31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Malmö is again and again described as one of Sweden’s most underrated cities, and as the fifth biggest city in the Nordics (with around 750 000 inhabitants in Greater Malmö) the Scanian city offers plenty of typical Scandinavian city experiences—a historic old town, cobblestone streets, parks everywhere, medieval moat in front of renaissance castle, beautiful architecture, Nordic noir fame—but with a fraction of the crowds larger and more popular cities get. Malmö has gone through a major transformation in the recent decades; from a gritty and gloomy industrial town to a vibrant travel destination with some of the happiest citizens in Europe.

If you’re looking for ideas on what to do when you’re in Malmö, you’ve found the right place.

If you’re looking for the must-see attractions rather than an extensive list of ideas, I’ve also written an article listing 21 must-see attractions in Malmö.

As a Malmö native born and bred, I spent 8 years away exploring the world only to return and live here again for the past decade (or longer depending on when you read this). So I’ve had the pleasure to get some perspective and rediscover my hometown as a travel destination, as well as show a lot of visitors around this city’s best-kept secrets and top things to see and do while visiting.

I’ve used this knowledge and listed a complete guide to the things Malmö is known for, or in other words: all the things you can do in Malmö if time and weather allows it.

To guide you in the right direction I’ve also included the top spots to visit for each category, based on my own and my Malmö friends’ experiences.

What are the main reasons Malmö is worth visiting?

If you are in a rush and just want a quick list, here is a boiled-down version of the most important reasons Malmö is worth visiting:

  • Some of the most beautiful and quiet public and green spaces in Europe
  • A flourishing and diverse food scene with internationally recognized restaurants
  • A small-town feeling with a big city attitude
  • A wealth of old and new architectural wonders
  • A historic and picturesque old town with cobblestone streets and cozy alleys
  • A mild climate for the region with nice beaches & swim spots
  • Some serious Nordic noir fame (from TV series Bron/Broen and Tunna Blå Linjen)
  • 30 creatively designed and individually themed playgrounds for the littlest visitors
  • A renaissance castle in the middle of the city

For those of you that want to dive deeper, here is my list of 31 reasons to visit Malmö, along with hundreds of real, impartial, and heartfelt ideas and recommendations on what to do in Malmö, straight from a local:

1

The Parks: Great Greenery Everywhere

What better way to start exploring “the City of Parks”?
Kungsparken and Malmö canal in the fall with Slottsmöllan in the background.
Kungsparken, Malmö Canal and Slottsmöllan (the Castle Mill) on a foggy fall morning. Photo by Karl Andersson

Since the beginning of the 1800s, the city of Malmö has been on a mission to build parks throughout the city, usually functioning as hubs between neighborhoods—with walk and bike paths, cozy canals, public activity areas, interesting landmarks, themed playgrounds, carefully placed greenery, and nearby schools and preschools.

Here are the top parks in Malmö:

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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Kungsparken/Slottsparken

It’ll be hard not to walk through Kungsparken, the oldest park in Malmö (built/planted in the 1800s), and together with neighboring park Slottsparken it connects so many of the innercity neighborhoods with both pedestrian and bike paths through a picturesque atmosphere with a pond, smaller water streams and the Malmö canal running through the parks.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Pildammsparken

Pildammsparken has Malmö’s busiest exercise trail (where nearby club Malmö FF sends out their players for stamina training), and was the host of the Baltic Expedition in 1914 which explains its grandeur style with epic tree alleys and symmetrically cut tree clusters.

The beautifully circular field known as Tallriken hosts many music festivals in the summer, and it’s not hard to see why when you walk on the grass surrounded by 100-year-old trees towering around you in a perfectly symmetrical circle.
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kungsgatan-malmo-photo-by-sjaak-kempe-flickr

Kungsgatan

The Paris-inspired Kungsgatan was originally a wide boulevard but later repurposed to a beautiful park that connects Värnhemstorget with the pedestrians-only shopping street of Södra Förstadsgatan. In the middle of it you’ll find S:t Pauli church and the park is connected with Rörsjöparken which has a popular kiddie pool as well as outdoor gym.
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Ankarparken Malmö Sweden photo: lars bendroth

Ankarparken

Ankarparken is one of the smaller parks but still worth a visit, as it is part of the modern Bo01 area and built as its very own eco-system.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Folkets park

Folkets park is the oldest “people’s park” in the world, and one of Sweden’s most visited places. For 125+ years people have been coming here and enjoying the public spaces, specifically built to be open and welcoming to all.

