Hey, sorry for the hiatus – I’m back, refreshed and inspired. Are you ready for the first part of my photo guide to Sweden, beautiful Sweden?! We spent six glorious days driving along the coast of southern Sweden, visiting cities and towns all around the stunning Skåne County .We have now visited Sweden in both extremes of weather, February last year we visited Swedish Lapland in foot deep snow and drove on solid ice, this summer we drove from the south west coast to the south east coast in glorious sunshine. We started out with two days drinking (a lot of Kombucha) and eating in the beautiful cafes and restaurants in Malmö.After stepping off the train right in the centre of the city, we met Eva our Malmö expert and went for lunch in Malmö Saluhall – this place is a must visit, a bustling food hall with cool restaurants, cafes, a bakery, an amazing tea shop and a flower stand – we chose the Pink Head Noodle Bar (we ate here on our last day too, it is so good)! Delicious fresh handmade noodle and rice dishes created by owner Wade Brown, this is gourmet level Asian street food. Try a chilled glass of the roasted tea – perfect on a hot day.We biked around the city on our first evening and all the next day on the fold up bikes that came with our urban minimalist Oh Boy hotel room. This place is cleverly built from thoughtful, eco and surplus materials and is right opposite the skate park.This awesome concrete building has a living roof and cosy two-floor rooms at street level and below, the bedroom down stairs is a perfect cosy nest to retreat to. All along the outside, there is a diverse mix of plants and trees, some will climb up the outside and make it a stunning green space – the wisteria vines will be stunning next May!On our ride, we saw so many plant filled window sills and I would never have imagined that Southern Sweden would be home to the most amazing displays of Hollyhocks. Bobbing about in the breeze, they adorned almost every house and garden.Our first evening meal was at Bord 13, located in the heart of Malmö, this place is awesome! The food here is a super fresh mix of local produce and foraged ingredients, both food & wine ‘with the smallest amount of steps from soil to the table, nothing added, nothing taken away’. All I can say is get a table and go, the chefs were amazing catering to our plant only requirements and they even gave us some of their delicately pickled elder capers to bring a taste of Sweden home with us – amazing evening.Up early the next morning, we cycled to all the best plant based places to eat with local food critic and all round gorgeous human Anna, stopped off at a few of her favourite sustainable shops including Gram – a ‘zero waste’ grocery store owned by Megan (from Brighton)!Inside you won’t find any excess packaging, just great produce from local farms and makers, as well as store-cupboard essentials from around the world. You are welcome to fill your own containers from the hygienic dispensers or use the paper bags provided and you can buy as little or as much as you need because everything is sold loose and by weight. I wish we had a Gram here in our town.A few streets over we stopped in and met the owners of Green Queen – an eco-conscious eating place with healthy souls and bodies in mind. On the menu here you will find locally roasted coffee, health shots, home-made kombucha (amaze), fresh smoothies, juices, salads, soups and the most delicious locally baked vegan cinnamon buns. I was really thinking that the joy of ‘fika’ (a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning “to have coffee”, often accompanied with pastries, cookies or pie) – would be over for us after we gave up dairy earlier this year but it’s possible in Green Queen! We tried almost one of everything and left inspired with ideas for delicious raw cakes to make when we finally have a kitchen.From here we pedalled across the city to work up an appetite for when we arrived at Raw Food House – healthy and joyful – I think you will love this place! The cakes are decorated with edible blooms and all the food is carefully prepared with nature’s very best fair trade ingredients for quality and health. The benches come from Maglarp’s church and the counter is built out of antique door panels from Malmo’s old nunnery.By now we were full up with the healthiest of treats, Dean had a raw noodle salad and I had the much-loved barbeque burger. We didn’t stay for dessert as we had a date with the owner of Kold, a former corporate consultant turned master Glacè creator. This place is insanely good! Daily selections of Dairy and Dairy free alternative ice creams in the most magical taste sensations. Kold has 12 different flavours a day that rotate with season and mood. we tried them all and settled on two different flavours each. Minds blown, the UK needs one to open soon!Exploring the city more after lunch, we hunted out some beautiful shops, our favourite two were AB Småland – an amazing space on two floors, filled with beautiful homewares, furniture, plants, clothing and beauty products and an art/creative space.Next up and one of my absolute city highlights – we took a turn down a side street and stumbled upon the beautiful Florista – this is a stunning flower shop. Dark walls and vintage accents, old crates for stands and unusual blooms. Pot plants, dried flowers and wild stems peek out from every corner. We fell in love right away. I was so inspired by this store and took quite a few photos inside, I think it deserves its very own post – if you pop back at the weekend you can see more!A quick two wheeled dash in the rain on our bikes and we found ourselves in the beautiful courtyard at Cafe Agnes.This place is adorned with vintage treasures and sells a beautiful selection of cakes, salads, coffee, tea and cold drinks. We sat in the eclectic covered seating area for a cup of coffee under cover – with the sound of the rain falling and splashing all around.On our biking travels we stopped at lots of the beautiful green spaces around the city, just around the corner from Florista we discovered a shop lined (pop in Odd & Fancy for vintage treasure) square – Davidshallstorg – bursting with blue and mauve flowers.We popped back to our hotel room for a shower and rest before cycling back down town to an amazing evening of food and great company at Lyran (on the opposite end of the street to Green Queen) – don’t be fooled by the modest looking exterior.This place is serving up the best food we ate whilst in the city, the food, chefs and guest chefs are awesome here. When I have a dream restaurant in my mind it is precisely this. Striped awnings, a simple string of festoon lights, the gentle clinking of wine glasses, steam and heat from the open kitchen, friendly hosts, happy guests and a cosy glowing atmosphere.Six courses of plant based dishes (for us – they serve meat too), each one as exciting as the last. Definitely, do not miss this place when you come to Malmö! Sit at the bar to be right in the kitchen action and feel like part of the team, also log lamp below – making one!Cycling home under the setting sun we felt all warm and fuzzy with the joy of a truly magical evening.On Saturday morning we took a tour of our hotel and gazed at the living rooftops and plant covered balconies below, before a final cycle around the bay, bath house and eco park. The stunning Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, looks as if it is floating out on the sea. Originally built in 1898 – inside you can have a sauna then plunge into the refreshing sea, have a massage or just stay for coffee out on the ocean. We just loved the symmetry of the place!After two days of city joy, we packed our bags and headed out to the coast for a picnic lunch and some seaside adventures. Tomorrow I will be sharing part II of our travels, I hope you’ll come along for the drive!
I want to say a huge thank you to Elin at Visit Sweden, the lovely Felicity at Four Communications and everyone else who was involved with inviting Dean and I to spend a week in Southern Sweden to make this travel guide. We had the most amazing time and met some incredible people. We feel so fortunate that they discovered our photos and like them, as we love this country! x