‘If you’re short on time, you’ve got to visit Lilla Torg first’, my fellow hotel guest advised, without hesitation, ‘it’s a beautiful little medieval square less than 15 minutes from here’.
And I was indeed short on time. I had just a few hours – a tiny window during a hectic weekend celebrating my best friend’s son’s wedding, where I could explore Malmö, Sweden’s gateway city from across the Øresund Bridge, which connects the country with neighbouring Denmark.
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I find the best option in these circumstances is to ask someone else’s opinion. It can be a bit hit and miss – after all, one woman’s travel treasure can be another’s tasteless tourist trap. But this recommendation was definitely a hit. And here are the images to prove it.
A convivial hub for the stylish and sociable, Lilla Torg is compact, picturesque and brimming with bars, restaurants and cafes. Built in 1592 as a market square, the mainly-pedestrianised cobbled precinct is ringed by timbered houses and dining terraces and is a great spot for people-watching.
I arrived late morning, just as the lunchtime hubbub was beginning to build. It’s a good time of day to appreciate the architecture in relative quietness, especially when the sun comes out to say hello half-way through, which it did that day!
Colourful Swedish clogs, known as Träskor, are usually made from alder wood and have leather uppers. Whether you wear them or display them as souvenirs is entirely up to you (100% the latter in my case).
As soon as you see it, you know it’s got some interesting history behind it. This half-timbered building was constructed during the 16th century and now forms the unmistakable outer façade of the Hedmanska Gården and the Form Design Centre & Museum.
Through an open archway to one side, you emerge into a quiet and reflective courtyard. Here, a more modern structure, built to house larger design exhibits and resembling a converted millhouse, contrasts with the brightly coloured older cottages. The Centre also has a café and a boutique selling smaller design items such as glassware and bags.
The most difficult part of eating out in Lilla Torg is deciding where to go, because for such a compact region there’s a lot of variety; from the obligatory Swedish meatballs (worth ordering just to know what they taste like outside of Ikea cafeterias), to Asian cuisine at the Green Chili Indian Cuisine restaurant.
Most prominently situated on one corner is the popular Steakhouse, with its lively atmosphere and heated outdoor seating. Reservations are especially advised here! Lilla Torg is the place to be for catching up with friends over lunch or dining out in the evening. Its location, just a short walk from the waterfront and main station, and adjoining the main shopping area, makes it easily accessible for all visitors to the city.
Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city after Stockholm and Gothenburg. While it doesn’t have the immediate appeal of the capital or the wilderness regions of the north, it has its own interesting mix of culture and history and is particularly well-placed for a day visit from Copenhagen.
Good to know: Chicken tikka masala at the Green Chili Indian Cuisine costs 179kr. The Steakhouse serves meatballs with mashed potatoes for 99kr on a Monday lunchtime and a 200g rump steak for your evening meal comes in at 209kr. Entry to the Form Design Centre is free. For some superbly detailed info on getting from Copenhagen Airport to Malmö by train, see Travelling With Nikki’s excellent post.