Great places in Österlen for photography

Hi,

I've always stressed the importance of focusing on the local area for your landscape photography. Here you have the opportunity of constantly revisiting your favorite spots during the best light. It greatly improves your chances of catching beautiful images instead of only dreaming of those far away places. Besides to become an expert in your field takes a lot of practice and the easiest way to improve is by visiting places close to home.

Below you'll find a short guide to my favorite places to photograph in south eastern Sweden. The area, part of Skåne, is called Österlen and is a favorite location for many artist from all over Sweden. All places mentioned below are within 1 1/2 hour of travel by car from Malmö. Hopefully you'll find it inspiring and add it to your bucket list. For western part of Skåne click here

I'll describe the sights in the direction from north to south, but you are of course free to visit them from the opposite side as well. Most of the places here a connected, meaning you could technically walk on dedicated trails for most of the way in either northern or southern direction.

Below you'll find a summary map of all the destinations mentioned in this blog post.

You can also click the GPS coordinates next to each destination and it will open a separate google map page.

Brösarps backar

Latitud: 55.715218 | Longitud: 14.111767

Best described as a miniature of Tuscany. Small hills with dotted trees and in the summer grassing cows. There are well defined walking trails and on top of some hills you will be able to see the Baltic Sea in the far distance. Great place for photography of both the wider landscape, but also possibilities for close up portraits of individual trees. If you will manage to come here as the fog or stormy weather rolls in it will add another element to your images.

The rolling hills of Brösarp

The rolling hills of Brösarp

The imtimate landsacpe at Brösarps backar

The imtimate landsacpe at Brösarps backar

Haväng / Ravlunda

Latitud: 55.723841 | Longitud: 14.191021
 

A very popular tourist area with a well run hostel called Skeppargården. The Verkeån river exits here in the Baltic ocean and a lot of people visit during the summer for recreation. The beaches are some of the nicest in Skåne. Close by there are also vast areas for walking and exploring, both at the beach but also further inland where you can walk the fields of Ravlunda for miles. Just make sure you check the billboards informing about the drills at Ravlunda as this is a military area.

The fishing huts of Ravlunda

The fishing huts of Ravlunda

The lonely tree at Haväng

The lonely tree at Haväng

Ravlunda during sunset

Ravlunda during sunset

Old historical building, Lindgrens länga at Haväng

Old historical building, Lindgrens länga at Haväng

Vitemölla
 

Latitud: 55.700003 | Longitud: 14.204491

What an amazing beach this place has. Soft sand and the Baltic Sea stretches as far as the eye can see. A lovely place to relax and recharge your batteries. You can walk along the beach from Haväng with great variation where sand, grass dunes and pine forest interlaps as you get closer to Vitemölla

Nice view towards Vitemölla

Nice view towards Vitemölla

The beach at Vitemölla, a nice place for relaxation

The beach at Vitemölla, a nice place for relaxation

 

Stenshuvud

Latitud: 55.656184 | Longitud: 14.268711
 

Stenshuvud is 1 out of 29 national parks in Sweden. It's mainly a deciduous forest with a large selection of walking trails. There's a large visitors center where you can learn about the history and geology of the area. There's a beautiful beach with impressive rock formations. The possibilities for compositions is endless with all those rocks and the waves crashing into the shoreline. Just be careful walking here as it can get slippery especially when photographing closer to the sea. You also have to possibility of going to the top of the mountain for excellent views. The distance is about 1 km.

Early morning light at Stenshuvud

Early morning light at Stenshuvud

Rocky clifs as far as the eye can see

Rocky clifs as far as the eye can see

 

Sträntemölla / Rörum

Latitud: 55.618178 | Longitud: 14.239142
 

In my opinion a hidden gem. You will find a small parking lot on the road from Rörum to Östra Vemmerlöv. Just follow the trail uphill through the forrest and you will get to a small house that used to be a mill. The creek with its waterfall creates a magical atmosphere. You can  continue to the right and reach a meadow with threes and sheeps and the lonely tree upon a hill overlooking Rörum and the countryside.

