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Blekinge county's most appealing destination is the regal county capital KARLSKRONA, located on the largest link in a chain of breezy islands. Founded by Karl XI in 1680, who picked it as an ice-free southern harbour for his Baltic fleet, the town revolves around its unique maritime heritage, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The wide avenues and stately squares were built to accommodate the king's naval parades, and cadets in uniform still career around streets named after Swedish admirals and battleships. However, even if you're not a naval fan, Karlskrona has plenty to offer, particularly the picturesque old quarter around the once-busy fishing port at Fisktorget and some short cruises around the islands in the archipelago.
In terms of hotels, try the pleasant, modern APark Inn Karlskrona, close to the station at Skeppsbrokajen (Tel:0455/36 15 00, Web: www.karlskrona.parkinn.se ; Price: Kr1200-1500), while the First Hotel Ja, Borgmästaregatan 13 (Tel:0455/555 60, Web: www.firsthotels.se ; Price: Kr700-900), is another good choice, with a very homely atmosphere. Within the same chain, the considerably more expensive First Hotel Statt, Ronnebygatan 37 (Tel:0455/555 50, Web: www.firsthotels.se ; Price: Kr1200-1500), is supposed to be its glamorous sister, but in reality it's only a smattering of Empire styling and a bit more gilt to differentiate the two. If these are out of your range, Hotel Conrad on Västra Köpmangatan (Tel:0455/36 32 00, Web: www.hotelconrad.se ; Price: Kr900-1200), halfway up the hill towards Stortorget, is plain and reasonable.
Most of the town's konditori are indistinguishable, an exception being Systrarna Lindkvists Café, Borgmästaregatan 3 – all fine old gilded tea cups and silver sugar tongs. The Maritime Museum's café/restaurant Jarramas Brygga is worth looking up for its good-value lunch, and view towards the museum boats. Glass next to the tourist office on Stortorget serves up fist-sized scoops of home-made ice-cream – you'll see them being eaten all over town by the marine cadets.
The majority of Karlskrona's unremarkable restaurants are along central Ronnebygatan. The Greek Taverna Santorini, Rädhusgatan 11, serves all the usual choices, plus several vegetarian options, with no dish over 120kr. For a real treat, though, try next door at the deli and café Nya Skäfferiet, a really fine place for filled baguettes and luscious meats, cheeses and other picnic delights (closed Sun).
This hotel features 104 non-smoking rooms with amenities such as bath, shower, a trouser press, a hairdryer, a mini bar, an iron, a phone, a radio, and a satellite TV and in-house movie.