Ystad is a beautiful little town with about 15 000 inhabitants.
The town centre has medieval origins and the imposing Mariakyrkan at Stortorget and not far from there the grand Franciscan monastery were built during that period. Today, the monastery (Klostret) is a museum dedicated to historical exhibitions. The timber-framed buildings in the heart of the town are also eye-catching, these were built in the 15th and 16th centuries. When talking about culture, we must not forget the great Art museum (Konstmuseet). But there are many exciting museums in Ystad.
Today, Ystad is probably mostly famous for its fictitious Inspector Kurt Wallander, made known through the books by Henning Mankell. There is an interesting exhibition on the Wallander films at Cineteket.
In the middle ages, when the southernmost parts of Sweden were in fact Danish, shipping to and from Ystad flourished. The herring fishing was very important to commerce. The second period of greatness was a few hundred years later. This was during the so-called smuggler’s period at the beginning of the 19th century when Emperor Napoleon declared a trading blockade against the British Isles. This had an effect on the whole of Europe. Sweden was not part of the continental system and the English circumvented the blockade by shipping their goods to Gothenburg instead from where it was taken by road to the ports in the south. Ystad, which was closest to the Continent, was in a perfect location. The income from custom duties multiplied many times over in just a few years.
The enthralling sailing vessel TS Helene is docked in Ystad harbour. She was built in 1916 originally as a schooner at the shipyard in Ystad but having lost her rigging in a bad storm in the 40’s, she was re-rigged as galleass. Many years later, she was decommissioned and today she is a training and passenger ship for the Ystad Shipping Club. She is well worth a visit!
Ystad is filled with pleasant and enjoyable cafés and restaurants. From a cultural historical perspective, we should mention the restaurants Norra Promenaden and Hotell Continental, which boast that they are the oldest hotels in Sweden. Of course, they also offer a good night’s rest. As an alternative for sleeping, there is also Hotell Sekelgården, housed in a timber framed farm building from the end of the 18th century.
In and around Ystad there are also hostels, bed & breakfasts and campsites. Just pick whatever suits you best! If you are travelling by boat, perhaps you will sleep in it moored at the guest marina. If you want to rent a car, the most common rental companies are present in town, including Hyrbilen. You can rent a bicycle from, amongst others, Roslins Cykel. Public transport is extensive and a trip to Malmö and Copenhagen doesn’t take much time. Equally, a trip eastwards to Tomelilla or Simrishamn is easily done. In Ystad, there is also a very good Tourist Information Office, who can give you more advice on anything that interests you.