The waterfall at Sträntemölla

The waterfall at Sträntemölla

Beautiful views at Rörum

Beautiful views at Rörum

During the summer walks you'll have company

During the summer walks you'll have company

Vik - Baskemölla - Vårhallarna

Vik: Latitud: 55.614426 | Longitud: 14.285162
BaskemöllaLatitud: 55.592587 | Longitud: 14.314377
Vårhallarna: Latitud: 55.577713 | Longitud: 14.336794

The walking trail between the fishing villages of Vik and Baskemölla has to be one of the most beautiful ones in Skåne. Right at Vik you have the possibility of experiencing a landscape from a time when the area had a tropical climat. The black lava stones at the beach gives it a surreal experience. Make sure you check out the "priest bathtub ". Most probably a legend, still an impressive formation of lava rocks

The priests bathtub at Vik

The priests bathtub at Vik

About 15 minutes outside  Baskemölla on the road towards Simrishamn is a rocky section of the beach where you find opportunities to photograph the sea with Stenshuvud in the background. 

Once at Vårhallarna there are more volcanic rock formations to photograph. Don't forget that also the intimate landscape where you focus on single rock(s) that can create compelling images. Such possibilities are endless here. I've been coming here for the last 10 years and still manage to find something new each time. 

Winter seascape putside Vik

Winter seascape putside Vik

Leading lines at Vårhallarna

Leading lines at Vårhallarna

The imtimate seascapes at Vårhallarna

The imtimate seascapes at Vårhallarna


GislövsHammar

Latitud: 55.488053 | Longitud: 14.315682


Located to the south from Simrishamn this small village with its limestone rocks offer great opportunities for some stunning photography. The rocks going of into the distance creates great leading lines where your wide angle lens gets put to work. Many great photos are just waiting to be taken here showing yet another of the many coastal areas of Österlen.

Limestone rocks at Gislövshammar

Limestone rocks at Gislövshammar

Magical sunrise at Gislövshammar

Magical sunrise at Gislövshammar


Löderup strandbad
 

Latitud: 55.385763 | Longitud: 14.11046

Here you will be able to combine photography at the beach with some panoramic viewpoints as well. The area suffers from earth erosion meaning that each year the Baltic Sea takes away a couple of meters of beach sand. In fact this is a problem for the whole coastline in Österlen. However here you will see examples of how efforts a being made to stop it by constructing ramparts and piers from stones. You can incorporate these elements in your photography and a mere 5 minute walk up the hills can provide gourgeous views.

Just a 5 minute hike reward you with this view at Löderup strandbad

Just a 5 minute hike reward you with this view at Löderup strandbad

Beachlife at Löderup strandbad

Beachlife at Löderup strandbad

The good life, time to relax and enjoy the nature at Löderup

The good life, time to relax and enjoy the nature at Löderup

Excellent views towards Kåseberga fishing village. The photos is taken from Löderup strandbad

Excellent views towards Kåseberga fishing village. The photos is taken from Löderup strandbad

Backåkra

Latitud: 55.386455 | Longitud: 14.152267

This place let's you combine beach , open fields and forest photography. The white sand dunes looks amazing contrasting with the soft warm light. During autumn and winter you're often here alone, having the whole place to yourself for exploration. Well worth a visit. 

The warm light and the white sand at Backåkra

The warm light and the white sand at Backåkra

The sand dunes at the beach at Backåkra

The sand dunes at the beach at Backåkra

Long exposure at the open fields at Backåkra

Long exposure at the open fields at Backåkra

I hope this short guide will help you exploring these beautiful part of Sweden. The places mentioned above or of course not complete, they are just the ones I've found so far. Feel free leaving a comment below with your favorite places. For more information about this region I recommend the Visit Skåne homepage. Here you'll find tons of tips of hotels, where to eat and other tourist attractions. Want to learn learn more about landscape photography? Just download my free e-book consisting of 13 steps how you can improve.

