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Five reasons we love Skåne (and why you should too)

The Local Sweden's editor Emma Löfgren, who grew up in Skåne, explains why the rest of you should fall in love with Sweden's southernmost region right now.

Five reasons we love Skåne (and why you should too)
Some of the things Skåne is known for. Photo: Johan Nilsson/Jessica Gow/TT/Måns Fornander/imagebank.sweden.se

But first, we like to offer balanced reporting here at The Local, so here's our former northern correspondent Paul Connolly's five reasons why northern Sweden beats the south, and our deputy editor Lee Roden's seven reasons why Gothenburg may just be Sweden's coolest city.

1. Weather

Spring arrives in the south earlier than anywhere else in Sweden and it enjoys a more temperate climate than the rest of Sweden year-round too, with an average winter temperature of zero to -2C and a record summer high of 36C (in June, 1947). Take that, northern Sweden and your snow sports.

But we won't bore you with stats. Just close your eyes and think of sandy beaches, open-roof road trips, eating fresh strawberries in April and having a cold beer at a Malmö outdoor bar when the rest of Sweden has barely forgotten Christmas.


Sunbathers in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX

2. Celebrities

Oh, we're not just talking about that Swedish footballer from Malmö you may have heard of. Skåne boasts so many celebs you can hardly walk out your door without bumping into one of them, including both Sweden's 2016 Eurovision entry Frans (who's from Ystad) and the 2015 winner Måns Zelmerlöw (Lund). Compare that to northern Sweden where you can walk several miles without bumping into any people at all.

It got another name, after royal baby Prince Oscar was named Duke of Skåne by his grandfather, King Carl XVI Gustaf. Others include now-retired footballers Henrik Larsson and Fredrik Ljungberg, acting legend Max Von Sydow and of course British actor Hugh Grant, who has bought a house in Torekov.


Sweden's Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

3. Food

It's not for nothing that Skåne was named ninth coolest place in the world by the New York Times last year. The region boasts four Michelin star restaurants, from Sweden's first female Michelin chef at Bloom in the Park in hip Malmö, to Daniel Berlin's relaxing hang-out in Tranås, in Skåne's countryside.

If those are too pricey, there is no falafel as cheap or as tasty as the one you can get in Malmö (we recommend Jalla Jalla on Bergsgatan in the rugged-but-trendy Möllevången area), which could also give several European cities a run for their money with a long list of hipster-friendly budget eateries.


Bloom in the Park's head chef Titti Qvarnström. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

4. Proximity

There's no other place in Sweden as close to another European capital. While a train ride from Malmö to Stockholm takes more than four hours, you can hop on a train across the Öresund and get to Copenhagen in Denmark in 30 minutes. Not to mention that the region itself is quite small, so it is easy to get around as well – unlike Stockholm where friendships have been known to end if one of them moves to the opposite side of the city (unless you want an hour's journey changing between two metro lines and the commuter train).


Copenhagen, just a stone's throw away (well, almost). Photo: Helena Landstedt/TT 

5. Nordic Noir

When was the last time a Swedish crime drama was not set in Skåne? British comedian Ricky Gervais is only one of the many fans of The Bridge, the police series that takes place on the Öresund bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen. And Sweden's most famous fictional detective of all time, Kurt Wallander in author Henning Mankell's novels, is from Ystad on the picturesque south coast, where both the Swedish TV series and the BBC version were filmed.

Article first published in 2016 and updated in 2017.

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How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans

After long months of lockdowns and curfews Europeans are looking forward to jetting off for a bit of sun and sand -- only to find that their long awaited holiday plans go awry due to a shortage of rental cars.

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans
Tourists wait outside of rental car agencies in Corsica. Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

In many areas popular with tourists cars are simply not available or subcompacts are going for a stiff €500 euros.

Car rental comparison websites show just how expensive renting a vehicle has become for tourists this summer.

According to Carigami, renting a car for a week this summer will set tourists back an average of 364 euros compared to 277 euros two years ago.

For Italy, the figure is 407 euros this summer compared to 250 euros in 2019. In Spain, the average cost has jumped to 263 euros from 185 euros.

According to another website, Liligo, daily rental costs have nearly doubled on the French island of Corsica. At the resort city of Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca, rental prices have nearly tripled.

Today’s problem is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with near absence of clients, selling off vehicles to raise cash made a lot of sense for car rental firms struggling to survive.

“Everyone drastically reduced their fleet,” said the head of Europcar, Caroline Parot.

Until the spring, most companies still had fleets roughly a third smaller than in 2019, she said.

Car rental firms are used to regularly selling their vehicles and replacing them, so rebuilding their inventory should not have been a problem.

Except the pandemic sent demand for consumer electronics surging, creating a shortage of semiconductors, or chips, that are used not only in computers but increasingly in cars.

“A key contributor to the challenge right now is the global chip shortage, which has impacted new vehicle availability across the industry at a time when demand is already high,” said a spokesman for Enterprise.

It said it was working to acquire new vehicles but that in the mean time it is shifting cars around in order to better meet demand.

No cars, try a van

“We’ve begun to warn people: if you want to come to Italy, which is finally reopening, plan and reserve ahead,” said the head of the association of Italian car rental firms, Massimiliano Archiapatti.

He said they were working hard to meet the surge in demand at vacation spots.

“But we’ve got two big islands that are major international tourism destinations,” he said, which makes it difficult to move cars around,
especially as the trip to Sardinia takes half a day.

“The ferries are already full with people bringing their cars,” he added.

“Given the law of supply and demand, there is a risk it will impact on prices,” Archiapatti said.

The increase in demand is also being seen for rentals between individuals.

GetAround, a web platform that organises such rentals, said it has seen “a sharp increases in searches and rentals” in European markets.

Since May more than 90 percent of cars available on the platform have been rented on weekends, and many have already been booked for much of the summer.

GetAround has used the surge in demand to expand the number of cities it serves.

For some, their arrival can’t come fast enough.

Bruno Riondet, a 51-year-old aeronautics technician, rents cars to attend matches of his favourite British football club, Brighton.

“Before, to rent a car I was paying between 25 and 30 euros per day. Today, it’s more than 90 euros, that’s three times more expensive,” he said.

In the United States, where prices shot higher during the spring, tourists visiting Hawaii turned to renting vans.

In France, there are still cars, according to Jean-Philippe Doyen, who handles shared mobility at the National Council of Automobile Professionals.

“Clients have a tendency to reserve at the last minute, even more so in the still somewhat uncertain situation,” he said.

They will often wait until just a few days before their trip, which means car rental firms don’t have a complete overview of upcoming demand, he added.

He said business is recovering but that revenue has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels as travel is not yet completely unfettered.

SEE ALSO: British drivers will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ to visit Europe, EU rules

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