111km (69 miles) E of Kristianstad, 201km (125 miles) NE of Malmö, 107km (66 miles) SE of Växjö, 500km (311 miles) SW of Stockholm

Even if you have to skip Karlshamn or Kristianstad, try to plan for at least an overnight to this ancient port city. Karlskrona is a major bastion for the Swedish Navy on the country's southern flank. By royal command of King Karl XI in 1680, the port for the navy base was founded here. Today it's one of the few remaining naval ports in the world that is almost fully intact. In 1998, UNESCO declared Karlskrona a World Heritage Site.

As such, hundreds of women on the prowl from both Sweden and other parts of Europe flock here to hook up with those handsome blond sailors. The sexually charged atmosphere of Karlskrona is featured in dozens of gay guides to destinations in Europe.


The city makes a good stopover for visitors en route between Kristianstad and Kalmar to the north. It opens onto an archipelago of more than 30 islands (depending on how many islets you want to count), but many of these are off-limits and under the control of the Swedish military. In the heyday of the cold war, in 1981, a Soviet submarine spying on Swedish military installations ran aground here, and Karlskrona made world headlines. Today, Karlskrona is likely to make the papers only as host port for the International Cutty Sark Tall Ships' race.

Immediately east of Skåne, Karlskrona is the capital of the old province of Blekinge, which coincides with the modern county of the same name. Blekinge is the smallest province in Sweden and, like Skåne itself, once belonged to Denmark until Sweden reclaimed it in 1658.