Båstad – Style and Sustainable Tourism on the Swedish Coast

Luxury. To me, that’s a brisk walk on my local beach in any season. 12 km of glorious uninterrupted sand. Add to it a stunning peninsula with ragged cliffs, a foodie culture, international tennis tournaments, an abundance of cultural events, and a history dating back to the 13th century. I give you, Båstad, an enchanting town on the Swedish coast brimming with sustainable tourism and deluxe living.

I’m blessed to have spent countless summers here, playing on the beach as a child, partying at the clubs as I grew older, and reminiscing about the many great family moments we had here, I send a special salute to my grandparents who had the foresight to choose elegant Båstad as the place for their summer house.

The town already saw bigger visitor numbers at the end of the 1800s as Ludvig Nobel, nephew of Alfred Nobel (yes, the Nobel Prize), settled and developed houses, spas and tennis courts. Ever since, Båstad has attracted travellers with an eye for luxury experiences.

Domestic and international visitors flock to town in July, drawn to the entertainment at the beach clubs, and stars like Björn Borg, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams who have graced the tennis courts over the years. The appeal does not end there, Båstad makes a conscious effort to be an attractive destination year round, much of it focussed on a sustainability oriented strategy, encompassing environmental, social and cultural activities for locals and travellers alike. To spread the visitor numbers over a longer time period is a great way to develop sustainable tourism, a tactic replicated worldwide.

Centrecourt tennis in Båstad, Sweden

Nordea Open, Båstad. Photographer: Johan Lilja. All pictures in article courtesy of Visit Båstad

While I spend a couple of months a year in Båstad and consider myself semi-local, new developments are coming in fast and plenty. Thus, to get you the latest and best tips on what to see, do, and experience, One Planet Journey turned to the experts, Visit Båstad, the official tourism agency. We caught up with Karl Olsson, Head of Marketing to learn more.

Båstad has had an iconic reputation for Swedes ever since the end of the 1800s, when it started to attract the summer crowds. What are the main reasons for its continued attraction?

Båstad and the wider Bjäre Peninsula have a great allure, in large part due to its incredible landscape and beautiful nature. People come here to enjoy life, relax, and indulge in activities they love. Tennis became fashionable early on, largely thanks to former Swedish King Gustav V, who resided here for several summers during the 1930s. An annual tournament started 1948, now called Nordea Open, and celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. It takes place over two weeks, one for women and another for men.

But Båstad’s appeal goes beyond tennis. The town is known for hosting a variety of major events, such as the Birgit Nilsson Days (named after the opera superstar born here), the Summer ON festival with over 16,000 attendees, the largest chamber music festival in the Nordic region, the famous Norrviken Gardens, and much more. As a matter of fact, Norrviken is a particularly popular tourist destination, not only in the summer but also during the magical Winter at Norrviken celebration.

Gardens, water and estate in Norrviken, Båstad, Sweden

Norrviken Gardens

Båstad Municipality’s tagline is Båstad – ett bättre sätt att leva. In English, it means a better way to live. Could you expand on how it translates to a sustainable community?

We are always working to improve accessibility on the peninsula, both to get around and access information. A sustainability handbook has been developed by Båstad Tourism and Business Development, where several businesses have signed the agreement outlined in the book and taken concrete actions as presented. Furthermore, companies here employ a large number of people, and the unemployment rate in the municipality is low, as many younger individuals find jobs early on in one of the hotels, restaurants, or the strong local industry. Exceedingly few from the younger population do not have a summer job, for example. Alongside the environment and mentioned cultural activities, social sustainability is a priority.

Båstad has begun transitioning towards sustainable tourism and it’s clear this Swedish coastal town sees sustainability and luxury as mutually reinforcing. How does it look on the ground?

Because of the incredible scenery and range of activities, Båstad & Bjäre Peninsula are truly wonderful places to visit and live in, especially for people who enjoy the good life. We have a range of offerings that many municipalities with the same population can only dream of: excellent accommodations, great restaurants, and fantastic opportunities for various nature and sporting related pursuits. In addition, Båstad is becoming a true wine destination with several ambitious ventures, including Ljungbyholm and Thora vineyards. Here, you experience an outstanding quality of life.

Hiking on rolling green hills with a sea in the background. Båstad, Sweden.

Hiking in Grevie. Photographer: Louise Nordström Pettersson

It sounds like a winning formula. Now, I’m sure you already enticed our readers to visit, so let’s get practical and list suggestions for accommodation in Båstad.

Click on above links for direct access to accommodations and more detailed information.


Next up is food. Where can we dine in Båstad?

Click on above links for direct access to restaurants and more detailed information.

Restaurant interior at Hjorten in Båstad, Sweden.

Hjorten restaurant in Båstad

And for the culture vultures among us?

Click on above links for direct access to cultural activities and more detailed information.

Fireworks at an outdoor music festival by the sea.

Summer On Festival. Photographer: Fabian Wester

Aside from tennis in Båstad, what other sporting and nature activities would you recommend for the wider peninsula?

  • Cycling – with the mountain ridge of Bjäre, there are plenty of challenges for riders of all ages.

Group of cyclists in the countryside.

Cycling along the south coast. Photographer: Louise Nordström Pettersson

Hiking – trek the Skåneleden trail from Båstad, walking south along the coast, passing Hovs Hallar, Torekov and the spectacular Dagshög or take the boat to Hallands Väderö and its unique nature, to see animals like seals and the white-tailed eagle.

Woman sitting in meadow of pink flowers near the sea

Dagshög. Photographer: Louise Nordström Pettersson
  • Golf – Båstad offers magnificent golf experiences with great variety and amazing views.

  • Zipline – Kungsbyggets Adventure Park.

Child on zipline

Ziplining at Kungbyggets Adventure Park

No reason to get bored then. As a last note – what’s the best kept secret in Båstad for a memorable swimming experience?

Since it is a peninsula, there are bathing opportunities in three different directions, allowing you to choose a beach based on the wind direction. And let’s not underestimate the classic evening or morning swim, which you can enjoy from a number of magical spots. There are several excellent piers and docks for swimming all around the peninsula, such as Paulins Pier, Norrviken’s coast, Morgonbryggan in Torekov, and Norrebro Harbor.

Fantastic, thank you, Karl and Visit Båstad for the collaboration. You’ve already revealed lots of places and activities that I haven’t seen or tried. I’m glad I have summer ahead of me. As a part-time resident, I can vouch for this paradise on the southwestern Swedish coast and, for those of you planning a trip to Sweden’s many sustainable travel destinations, be sure to swing by. Contact Visit Båstad for more ideas and practical information on local sustainable tourism. Bon voyage!

Have you already been to Båstad? What was your favourite experience? Tennis, spa or golf? Let us know in the comment section! Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter and benefit from tips, interviews, and inspirational examples of sustainable travel and tourism.

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