Castles and manors

An intriguing mix of living South Swedish and Danish history.

The castles in Ystad & Österlen are still today lived in by ancestors to the ones that erected the castles.

Many of the manors and castles are important farms and agricultural units. Not many of them offer guided tours but the ones that do are popular - and a few of them are open to public year round, due to the fact that the castles have been turned into eco-parks and wine castles, such as Christinehof Slott and Kronovall Slott.


Bjersjöholm och Bergsjöholm

There is more than a touch of Denmark in the castles of Ystad. Many are now great farming estates while others are centres of culture and leisure. Skåne was part of the Kingdom of Denmark until 1658.

Bjersjöholm, a renaissance home that probably dates from the 16th century. Built around a courtyard, the building was well defended with a substantial moat until the 18th century. In the middle of the 1990s the building was restored with the help of funds given by the county administrative board. The medieval summer festival Medeltida Ystad is arranged here every year. The adjacent Bergsjöholm was built in 1850.



The estate dates from the 14th century when a house was built just a few rifle shots from the buildings we see today by the King of Denmark. The current castle was built between 1644 and 1648 by Otte Marsvin. Marsvin means dolphin in Danish, hence the building’s name and decorations.

Since 1996 until 2012, the theatre group Ystads Stående Teatersällskap has performed open-air theatre in the castlepark in the summer months. From 2013 it is Marsvinsholmsteatern.The local train stops at the castle to allow theatre goers to alight with their picnics. The sculpture and the art exhibitions and the theatre are popular attractions as are the Christmas Fair and Easter Art Show.



Almost a royal residence; when Gustav III’s minister of finance Erik Ruuth bought the estate in the 18th century he changed the name from Snårestads Säteri to Charlottenlund after his wife Charlotta.

 The main building was built in 1849-50 by the “king of Skåne” Arvid Posse.

In 1901, Charlottenlund was bought by the sugar king Jacob Lachmann and it has remained in his family since then. The main building holds an excellent collection of 19th century art as well as a library of rare and precious books.


Högestad and Krageholm

These two castles have strong Danish connections. In the 1670s, Krageholm was the home of the powerful Jörgen Krabbe. He was accused by Karl XI for keeping inappropriate company, the Danes, and executed on Stortorget in Malmö on 13 January 1678. The house has its own baroque chapel, the latter was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the younger, the (Stockholm) court architect.

Jörgen Krabbe also owned Högestad castle. His widow, Jytte Thott, was so distressed by the execution of her husband that she decorated a whole room in black. It is said that she haunts the house! Together with Torup, Christinehof and Baldringe, Högestad is part of one of Sweden’s largest estates in tail.

 Högestad is also known for its Christmas Fair and is owned by Count Carl Piper, a great environmentalist.


Manor house tour

See the notice boards at Bjersjöholm, Bollerup, Charlottenlund, Högestad, Krageholm, Marsvinsholm, Ruuthsbo, Snogeholm, Sövdeborg and Tosterup.


Medieval churches

Many of the medieval churches of Skåne are in and around Ystad. Of particular note are the richly decorated Bjäresjö church, Valleberga round church and the fully intact 19th century church in Bromma. Many churches organise concerts, particularly during the summer months. There are also concerts in Marsvinsholm’s 19th century church, this is one of Sweden’s largest rural churches made of stone.


Ancient monuments

  • There are approximately 370 old milestones in Skåne. One of the oldest is from the 17th century and is on Stora Västergatan in Ystad.
  • South of the main road at Svarte is Disas ting; this is probably a late Bronze Age court. 
  • Stora Köpinge, one of the earliest trading centres in the region, is rich in ancient relics and monuments. Adjacent to the church is Trollasten, a dolmen; one of many well preserved megalithic burial places in this part of Skåne.
  • The churches at Balkåkra and Sjörup date from medieval times. Sjörup was completely restored in the 1960s.
  • Only the tower and part of the nave wall remain at Balkåkra. The chancel has been rebuilt as a chapel.



Publicerad 2013-06-17, Uppdaterad 2020-11-04