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10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Helsingborg

Helsingborg, strategically situated at the narrowest part of the Oresund strait and opposite the Danish town of Helsingor (Elsinore), was for centuries hotly disputed between Denmark and Sweden. The town first appears in the records in 1085 and it received its municipal charter in 1649. It's now a busy port, commercial and industrial town, a favored center for conferences and trade fairs, and Sweden's main channel of communication by sea with Denmark and mainland Europe. The port has been somewhat eclipsed since the building of Oresund Bridge, which links Sweden and Denmark, but is still well worth exploring. The historic town has many attractions including old houses, stone churches, narrow alleyways to wander through, and the Kärnan fortress, which has guarded the town for more than six centuries.

1 Kärnan (The Kernel)

Kärnan (The Kernel)Kärnan (The Kernel)

Immediately apparent to tourists arriving by sea is the town's emblem and landmark, Kärnan (the "Kernel"), a conspicuous brick tower 35 meters high, which stands at the upper end of the long market square (Stortorget). From the end of the square, a broad flight of steps flanked by two towers (elevator in left-hand tower) leads up to Konung Oscar II's Terrass, at the far corner of which stands the old defensive tower. In 1400, it was the central feature of a stronghold built on the site of an earlier timber fortress, probably dating from the 10th century. The castle was destroyed in 1680, leaving only the tower standing. From the top (190 steps) there are superb views of the town and over the Oresund to Denmark. Beyond Kärnan is Slottshagen, a beautiful park, with a sculpture by Christian Eriksson, "The Hunt", as well as the remains of the old fortress.

Hours: Open daily spring & summer, closed winter

Admission: Adults SEK 40, under 18's free, students SEK 20

Address: Slottshagsgatan, 250 07 Helsingborg

2 The Town Hall (Stadshuset)

The Town Hall (Stadshuset)The Town Hall (Stadshuset)

At the lower end of Stortorget in Helsingborg is a statue (by J. Börjesson, 1901) of the Swedish General Count Magnus Stenbock (1664-1717), erected to commemorate his victory over the Danes to the north of Helsingborg in 1710. Opposite, stands the neo-Gothic Town Hall (1870), with a 70-meter-high tower and stained glass windows depicting events in the history of the town. In front of the Town Hall are Norwegian and Danish memorial stones, commemorating the assistance given by Sweden when these countries were occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. From the foot of Stortorget, Järnvägsgatan runs southeast, passing the railroad station, boat terminal, and the municipal library (1965).

Address: Drottninggatan 7, Helsingborg

3 The Harbor Square (Hamntorget)

The Harbor Square (Hamntorget)The Harbor Square (Hamntorget) Guillaume Baviere

Southwest of Helsingborg's Stortorget, flanking the ferry port, is Hamntorget (Harbor Square), with the Seafarers Monument (by Carl Milles), a column topped by a figure of Mercury. Nearby, lies a plaque commemorating the arrival of the French marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte in 1810. (Bernadotte was chosen by the Swedish Parliament as heir to the throne and was adopted by the childless King Charles XIII; Bernadotte became king as Carl XIV Johan in 1818).

4 Jakob Hansen's Hus

Jakob Hansen's HusJakob Hansen's Hus

At the upper end of Stortorget in the heart of Helsingborg, Norra Storgatan veers to the left. At number 21, you'll find Jakob Hansens Hus (1641; restored 1931), a handsome, old half-timbered building, which now caters for weddings, celebrations of all sorts, and conferences. Architecturally, it's a taste of medieval Sweden. To the front of the building stands a fountain topped by a celestial globe (1927) commemorating the astronomer Tycho Brahe. The location is easily reached by bus, car, or on foot.

Address: Norra Storgatan 21, 25220 Helsingborg

Official site: www.jacobhansenshus.se

5 St. Mary's Church (Maria Kyrkan)

St. Mary's Church (Maria Kyrkan)St. Mary's Church (Maria Kyrkan) seier+seier

In Södra Storgatan, which runs southeast from the foot of Stortorget in Helsingborg, stands the pretty Gothic church of St. Mary (13th century, renovated in the 15th century). Swedish places of worship are noted for their simplicity both internally and externally, however notable features of the interior are the reredos (c. 1450), the pulpit (1615, with intarsia decoration), a historical chart (from A.D. 900 to modern times), and the modern stained glass.

