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More atmospheric than any other town in Halland, the fashionable little nineteenth-century bathing resort of VARBERG boasts surprisingly varied sights – most obviously its imposing fortress – plus a laid-back atmosphere, opportunities to swim and plenty of good places to eat.
Varberg's attractions are concentrated along or near the seafront, with the thirteenth-century moated fortress set on a rocky promontory. Home to the Swedish king Magnus Eriksson, important peace treaties with Valdemar of Denmark were signed here in 1343. Standing outside, it's easy to imagine how impenetrable the fortress must have appeared to attackers in the past, as the way in is hardly more obvious today: enter on the sea-facing side by climbing the uneven stone steps to a delightful terrace café, or approach through the great archways towards the central courtyard.
Although tours in English (July to mid-Aug hourly 11am–4pm; on request at other times; 40kr) take you into the dungeons and among the impressive cocoa-coloured buildings that make up the inner courtyard, it's the museum that deserves most of your attention (mid-June to mid-Aug daily 10am–5pm; mid-Aug to mid-June Mon– Fri 10am–4pm, Sat & Sun noon–4pm; mid-June to mid-Aug 50kr, mid-Aug to mid-June 30kr). The most unnerving exhibit is the Bocksten Man, a 600-year-old murder victim who was garrotted, drowned, impaled and buried in a local bog until 1936, when a farmer dug him up.