And you’ll find something for everyone here; awesome playgrounds, jumping pads, kiddie pool, and a minigolf course for the kids, a Mikkeller bar, live music venue Moriska Paviljongen, and bohemian pizza place Far i Hatten for the adults. Not too shabby for a public park!
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Daniaparken

From Daniaparken you’ll be able to see Denmark and Copenhagen across the sound on a clear day.

On summer days the open grassy fields and barbeque pits are popular hangout-spots that are usually combined with a dip in the ocean from any of the docks built for this purpose (or for the adrenaline junkies the viewing platform in the northern corner, from which you are not allowed to jump but as you’ll see still a very popular spot to jump from).
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malmo stapelbaddsparken sweden photo by maria eklind

Stapelbäddsparken

Stapelbäddsparken is a public skate park built in collaboration with the skaters of Malmö, and it spans some 3000 square meters. Bring your own board and get your street, bowl, or pool skating fix in this thoughtfully laid-out park.
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Sollekplatsen Varvsparken Västra hamnen Malmö

Varvsparken

In the center of Västra hamnen you’ll find Varvsparken, a huge park where you’ll also find the very popular Sollekplatsen playground. Here you can hang out and play right next to the epic twisting Turning Torso skyscraper.
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2

The Food: Prized Spots & Hole-In-The-Walls

Malmö offers one of Scandinavias most exciting up-and-coming food scenes
The restaurant scene in Malmö is punching way over its weight. Photo: Maria Eklind

Malmö has taken gastronomical leaps as far as the number of quality food spots goes in the recent decade.

Here are some of the top restaurants and food spots in Malmö:

Something for everyone
Malmö saluhall food market

Malmö Saluhall

The first stop for any foodie visiting the city should probably be the trendy Malmö Saluhall, a modern food market packed with restaurants, cafés, and food shops that has something for everyone. The renovated building offers a modern interior infused with elements from the original walls, and really captures Malmö’s creativity and culture in a great way.

Here are my top picks:

Pink Noodle Bar – Unique and modern asian food by Aussie chef Wade Brown
Hedvigsdal – Artisan pizzas paired with good selection of wine and beers
Poms – Scanian/American hybrid sandwiches with excellent smashed potatos
Favvo glass – Malmö’s yummiest icecream
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

L'Enoteca Vinbar

This winebar takes over an empty lot on the trendy pedestrian street Mäster Johansgatan in the warmer half of the year, and probably offers central Malmö’s coziest outdoor seating on warm summer evenings.
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Far I Hatten Malmö

Far I Hatten

A hip spot with original pizzas and very cozy outdoor seating (some of which is under a roof cover for the rainy days). Few places can beat the atmosphere Far I Hatten in Folkets Park offers its guests, and the food is good too! Located inside Folkets park, you’ll find a theme park-esque feeling, surrounded by playgrounds and minigolf, mixed with a very hip twist, which usually draws a hipster-esque crowd that is usually smiling and having loads of fun (don’t miss the board games and stuff!).
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Opopoppa

It doesn’t get much hipper than Opopoppa‘s pizza slices around Möllan, 50 kr per slice with awesome pairings of canned beer, cocktails, and natural wines. Perfect for take-away lunch as well as a fun evening with your friends!
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British/Nordic fusion

Plant Magic's Kitchen

For a very creative and unique breakfast or lunch, head over to Plant Magic’s Kitchen at Davidshall, where UK chef Andrew Eves works his magic in a very charming hole-in-the-wall serving modern Nordic/British-inspired food.
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Best lunch spot

Saltimporten Canteen

The best lunch in Malmö will likely be found at the highly praised Saltimporten Canteen, where Ola, Sebastian, and Ludde are serving food that is equal parts ambitious, local, boundary-breaking and high-quality. Local produce coupled with a healthy dose of Malmö’s signature creativity makes for an excellent modern Nordic food experience for an exceptionally decent price.
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Best fine dining

Vollmers

For the real connoisseurs out there, look no further than Malmö’s two-star Michelin restaurant Vollmers on Tegelgårdsgatan, where brothers Ebbe and Mats Vollmers offer a world-class, modern Scanian food experience that will stay with you for a long time (although as expected it does cost a pretty penny).
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Best brunch

MJs

You’ll find Malmö’s best brunch at MJ:s, where the extremely cozy inner courtyard coupled with exceptional food and drink will give you the optimal start to any day.
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3

The Walkability: Walk Your Way Around Town

Beautiful pedestrian-only streets offer an enjoyable, green, and healthy way to get around
Gustav Adolfs torg and the “shopping street”. Photo by Karl Andersson

Malmö is uniquely walkable and is one of few cities where most sights and activities are within very pleasant walking distance. Stockholm and Gothenburg are definitely also pedestrian-friendly (especially Stockholm a.k.a. “The Biggest Small Town in the World”), but you’ll always need to hop on some public transportation at some point if you’d like to see and experience all the city has to offer.

