My City: Malmo by Rikko Sakaguchi

Sweden's third city can't be beaten for sea views, cosmopolitan living and an imposing mix of architecture.

by Rikko Sakaguchi,World Business
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

The greatest thing about Malmo is the sea. Many other cities have sea views, but in Malmo it is different - it has a 180-degree view, which is very atmospheric. There is a lot going on at the waterfront: people play sports, have a walk, swim and go sailing.

I like playing football with my son along the beach. I travel a lot during the week, so I like to spend time with my family at the weekend. I live by the sea and from my house, I can see Copenhagen across the straight. It's only about 20-30 minutes from Malmo across the Oresund Bridge. Driving across the bridge is worth doing just for the view: it's stunning.

Many business travellers tend to stay in Copenhagen when they come to Malmo because it's so close. But I think that they should come over to Sweden - Copenhagen airport (SAS is the main airline) is well connected to Malmo by taxi, bus or train and there are some very nice hotels in the centre, such as the cosy Hilton Malmo City or the period Kramer Scandic.

Malmo is Sweden's third largest city. There are only about 300,000 inhabitants, but it is a very cosmopolitan crowd as the area is home to several multinationals and smaller biotech and technology firms. Sony Ericsson is actually based in Lund, a university town about 20 minutes' drive from Malmo, but there is never any traffic, which makes it great for commuting.

The city is particularly striking for its architecture. It has a wonderful mix of old and new, such as the City Library, which combines the 1899 original building with its 1997 'calendar of light' extension. Western Harbour, Malmo's new city district, is home to the works of many internationally renowned architects, including the Turning Torso by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. At 190 metres, this iconic tower - which twists 90 degrees on its way up - is Sweden's tallest. It has great meeting rooms on the top floors with stunning views.

In the centre, the main square of Stortorget is a grand affair with an imposing mix of Gothic and Dutch Renaissance architecture. Nearby, the 16th century market square Lilla Torg is the city's most picturesque site and the centre of Malmo's nightlife. It is a popular meeting place and the surrounding areas are full of boutiques and art galleries. Off Stortorget is Sodergatan, the main pedestrianised shopping street.

For great dining, you should head to Atmosfar: the chefs always come up with new dishes combining European recipes with Swedish ingredients and the seafood is fantastic. I also like Salt & Brygga - it's a new place right by the sea. The building used to be an exhibition of what a 21st century apartment house would look like, so inside is very trendy. And in the summer, when the days are long, you can sit outside and watch the sunset at 11pm. It's wonderful.

On the outskirts of the city, Katrinetorp Manor, an 18th century country manor house, organises outdoor concerts in the summer and traditional Christmas markets in the winter. You can also buy the products grown on the estate. If you fancy picking-your-own, you can stop in one of the many farms in the area for delicious gooseberries, cranberries or strawberries.

The only thing I don't like about Malmo is the freezing wind in winter.

The water is too cold to swim in, although people who go to the famous wood-fired Kallbadhuset sauna swim in the sea to cool off. It is right by the ocean and has a popular cafe with great hot chocolate.

I have lived in Japan, Mexico, London, Barcelona and the US, but Malmo is where I have found peace and quiet and the best quality of life. My main advice would be for everyone to take 15 minutes to walk along the beach, even between meetings. Many people never bother to go down to the seafront, but it's a great experience.

- Rikko Sakaguchi is senior vice-president, product and application planning, at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.

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