Our Swedish staycation: summer in Malmö

Jo on the sandy beach of Ribersborg with Turning Torso in background

We’ve been enjoying the Swedish summer at home this year, as we’ll be embarking on a mahoosive (for us at least!) four-week trip to south-east Asia in late August. In all honesty most of the summer in southern Sweden (and large parts of Europe) blew or rained away this year, but hey, we tried.

Ash with backback in the autumnal forest of Bokskogen
A forest walk in July at Torup forest outside Malmö. Ash is wearing a waterproof Ortlieb backpack and GLOVES. Both were needed.

A Swedish summer staycation has been our set-up for two years now, which makes us quite the oddity over here. Swedes absolutely love their summer holidays and frequently take around four to six weeks off work between June and August – often to go live a spartan life (outhouse toilets, anyone?) in their summer cabins.

We’re frequently asked by friends and family “so when do you start your holiday?” and while “never” might sound like a depressing answer at first, we like to consider our everyday summer working life a holiday in itself. After all, it’s possible to enjoy sunshine after 5pm too.

Jo on the sandy beach of Ribersborg with Turning Torso in background
When it’s stormy and pissing hard outside in November here, please do remind me that this picture was taken at 7pm. In Sweden.

Embracing the change

Although we love to travel further afield than our nearby park, staycationing (I’m making it a verb) is making us remember why we moved to Malmö in the first place, and forces us to get out and do new things that we don’t normally make time for in our everyday schedule. Of course ours is a working staycation, but the same rules apply.

It’s a simple but rewarding pleasure to explore where you live, and see it from a visitor’s perspective. Although I grew up in Malmö, I’ve spent 6+ years living abroad, and the city has changed at rapid speed (and keeps developing!). Even the older sights, such as the 16th century castle, Malmöhus, was recently renovated and houses temporary exhibitions.

Summertime also means plenty of event programmes – most of them free – as Swedes can suddenly BE OUTSIDE WITHOUT GETTING SOAKED/FREEZING. I mean, an outdoor amphitheatre without a roof is honestly not very useful the other months of the year.

Popcorn cone at the Pildammsparken amphitheatre with big screen in background
Enjoying some free popcorn and a documentary premiere at the Pildammsparken outdoor amphitheatre in Malmö.

The simple pleasures

Quite simply, why spend lots of money going to faraway places when you’ve got so much on your doorstep? Especially when a lot of it is so weather-specific. After all, Malmö’s Ribersborg beach is (generally) far more enjoyable in July than in April – during which we spent a week in Istanbul instead. As we have no children, we’re not bound by school years, and make the most of that flexibility to travel more out-of-season instead.

We live in a city with so many parks it’s been dubbed “city of the parks,” with canals, several marinas, a city beach (and another beach a bit further out in the city), multiple other central swimming points, and plenty of sights and activities to keep us occupied.

Malmö is Sweden’s third-largest city and the biggest city of the county, Skåne. Skåne is Sweden’s southernmost county or region, meaning it’s surrounded by sea on three sides. (Yep, lots of beaches around here!)

So even if we would get bored of Malmö, we still have the whole county full of experiences to go to. Denmark and Copenhagen is also only a 20 minute train ride away from us across the gorgeous Öresund bridge.

Pier wooden fence and sandy beach looking out over the Öresund waters in sunset
If you’d swim across the water here, you’d be in Denmark. And exhausted.

What’s to come

Nice weather is obviously not guaranteed (especially not when you live in Sweden), but given how cold and overcast my (only-ever) package holiday to Sunny Beach was, I’ve learnt that neither charter holidays, nor flights or placenames, are a guarantee of a sunny vacation.

Over the next couple of months we’ll be sharing more about our staycation in Malmö and Skåne, as well as some staycation lessons we’ve learnt. If you’re interested in exploring this corner of the world – whether you live here or not – you’ll also find plenty of (hopefully) useful tips.

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