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Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Sweden’s Malmö has for many years played second fiddle to Denmark’s Copenhagen, located just 35 minutes away across the Öresund Bridge. Yet, in the last decade, this one-time urban B-lister – better known for crime and grit – has quietly reinvented itself as a laid-back centre of cool.

Curious? Catch the train from Copenhagen and indulge in a few under-the-radar pleasures.

10 am: Breakfast with champions
It is only a short train ride from Copenhagen to Sweden’s third largest city, but if you are already caffeine deprived, refuel at grit-chic Solde. Behind the machine is 2005 World Latte Art Champion Johan Carlström. A stint at Venice’s Caffè del Doge inspired him to open his own Italian-style espresso bar, albeit with a Nordic twist (think concrete bar, tiled walls and fair trade beans). If you are hungry, try a cornetto (Italian croissant).

11 am: Find your muse in a power station
From Solde, it is an easy walk to the Moderna Museet Malmö. A smaller outpost of Stockholm’s iconic modern art museum, the gallery is housed in an early 20th-century power station, with a bold extension by Swedish firm Tham & Videgård Arkitekter. Running until 2 September is the museum’s first sound-based exhibition, Propro Propa, a selection of electro-acoustic music and sound art.

1 pm: Dabble at a deli
Once your soul is fed, do the same for your stomach at nearby NjutBar. Run by Alexander Näslund and his wife Gabriella, this cafe/deli peddles gourmet cheeses and cold cuts from Italy, France and Spain. The products are also used in Njut’s own dishes, like bulgur salad with chicken, parmesan, pesto, tomatoes, olives and basil. Top it off with another exemplary espresso, made by award-winning baristas.

3 pm: Revamp your wardrobe
Stop at Spirit Stores for Scandinavian labels like Acne, Dagmar and Ljung; for emerging labels, Stockholm’s legendary purveyor of new and emerging designers, Tjallamalla, feeds local trendsetters on cult labels like Whyszeck, Merde! and Lund+Berg; and nearby Chique is heaven for (mostly women’s) vintage threads, shoes and accessories, from classic Chanel to blinding ‘80s kitsch. Fashion literate guys should head straight to Très Bien Shop, home to hard-to-find labels like Kitsuné, Junya Watanabe, Nigel Cabourn, and SNS Herning.

6 pm: Toast to a Bastard
Cap the day with drinks and dinner at Bastard, Malmö’s dining darling (complete with a backyard bar, mounted stag heads and eye-candy waiters in loose black ties). The menu – divided into “Cold”, “Wood-Fired” and “From the Oven” – fuses Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish and French influences. Winners include a soul-warming oxtail and tongue pie with chanterelle mushrooms and broad beans, and a grappa-spiked pannacotta topped with raspberries. Fed and full, it is a quick walk back to Malmö Centralstationen and your train back to that bigger town across the Öresund.

© 2010 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Hipster Malmö in a day’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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