Kosta is perhaps the most famous of the Swedish glassworks, with nearby Orrefors not far behind. Kosta is also the oldest and you can read more on my page about it. Here, you will find an exhibition on famous Kosta products as well as the furnace itself where you can even have a go at glassblowing yourself on certain dates but check the website to avoid disappointment as this needs booking in advance. If you don't make that, try visiting on one of its open days to meet glass designers and learn more. There is also shopping galore in the form of glass of course, but also at the Kosta Outlet, opened to get the glassworks to make profit in the days of globalism. Clothes, books and more can be found here. You can also have a look at the second site I provide as that is the common site for all the glassworks in the region and why not visit them all if you have a car. Even by public transport you can visit 2-4 in a day if you plan it. If you do decide to do so, invest in a Glass Pass which can be bought at any one of them and gives discounts on entrances and things.
An old bishops' seat, this later became a castle for the famous king Vasa like so many others in the country. 1542-43 were the most dramatic years in its history when the local son Nils Dacke rebelled against the king, using the castle which was subsequently reinforced to withstand further sackings both by his followers and the Danes. Today, there is apart from the well kept ruins (said to host a ghost) also a nice nature reserve and a base for trips with the tiny old steamer Thor out on the surrounding Lake Helgasjön.
With all the forest around, of course there has to be a paper mill. The mill was founded in the 17th century and still today produces fine paper. Strindberg is said to have written most of his plays on Lessebo paper and if you want to see how it is made, there are guided tours from mid June to mid August although its open all year round and it is nice to walk around the old workers cottages. There is also a shop with letter paper, artists material and other special paper products. Wonder how many Swedish marriage certificates and governmental agreements have been signed on Lessebo paper!
In a small croft outside Ryd in Småland, Åke Danielsson lived and worked the nearby peat moors. He also had an interest in cars and people came to him asking if they could scrap their car in his yard and he could then take what he wanted of spare parts he could salvage. Sometimes. Åke also repaired cars for people. This took more and more of his time and people came with more and more cars as it became known that Åke was a real enthusiast. In the 80s, the local environment council had objections and in the 90s, Åke was asked to remove all scrap at once due to the environmental hazard. By then, Åke was getting old and moved into a home for the elderly instead. Meanwhile, more and more people all over Sweden had discovered what a cultural heritage this had become and lobbied to make an exception to rules and let the cars stay in what had now become a cemetery. Today, a sort of compromise has been made, no cars have been taken away, but neither are there any road signs to this cultural heritage. You have to ask the locals how to get here once in Ryd. The cemetery is full of Amazons, VWs, Austins and other 40s-60s cars which stand overgrown in the middle of a forest! Best is of course if you can get there in summer when they are covered in moss. You can see many more pictures on my Ryd page.
Those of you who know your biology might be fascinated to learn that the man who categorised plants into families in the 18th century was from the tiny village of Råshult north of Älmhult. Today, you would think it far too forested for many flowers but in his days there wasn't the amount of spruce you see here today. He is known as Carl von Linné in Swedish rather than the international latinised Linnaeus he got through his academic work. You can visit his birthplace (rebuilt as the original was lost in a fire) and herb garden. The latter was created by his father who was the local vicar, and it was this that made young Carl interested in flowers. It is particularly nice to spend Midsummer's Day here with folk music and celebrations in a hay meadow. Nearby Möckelsnäs Mansion (see my Stenbrohult page) will soon open a special jubilee house dedicated to his work in their gardens.
The county cathedral with its distinctive twin towers which can be seen from miles around (where there is no forest...). They are quite a modern addition, however, but the cathedral has been here for centuries and is linked to a legend with an English saint. See my Växjö page for more information. It is a nice cathedral with a beautiful organ.
Kronoberg's most visited sight. Here you find a classic Swedish mansion which used to belong to the Stephens family who collected all sorts on their travels. There are guided tours around the lovely house and you can also visit the old style shop, the farm labourer's museum, the mill and many other things as well as eat in the restaurant in the former stables! The place is very famous for its Christmas market in December. See my page on Grimslöv for more pictures and information.
The Emigrant House was founded in the 60s as a place for Americans with Swedish ancestors to seek their roots. The upstairs research library can help all you US and Canadian Swansons and Andersons out there! Apart from that, it is interesting for the rest of us too since the exhibition on the ground floor tells you everything on why people left Sweden for America, how they did it and what they found when they arrived. Did you know that many typical American things were founded by Swedish immigrants - greyhound buses to name something useful for this site! There is also a Swedish-America Society for bonds between the countries and which also nominates interesting persons as "Swedish American of the Year" - Buzz Aldrin to name one...
At Åkerby junction, there is a memorial stone to all those who left this part of Sweden in search of a better life across the Atlantic. Many gathered here on their way to the harbours in Kalmar, Karlskrona and Karlshamn for further transport to Göteborg and then maybe Liverpool or Southampton if they had got tickets for the great transatlantic ships.
Of course the national glass museum has to be in the Kingdom of Glass. See exhibits by famous Swedish glass blowers through history, then buy something nice in the shop. The museum also houses one of the trendier cafés in Växjö.
The forestry in Kronoberg creates ideal habitat for elks (Scandinavian moose) since they love cut down forests which become peat bog- like and full of nice plants and water filled holes when the machines have gone. You might spot them just about anywhere in the forest too if you go for a walk and stay fairly quiet. Normally, they are not dangerous (only when your car collides with one!) but be careful if its a mother and calf or in autumn when the mother gets rid of her calf and the forest is full of upset and confused "teenagers" :-)
If you are out of luck and want to cheat, go to Elinge Elk Park in Hamneda outside Ljungby where you come close to elks in captivity and can join German tourists looking for that special elk souvenir (such as copies of our road signs which they often stole previously) in the shop. Open July and August all day and evenings and weekends the rest of the year. Another very easily found place is Laganland elk park, just along the E4 motorway at Ljungby (and therefore more touristy), which also has viewing towers for photography. Open all day long apart from in winter and feeding time at 10.00. Laganland also has the advantage of having a car museum.