If you fly in, you can not miss it. In the middle of Öresund rises the section of water that separates Sweden from Denmark, a bridge that seems to hold everything about Scandinavia.
Starting as a tunnel in Copenhagen, it rises out of the water and turns towards Malmö, a triumph of technology, practicality and, above all, style.
Malmö is the liveliest city in Sweden, a mix of modern architecture, beaches and the country's most renowned food culture. It regularly appears as a backdrop for Nordic Noir dramas, especially The Bridge.
Day one – tomorrow
Malmö is the liveliest city in Sweden, a mix of modern architecture, beaches and the country's most renowned food culture
Immerse yourself in the lifestyle of Scandis by driving to Kallbadhus (ribersborgskallbadus.se). At the Malmö beach of Ribersborg, a long boardwalk leads to the sea. Built in 1898, there is a busy café if you go inside. If you look closely, the clientele is unnaturally healthy – because they have swum in the Öresund.
Winter may sound like hell, but if you do it the Scandinavian way it can be a pleasure. The trick is to first toast in saunas that have different temperatures. Only then will you go outside, when it is amazing to dive into the water. Clothes are optional (to make it especially Swedish). Entry costs about £ 7 and the feeling of salvation will guide you through the rest of the day. Towels are provided.
The province of Skane is Sweden's most passionate gourmet restaurant with Malmö in the core, and you can immerse yourself in the Saluhall market (malmosaluhall.se/de) in an old warehouse near the train station. Strolling through the city, you will get to know the intricacies of the city's food culture, including craft beers, local cheeses, cured meats and oysters.
The Nordic-Italian restaurant Hedvigsdal produces pizza using local ingredients such as kale and skane cheese.
Take in Malmo Castle. From 1568 to 1573, this building was a jail in which James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell and husband of Mary, Queen of the Scots, was imprisoned. Now it is the city museum and houses a magnificent collection of stuffed animals, ancient torture devices and vintage housewares.
Then it's time for fika or coffee break. Swedes take coffee seriously and know it's best with a cinnamon bun. Lilla Kafferosteriet cafe (lillakafferosteriet.se) sources its pastries from the cult bakery St Jakobs Stenugnsbageri and is located in the historic center of Malmö.
Malmö regularly appears as a backdrop for Northern Noir dramas, especially The Bridge
If you want to shop in the Scandinavian style, visit the nearby Sodergatan. All of the hottest brands are represented here, including stylish sportswear at Peak Performance and Any-color-as-long-as-it-neutral at Filippa K. Other labels you are looking for are Tiger (the smart fashion brand and not the Scandi budget chain)). On the other side of the street, you can also buy inexpensive but tasteful household goods from Granit.
The board 13 restaurant (bord13.se) leads on Malmass cobbled streets and off the main square all boxes. It is small and friendly and the dishes include kohlrabi, cinnamon, skane steers, and sustainably caught fish, all with cloudy, preservative-free, natural wines.
Day two tomorrow
Scandinavian hotels always have a rich breakfast included in the price. Stay at Story Hotel (storyhotels.com). The 14th-floor restaurant overlooks the city, including the Turning Torso, Malmö's most impressive skyscraper, the highest in Scandinavia.
The city has an excellent cycling concept (malmobybike.se). Log in and you can hopping around like a local. In good weather everyone goes to the beach or to the large park Pildammsparken. Here is the Bloom In The Park Café (bloominthepark.se) on a beautiful spot on the shores of a lake. The menus change daily, but the food is always delicious.
Architectural brilliance: The city is connected to Copenhagen by the Öresund Bridge
Visit Form (formdesigncenter.com) to learn about Scandinavian design. The courtyard of the historic Lilla Torg Market Square leads to a 16th-century granary, which houses Sweden's oldest design museum. With changing exhibitions, a shop and a good café on the top floor, this is a wonderful place to refine your inner Sweden.
Complete the journey with one of In-Sight's (insight.se) tours by Eva Roos Davidsson, dedicated to the Hitler police drama The Bridge.
In addition to a trip to Copenhagen on the Öresund Bridge, you'll learn everything you need to know about the series as you see parts of Malmö that are not normally seen on guided tours, including Rosengard, the gritty neighborhood where footballer Zlatan plays Ibrahimovic grew up.
I've also learned something about Malmo's best falafel stalls (it's the city's trademark, and there's heated debate every year about which stall is the best) and the flowering allocation culture.
Finally, visit the trendy furniture store Salt & Brygga (saltobrygga.se) in the heart of West Harbor. This area is the new Malmö, full of families with bicycles, shops, restaurants and a breathtaking view of the bridge. It's a good place to sit outside with some French fries and watch the world go by.
Flights with SAS (flysas.com) start at £ 66 in one direction from Heathrow. Rooms at Story Hotel start at £ 130 per night including breakfast (storyhotels.com). For more information, visit visitsweden.com.