I would appreciate if you could share this article so others can be inspired as well. Let me know below if you have any questions or comments.  Feel free to contact me directly if interested in knowing more about photography or about the places mentioned in this blog post.

I also run regular workshops and one on one teachings if interested.

 

Altiplano Bolivia

The inside of your room windows are frosty and you're peeking out from the sleeping bag. Your body is numb and cold despite having slept under a layer of clothing and a blanket. Even breakfast is consumed fully clothed with steam coming out off your mouth. You ask yourself why would anyone like to put themselves through this ordeal? The answer is simply because of the incredible landscapes and animals you can experience in this beautiful part of Bolivia. 

The salt flats at Salar de Uyuni during sunset.

The salt flats at Salar de Uyuni during sunset.

You'll arrived early morning to the regional hub Uyumi by bus from La Paz. There are various bus companies to choose from, but I would recommend the company Todo Tourismo that by far have the most comfortable buses.  Tickets can be bought from their agent Kanoo Tours. You will get a warm meal and a warm blanket. Just make sure to bring extra layers of clothes as it gets cold during the night. 

Once you arrive to Uyumi the pre booked tour operator will be waiting for you. If you're not made any previous arrangements just visit the various offices to check availability and prices. Basically the whole town consists of tour operators, banks and hotels. Make sure to bring cash with you as the banks have limited money and you can run into problems trying to extract larger sums.

I would strongly urge you to try to check beforehand as much as possible about available tours. Many of them have questionable reputation and some have been involved in serious accidents. Although I did not witness any dangerous situations some of the drivers were going at a very high speed and some of the jeeps were overloaded. If possible try to meet the driver before you decide as you can quickly get an impression of his personality. 

The cheapest option is to sign up for a tour with 6-7 other people. Keep in mind that it gets very crowded and to be able to accommodate that many people the luggage department is substituted with an extra row of seats. The luggage in then stored in racks on the roof. Make sure that the driver does not put too much stuff( pack backs, suitcases, petrol, food) there as it increases the risk of the jeep tipping over when making sharp turns.

A more comfortable, although more expensive alternative, is to rent the whole vehicle meaning you will have much more space and will be able to stop whenever you want to take photos and experience the views.

You also have to decide on the length of you tour, which could range from 1-4 days. A longer trip will give you a deeper understanding of the vastness of the Altiplano. The chances of seeing wildlife like lamas, vicuñas, desert foxes and flamingos also greatly increases the longer you tour lasts. 

To help you make up your mind what tour to take I've written a general description of what to except to see each day. Hopefully this will make your decision easier. 

Day 1

After leaving Uyuni you will stop at 3 locations, the train cemetery, the salt hotel and cactus island. 

The train cemetery are the left overs from the time when the region was a transport hub for minerals being transported to the Pacific Ocean. Now it functions as an outdoor museum and this is generally the first stop on your tour

The train cemetary

The train cemetary

Your next stop will be the salt hotel. It's no longer in use due to environmental concerns. The water supply in the Salar de Uyuno is very limited and having a large hotel there is simply not an environmental wise option. That's the reason the hotels are located in Uyuni city. Instead the salt hotel is used as a stop for lunch breaks and all tour companies must bring their own food.

The salt hotel seen from a distance

The salt hotel seen from a distance

International flags outside the hotel

International flags outside the hotel

Cactus island, sometimes refereed to Inkawasi is pretty much self explanatory. Here you will pay a small entrance fee and you will walk on a small trail for approximately 30 minutes including plenty of time for photography.

The salt flats seen from the top of cactus island

The salt flats seen from the top of cactus island

Tourists taking selfies

Tourists taking selfies

Giant beautiful cactus

Giant beautiful cactus

The one day tour is what most tourists choose to see and it gives you a nice picture of the actual salt flats. However it can get very crowded as all tour operators run the same rout, sometimes even hurrying the tourists to move to the next location. You will also miss the sunset photos as the one day tour will conclude before the nice evening golden light. 

