When I was a child, I read lots of books. One of the books I remember in particular was about a garden. The secret garden. When I visited Norrviken’s gardens in the south of Sweden for the first time, that book came to my mind again. For me, Norrviken became my very own secret garden. As a wrapped present that I happily unfolded and opened up piece by piece as I walked around the gardens.
WHAT IS NORRVIKEN?
Norrviken is not a royal garden at a large palace, but the result of one man’s dream. Gardener Rudolf Abelin. In the beginning of the 20th century, Rudolf Abelin found this place outside Båstad in northwestern Skåne, a place with a very favorable climate and with opportunities to both grow fruit and create a garden for all the senses. Here he built Villa Abelin for the family and created a garden based on inspiration he received on his travels around Europe.
I must admit that I had never had a thought of visiting Norrviken’s gardens until this year. I can not even remember hearing about the park before? But I can reveal that we became so fond of the park that we have now bought an annual pass. Because if there is one place where I want to experience the seasons, it is here.
THE VARIOUS PARKS IN THE GARDEN
In Norrviken, Rudolf wanted to create the beauty of the world in miniature, with six gardens in different styles. He created the Baroque Garden with its magnificent fountains, the Water Garden with its white temple and sea of hydrangeas, the well-kept Renaissance Garden , the enchanting Japanese Garden in the gorge, the Eastern Terrace with the small temple and the Romantic Garden with rhododendron splendor. In recent years, new gardens have also been created, including a children’s garden with space for running and lots of play. Norrviken’s gardens constantly evolve and are renewed every year.
It’s hard to name a favorite place in the park, but if I have to pick one single garden, it has to be the Japanese garden. Here among the blood-red maple leaves and the cooling shade in the ravine, it is wonderful to just sit down on a bench and enjoy the views.
CHILDREN AND DOGS
Norrviken is not only a wonderful place for adults, but also for children and dogs.
The children have fun in Hasse’s happy (and edible) garden or learn all about bees in the backyard, look for newts and peacocks or play a game of chess in one of park oases. This year’s exhibition “The Year of the Forest” is like a magical fairytale trail in the forest, with lots of imaginative art.
Dogs are very welcome and there are even special fresh water taps with dog bowls where our four-legged friends can quench their thirst on hot days.
FOOD AND DRINK IN THE PARK
A great tip is to have lunch or coffee in the park.
The orangery Orangeriet at Villa Abelin has a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the Japanese garden. Really good lunch is served here which makes both you and your stomach happy. We ate lightly cooked long with crayfish sauce and new potatoes and enjoyed every single bite. Dogs are also allowed on the outdoor terrace.
Chocolaterian right by the parking lot is best for a coffee with pralines. The pralines are both beautiful and tasty and the outdoor terrace overlooks the sea. However, the lunch was a bit comme ci comme ca (the pizza tasted mostly ketchup, but my club sandwich was perfectly ok), so I definitely recommend Orangeriet for food.
WHEN SHOULD I GO TO NORRVIKEN?
Norrviken’s gardens are (during 2021) open daily from May to September. During October and November/December it is partly open (mainly weekends – check the website before you go here!)
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO VISIT THE PARK?
Norrviken is not a large park, but the different gardens all together take a few hours to visit. If you are fast and do not stop and do not have coffee or visit the exhibitions, you can do the park in one hour. If you, like us, want to enjoy the place and even have lunch – I would say 3 hours.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO VISIT THE GARDENS?
Adults cost SEK 150 (2021) and children under 18 are free. We have bought the season pass for SEK 250, so if you plan to go here more than once this year, it pays off with a season pass.
It is easy to pre-book your ticket on the website to avoid the queues at the entrance. Also take the opportunity to download Norrviken’s gardens’ app in your mobile for maps and information in advance.
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