What do you do when it’s the middle of December, you have no plans for New Year’s Eve, and you don’t want to stay at home? It’s easy, at least in theory: you start searching online for some cheap plane tickets. Now, the words “cheap” and “NYE” don’t go along well. Finding a bargain on such an occasion is almost impossible. Almost…
But luck was on my side, as I was able to find some tickets that were within my budget. Destination: Malmö. At first glance, it doesn’t sound extraordinary, but hey, it’s Sweden, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Scandinavia. Prior to the trip, I basically knew only two things about this city: first, that it is the home of the Turning Torso, regarded as the world’s first twisted skyscraper, and second, that it is connected with Copenhagen throughout the Øresund Bridge, a wonder of modern engineering. This means that a one day trip to the capital of Denmark can be easily added to the itinerary, and, if you ask me, I’d even say that it’s mandatory. I went for it – all the details can be found in this article.
After its foundation in the 13th century, Malmö was, for some hundreds of years, Denmark’s second-biggest city. Four centuries ago, the city and the whole region of Skåne came under the control of Sweden, where it remained until today. Nowadays, it’s an extremely young and multicultural city: the average age of its residents is just 36, they come from 174 countries and speak around 150 different languages.
One thing I’m crazy about is the way the Nordic people are decorating their homes for the winter holidays. It’s obvious that these people love celebrating Christmas, and their work’s results are awesome. All these decorations create a peaceful and joyful atmosphere, everywhere around the city. My favourites are definitely the advent stars and the straw ornaments.
Local dishes are in general simple, but contain a lot of contrasting flavours. A perfect example are the Swedish meatballs (made popular by the world’s largest furniture retailer, IKEA), which are served with brown cream sauce, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam. Swedish people enjoy eating bread, a fact well reflected in their cuisine. The variety is huge, including rye bread, wheat bread, oat bread, white and dark, whole grain, flatbreads and crispbreads. Add different toppings, like pickled herring, horseradish cream, shrimp, beef, cheese etc., and you’ll get a smörgås (or open sandwich). Fish dishes (especially salmon and herring) are popular as well; in most cases, these are served with potatoes, the main side dish of the Swedish gastronomy. A cool, but cosy place, which I highly recommend for an authentic experience, is Bullen Två Krögare (). This medium priced restaurant serves great food and beer, and has more than 100 years of history behind.
Some of the most consumed local desserts are: ostkaka (cheesecake), pannkaka (pancakes), våfflor (waffles), chokladboll (chocolate-flavoured butter ball), prinsesstårta (princess cake) and kanelbulle (cinnamon roll). Is it enough? If not, don’t panic, these are just a few. Hollandia (Södra Förstadsgatan 8) makes amazing cakes, and coffee and tea are on the house!
How to reach the city from the airport?
Malmö Airport is situated 30 kilometres east of the city. It’s quite a small airport, not busy at all, which offers cheap flights and can be a great alternative when visiting the southern part of Sweden or Copenhagen. The Flygbussarna Airport Coaches company offers connections to several cities; a ticket to Malmö city center is around 100 SEK (approximately €10, depending on the type, if it’s one way or both ways) and the bus ride takes close to 40 minutes. You’ll also find buses which head to Copenhagen, at higher costs.
Since we are speaking about New Year’s Eve period, I have to admit that I was expecting high prices for accommodation. But it was not the case. First Hotel Jörgen Kock (Jörgen Kocksgatan 3) offered a competitive price per night, taking into account that we’re talking about the winter holidays, and fulfilled almost all my needs. It had a central location, it offered a spacious room and a clean bathroom. The Swedish breakfast buffet was great, and it was served inside a comfy room, resembling a typical Nordic living room. The only minus was that it was a bit noisy… But come on, it was NYE, so I’m not going to complain.
GUIDE TO Malmö
Malmö is not mesmerizing, nor impressive, but it’s a pleasant city, with nice areas to walk around, massive buildings, good restaurants, cafes and pastry shops. The weather in this time of the year is cold, the wind is blowing harshly, and it might rain or snow several times during the same day. In other words, just a normal winter in Sweden. It’s time for a photo guide to the main attractions of Malmö:
- Västra hamnen district, the most exclusive and expensive neighborhood in Malmö, home of the Turning Torso (190 meters high):
- Stortorget, the largest and oldest square, has several impressive buildings, like the Rådhuset (Town Hall) or the Hotel Scandic Kramer:
- Lilla torg, a pleasant little square inside the center of the old town, surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants:
- Sankt Petri Kyrka, the oldest church of the city, with its 105 meters tall tower:
- Ebbas Hus Museum – the smallest the city has to offer, it’s a real Swedish home, from the beginning of the 20th century:
- Malmöhus, a 15th century fortress, with its garden, Slottsträdgården, nowadays a vibrant park, featuring grassy fields, expansive gardens and a windmill:
- Södergatan, the main shopping street:
Malmö is a city which doesn’t make a first powerful impression, but once you start discovering it, you’ll be fascinated by the outcome. It’s not a cheap place (well, none of the Nordic countries are), so be prepared to spend some money. It’s still under major development, turning itself into a top design destination, from a former blue-collar industrial port. It has beautiful parks, small lakes and a network of canals. You’ll surely enjoy the food and the energy the city spreads.
Author: Marian Bulacu
Live. Love. Travel. Make a difference.