The medieval university town of Malmö is Sweden’s third-largest city after Stockholm and Gothenburg, and one of the most charming towns in Scandinavia.
A blissful and quaint little town there are many reasons to visit Malmo. It is packed with everything from medieval castles, catacombs and cathedrals, to inspiring architecture, a youthful creative scene, and one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
It’s also more expensive than the average European city, so you’ll have to be careful with your money. That said, a visit to Malmö is an absolute must for those travelling to Sweden or Europe in general.
A Bit About Malmo, Sweden
Due to its small size and mostly flat surface, Malmö is very walkable. The locals tend to get around on bicycles and motorised scooters, using the excellent cycle trail network that integrates the region.
As a result, the city is extremely quiet with hardly any vehicles or pollution, and given Sweden’s excellent reputation for recycling and green energy usage, it’s one of the world’s purest and cleanest cities.
Best time to visit Malmo
For a short stay in this Scandinavian city, the best time to visit is from May to August when it’s warmer and the days are longer.
How to get to Malmo:
Copenhagen is the nearest airport, and whilst it’s in a totally different country, it takes minutes to get to Malmö.
Arriving in Copenhagen Airport, I immediately purchase my train tickets and board the train to Malmö – it takes just 20 minutes to cross the Oresund bridge that links Denmark to this city in Sweden.
Upon arrival at Sweden’s first town, Hyllie, Swedish Border Guards board the train and check everyone’s passports.
Within minutes, the train takes off again and soon enough, arrives at the next stop: Malmö Central Station.
I’m amazed at how quick this whole journey took me – it was easy, smooth and very convenient, taking less than half an hour to travel overwater – from one country to another!
This is the beauty of Europe and the Schengen Zone in particular.
Malmo Itinerary – Day One
We rented a bicycle to get around Malmö.
Using the DonkeyRepublic rideshare app, I was able to easily locate an available bike, unlock it using the app, and then take off on it. They are affordable and the best way to get around the city.
Right in the heart of Gamla Staden, Malmö’s Old Town, Lilla Torg (meaning “Little Square”), is a cosy historic marketplace. It’s the perfect spot to begin your trip around the city.
Surrounding the cobblestone square are small restaurants and cafes, shops, bars, and apartments, which form a successful historical environment and modern lifestyle that the city is known for.
The main square in the heart of the city centre, Stortoget is the largest and oldest square in Malmö, and was once the largest square in Northern Europe.
In the center stands a huge equestrian statue of King Karl Gustav X. Around the square are 16th-century buildings including the town hall, the provincial government headquarters of Skåne.
If you turn into Rundelsgatan from Stortoget, you’ll pass the medieval St. Peter’s Gothic church, and see a brightly coloured, multi-storey car park called Petri P-Hus. It’s a great spot to shoot some nice juxtaposed photos.
Moderna Museet Malmo
Further up the road you’ll find Moderna Museet – Malmö’s museum of modern and contemporary art.
If this is your thing, it’s worth checking out the photography on display and an extensive Picasso collection, plus it’s free to enter.
Lunch: Smör & Bröd
Head down Stora Nyagatan for lunch at an authentic Swedish restaurant: Smör & Bröd, where you can sample tasty platters of Smorrebrod, a traditional Swedish dish. One serving costs 30Kr and a plate of three costs 85kr.
- Opening times: 6am-4pm
- Tip: Come in earlier for a belly-filling breakfast buffet at 79Kr.
Malmö Castle and Castle Mill
After lunch, it’s time to head over to the historic Malmö Castle at Castle Park.
Cycling around Malmö is really easy because the city is compact and has a very flat surface, and there’s an excellent city-wide cycling route network, just like in Copenhagen.
Take a right turn off the road to enter Castle Park and continue on the trail that winds though the park, passing by large trees, lawns and a lake, and stop by the Castle Mill that sits atop a small hill in the park.
Just a few yards up the trail and we catch the picturesque views of the bright red Malmö Castle across the river.
Coming back from Castle Park, you’ll find the stunning Malmö City Library on Kung Oscars Road.
More than just it’s picturesque surroundings, inside is a splendid piece of paradise with beautiful lighting and excellent facilities, and it’s even dedicated to babies and kids, which is perfect for families.
- Opening times: Mon-Thu: 8:30am til 8pm, Fri: 8:30am til 6pm, Sat-Sun: 11am til 5pm
Gamla Polishuset (vertical garden)
If you get a chance, check out the nearby Gamla Polishuset – a large building with an enormous, lush vertical garden growing up the walls.
Sadly this was under renovation when I visited, but it’s definitely worth trying your luck.
St John’s Church
Heading back towards the main mall and metro station at Triangeln, we captured the beauty of St John’s Church in the late afternoon sun.
The clear sky showcases its unique domes, spires and astrological clock (you may have spotted this church upon arrival at Triangeln station earlier).
Burritofriends is nice spot to get a delicious burrito at a reasonable price.
There are lots of fillings to choose from and they also serve tacos and nachos, as well as milkshakes and ice cream. It’s perfect for grabbing a quick bite too.
Visit Malmo – Day Two
Malmö Konsthall (modern museum)
We begin our second day at Malmö Konsthall – a modern art exhibition museum that’s worth a visit if you enjoy art and museums, and its free admission.
