This 16th century building is a favourite getaway for Malmöites, with its well-tended grounds and surrounding beech woods accessible in 45 minutes by bike, 20 minutes by car, and just over a half an hour by public transport.
It is as much a fortified medieval mansion as a castle, although when it was originally built, it was surrounded by a moat (part of which survives as an ornamental lake). The castle was designed and built by the accomplished Swedish-born noblewoman Görvel Fadersdotter Sparre, after she had been given lands in Skåne by King Frederick II of Denmark in exchange for territories in Norway. The castle gives guided tours every Sunday around its grand dining room, medieval kitchens, early 17th century tapestry, and historic library. But most visitors come for the adventure playground in its beech woods, its walking trails, ornamental gardens, and two cafés.
Torups Slott is a popular getaway for Malmöites. Photo: Jorchr/Wikimedia Commons
The last remaining portion of the much larger Danish fortress which controlled the pinched entrance to the Baltic, Kärnan, which means literally "the core", is certainly a real medieval castle. When it was first built in Helsingborg in the 1310s, it was twinned with Kronborg, or Hamlet's Castle, across the Öresund Strait in Helsingør. The chief reason to go is to look over the waters from the roof and get a sense of the strategic power of the position. The crenellated battlements date from 1893-94 when the tower was restored. The tower houses a small but nonetheless interesting exhibition about its history. You can now enjoy a virtual tour on the castle's website.
Kärnan is the last remaining tower of what was once a much larger fortress. Photo: Bengt Flemark/Imagebank Skåne
With its location between the two halves of Ringsjön, Skåne's second biggest lake, Bosjökloster is another favourite weekend escape. Originally built as a convent on what was then an island in the middle of the lake, it was seized by the Danish crown during the reformation. The Swedish count Thord Bonde now owns the house, after his family bought it in 1908. It has a beautiful English-style garden, known for its 200 varieties of roses, thousand-year-old oak, and roaming llamas, alpacas, Shetland ponies and goats. From spring through to autumn there is a busy schedule of concerts, exhibitions and other events. It is also known for its Christmas market.
Bosjökloster boasts a stunning English-style garden. Photo: Imagebank Skåne
Like Torup, Skarhults Slott is more a fortified palace than a real castle, although it has places for cannons built into the round tower. It boasts a fine, English-style garden, built around the banks of the river Bråån. The medieval church, with its vaults and murals, is also worth a visit. Alexandra von Schwerin, the Stockholmer wife of the current owner Baron Carl-Johan von Schwerin, was behind the decision to open the grounds to the public in 2014. She has since mounted a series of exhibitions with feminist themes, winning her a businesswoman of the year award in 2018.
Skarhults Slott by night. Photo: Skarhults Slott