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Ven

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Ven (Danish: Hven) is a small Swedish island which lies in the middle of Öresund Sound, between southern Sweden and Denmark. It is best known as the site of the Renaissance-era astronomical observatory built by Tycho Brahe.

Understand

Ven is roughly 4.5 km by 2.5 km in size and is mostly a flat plateau; there are a few hills that connect the shore to the higher level. Much of the land is still used for agriculture, such as durum wheat and grapes. It was part of the Kingdom of Denmark until 1658. The island is popular with hikers and cyclists and can get fairly crowded during weekends in the summer.

Ven has four villages (Bäckviken, Tuna By, Norreborg and Kyrkbacken) with a combined permanent population of 372 (as of 2020), almost all of whom live in Tuna By. All are part of the Landskrona municipality in Scania. The island's population peaked in the 1930s at about 1,300. In the past, factories operated on Ven, but now the island is a nature reserve relying more on tourism than on industry.

Get in

All ferries arrive at and depart from Bäckviken harbour, on the east side of the island. No passport check is required for visitors from Denmark. Private boats may stay in Bäckvicken or Kyrkbackens harbour.

  • 1 Bäckviken Hamn, Bäckvicken 4. Ferries from the Swedish town of Landskrona run about every 90 minutes; the trip takes 30 minutes. In the summertime, there are also ferries from Copenhagen and Helsingør operated by VisitHven. (updated Jul 2022)
  • 2 Kyrkbackens Hamn, Kyrkbacken 75, ☏ +46 418 724 00. If you come in your own boat, you can stay in Kyrkbacken, on the west side. (updated Jul 2022)


Get around

By bus

An infrequent bus (matching the ferry timetable) runs between the two ends of the island. You can get on and off anywhere along the route.

By bicycle

  • 1 Vens Cykeluthyrning (Ven's bicycle rental), ☏ +46 418 722 50, info@venscykeluthyrning.se. Apr 21-Sep 18: 09:00-16:45. You will see these well-maintained yellow bikes everywhere on the island, along with signs directing you to recommended scenic bike paths. Many options for adults and children. Helmets are provided for free, and are widely used, but are in poor condition. Advance bookings from 120 kr. 

By cart

For a leisurely, scenic view of the island, travel by tractor or horse-drawn cart.

  • Venevent, Norreborgsvägen 24, ☏ +46 418-72551. Rent a golf cart. 

By foot

Given its small size, much of the island can be covered by foot in a day.

See

  • 1 Tycho Brahe Museum, Landsvägen 182, ☏ +46 418 72530, tychob@landskrona.se. Ven's historic claim to fame, Tycho's observatory, which is considered one of the first modern scientific research institutes, was built in 1576, abandoned in 1597, and subsequently destroyed. The museum is housed in the former All Saints' Church, near the grounds of the first observatory, Uraniborg. The observatory once stood at the center of the Renaissance Garden, which has been partially restored. Just down the road, the ruins of Tycho's second observatory Stjerneborg have been incorporated into a small multimedia theater. Most signage is bilingual in Swedish and English. A small gift shop and cafe are on site. Adults 80 kr, Teenagers 16+ 40 kr, Students/seniors 60 kr, Children 15 and under free with guardian; Observatory access 20 kr extra per person. (updated Jul 2022)
  • 2 Nämndemansgården På Ven, Nämndemansvägen 104. Accessible by bike or private vehicle (not by bus), this 18th-century farm is now an open-air museum with installations about the history of the island, including now-derelict factories and artwork. This museum shows the perspective of the island from the farmer's perspective. You can show yourself around; a caretaker on duty can give tours to groups in Swedish or English. Accepts payment by cash (Danish krone or Swedish krona, at par) or by Swedish bank transfer. 30 kr. (updated Jul 2022)
  • 3 Sankt Ibbs Kyrka, Kyrkbacken, ☏ +46 418 574 00. Historic church with a gorgeous view over Kyrkbackens harbor on the west side of the island. Built in the 13th century, still in use for services today, the only operating church on the island. Interior is open limited hours for visitors between May and August. Accessible by bus (request the stop from the driver), vehicle, and bike. Free public toilets are available in a small building just northeast of the church's parking lot. Free. (updated Jul 2022)

Do

  • 1 St Ibbs Golfklubb, Marielundsvägen 48, ☏ +46 418 723 63. Nine-hole golf course with a driving range and a putting green. Cart rentals are available (advance booking required). Rates vary by age and season. (updated Jul 2022)

Buy

Like the rest of Sweden, Ven uses the Swedish krona (SEK) as its primary currency. There are no ATMs, banks, or currency exchanges on the island. Almost all vendors accept major international credit cards, including contactless payment. Some merchants accept Danish kroner coins and banknotes at par value; this is a poor exchange rate, so only pay in foreign currency as a last resort.

