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Ystad, Sweden

Ystad is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Sweden, situated on the southern coast of the lovely Skåne county. It delivers a wealth of charm, with clean cobblestone streets between pastel-toned, half-timbered houses harboring neat, colorful gardens. Landmarks like the 12th century Greyfriars Abbey and St. Mary’s Church are excellent examples of the tidy Brick Gothic architectural style so popular in old Hanseatic League ports. The place is renowned worldwide as the homicide beat of Henning Mankell’s fictional detective Kurt Wallander, and the Ystad Studios, Scandinavia’s largest, take full cinematic advantage of the picturesque town and surrounding countryside to bring the books to life. An older puzzle is Ales Stennar, a prehistoric array of standing stones in the shape of a ship’s hull which still vexes archaeologists.