This past weekend I spent time in the province of Skane (or Skåne) visiting the towns of Ystad, Lund and Malmo which all call the southern area of Sweden home. The last time I was in Sweden I travelled direct from Copenhagen to Stockholm and never even considered stopping to look around this part of the country. I was fixated on visiting the city I’d read about and heard in the news and so on.
I’ll be honest though, had I not been invited by Visit Sweden I don’t think I’d have ever set foot in this part of the world. The thing is though, it’s these little parts of the world that you’ve never heard of that often result in some of the most amazing experiences on your travels. These hidden pockets are the one you always remember well while the stories of Paris and Rome soon fade.
So here’s why I think you should visit Skane and add the towns of Ystad, Lund and Malmo to your travels next time you find yourself in Sweden.
Ystad unbeknownst to me is home to Wallander (think cop show like Frost), a Swedish TV Series. It even has its own English spin-off and between the two series has racked up some 26 movies. I took a tour of the town and the movie studio while there and was amazed by how much of the town is featured in the movies. Perhaps I’m just caught in my Neighbours frame of mind where the same backdrops are used over and over.
You will also find that Ystad has it’s very own night watchman. A tradition dating back to at least the 17th century a lonesome guard blows his horn every 15 minutes from the 4 cardinal points of the tower at St Maria’s Church to let the town know everything is safe and well. While more a symbolic figure these days as the guard doesn’t work all night and the police do all the hard work its a fascinating tradition that I’d never heard of before.
Lund is where you will find Lund University, one of Northern Europe’s most highly regarded. The statement must be true because of the 110,000 people who call the city home, 40,000 of them are students.
It was here that I also learnt just how much the swedes love their sushi. Yep you heard right sushi is big here and when you consider the stuff I inhaled at Rå Epok it’s no wonder why. I may still have an untamed palate for sushi but the fact nobody at the table with me held back is enough for me to recommend you check these guys out.
When your done feasting just a short stroll up the road looms Lund Cathedral and Kulturen, an open air museum. The second oldest museum of its type (only bested by Skansen in Stockholm) you will find a range of culturally important items and buildings documenting Sweden’s architectural and cultural past.
Finally you have uber cool Malmo. When a city can lay claim to the highest number of restaurants per inhabitant, a list of boutique clothes stores as long as your arm and a chilled night life you know you’re onto a winner. And if all of that isn’t enough, Copenhagen is only 30 minutes train ride away across the Oresund strait.
For me Malmo’s Old Town was a joy to stroll around as the pedestrian streets fork off in all directions lined with shops as far as the eye can see. The Town Hall dominates the main square here, while just behind it lies Lila Torg. A smaller square surrounded with restaurants that you can tell would become a mecca for anybody looking to relax after a days work or just used to escape the cold of the Swedish winter and enjoy a nice warm mug of Glogg.
While I only got to scrape the surface of what you can see and do during my visit Skane weekend I have to say for a part of the world that I knew nothing about, I’m itching to get back. The only thing missing from my winter experience of Sweden was the snow.
The region was magical without it but I can’t help but feel cheated out of my life long dream to experience a truly magical snow experience and what better country than Sweden to do that in I ask you.
Like you, Chris, I’d never really have considered visiting Sweden, period, but your post is definitely making me reconsider.
Marsha I loved Stockholm when I was there but that was all I’d really wanted to see. Now having made a visit to Skane I’m finding myself left wanting to see what else this country has to offer.
It’s such an accessible part of the world as well given Copenhagen is a 30min train ride from Malmo and you can now fly direct to Malmo from London.
I’ve never heard of any of these places before. Malmo looks lovely, seems like the sort of place I could walk around for hours.
Dean, Malmo was a great place to visit and while the first day was rather wet and cold my extra day thanks to a cancelled flight allowed me to see it with beautiful blue skies and like you I could easily have walked around for hours then.
Lovin’ the photos Chris! – is that a #VisitSkane gingerbread cookie?
Really interesting fact about the night watchmen – I wouldn’t like to live next door them though. Wouldn’t have been able to sleep with all the horn blowing going on!
Can’t wait to see more from your trip. 🙂
Nicole we got that gingerbread cookie made at a christmas market in Lund. I’m sure the girl thought we were crazy but I love it.
Also the night watchman in Ystad’s horn is more of a muffled sound and barely noticable. Apparently if he does fail to blow the horn people do still notice it no matter the time.
Same sentiment… never would have thought to visit Skane, but this post is tempting me! That shot of Malmo’s old town looks like somewhere I would really enjoy as well! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Dayna that’s what I love about travel and having my blog. There is so much to see in the world that nobody can know about everywhere. So with a blog or similar we can all learn about other interesting places to add to that every growing bucket list 🙂
That gingerbread cookie looks very tempting! Glad that you liked Sweden, you should definitely then visit Finland also, it’s even better, well there won’t be as many restaurants or boutique clothes shops, but otherwise it’s better 😉
Jarmo I’ve been to Helsinki briefly but would love to heard north and have a look around up there. I couchsurfed while there and my hosts couldn’t say enough nice things about the times they’ve been up north.
Marsha, you’ve hit the nail on the head for me too. Chris this looks awesome and would definitely make me consider adding Sweden to my itinerary next year! 🙂
Sweden is not high on my list of places to visit, having said that this post just pushed it up! 😉
haha Andi I’ll tempt you to colder parts of the world yet 🙂
I too didn’t know anything about Skane until I visited and then fell completely for its charms once there. Great post!
Those pics make me want to throw on a pair of clogs and do a jig! Not really, but looks like a nice place…
I’d go just for that sushi!!!! And that is so cool that they still have a night watchman! That’s a great tradition to carry on.
Sweden is one place that I really want to go and now that I’ve met a few Swedes in my travels I would love to actually explore the city and see more than just the main attractions. Looks lovely!!
After days of non-stop Christmas food you still managed to make me long for even more food with this giant cookie and the sushi!