When planning our recent holiday I started reading about ‘Greater Copenhagen’.
This initiative aims to raise the profile of Eastern Denmark and Southern Sweden, capitalising on Copenhagen’s global popularity and create a ripple effect in tourism and investment from Zealand, across the Øresund bridge and into Skåne.
Without getting into the politics of it all we’ve already seen a lot of this kind of thing in the UK. I live in Liverpool, and like our neighbours over in Manchester, we are now part of wider ‘city regions’.
Fast forward a few weeks, and as we walked through the main tourist area of Malmö, on a Thursday morning in late August, it struck us that there were way more English accents than on previous visits.
Looking around we saw lots of families just like ours, who had jumped on a cheap flight to Copenhagen and were now using it as a means to further explore this beautiful part of the world.
Since our first trip to Copenhagen in 2014 my husband and I always include a couple of days getting out of the city. So if you are also looking for day trip ideas, all within an hour’s travel time, here’s my top 5:
So easy to get to from Copenhagen either by train or car, and if you’re into your Nordic Noir how can you not go over THAT bridge?
Malmö is very different to Copenhagen, it feels very different, dare I say very Swedish!
For me Malmö had really upped its game this year. There was a real buzz about the place and a feeling it was becoming an exciting tourist destination in its own right.
When in town I totally recommend spending time at the Moderna Museet. The building is amazing, the bright exterior and foyer spaces are a total contrast to the moody exhibitions, the gritty photography on display and the underlying darkness of the subject matter (again all very Swedish).
Also the Form Design Centre is fab. Floor after floor of amazing studio spaces as well as a shop filled with unique hand-crafted textiles, ceramics and artworks.
Finally, my must visit shop in all Malmö is Granit. From stationery, homewares through to garden pots it’s all great quality and really great prices. Thankfully they’ve just started shipping to the UK, phew!
Easily doable in one day, plus if you’re an art and architecture nerd like me, then you MUST make this trip happen.
Only 25miles from Copenhagen, the Louisiana is certainly one of the best galleries I’ve ever visited. Think MOMA standard exhibitions, thousands of world renowned artworks, as well as an outdoor sculpture trail. To top it off its all nestled into a woodland setting on one side and the panoramic coast line on the other with breathtaking views of Sweden across the Sound. It really is something very special, plus the children’s wing, café and shop are amazing too.
If French Impressionism and Danish art from the Golden Age are more your thing then you will love Ordrupgaard. It was in this country home turned museum that I fell totally in love with the work of Vilhelm Hammershoi.
Also it really is a Mecca for modern architecture fans too, with a gallery extension space created by Zaha Hadid as well as Finn Juhl’s house to explore. When you step inside the house for the first time you can see how Juhl thought through every detail. From the light, the materials as well as the colours he used, it is such an inspiring and unique space but more importantly it’s a home, and totally relevant for now.
From leaving Copenhagen we first stopped off at the small market town of Stege. Off the main high-street are some lovely quaint places to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, plus to my husband’s delight the craft brewery was a bit of a find. There’s also a gorgeous medieval church with frescoes documenting everyday life at the time.
What can I say, Møns Klint is just totally breathtaking. From the woodland, the sheer chalk-cliffs or the shore line views out across the Baltic Sea it’s a spectacular place to visit.
Be warned though there are hundreds of steps to climb (not good when you’re heavily pregnant like I was) and the chalk really does get everywhere – but once you’re there; trust me this UNESCO site won’t disappoint.
If you still have any energy left then a romantic stroll through the neoclassical palace gardens at Liselund is the perfect way to end the day.
Just to the north of Malmo, Lund is a real contrast to the energy and bright lights of Copenhagen. This University city is bursting with old Swedish charm. With its cobbled streets, brightly painted cottages, Cathedral and beautiful Botaniska trädgården to explore.
One place I highly recommend to eat here is, St Jakobs Stenugnsbageri. It’s a homely bakery and coffee shop. Great for a quick bite to eat and some tasty sweet treats for in the car on the way home.
Also we visited on graduation day, or as the Swedes call it , ‘Studentflak’ and it’s totally bonkers. Truck loads of soaking wet (somewhat drunk) students all dressed in naval hats are literally driven around all day sounding horns and blasting music while everyone waves at them, thinking its hilarious.
This was a new discovery on our recent trip, and somewhere we will be exploring more. I need to further investigate the seafood restaurants, ice-cream parlour as well a some Viking history.
On our visit we spent a relaxing afternoon walking along the white sandy beach, paddling in the crystal clear water and picking out our favourite brightly coloured beach huts.
It really was a world away from home.
All images by Nicola Capper.