Ystad is about as far south as you can go in Sweden. Cobbled streets and quaint buildings enhance its seaport charm. When you visit Ystad, you might hear the town referred to as Wallander Country because this has been the location of filming for Henning Mankell’s Wallander detective series. Look for signs of the show throughout the town, including Ystad Studios Visitor Center, Scandinavia’s largest filmmaking location.
Beyond filmmaking, the town offers much more, capitalizing on the milder climate, with 25 miles (40 kilometers) of sandy beaches. Stroll through the picturesque historic town and you’re sure to come upon St. Knut’s Square with its gothic Hansa-style buildings. Look nearby for the 13th-century Church of the Virgin Mary, or Mariakyrkan. Here, in a tradition that dates from the 18th century, the tower watchman blows a nightly horn every 15 minutes to let townspeople know they’re safe.
Another religious building in town is the 13th-century Greyfriars Abbey, one of the best-preserved monasteries in Sweden. Visit the museum in the building for a comprehensive documentation of the town’s history. Stop at the tourist bureau located in the art museum.
The old brick and half-timbered buildings should be enough proof of the town’s age, but there is an even older area. Travel 11 miles (18 kilometers) outside of town to Ales Stenar, a stone henge erected 1,400 years ago over what could be a burial site for an ancient king or leader.
This part of Sweden belonged to Denmark until the 17th century. Ystad’s Per Helsas Gard reflects those earlier times with a magnificent restoration of the town’s older buildings, with rose bushes and vines everywhere.
Visit Ystad, where you don’t have to be a Wallander fan to appreciate the charm of this historic town.