Postcard from... Malmo


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The Independent Online

Attitudes to nudity are somewhat more relaxed in Sweden than here at home – as I found out earlier this week in Malmo.

It’s a southern Swedish town that’s been made famous as a trendy hub of technology start-ups and as one of the locations for Scandinavian Noir thriller The Bridge, but I was there visiting an English friend who commutes across the bridge to Copenhagen every day. He’s gone rather native and insisted we strip naked, sweat in a sauna then plunge into the near freezing Baltic Sea.

Jutting out 500 metres or so on a pier into the sea off  Malmo’s main beach are the wooden building, cold baths and saunas of the spa at Riberborg. It isn’t an exclusive spa – rather it is a spa run for the local  municipality. This, it seems, is how saunas are done in Sweden – far from the world of private health clubs in Britain.

It’s the perfect place to learn some simple Swedish sauna rules. Swedes never wear shoes in the home, so take those off too. And don’t even think of wearing a swimming suite.

You just set down your towel and take a seat with a view of the famous Oresund bridge. The only real test of manhood is whether you are brave enough to plunge into the sea off  Sweden in late November.