Long gone are the days when the locals of HELSINGBORG joked that the most rewarding sight here was Helsingør, the Danish town whose castle – Hamlet’s celebrated Elsinore (Kronoborg castle) – is visible, just 4km across the Öresund strait. Bright and pleasing, Helsingborg has a tremendous sense of buoyancy. With its beautifully developed harbour area, an explosion of stylish bars, great cafés and restaurants among the warren of cobbled streets, plus an excellent museum, it is one of the best town bases Sweden has to offer.

Brief history

In the past, the links between Helsingborg and Copenhagen were less convivial than they are now. After the Danes fortified the town in the eleventh century, the Swedes conquered and lost it again on six violent occasions, finally winning out in 1710 under Magnus Stenbock’s leadership. By this time, the Danes had torn down much of the town and on its final recapture, the Swedes contributed to the destruction by razing most of its twelfth-century castle – except for the 5m-thick walled keep (kärnan), which still dominates the centre. By the early eighteenth century, war and epidemics had reduced the population to just seven hundred, and only with the onset of industrialization in the 1850s did Helsingborg experience a new prosperity. Shipping and the railways turned the town’s fortunes round, as is evident from the formidable late nineteenth-century commercial buildings in the centre and some splendid villas to the north, overlooking the Öresund.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Sweden features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

31 Mar 2017 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

The ICEHOTEL, constructed from snow and ice each year, has long been Swedish Lapland’s blockbuster attraction. It features in our list of the top 21 things to…

19 Apr 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month