With its hypnotic glass-blowing workshops, the ‘Kingdom of Crystal’ (www.glasriket.se) is Sweden’s third-biggest drawcard after Stockholm and Göteborg. There are at least 11 glass factories (look for glasbruk signs), most with long histories: Kosta, for example, was founded in 1742. The region is also immensely popular with Americans tracing their ancestors, many of whom emigrated from this area at the end of the 19th century.
The glassworks have similar opening hours, usually 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm Saturday and noon to 4pm Sunday. Expert glass designers produce some extraordinary avant-garde pieces, often with a good dollop of Swedish wit involved. Factory outlets have substantial discounts on seconds (around 30% to 40% off), and larger places can arrange shipping to your home country.
There’s a Glasriket Pass (Skr95), allowing free admission into ‘hot shops’ and museums, and discounts on purchases and hyttsill parties; it’s a good deal if you want to try glass-blowing, hyttsill and buy some pieces, but if you’re just browsing, skip it.
Most of Glasriket is in Kalmar län, with some in Kronobergs län.