Sweden’s third greatest city Malmo is situated on the southern tip of the country near the bridge to Copenhagen. In summer time, the water side is especially beautiful. Once an uninhabited industrial area, the Western Harbor in Malmo is now an attractive place to live and work or visit, a hip quarter of cafés, restaurants, art galleries, architecture and a few boutiques.
The neighborhood is located next to the 3 km long Ribersborg Beach, or “Ribban” as locals call it, where adjacent green spaces invite to rest, play and activities. On the other side of the canal, a walking path leads to Sundspromenaden created by Danish landscape architecture Jeppe Aagard Andersen. This promenade along the sea is lined with trendy architecture, which is part of Malmo’s environmentally sustainable housing project Bo01.
By the quay at the beginning of Sundspromenaden, Sweden’s first slow food restaurant Salt & Brygga serves organic quality food from local farmers. Salt & Brygga translates as Salt & Bridge, a name likely chosen from the salt in the water and the Oresund Bridge, which is clearly visible from the open-air restaurant. Neighboring Italian restaurant SPOT competes in terms of dining with a view.
A stone’s throw away, the Swedish coffee chain Espresso House is popular among the kids and young-ish adults to grab a cup of coffee, lunch, or see and be seen from the outdoor café, often crowded on warm summer afternoons.
The remaining stretch of Sundspromenaden has a parallel wooden deck with large wooden stairs, ideal for rest, reading or reflection. The promenade ends at the open concrete place Scaniaplatsen, west of Turning Torso. At its corner facing the sea, Dolce Sicilia offers homemade organic Italian ice cream with about a dozen flavors (try dark chocolate, white chocolate or hazelnut).
Turning west to Lilla Varvsgatan, you’ll cross Lilla Kockumskanalen, a canal whose water is drawn from the sea and let out by the city’s trademark Turning Torso. Specifically designed for the Bo01 area by Spanish architecture Santiago Calatrava, the high residential building Turning Torso was inspired by the human form in motion and twists 90 degrees from top to bottom.
Should you continue north from Scaniaplatsen, you’ll reach the park Daniaparken with bathing bridges, balconies, stairs and a large ramp to a stone table five meters above the water surface. Further ahead is Scaniaparken. Where the park turns to concrete, the street Östra Varvsgatan leads to Lilla Varvsgatan, east of Turning Torso, and the new neighborhood Dockan, with resturants and more galleries. (Galerie Leger on Dockplatsen 8 shows contemporary Nordic art.) The previous south-facing street from the park, Västra Varvsgatan, leads to a residential area. There, on Vimpelgatan 39, you’ll find SEAL’s GALLERY where artist Jean Bitsch Marzec sells his art. The city park behind borders Turning Torso and south-west, along the canal, is Ankarparken by the Danish architects Stig L Andersson och Hans Kragh. The area’s only hotel, Park Inn by Radisson, is located nearby on Stora Varvsgatan. As is Stapelbäddsparken, a 1800 sqm, internationally known skate park designed by Stefan Hauser.
Where to Stay
Even though the Western Harbor is equally beautiful in the evening, a change of scenery can be appreciated. Within the central part of Malmo that is surrounded by the canal, only a five-minute walk from the railway station, you’ll find several hotels.
Hotel Mäster Johan
Hotel Mäster Johan on Mäster Johansgatan in the Gamla Väster district has a central location near Lilla Torget Square, perfect to combine a stay with dinner at one of the restaurants around the square.
The hotel has a pleasing environment with modern and classic furnishing throughout the property and in rooms, which all have inner and outer doors to ensure peace and quiet. Rooms are spacious and elegantly furnished with light colors and natural materials along with selected art works. Wireless broadband is available at no cost. Most of the rooms are centered around the Pelargården, the hotel’s core where guests can serve themselves coffee or tea at all times, or order from the bistro menu.
For total relaxation, there’s a sauna in the cellar. For those who’d rather stay active there’s a gym with treadmill, exercise bike and a weights machine, and bikes for hire via the 24-hour reception.
Overall, Hotel Mäster Johan provides a calm and comfortable place to stay for anyone who favors tranquility and peace of mind after a day of discovering Malmo.