Hours: Open weekdays 8am- 6pm, weekends 9am-6pm

Address: Södra Storgatan, Helsingborg

6 Helsingborg Concert Hall

Helsingborg Concert HallHelsingborg Concert Hall Helsingborgs Konserthus

From Stortorget in Helsingborg, Drottninggatan runs northwest to St Jörgensplats, where you can see the sculpture 'Youth at Play' by A. Wallenberg. On the west side of the square, you'll find the Concert Hall (Konserthuset; designed by Sven Markelius, 1932). The building is one of the finest examples of Swedish functionalism and has been declared a historic structure. The hall has been praised for its particularly fine acoustics and is home to the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra (HSO). Lovers of classical music should check out the varied program on offer.

Address: Drottninggatan 19, S-25067 Helsingborg, Sweden

7 Dunkers Culture Center (Dunkers Kulturhus)

Dunkers Culture Center (Dunkers Kulturhus)Dunkers Culture Center (Dunkers Kulturhus) Guillaume Baviere

Filled with art galleries and special exhibitions, the Kulturhuset hosts international music, theater, dance, and cultural activities for young people. Inside, there's a restaurant, bistro, and the Helsingborg Tourist Information Center, so this is a good place to stock up on information about the town and area. In The Reading Room you can browse through a wide selection of journals and books about music, art, history, archaeology, design, architecture, film, and theater. From the restaurant, there are great views out over Oresund.

Hours: Open daily - times vary

Admission: Free entrance, 3rd floor exhibitions (history/art) - adults SEK 70, under 18's Free

Address: Kungsgatan 11, Helsingborg

Official site: www.dunkerskulturhus.se

8 Frederiksdal Open-air Museum (Friluftsmuseum)

Frederiksdal Open-air Museum (Friluftsmuseum)Frederiksdal Open-air Museum (Friluftsmuseum) Guillaume Baviere

This is a must-see attraction for all the family and a journey back through the centuries. Visitors can stroll around and experience a real working Skåne farm, old countryside houses and outbuildings, an outdoor theater, the old 18th century Fredriksdal Mansion, a Music Museum, a Botanic Garden, Grafiska Print Museum, and an open-air theater. There's an old town quarter where you can buy quaint sweets or roses in the flower shop. In essence, Frederiksdal is the rural Skåne of old, spread across 360,000 square meters of an utterly unique setting.

Hours: Open daily

Admission: Adults SEK 80, Students (19+) SEK 40, Under 18's Free, Guided Tours available

Address: Gisela Trapps Väg 1, 254 37 Helsingborg

Official site: www.fredriksdal.se

9 Helsingborg Print Museum (Grafiska Museet)

Located in the old town quarter of Frederiksdal Open-Air Museum, Grafiska, the largest working print museum in Scandinavia, is a sure-fire stop on a tour of Helsingborg for lovers of the printed word. Inaugurated in 1995, the museum's mission is to preserve the proud craft and history of printing in the Skåne area. More than 50 volunteers demonstrate the workings of printing presses dating back hundreds of years.

Hours: Open daily May to September 11am-4pm, October to April (Monday to Friday)

11am-4pm

Address: Gisela Trapps Väg 1, 254 37 Helsingborg

Official site: www.grafiskamuseet.se

10 Sofiero Castle Editor's Pick

Sofiero Castle Sofiero Castle

Just north of Helsingborg, Sofiero Palace was, until the 1970s, a summer residence for Swedish royalty. The flower and kitchen gardens are simply magnificent. Sofiero is a unique experience, one of Europe's most beautiful parks, boasting a truly regal history. Informative exhibitions and a variety of exciting events and activities are some of the things visitors can enjoy. The castle holds particular appeal for children as they can take part in activities such as gardening and storytelling. There are imaginative and safe play areas for all ages.

Hours: Open March-September, surrounding park open all year.

Admission: Adults SEK 100, under 18's Free

Address: Sofierovägen 131, 251 89 Helsingborg

Official site: http://www.sofiero.se/
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