Smaland is a historical province in southern Sweden. Smaland borders the provinces of Blekinge, Scania (Skane,) Halland, Vastergotland, Ostergotland and the Baltic Sea. Oland Island, just off the east coast, is also considered part of the province. The traditional Swedish provinces serve no administrative purpose; it is a historical designation only. The three largest cities in Smaland are Jonkoping (northwest), Vaxjo (south), and Kalmar (east coast).
Travellers can fly direct into Jonkoping from Stockholm or Frankfurt, Germany. Vaxjo also has a small airport, but they only have flights from Stockholm and other small Swedish towns. For travellers in Copenhagen, the train is faster. Around the region, buses run regularly between towns, but for further exploring you may want your own vehicle.
Budget hostel accommodation in Smaland can be found along the coast in Kalmar, Vaxjo, and Oland Island, as well as in Jonkoping. Look for the word “vandrarhem,” as that translates directly to “hostel.” Many Swedes do speak English, so you can always ask for a hostel as well. Outside of the main cities, hostels are rare. Consider a guesthouse (“gasthus”) or bed and breakfast instead.
Once you have your accommodation sorted, you can explore Smaland. The South Swedish Highlands run through the province, and as a result much of the province is heavily forested, with a sandy, rocky soil unsuitable for agriculture. But, that means that there is good hiking, especially in the national parks: Store Mosse, Norra Kvill, and Bla Jungfrun. The province is also rich in lakes and bogs; kayak, canoe, or fish at many of them but check local regulations for fishing permits.
Art and architecture enthusiasts will enjoy the towns, where the traditional Swedish architecture dominates. Kalmar Slott is one of the most important Swedish Renaissance castles and also boasts one of the best preserved interiors. There are several art and history museums in the province, from the Smalands Museum in Vaxjo, to the award-winning Eksjo Museum in Eksjo, and the Kalmar Konstmuseum, with modern art. Anyone travelling with kids (or kids at heart) shouldn’t miss Astrid Lindgren Nas and Astrid Lindgren Varld (the author of Pippi Longstocking.) Smaland is also known as the Kingdom of Crystal, where traditional glassmaking has been going on for centuries.
Whatever you choose to do in Smaland, you will enjoy it!
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Småland hostels. Welcome.