• Carlstens fästning Photographer: Hanna Lindstedt, Statens fastighetsverk
    Utsikt från Carlstens fästning Photographer: Hanna Lindstedt, Statens fastighetsverk

Carlsten Fortress

Fortress and prison

At Marstrand in Bohuslän lies Carlsten Fortress, which is perhaps best known for having housed the convict Lasse-Maja. His name was actually Lars Larsson Molin; he got his nickname from the fact that he often dressed as a woman when he committed his crimes.

Marstrand became Swedish after the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. At that time a temporary redoubt of earth and timber was built on the island's highest point, above the town. In 1660 construction of a small fortress began. It was named Carlsten after King Carl X Gustav.
Carlsten Fortress has also acted as a lighthouse, as the world's first rotating light was installed in the fortress tower in 1781. This was replaced in 1868 by the Pater Noster lighthouse on Hamneskär. At the start of the twentieth century there was a naval school at the fortress for 200 boys in the cabin boys' Skeppsgossekåren, and during the 30 years up to 1993, the fortress accommodated a coastal radar station.

These days Marstrand is more associated with sunshine and sailing than with convict labour and starvation.
You can explore the fortress on your own or go on a guided tour. The Fortress Games are a regular event.


  • Beach
  • WC
  • Hotel/hostel
  • Café
  • Restaurant
  • Parking
  • Guest harbour
  • Museum