Coastal hiking in Österlen

Vandra på natursköna Österlen i sydöstra Skånes böljande jordbrukslandskap och ta dig fram längs kustens pittoreska byar. Den rofyllda vandringen bjuder på historiska inslag och många chanser till ett uppfriskande dopp i det blå.

Photo: Apelöga

Where? Brösarp-Kivik Length: 11 km Difficulty: Moderate

This hike follows Skåneleden Trail’s sub-trail SL4, or the Österlenleden Trail in southeast Skåne. Österlen is a collective name for southeast Skåne’s coast, renowned for its rolling hills, open agricultural landscape, meadows, coastline and white, sandy beaches.

You can easily make your way to the village of Brösarp by bus from the cities of Kristianstad, Simrishamn, or Ystad. Get off at the Torparebron bus stop on Route 19, just north of Brösarp’s centre. Three different sections of the Skåneleden Trail meet here. Make sure you choose the right section for your hike. Follow the orange arrows toward Haväng and cross Route 19 and then enter a pasture land. Continue following Skåneleden Trail’s orange markers which guide you as you walk through Österlen.

You’ll know when you’re getting closer to the Baltic Sea. The sea breeze and the sound of waves hitting the shore are unmistakable. Follow the winding Verkeån River through contrasting landscapes: lush, wet, jungle-like forests and dry, sandy hills. You will pass old mills, some truly ancient, and tiny villages with just a few houses. You will pass through several pastures, sharing the paths with grazing sheep, cattle or horses. You might even catch a glimpse of the occasional llama!

Hiking Österlen is like travelling back through history. At Haväng, a popular visitor destination, be sure to make a little detour to Lindgrens Länga, an old half-timbered building with a thatched roof - typical for Skåne - that has been converted to an outdoor museum filled with interesting local history as well as information about the area’s development as far back as the Stone Age. From Haväng, you can also visit Havängsdösen Dolmen, a 5000-year-old megalithic tomb with a large flat stone laid on upright ones, and perfectly oriented for the spring and autumn equinoxes. Pause here and allow your curiousity to run free. Who were the ancient people farming these lands during the Neolithic Period, between 4000 - 1500 BCE?

Next to Haväng is the Vitemölla recreation area. There are no marked trails here. You are free to walk wherever you like. Don’t miss the view from the hills after you cross the bridge over Verkeån River. If the weather is nice, you can spot the islands of Hanö to the north and the Danish island of Bornholm to the southeast.

From here you can choose. Do you feel like staying on the hills as you hike, or would you rather walk the beach, perhaps with your feet in the water. When you come to a small brook - Klammersbäck Brook, turn into the forest and follow the ravine. Here the nature is entirely different. Incredibly tall beech trees rise up like the pillars in some ancient forest temple, and only two things break the heavy silence - your footsteps and the weak gurgling of the brook. During certain periods of the spring and summer, the forest is filled with the music of small song birds.

Hike up the steep ravine and follow the path towards the slope where the pine forest meets sandy hills. Stretch out under the shade of a pine and gaze out over the sea. Such a moment at such a place is rare and to be cherished. Slowly make your way toward and then through the small alleys of the little fishing village of Vitemölla. Pause at the harbour and breathe deeply, taking in the salty air and the smell of seaweed. Walk the small streets and imagine what it might be like to live in one of these charming, small cottages. Don’t miss the beautiful, old seaside hotel Vitemölla Badhotell. Refresh, if you like, with a swim in the Baltic - it’s a must when hiking in Österlen!

When you arrive at the harbour in Kivik, leave the Skåneleden Trail and head up into this little town.  Rest for a while on a bench in the square and wait for a bus to take you back. We suggest the yellow Skåneexpressen bus number 3. You could also choose to end your hike in Vitemölla - buses pass through there as well. In that case, you would turn up into the little fishing town of Vitemölla, and walk up the steep hill to the bus stop on the main road.