  • Silversmedjan, Norreborgsvägen 25, ☏ +46 418-72473. Silver jewelry 
  • Hvens Getost, Landsvägen 61 (on the eastern side, a bit inland), ☏ +46 418-72 173. Locally made goat cheese. 
  • Ven Puls, Wollters väg 6, ☏ +46 41872466, nina@venpuls.se. Handmade fabrics from Burma, Laos and Thailand
  • Paviljong 1916, Bäckviken 8 (at Bäckviken harbour), ☏ +46 73-8013670. Small store with cute things. 
  • Cassiopeia, Landsvägen 216, ☏ +46 418 72114, anna@cassiopeia.se. Nice store in a greenhouse. Lots of porcelain figures. 

There is one grocery store (too small to be rightly called a "supermarket") on the island.

  • Möllebackens Liv, Landsvägen 226, ☏ +46 418 720 55. Small market on the main road, near the center of the island. Sells food, drinks, and medicine. (updated Jul 2022)

Eat

The island has numerous small restaurants and cafes.

  • Prästasvängen, Kyrkvägen 5 (on the north side), prastasvangen@telia.com. Cozy restaurant with a great view. Seafood and steak. 250 kr for mains. 
  • Pumpans café & restaurang, Landsvägen 134, ☏ +46 418 72510, Pumpanscafe@telia.com. May-Sep: Sa-Th 11:30-17:00. Vegetarian and organic food 150 kr. 
  • Turistgården på Ven, Landsvägen 193, ☏ +46 418-72126. Lunch 155 kr, three-couse dinner 375 kr. 

Drink

  • 1 Spirit of Hven, Backafallsbyn AB, ☏ +46 418 449999, info@backafallsbyn.se. To 01:00 in high season. They make their own whisky and also have about 50 Scotch whiskies, beers, etc. Due to Swedish liquor laws, the distillery can only sell their product by the drink, not by the bottle, on Ven. (There is no Systembolaget store on the island.) Also offers guided tours (18+; 165 kr), and has a hotel and restaurant on site. From 20 kr/cl. 

Sleep

Inns, rooms in private homes, and campgrounds are available. There is a hostel in Bäckviken and also on the mainland in Landskrona.

  • Vens Camping & Stugby, Husviksvägen (On the beach north-east on the island), ☏ +46 418 725 50. Good view over the sea. 225 kr per tent, 780 kr for a 4-person cabin. 

Respect

Two buildings at the Tycho Brahe Museum look like tourist attractions, and are in the area where tourists have to pay for admission, but they are in fact the Uranienborgs skola, the school for local children (all eleven of them, as of 2022). There are educational displays outside that are fine to view, but do not trespass inside the school.

Connect

The island is well-covered by Swedish mobile phone networks. Visitors from Denmark using prepaid Danish phone plans may incur roaming charges, as no Danish networks are available and not all prepaid plans include international roaming, even to other EU countries.

Spirit of Hven has free WiFi for customers and guests.

Stay safe

If traveling by bike, stay on posted bike trails, some of which (despite their rough appearance) are roads that motor vehicles use. Ride on the right and let faster traffic pass on the left. Wear a helmet; you are more likely to need protection against natural hazards than against motor vehicles.

Stay healthy

There are no medical facilities on Ven. For anything other than basic first aid and over-the-counter medicine available at the market, you will need to take a ferry off the island.

Go next

Unless you have your own boat, your next destination will be by ferry, to Landskrona in Sweden or to Copenhagen or Helsingør in Denmark. Book your tickets in advance, especially if you intend to travel on a summer weekend.

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