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Located on the coast of south-west Sweden, Helsingborg is one of the country's most populous municipalities and its close proximity to Denmark means it's a busy port for both trade and tourism. As one of Sweden's oldest cities, Helsingborg offers visitors plenty of history to explore by way of its most popular architectural attractions, including the former summer residence of the country's royalty.
Permanently settled since 1085, Helsingborg's proximity on the narrow Oresund sound between what is now Sweden and Denmark marked it out early on as a place of great strategic significance, though in those days, the land on both sides of the straight was in Danish hands. However, following the 1657-58 Dano-Swedish War, Denmark had to surrender all its territory in the Scandinavian peninsula and so Helsingborg became Swedish. There were attempts by the Danes over subsequent years to recapture it, including in 1710, when the Battle of Helsingborg took its toll on the city's inhabitants leaving only 1321 left to rebuild it. Rebuild it they did however and from the middle of the 19th century onwards, it continued to grow through industrialisation, trade and tourism.
Most of those who visit Helsingborg make Sofiero Castle the focus of their visit and as soon as you set foot in its spacious and immaculately-kept gardens, you'll see why. As recently as the 1970s, this beautiful building just north of the city was a summer residence for the Swedish royal family and indeed, there's plenty of history to be explored with a tour of the palace. The gardens are an attraction in themselves and in 2010, the castle's park was voted the best in Europe. Staying with the garden theme, Fredriksdal Open-air Museum and Botanical Garden is another popular destination, bringing back to life the countryside's rural history by way of the gardens, woods and buildings which surround the charming 18th century house manor house there. One of the key landmarks in the city's historic centre meanwhile is the town hall. Built in the neo-gothic style, it's a listed building with a beautiful façade which begs to be photographed. Another of the city's most beautiful buildings is the 14th century Church of St Mary, which features some wonderful craftsmanship throughout its interior and some stunning stained glass works. The medieval Karnan castle tower meanwhile, is the place to go if enjoying the best views of the city and harbour are high on your destination to-do list.
Avid shoppers should head over to Kullagatan, because aside from being the city's oldest pedestrian street, it's the perfect place to pick up the obligatory souvenir or two and take a load off in one of the many street-side cafes and restaurants.
Helsingborg is one of Sweden's most renowned cities when it comes to cuisine, so a trip to any of its many restaurants is sure to reward you with a better than average meal out. Foodies however, should make it their business to visit one of many celebrated restaurants because the city is home to some of Sweden's finest chefs.
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