International sand sculpture festival


At the Kalmarsund bath, there is more to experience than just swimming and sunbathing next to the nice view of Kalmar Castle. In mid-July, there are also some pretty amazing sand sculptures to discover – during the annual Kalmar International Sand Sculpture Festival.

The detailed works of art are being created during the course of one week. The festival usually starts on a Monday, when the sand is prepared by being watered and packed. The sand needs to be really compact in order for the sculptures to be as durable as possible.

Sculptures takes shape

During the week, it's really exciting to visit the beach from time to time, to see the skilled sculptors at work. Step by step, they transform the sand into fanciful creations. Each day reveals a little more about what the final works will look like, and by the end of the week, the artists chisel out the final details.

On Friday, a winner is chosen, but in one way, that's just the beginning. If the weather permits, the massive sculptures will remain on the beach for many weeks.


The best sculptors in the world

The Kalmar International Sand Sculpture Festival premiered in 2013, and some of the world’s best sand sculptors visited already in its first year. There is usually room for around seven to eight teams of artists, and the interest in attending is always major. The Kalmar festival boasts a good reputation, and is the only one of its kind in Sweden.

Already in their applications, the teams of artists enclose sketches and detailed descriptions of the works they plan to make. This ensures the works always maintain a very high standard.

How to vote!

The People's Choice winner is voted by you, the festival attendee. Voting takes place from Thursday July 18 at 12:00 (noon) to Friday July 19 at 12:00 (noon). When it's time to vote, a link to the voting will be presented on the event's and Destination Kalmar's Facebook pages. On the beach, you will find the link via a QR code.

Make your own stellar summer sandcastle

Five hands-on tips from artistic leader of the Sand Sculpture Festival Edwin Böck.

  1. Find good sand that is a bit “sticky”.
  2. Pack it hard with lots of water.
  3. Use simple tools like spades and knives.
  4. Keep a spray bottle with water at hand, so you can keep the shapes moist.
  5. Don't forget your hat.

  • The festival has been held annually since 2013, and takes place at the Kalmarsund bath.
  • In the summer of 2020, the festival had to pause due to the pandemic. Instead, artistic leader of the festival Edwin Böck created a large sand sculpture in the middle of town. It was aptly named "Staycation". In July 2021, the festival took place with some adjustments for the pandemic. In 2022, the festival was back at full scale.
  • Organizers are Destination Kalmar in co-operation with the Kalmar Municipal Culture and Leisure Administration.
  • The next festival takes place on July 15th–19th, 2024.
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Page published by: Destination Kalmar AB