Anglers' delight    

Anglers are particularly drawn to Halland, which boasts some of the world's best salmon rivers, as well as deep sea and other types of freshwater fishing.

In fact, Halland is defined by water: from its coastline on the Kattegatt to the four rivers – Lagan, Ätran, Viskan and Nissan – which meander through the county to the sea, while the south coast is an undulating vision of wide, white sandy beaches, high dunes and beech forests; north of Ätran, cliffs line the shore as the terrain becomes wilder.

One way or another, visitors in search of an active, adventurous holiday will find plenty to do here.

The historic resort town of Falkenberg, situated at the mouth of the Ätran, a classic salmon river, has attracted visitors since its discovery by wealthy English and American anglers in the 19th century. One smitten Londoner, W.M. Wilkinson, wrote in 1884 in his book Days in Falkenberg: "Such fishing can not be seen at any other river that I have heard of, neither in Norway nor Canada."

Ätran and its tributary the Högvadsån are among the salmon rivers least affected by pollution and fish farming in this part of the world.

At the mouth of the river Nissan, Halmstad, the main town of the county, celebrated its 700th anniversary in 2007. "During the summer months", writes the local tourist authority, "Halmstad transforms into a pulsating Riviera, as thousands of tourists descend on the city. We enjoy the crowds on our long beaches, grand golf courses, city centre streets and squares, pubs, pavement cafés and other great meeting places."

The town was an important political centre during the period of union between Sweden, Norway and Denmark (known as the Kalmar Union), which lasted from 1400 to 1520. Impressive architecture remains: notably the fine 14th century St Nicholas's Church, and an old half-timbered building once used as a hospital.

"City of the arts"
And on the banks of the Nissan, a real surprise: an extraordinary 14 metre high sculpture, "Woman's Head" (1971), by Picasso – donated by the great man, local legend has it, "in appreciation of Halmstad being a city of the arts". Less unexpected, but no less impressive in its way, is the majestic sailing vessel "Najaden", built in 1897 and now used as a training ship.

At Halmstad Castle, dating from the 17th century, theatrical performances and concerts are held during the summer in the inner courtyard. Hallandsgården, an open-air museum on Galgberget ("Gallows Hill"), comprises rustic buildings and a village school from the 19th century and offers an enchanting view over the town. Galgberget is a popular recreation and walking area, and the cafe in Hallandsgården's beautiful surroundings is popular.

Skummeslövs strand is one of Halland's great bathing paradises: a beautiful, sandy beach with excellent facilities including camping, tennis courts, shops and restaurants, plus a nearby nature reserve.

Nudist beaches
The resort and spa town of Varberg, favoured by The Swedish king Oscar II from 1872 to 1907, is also well known for its fine beaches – including several nudist beaches – and medieval fortress. A colourful market is held twice a week all year round, and a lively calendar of cultural activities includes an annual jazz festival in July.

As befits a famous spa, health and fitness are vigorous local industries. A brisk walk through the nature centre and bird sanctuary at Getterön or the beech forests of Åkulla is highly recommended. Followed, perhaps, by 18 holes of golf....

A classic salmon river

Photo: Falkenbergs Turistbyrå Photo: 
Falkenberg sunset Varberg, a spa town Bath house, Varberg