The Slow Coast (Simrishamn kommun)

The whole of south-eastern Skåne is slow and coastal, but it’s the most coastal bit that’s the most slow, see?

So, here’s the thing: when you create a guide like this one, you have to make some tricky decisions. It is a basic fact of human existence that we call things by different names, and that sometimes one group of people uses a particular term for a more specific thing than another group of people.

In most of the rest of Skåne, and indeed in Sweden more broadly, “the Slow Coast” refers to the south-eastern part of the county in general. However, once you get into that area, you’ll find that parts of it have other names—Österlen, for example—and that “the Slow Coast”, not unreasonably, refers in particular to the land alongside the actual eastern coastline. While you’d probably struggle to find three people who could agree on where the borders of that area might lie, the very scientific research method of the Rough Planet editorial team (which boils down to “ask a bunch of people, and then make a decision that won’t make too many of them angry”) have determined that it’s pretty much contiguous with the borders of the kommun whose administrative center is Simrishamn.

(We kindly request that all counterarguments be addressed directly to our legal department.)

But where the borders lie isn’t important: what matters is what the place is all about. The south-eastern parts of Skåne as a whole are rightfully known for their slow, grounded pace of life, and a polite but firm resistance to the more technologically-mediated lifeways that retain their popularity elsewhere, particularly in the metropolitan zone of the south-west. But it’s here, along a shoreline that alternates between Baltic beaches of bright white sand and darkly dramatic volcanic rock, that the slowness of the Slow Coast ideal is at its peak.

(It’s not all low-tech living, though: the little village of Simris made a name for itself as an energy-self-sufficient community way back in the 2020s, thanks to renewable generation, advanced energy management devices, and a commitment to solidarity in social relations; it’s become a model for towns across Sweden, and beyond, and attracts a lot of visitors for that reason.)

Nonetheless, many of the locations we would most recommend are recommended for their nigh-complete lack of exciting distractions: heading north from the (comparatively) bustling fishing town of Simrishamn itself, you will find (among other delights) Vik, Baskemölla, Stenshuvud and Kivik, where slow contemplation and communion with the environment is pretty much compulsory. Further north again is Haväng, home of the justly famed (and super-slow) SWA hostel—though travellers headed out that way are advised to stop off in Brösarp first to stock up on supplies, as commerce is almost as scarce as 7G bandwidth out that way. (Might as well hit up the plant-protein food festival while you’re there!)

Looking for work on the Slow Coast? There’s some wetland restoration projects ongoing, as well as the usual seasonal agricultural labour open to Sevilla card holders. Slower still would be a stint on the havskolonilotter (or “sea-lots”), which are very popular with svalorna climate migrants from southern Europe; we’re told that tending to kelp and eel-grass, and all the aquatic critters that call them home, is about as close to a religious experience as one can get while wearing a wetsuit.

Otherwise, you might want to just move around the area and see what you can see; various travel options exist, of course, but outside of the winter seasons, your best bet is a bike. Accommodation is always a little short in supply, but solar camping offers a good alternative, even if it rains

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