Once upon a time, Kalmar Castle was known as “the Key to the Kingdom”, because of its strategic location by Kalmarsund and the current Danish border. In the 12th century a simple fortified tower was erected here, which was replaced with a castle in the 13th century. Later Swedish kings have been rebuilding and adding to the castle throughout the centuries. After extensive restorations it is now once again a magnificent renaissance palace, which can be experienced in many different ways.
Kalmar Castle is the best preserved renaissance castle in the Nordic countries. For a long time it was an important defence facility by the Danish border, and the castle gained its current appearance in the 16th century when the kings Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV and Johan III rebuilt the old medieval castle.
War, fire and slow decay
During the Kalmar war of 1611-13 the castle was badly damaged and in 1642 it was ravaged by a fire. Repairs commenced but from the end of the 17th century the castle was allowed to deteriorate and during the 18th century it was among other things used as a granary, crown distillery and prison.
In the beginning of the 19th century the castle was severely run down and one considered moving parts of the interior. Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander put a stop to those plans and instead went to work on restoring the castle, something that was continued by his student Helgo Zetterwall. In 1891 the restoration was completed and the castle became a major tourist attraction. In 1941 the old moat was also restored.
Experience the castle’s glory days
Kalmar Castle is a modern attraction - in the most positive sense. It has remained virtually unchanged since 1592, something that is reflected in many of the current activities at the castle. If you so desire you can partake in a feast. The food that is served is inspired by cuisine of the past and the dishes are served on china that are copies of findings from archaeological digs. The chatelaine informs guests of the table manners of the past, however these should not be used during the meal. Opera and masquerade balls are other events that are highly appreciated, and the pleasant castle shop is well worth a visit.
- Audio guide
- Guided tours
Place on map
392 33 Kalmar
- Year of Construction:
- Construction year: Originally 12th-13th century. Reconstructions during the 1540-50’s, 1856-61, 1885-91 and 1919-41.
- Architect: Starting in 1553 Jacob Richter succeeded by Johan Baptista and Dominicus Pahr. 1856-61 Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander. 1885-91 Carl Möller. 1919-41 restoration under the management of Professor Martin Olsson.