I love the way my husband doesn’t bat an eyelid when I say something along the lines of “shall we go to Sweden for dinner?”
For context I should add that we were in Copenhagen when I asked this particular question. So, the concept of popping over to Sweden, or more accurately Malmö wasn’t actually that crazy.
Since the year 2000, the Øresund Bridge (often just known as The Bridge – yes the one in the TV series!) has linked Denmark and Sweden and travelling between the two is a doddle.
The bridge actually has two levels – one which takes cars and motor vehicles, and the lower one which carries trains. As you fly into Copenhagen you can often see the bridge from the plane window and it is a sight so worth seeing.
The main span of the bridge is 8km (5 miles) long and whilst that in itself is spectacular, what makes the whole thing look slightly more amazing is that the journey across the Øresund strait is actually competed by a 4km (2.5 mile) tunnel. When they built the bridge they created an artificial island, Peberholm, which is where the Drogden Tunnel disappears into the ground.
When you see it from the air it really is one of the strangest sights. The majesty of the beautiful elegant bridge and then suddenly everything seems to disappear into the sea. When we first saw it from the plane on the approach to Copenhagen I could see why anyone who knows of the bridge, but not the tunnel part of the journey could be left a bit confused.
Practicalities of the Øresund Bridge
The practicalities are getting from Denmark to Sweden are relatively straightforward. Car drivers are required to pay a toll to cross the bridge via the E20. To take the train it really is as simple as going to Copenhagen Central station and buying a ticket. The journey takes about 40 minutes. When I travelled (September 2019) it cost just over £20 for a return train ticket.
In Malmö the central station is just a short walk from the centre of the city and at most ten minutes from the Lilla Torg (little square) which is packed full of restaurants and is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by with a drink. It’s also where we found dinner that evening. There’s just something about the smell of dill that always makes me think of Sweden so Gravadlax was the obvious thing to have!
Despite the Schengen Agreement and the Nordic Passport Union passengers are required to carry a passport when they make the journey between the two countries. Since January 2016, identity and visa checks have been imposed by Sweden on travellers from Denmark due to the European migrant crisis. Both times I have made the journey officials have boarded the train at the first station in Sweden, but then only a small selection of passengers have been asked to produce them.
Effect on travel between Denmark and Sweden
The linking off Denmark and Sweden has done so much more than jut opening up Malmo to tourists visiting Copenhagen. One of the motivations for the link (which was amazingly originally proposed in the 1930s!) was to improve the transport links I’m Northern Europe from Hamburg to Oslo. It wasn’t until I sat down and talked to some friends we met up with in Copenhagen on our last trip and I heard about their holiday plans to go from Copenhagen to Oslo that I really sat down with a map and understood how the geography of the area fits together.
The bridge has also increased the number of people who live in one country and work in the other. Many Danes have apparently taken advantage of lower house prices in Sweden and make the daily commute over the Øresund bridge. I can certainly think of worse commutes to have to make!
If you’re visiting the area you might also be interested in reading some of my other posts about our travels in the area. We first flew to Copenhagen with an 7 month old, and have enjoyed taking in Copenhagen’s main tourist attractions of which The Little Mermaid is probably one of the best known. Our first trip to Copenhagen brought about several questions about the Danish attitudes towards plastic and pushchairs.