Gamla Österlen

There are still plenty of artists out this way, though perhaps not as many as there once were…

The more southerly and easterly part of Tomelilla kommun is better known as Österlen, a name it acquired in the latter decades of the C20th as artists moved out of Malmö and Lund and into the villages hereabouts. It’s all about the light, you see… or you will, when you spend a bit of time out here.

(Technically, or at least traditionally, Österlen also includes much of the Slow Coast, i.e. Simrishamn kommun, and Ystad kommun too… but when you edit a guide like this, you have to make some tricky ontological decisions. And do you get any thanks for that? Let me tell you: you do not.)

There are still plenty of artists out this way, though perhaps not as many as there once were: the steady increase of property prices has seen some of them shift elsewhere in exchange for never having to worry where their next tube of oil paint is coming from. But there are lots of tiny galleries (many of which are basically someone’s front room), and during the summer you could spend the best part of a week just bumping around on your bike and seeing what Skåne’s creative class has been up to over the last year or so. Look for the red and yellow “ball” signs, which are set out in sight of the road to tempt the unwary… these used to indicate participation in the annual “konstrunda” festival, but these days a lot of them are open all year round.

(Don’t be afraid to buy things that are too big to carry—you can always get them shipped to wherever you’re staying!)

There’s also plenty of lush agricultural land, increasingly tended using permacultural or regenerative methods—which means there’s a fair bit of work available in the sunny season, too, if you’re here as a Sevilla card holder—plus plenty of pockets of woodland and not-quite-wilderness; keep an eye out for wolves, though you’re more likely to see fake ones than real ones, sadly. There’s also an uncanny number of ruined castles and other buildings tucked away… so if architectural history is your bag, get yourself to Tomelilla town and get a guidebook! It’ll save you getting lost in the woods, and having to endure the silent mockery of whichever local comes and leads you back to civilisation.

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