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.