Enjoy beautiful sunset strolls and climb the 97 metre high lookout point over the sea at Sweden’s southernmost national park. Drop into the Visitor Centre and learn all about the park’s nature and wildlife. After a tough hike you can pop down to the silvery sandy beach in the park, perfect for gazing at magical sunrises over the sea. Set your alarm, fill your thermos and breakfast basket, and watch the day break in Österlen.
About the national park
Stenshuvud national park covers approximately 400 hectares, including 80 hectares of sea. The mountain has three peaks and the northern one, rising 97 metres above sea level, is the highest and most popular one to hike since it gives you magnificent views over the sea. To a large extent, the park is covered in deciduous forestland, with hornbeam being the predominant type of tree. But the park also contains a beautiful and very popular beach where you can take a swim in the summer or go for walks all year round. If you’re lucky you might meet grazing livestock in the national park, who are there to skim off the highest, tough growth of plants, exposing tender shoots.
Impressive fauna for the biologist
The many different biotopes in the national park contribute to an abundant variety of flora and fauna. Stenshuvud is home to a great diverseness of sandy heaths, wet meadows, rocky coastland and beautiful sandy beaches. On the west side of the mountain, there is even a bog and alder marsh and the abundant flora here has resulted in some rare species such as barren strawberry, black spleenwort, sand pink, pasqueflower and immortelle. Read more about the plant life at Stenshuvud here»
The park has two entrances; The main entrance and northern entrance.
At the main entrance in you will find the Naturum information centre that’s hosts an exhibit about the national park. The largest car park is located right here and this is where you’ll find information boards with national park displays, brochures and maps. There is also a WC and earth closet. From here, you can easily walk down to the sandy beach, a distance of approximately 500 metres. Next to the car park there is a large meadow with several picnic tables and two shelters where you can have coffee and a snack. The majority of the park’s different hiking trails also depart from here.
The northern entrance
At this entrance, you will find a car park and an earth closet, along with an information board where you can grab a brochure and a map of the national park. From here you can reach the orange marked Skåneleden trail (SL-4), that leads to the arboretum (400 meters) and to Naturum visitor centre which is about a 2-km walk south. You can also reach the yellow trail that takes you around the mountain (about 4 km).
Naturum Visitors center
The Naturum Visitors Center is located at the main entrance. Here, you will find an exhibit about the national park as well as knowledgeable personnel who will help you with your questions and provide tips on what is worth seeing and how to find your way around the national park. Naturum is open daily during the summer and Tuesday-Sunday in spring and autumn. It is closed from December until February.
During the summer, Naturum offers guided tours every day. During spring and autumn they are only held on Sundays. The tour takes about 1,5 hours and is a recommended activity since you will learn all there is to know about the area’s history, how the land has been used in the past and about cultural remnants. The guide tells you details about the flora and fauna that you see along the way. You will also get an insight into how the area has been administered and what is being done to preserve the high nature values that exist here today.
The standard guided tour costs 25SEK for adults and 10SEK for children.
You can also book an exclusive guided tour of your own for your company or family and friends. The hike, information and location will then be adapted to your desires. This tour costs 1,000SEK per hour.
Stenshuvud National Park is located just south of Kivik, about 15 km north of Simrishamn. From road 9 you can see signs pointing towards the main entrance and from Kivik there also are signs to the northern entrance.
If you do not have access to a car, it is easy to get here by bus, with Skåne-expressen number 3 to be specific. The walk to the park from “Mellby skola” bus stop is about three kilometres. From the bus stop, just walk left by the red fence towards the village of Svinaberga. Follow the signs from there to the national park.
Do not miss
The Stenshuvud beach
The beach is the big drawing card in summertime. The sand is so fine it creaks underneath your feet and this place is often referred to as Skåne’s most exotic beach. The sea is rather shallow at first but with strong currents once you get further out so beware and be careful.
View from the top
Whetever you do, do not miss out on the outlook spots, located north of the main entrance. The distance to the highpoints is barely one kilometre long and you can choose between the three different points. If you are up for it, though, it is well worth the toil of going up on all three because you see the coast in different directions. The way up is flanked by lush hornbeam forest and large oak trees.
Exotic sand heath
This one is a turn on for biologists since the sand heath is a very unusual biotope today. The ground is largely made up of nothing but sand. Pasqueflower, grey hair grass and St Bernard's lily thrive here. During the summer the rare tawny pipit breeds right in the midst of the heath.
White and bright, this lighthouse stands on the rocky shore on the seaward side of Stenshuvud mountain. You’ll find it by following the yellow trail along the sea that takes you through a gnarled oak forest. But watch out! In some places the path is very rocky, and can put pressure on both ankles and knees.
There are a couple of different hiking trails in Stenshuvud National Park. Keep scrolling to read more about each one.
Blue trail - About 1 km, 30 minutes
The blue trail gives you an easy and pleasant stroll down to the sea. Begin and end at the Naturum visitor centre and follow the blue marks. This trip is also customized for the disabled.
Along the way you will see the fringes of the orchid meadow that in the summer puts on a display of unparalleled floral splendour. The beach is always enjoyable, and here you can check out the Krivareboden eel fishing hut that used to be a starting point for fishing back in the day before Skåne became part of Sweden.
Red trail - 2 km, 1 hour
This is the most classic Stenshuvud trail. It takes you through a beautiful hornbeam forest and leads you all the way to the top of Stenshuvud. Right before the top you will pass through an ancient castle wall before seeing the view of the sea and Hanöbukten bay. If you want to walk farther, you can hike down steps and follow the yellow trail back, either along the alder marsh on the inner side of the mountain or around the foot of the mountain, following the edge of the sea back southwards. However, this part of the yellow trail is very rocky so be careful.
Yellow trail - 4 km, 1 1/2 hours
This trail takes you from the main entrance northwards through the hornbeam forest, past the alder marsh and past the north entrance and arboretum back through the oak forest on the east side of Stenshuvud. You also will pass the sandy beach before the trail turns off up towards the main entrance and Naturum. This trail is very rocky in places.
Orange trail – 0.5 km, about 15 minutes
The orange trail starts from the north entrance and takes you through the arboretum that was planted by county master gardener Carl Ekenstam at the end of the 19th century. The trail is adapted for the disabled.
Purple trail - 3 km, 1 hour
For those who have been up on Stenshuvud a few times and want to have some variety, this is one of the most beautiful places you can find. The vantage point on Kortelshuvud affords a view across Stenshuvud and the sea. If you walk around the entire loop, you will find birch forest, hornbeam forests, meadows filled with vegetation, pastures and the wonderful long valley along the north branch of the Rörum river.
The Skåneleden trail takes you straight through the national park, all the way from Kivik in the north to Simrishamn in the south. Along the trail you’ll see the orange marks with the letters SL4 (Skåneleden trail section 4). From the north, this trail goes up and thorugh Stenhuvud, down to Naturum and then along the beach towards Simrishamn.