This is what you'll most probably miss if only going on a one day tour

This is what you'll most probably miss if only going on a one day tour

You don't need much more in life then this

You don't need much more in life then this

Day 2

You will now leave the salt desert. While the landscapes will not be as spectacular as during day 1 there is still a lot to be seen. Lamas, vicuñas, occasional desert foxes and stray dogs are available everywhere. You will also have the chance to see wide canyons.

Vicuñas making their way through the desert

Vicuñas making their way through the desert

Hey stop pointing that camera at me !!

Hey stop pointing that camera at me !!

Lamas are seen everywhere

Lamas are seen everywhere

However the main purpose of this day is to get deeper into the Altiplano to experience a lunar landscape that makes you forget that you are on planet earth. 

Day 3

This was the day that I had been looking forward to for some time. Finally a chance to see and hear the pink flamingos. Some of the lakes in the Altiplano are rich with plankton making it an ideal place for the flamingos. It was a feast for the eyes and I spend way too much time here although the driver never specifically said anything :-). Having rented your private driver and not going with a larger tour group makes it much easier making longer stops for photography. 

Flamingos in beautiful surrondings

Flamingos in beautiful surrondings

At some of the lakes the flamingos are used to people and allows you to get really close. Just make sure to follow the marked borders at the lakes as not to disturb the birds. At other locations the flamingos are more reserved but you can still watch them from a distance. 

The flamingos don't seem to mind as long as you don't get too close

The flamingos don't seem to mind as long as you don't get too close

Searching for plankton

Searching for plankton

Travelling even further south will expose an even harsher yet beautiful landscape with a feeling of a lunar environment. At 4000m above sea level it's harder to breed and you could experience a slight headache from time to time. There are far fewer tourist here compared to the Salt flats. Make sure to slow down, don't rush it and make time to take plenty of photos. It's in the area you'll find the Laguna Colorada, famous for it's plankton rich pink colored water and it's famous inhabitants, the flamingos.

Searching for food

Searching for food

Laguna Colorada with its pink water and flamingos

Laguna Colorada with its pink water and flamingos

Pink colour as far as the eye can see

Pink colour as far as the eye can see

Another spectacular sight to experience are the active geysers. While they are not as explosive as in other parts of the world like Iceland or in Yellowstone you can get much closer and literally look into the bubbling heat and feel the smell off rotten eggs. Be very careful though as it's very easy to take the wrong turn, especially when taking photos, and fall into the hot geyser. I was told that this is exactly what happened a french tourist in 2016. Despite being transported to Chile with an ambulance helicopter his life could not be saved. 

It's smelly, it's hot and very interesting

It's smelly, it's hot and very interesting

Bubling water

Bubling water

At the end of day 3 (it could also be beginning of day 4 depending of how many stops you make during the day) you will enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna where you have to pay an entrance fee to enter the nature reserve. The area is very close to Chile and it's considered the coldest place in the Altiplano. The desert landscape is incredible wide, with hot springs, lakes and sandy grassy plains with mountains in the backdrop. You will constantly want to make stops for taking pictures.

Sand, grass and mountains. Completetly deserted apart from the sporadic basic hostel.

Sand, grass and mountains. Completetly deserted apart from the sporadic basic hostel.

The Dali stones

The Dali stones

Sunset close to Laguna Verde

Sunset close to Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde early morning

Laguna Verde early morning

Day 4

By day 4 you have travelled several hundred kilometres and it time to slowly start the return trip back to Uyuni. There are several interesting rock formations that are well worth visiting during the way. Lamas will also become more frequent again as you decent to lower altitudes. The last day will act as a recap of the previous days. 

Tourists at the rock formation

Tourists at the rock formation

On the road through the Altiplano

On the road through the Altiplano

I hope this blog post has helped you to decide to visit this interesting region of the world and how many days you would like to stay there.

My favourite moments were the salt planes, the flamingos and the lunar landscapes combined with the close look at the geysers. I am convinced that although the costs for a 3-4 day trip is significantly higher compared to a 1 day trip it's absolutely worth it.

Let me know below your thoughts. Maybe you have been to the Altiplano and would like to share your story.

Would be great if you could also help spreading this blog post further.