After more than a week enjoying the natural scenery of southern Sweden, I wasn't sure I was ready to visit a busy city. But it only took two days in Malmö to make me feel I never wanted to leave. It's the atmosphere – happy, friendly people, green parks and plenty of places to explore. And the best way to see Malmö is on two wheels along the popular bicycle lanes that criss-cross the city.
Another reason I felt at home here, is the apartment I had booked – the Oh Boy Bike Hotel. In this three-level flat I could work behind a desk, enjoy the sun in a little flower garden outside the entrance, or prepare breakfast in the small kitchen. The apartment opened onto the street, and there was a folding bike waiting in the garden – a clear invitation to explore the city and its environs.
And so, on a sunny Saturday morning, I found myself riding along the city beach of Västra Hamnen ('western harbour' in Swedish). In the past 15 years, this neighbourhood has been extensively renovated and is now bristling with cool new initiatives. I parked my bicycle at Sundspromenaden, a boulevard with large wooden benches, where I listened to the waves hitting the quay. In the distance, Copenhagen's skyline was clearly visible. A couple of Swedes ventured into the ice-cold seawater, and sitting nearby, friends were enjoying the morning sun. It's a tranquil place.
I continued my bike trip by crossing Öresundsparken to reach Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, an old open-air bath perched above the sea. I took a seat in a little sauna with views over the water and after a quarter of an hour of sweating, I gritted my teeth like a true Swede and dove into the icy seawater. I swam about 300ft along the wooden pier, my body tingling, but I had never felt so alive. I put my towel down next to the other naked ladies on the wooden deck and warmed myself in the sun. Closing my eyes, I thought how nice it would be to visit this spot each day.
All the swimming and sweating meant I'd worked up a good appetite and there's no better place in town to fill the void than Malmö's Saluhall. This market hall is one of the latest additions to the cityscape, and a place where foodies convene. You can choose from an eclectic mix of cuisines from noodles to falafel.
In the evening, I headed to the popular open-air venue Far i Hatten in the heart of FolketsPark, located in Möllevången, a district known for its artistic scene of young creatives and art galleries. Sitting around the tables amid a crowd of lively people enjoying their beer reaffirmed my feeling that Malmö is definitely somewhere I could see myself living.
For more information about Malmö and the other parts of Skåne, visit visitskane.com
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