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Sweden's best winter weekend getaway

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Sweden's best winter weekend getaway
Dream Light festival illuminates Helsingborg in February.
09:22 CET+01:00
We won't sugarcoat it, Sweden gets a tad chilly in the winter. But before you write off the country as a summer-only destination, remember that the Swedes are experts at turning cold into cosy -- especially at Christmas.

And if there's one Swedish spot that's practically designed for a winter weekend away, it's Helsingborg.

The charming coastal city just 40 minutes by train from Malmö is an authentic taste of Swedish life out of the big cities. Its relaxed pace is paralleled by the vibrancy of its culture scene and the abundance of top-notch restaurants and world-famous microbreweries.

It's one of The Local's favourite getaways and come rain, shine or snow, there's plenty to do. If you're planning a weekend in Helsingborg this winter, here are a few suggestions of how to get the most out of your weekend.

Friday

First things first, you'll need a base for the weekend.

There's a string of stylish hotels to choose from, like the swish V Hotel Helsingborg slap bang in the city centre, or the characterful Hotel Maria, a unique hotel with a quaint family feel.

Once you've ditched your bags it's time to refuel. And there's no shortage of good restaurants in the city.

From fine dining at Sillen & Makrillen on the waterfront, where you can enjoy fresh seasonal seafood sourced locally, to a modern feast at Drottninggatan 35, Helsingborg is a veritable foodie haven.

From February you can say skål at the end of the night with a craft beer at Helsingborg-based microbrewery Brewski's new bar. And don't forget to get your tickets for Brewskival, Brewski's outdoor beer festival taking place 24th-25th August 2018 in Helsingborg.

Find out more and start planning your trip to Helsingborg

Saturday

If you indulged in a few too many brewskis the night before, then Helsingborg also offers the ultimate antidote: jumping into the near-freezing seawater.

Pålsjö kallbadshus in Helsingborg. Photo: Anna Alexander Olsson

That's right, there are no less than three ‘coldbath' houses, or kallbadhus, punctuating Helsingborg's coastal strip. If the concept's new to you, a winter visit to a cold bath house in Sweden means stripping off and plunging into near subarctic waters before bolting into a sauna to warm up. As activities go, it doesn't get much more Swedish than that, and if an icy dip doesn't cure your hangover, nothing will.

Once your skin's returned to its normal colour and you're certain you don't have organ failure, it's time to check out what else the city has to offer.

Dunkers Kulturhus by Norra Hamnen. Photo: Anna Nilsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Designed by Danish architect Kim Utzon, whose father Jørn designed the Sydney Opera House, Dunkers Kulturhus is a striking waterside structure crowned by a sundial tower and a roof meant to resemble rolling waves.

There's a mix of modern and traditional art inside the 3,000 square metre exhibition space which doubles as a meeting place and performance hall. There's also a static exhibition exploring Helsingborg's cultural roots and history as one of Sweden's oldest cities.

Life's about balance, so when you've finished soaking up Helsingborg's history take a spin around the city's lively shopping district. There's a blend of big chains and small independent stores as well as several events happening in the run up to Christmas.

And if you find yourself in Helsingborg between 9th-18th February, make sure not to miss the annual Dream Light festival. The whole city is illuminated with light installations in a collective and creative push to fight dark winter...afternoons.

Top off your day with something shaken or stirred at KOL & Cocktails -- it is Saturday night, after all!

Sunday

Practically wherever you're from in the world, Sundays are a day of rest. So while in Helsingborg, do what the locals do to unwind.

And what the locals do, is tura. To the out-of-towner getting a ferry back and forth between Helsingborg in Sweden and Helsingør in Denmark might sound a little strange, but once you hear us out we think you'll be onboard.

The whole idea is that it's more about the journey than the destination. Kick back with a beer and something to eat while you enjoy the tranquility of being on the open water -- with nowhere to go and nothing to do. It's a unique experience that sums up the easygoing pace of life in Helsingborg.

Over the festive period you shouldn't pass up the chance to jultura: to tura while simultaneously savouring a julbord -- the scrumptious Swedish Christmas buffet. Second to kallbadhus this is about as Swedish as it gets.

Don't forget to fika before you hit the road!

Before you set off back home, grab fika at one of Helsingborg's many cafes like Ebbas Fik (where the brownie is a must-eat) or Fahlmans Konditori with its traditional Swedish open sandwiches and cakes. It's the perfect end to a cosy winter weekend and a good time to start planning your trip back to Helsingborg in the summer.

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Visit Helsingborg.

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