I have to admit that living in Europe gives some pretty great benefits so as living in America, Asia or wherever else. This time I’m not referring to economic or political benefits though but travel benefits.
You just have to be ready to go!
Recently I was in the mood for some Nordic charm so decided to take a weekend trip to Malmo, Sweden. I had to mix it with some business however I was happy to have a chance to finally go to some other city in Sweden rather than most common one – capital Stockholm just to see what else is there.
Malmo is the third largest city in Sweden and it’s population has been increasing every year. It has always been one of the most industrialised cities in Sweden. The city has a big biotech and IT scene going on. Locals tend to say that in Malmo everything is amazingly close and reachable.
It takes only 10 km from center to the city border and city consists of 490 km of cycle paths. Malmo has long beaches with high water quality located within cycling or even walking distance from the city center. Almost half of population in Malmo in under the age of 35 which all made me very interested to see what such a progressive city would offer.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Eastern Europe has very convenient flight connections so within an hour I was already in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was flying from Riga and surprisingly Copenhagen airport, even though located in a different country, is the closest and most convenient one to go to Malmo and other parts of South Sweden.
Keep reading to find out why!
As you might have heard Denmark and Sweden doesn’t have a land border. They are separated by water are however it’s very convenient to get from Denmark to Sweden as they are connected with the Oresund Bridge.
This double-track railway and motorway bridge that opened in 2000 is one of the transportation marvels. The bridge runs for about 8 km (5 miles) to an artificial island. When you get to the island you suddenly dive underground as the bridge transitions into a tunnel that continues another 4 km (2.5miles). Just be aware that to dive across the bridge you must pay a toll. However it’s totally worth the above and underground experience!
The artificial island where the bridge turns into tunnel is a man-made wonder of nature. The island was built from material of the seabed. Since there’s no other human activity happening on the island flora and fauna on the island have been allowed to develop freely and undisturbed and has become a haven for biologists with hundreds of different species of plants and is a popular breeding ground for birds as well as habitat for the rare green toad.
There are less and less these raw and untouched areas in the world so be sure to enjoy the beauty of this island outside the window if you choose to cross the Oresund Bridge.
I was crossing the Bridge by train going from Copenhagen airport and it took only 30 minutes to be standing already in Malmo central station.
My first impression of Malmo was pleasant as I walked around the central station feeling a bit hungry. I always like to check out food options everywhere and since it was already evening there was not much choice for me as to find some food around there and get to the hotel.
Malmo central station is a quite Nordic looking red building with great food options. So you are lucky if you need to wait for your train or bus over there. They have a special section of restaurant stands on one side which is separated from the part where all the fuss is happening.
There you can go to whichever stand you like (great choice of burgers, pica, salads, sea food, pastas, snacks, coffee and more). Place your order and take seat in common seating area. But it’s not your usual food court setting like in shopping centers and markets. If you like charming and stylish design, this place is for you.
WHERE TO STAY?
After a gourmet dining experience I finally got to my hotel. I had booked a reasonably priced hotel Comfort Hotel Malmo just few steps away from the station so we wouldn’t have to walk somewhere far in the evening and wouldn’t have to take additional transport. Malmo in general has very good hotel options however not as big hostel choice as you’d have in other big cities. Therefore it’s not the cheapest place where to stay for a longer period of time but it’s still worth to experience.
Quality of hospitality service in Nordics is another aspect that I would like to point out. Hotel staff there are usually really nice and helpful and it should be a very rare case that somebody will be rude to you, will not be able to speak English or to help you at all. The same I experienced in my hotel upon arrival.
I used to work in a hotel reception myself so I always like to compare front desk experiences – I can admit that Swedish knows how to provide great service and make their guest feel welcome. For that reason I definitely suggest you to stay in this hotel if you are visiting Malmo.
WHAT TO SEE?
Malmo has several interesting sightseeing objects like Malmo Live, Turning Torso, Emporia, Malmo Arena and more. TripAdvisor and other travel suggestion sites pointed out some of these famous buildings, museums etc.
I tend not to be the classical tourist visiting these kind of sights, so I decided to just wander around and hopefully be lucky enough to find some unique and exciting places. I had a feeling that I will succeed with this plan because everything around looked charming even on my short walk from station to hotel.
Another positive surprise for me was the weather. I was somehow under impression that it’s going to be deep snow but ended up in all sun, open coats and no gloves in the middle of November in North. I guess global warming is taking it’s toll, but from the sightseeing perspective the warm and sunny weather was the greatest.
What I really enjoyed in the city was the beautiful glass and red buildings with different maritime elements. “Very Nordic indeed” is what I thought all the way. There were hundreds of bicycles parked everywhere and city canal winding through with many small bridges crossing it. Malmo really gave off a “small Amsterdam” vibe. (Because of the bridges and bikes, I mean LOL).
The central part of the city has great restaurant and coffee shop scene. I walked by many different Swedish food restaurants that looked lovely with its Nordic design touch that you don’t see anywhere else. They had a nice variety of many different menus starting from Thai, Chinese, European and ending with classic American TGI Fridays.
So there’s definitely something for every taste and many options to choose. They have also small coffee shops all over the place with comfy couches to chill, perfect Wi-Fi connection to work. That all in combination with enjoying a cup of aromatic coffee or tea.
Malmo is a great city for a short visit. Day and a half full of Malmo charm felt the perfect amount of time needed there. Next day I had to fly back to Riga already, this time from Malmo airport.
This airport is located just outside the city. You can take an airport bus that will take you from Central Station directly to the airport in an hour. It’s easy to buy tickets in the central station or in the bus. Just make sure to check the schedule HERE as they don’t run very often.
Overall Malmo is well worth a short one or two-day visit to relax from the rest of the week and enjoy Swedish quality in accommodation, service and food. And as we know Sweden is known for having good quality stuff.