Back in August this year I had the pleasure of visting the Skåne region of Sweden with the fine folks from Visit Sweden and fourbgb. In 48 hours in Skåne, I covered the big ticket sights of Malmö and Helsingborg, but there’s more about this this harbour-side, former industrial city that provides a special spin on the Scandinavian experience.
With recently announced Ryanair flights direct to Malmö from London Stansted, now’s a perfect time to get over there and get amongst the city known as Sweden’s gateway to Europe.
Wander in the King’s Park
Malmö is quite well known for it’s expansive green estate of beautifully manicured and maintained parklands surrounding the old castle. Intertwined with meandering pathways that compliment the various statues and sculptures throughout, the park contains various gardens that are fantastic to stroll through in the summertime.
The park also feature an organic community garden, tended to by a tall, boisterous yet passionate gardener from Northern England. If there’s one thing that throws you off about this place, it’s the Swedish speaking green-thumb Geordie.
There’s also a small cafe near the garden with seating in an old greenhouse where you can enjoy a fika, but I’ll get onto that later.
Brave a bath in the sea
If there’s two healthy and rejuvenating things the Swedes love doing, it’s sweating it out in saunas and taking baths in the sea. The Ribersborgs Kallbadhus ticks both of these boxes, and is one of the oldest established bathhouses in Malmö to offer the invigorating experience.
Once you’re done splashing about, you can duck into the very nautical themed restaurant to satisfy your hunger. With a range of seafood based meals read from a menu buried inside the restaurant’s very own newspaper. On my visit, I tried out the herring burger which I’m happy to say was actually pretty damn nice.
Check out their website here for more info en.ribersborgskallbadhus.se
Enjoy a spot of Fika
If you like cinnamon buns, cupcakes, cookies and coffee, then you’ll be pleased to hear that no other culture tucks into these kind of treats more consistently. Fika is a social ritual in Sweden, and essentially means down-tools from work, take a break and enjoy a snack and a coffee. It’s so important to them, that employers always make sure there is time for fika in the work day.
In coffee shops (or konditori) across Malmö, you can observe locals taking time out from work for a spot of fika with their friends. Whether it’s talking about football or local politics, fika is all about casting your mind as far from work as possible.
Indulge your sweet tooth on some cake and enjoy some coffee brewed in the Swedish way, or if baked sugary treats aren’t your cup of tea, fruit is also an acceptable alternative for fika.
Jayne from 40 before 30 wrote an awesome post on her take on fika during her time in Skåne, and she goes into immense detail about the intricacies of this special Swedish tradition.
Be immersed in Swedish Design
Sweden is known globally as a hot bed of design prowess. Sleek lines accompany functionality to create beautiful everyday items that stand the test of time. I covered a bit about the Design/Form Museum in Malmö before in 48 hours in Skåne, but decided it needed a few more photos to appreciate the incredible array of items on display
Everything that could be conceivably used in a home is on show here in this temple to colourful and abstract design. Bulbous lounge furniture, oval garden chairs, red and black coloured teacups among other eclectic examples of homeware adorn the three floors of this medieval building in central Malmö. Children play with BRIO train sets on the floor next to the cafe, waiting for their parents to finish browsing the small library of design related books for sale.
For a free exhibit, it’s well worth seeking out and having a peruse. Everything is neatly arranged to showcase the very best the Swedish are capable of designing for the world, and it’s clear that they take it very seriously here.
Cycle the city
This wouldn’t be a write up about a Scandinavian city without mentioning bikes. They’re absolutely crazy about them here, and have the 420 kilometres of cycle paths throughout the city to prove it.
What better way to explore than on a bike, coasting around the streets taking in the various sights and sounds of this Scanian cultural melting pot. Cruise down to the park for some fika, then check out the waterfront before heading back into the city for a spot of Swedish cider in Lilla Torg. Sure beats belting the pavement all day.
Malmö is a bit of an unassuming gem of a city in Skåne, and it’s so accessible from Copenhagen just across the Öresund. From a long and rich trading and shipbuilding heritage, Malmö has evolved to become the modern, upbeat focal point of Southern Sweden.