Jakob Nilsgatan Street
One of my favorite places in Malmö – Jakon Nilsgatan Street is a quiet little street just north of the city center in Gamla Vaster district.
On arrival, I am met with an empty, cobbled street lined with bold, stylish, colourful houses adorned with foliage, and pretty potted plants, and the occasional old-fashioned bicycle here and there.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity to stroll the street and its alleys, and take some of the most instagrammable snaps of your trip.
Since cars are forbidden down this street, and there’s hardly anyone around, it’s so eerily silent.
In fact, in just under an hour strolling up and down this street, there was just one passerby. It really is one of Malmö’s true hidden gems.
Without a doubt, Avokado is one of the best spots to eat in the city. I ordered a platter from the special brunch menu, which came with an assortment of delicious organic food and juices, as well as a great cup of coffee.
The meals are plant-based, and though not a vegetarian myself, I can assure you the food is absolutely top-notch, and the staff are friendly.
If you prefer something more carb-loaded with meaty, Korvhuset does traditional Swedish cuisine at decent prices.
World Maritime University
After lunch, head north through the center of Malmö and check out the eye-catching World Maritime University building.
It was founded by the International Maritime Organization – a specialised agency of the United Nations.
From the University you should be able to spot the iconic red and white striped Malmö Lighthouse in the distance.
Continue down the riverside to the bridge, for a better view.
The Turning Torso
Now its time to visit one of Malmö’s most iconic landmarks: the Turning Torso.
Standing at 190 meters tall, this neo-futuristic style building is the world’s first twisted skyscraper, and the tallest building in Scandinavia.
The best way to see the Turning Torso is by heading west on Stora Varvsgatan, from the Lighthouse.
At the Torso itself, head southward beside the canals on Roder gatan for more picturesque views of the skyscraper.
Fiskehoddorna (fishing huts)
Continuing onto Vastra Varvsgatan, you’ll arrive at the brightly coloured fishing huts known as Fiskehoddorna – an historic and iconic part of Malmö’s heritage.
Fishing has been a central part of the city’s culture and livelihood since the Middle Ages, due to an abundance of herrings and salmon in the Øresund sea.
The huts were built in the 19th Century for the fishermen’s residences.
- Did you know: Many centuries ago, Malmö was a rapidly expanding city within the Danish Kingdom, owing its prosperity to the fishing trade. After several wars, Malmo finally became part of Sweden in 1678.
To preserve their link to Malmö’s past, the huts remain to this day, actively fishing, trading, and setting up markets where customers can not only buy locally-caught, fresh fish, but sit down to enjoy lunch there too.
If you get chance, check out the photogenic Blue Houses at Turbinkanalen.
Dinner Day 2 in Malmo: Ariana Afghan Restaurant
After a tasty vegan lunch earlier we opted for something meaty for dinner, and Ariana restaurant is one of the best places you can eat on a budget.
Situated in the multi-cultural Möllevangen district of Malmö, the food is Afghan cuisine, so you can expect delicious large portion dishes like chicken biryanis and lamb kebabs, with complimentary soup and bread too.
If you stay a little longer..
Ribersborg Kallbadhus public spa
From the fishing huts, a 20-min walk (or 10 min cycle) will take you to the Ribersborg Open-air bath.
We sadly didn’t bring swimwear on our trip, but wished we did. It’s a perfect way to wind down and relax in the steaming sauna after a long day, no matter the weather.
And if you’re feeling brave, you can cool off in the sea after.
What I loved about Malmö, Sweden
From two days of exploring Malmo, City I was amazed by how much there is to see and do in such a small town.
Like many, I had strategically chosen Malmö as a base to stay, so I could spend day trips in Copenhagen just 30 minutes away, and return to Malmö for the cheaper accommodation.
As it turned out, I split my time evenly between the two cities – two days in Malmö and two days in Copenhagen.
I loved the serenity and colours of Jakob Nilsgatan, as well as the juxtaposition of modern buildings like the Turning Torso and the medieval Malmöhus Castle and Mill.
What I found really cool was how clean this city is – there was not a single piece of trash on the ground. Plus, the fact that there were no cars around, meant there were no noise or fumes, and everyone commutes on bicycles.
Another Must-See in Malmo
I love amusement parks in Sweden. Folkets Park was influenced by Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. With a carousel, restaurants, petting zoo and mini-golf, it’s a great place for the whole family.
Budget Tips for Malmö
See the city on foot – Malmö is a small and flat-surfaced city so it’s easy to walk around, and this option is perfect if you’re on a budget and relaxed for time.
Public transport – you can use a public transport card or a JOJO card for 24 hours or more, available from the main train station in the Travel Center Office. The JOJO card offers a discount on trains to Copenhagen via the Øresund Bridge.
I you stay longer than 2 days, its worth getting the Malmö card to enjoy free access to several museums, as well as free public transport.
Cheap eats in Malmö – opt for cafes instead of restaurants. Noir does excellent open sandwiches as well as delicious cakes and coffee, and Kao’s specializes in meat-free options.
Some of Malmö’s best cheap eats are in a food court at Mitt Möllan mall.
If you fancy a restaurant that offers great quality Middle Eastern food that are big servings at budget prices, and is open til late, Falafel No.1 is an excellent choice.
Thank you for reading my post: Visit Malmö. I hope you enjoyed this itinerary and that it inspires you to visit this great Scandinavian city one day!
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