burned to the ground after a siege in the 1360s.
Escape from the wetlands to the top of the Hårsjöåsen Ridge, which was an old highway. It was also an excellent place from which to stage ambushes, and the pro-Danish partisans probably hid here during the 1600s. Some of the village of Hårsjö belonged to the Hovdala estates. The tenant farmers supplied timber and worked many long hours building Hovdala Castle, while the Ehrenborg gentry and their guests roamed and hunted in the surrounding forests. The first mention of Hovdala Castle is from 1130, but the current castle is from the early 1500s.
There are ruins galore in this area, many marked with a croft number. Most of these tenant farms had vaulted earth cellars and flax drying sheds, part of the process of producing fine linens.
Along the section
There are no known issues on this track segment.
Highlights along the section
Are you looking for a place to stay or a cozy cafe during your hike? Here are some of the sights and places to visit along the section.
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