This is also why Malmö scores higher than any other Nordic city—and 2nd highest in Europe—in a recent survey done by the European Union measuring satisfaction with Public spaces such as markets, squares, and pedestrian areas. Malmöites really like their public spaces, and with good reason!

Malmö has a small-town feeling but with big city vibes and aspirations, with a picturesque and cozy old town—Gamla staden—which is usually split in half under the names Gamla väster and Gamla öster. And it’s not just that you can walk most places, you’ll also be likely to enjoy the walk along a pedestrian street lined with cafes and shops, a walking path through a park, or a cozy alley filled with quaint little houses.

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The Beaches & Swim Spots: Great in the Summer

A few minutes from the city center you’ll be able to enjoy a swim in the ocean
Ribersborg “Ribban” Beach with the Öresund bridge in the background. Photo by Karl Andersson
Top City Beach
ribersborgs-beach-ribban-turning-torso

Ribersborg "Ribban" beach

It won’t take you many minutes to walk to Ribersborg “Ribban” beach from the central station, and the beach will offer plenty of white, soft sand and a view of the now fairly famous Öresund bridge (from Bron/The Bridge TV series) as well as Turning Torso.

The beach is sometimes called Scandinavia’s Copacabana, and although comparisons are a bit silly you’ll find a slew of activities such as a brand new outdoor gym, numerous barbeque spots, beach volleyball courts, beach football courts, basketball courts, two big playgrounds, and plenty of cafes, ice-cream carts, fruit stands, and coffee-on-wheels bikes to keep you refreshed and happy on a sunny day on the beach.
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Beach Bar & Piers

Scaniabadet

Walking north along Ribban beach will eventually take you to Västra hamnen and Scaniabadet—a beach bar/sun tanning deck combo right next to the uber-modern Bo01 area—where tons of people sun tan and jump in the water from the piers on hot days, when they’re not lounging on a beach chair with a mojito from the beach bar Vanna beach.
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Sibbarp Beach

For those who find themselves in Limhamn or on the southern end of the Malmö coastline, there is also Sibbarp beach. There is both a small sandy beach, and a more grassy area with piers you can climb down from or jump from.

There is also a big campsite (First Camp Sibbarp) right on the water and just minutes away from cozy Limhamn.
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If you want to venture a bit out of the city there is also:

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The Canals: Cozy City Waterways

Who doesn’t love canals?
Malmö canal at dusk. Photo by Karl Andersson

Malmö’s canals are old remains of the fortifications that used to surround the city in medieval times. Today they provide beautiful waterways connecting the old parts of the city with the surrounding parks, and you can rent a paddleboat or a regular boat to cruise around at a leisurely pace in the summer months.

There are also guided canal tours (such as the classic Rundan) in English and Swedish, that make for a great way to see Malmö’s inner city for those preferring to kick back and relax while seeing the sights.

The popular raft Flotten also makes the occasional appearance with live music, good food, and great company floating down the canal—not the worst way to spend a sunny Scandinavian evening. You can bring your own food or order catered food ahead of time.

There are also SUP (Stand Up Paddling) classes in the canal during the summer if you want to work on your core while enjoying the city waterways.

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The Creativity: Malmö Loves to Express Itself

The creative spirit of the city’s population is strong and very noticeable
Skaters in front of Malmö Central station. Photo by Karl Andersson

The creative spirit in Malmö is a fundamental part of the city’s culture, and wherever you walk you’ll bump into creative outlets of different kinds. Art galleries, street art, public art, artists standing and painting, photographers snapping pictures, musicians playing music—whatever it may be, there is a strong creative pulse in the city.

Here are some of the more creative spots of Malmö:

Cultural Sound Zone
31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Norra Grängesbergsgatan NGBG

The semi-dodgy area around Norra Grängesbergsgatan is a Malmö underground staple; a “forgotten” industrial area that is frequently the host of underground clubs and after parties due to the relative lack of residential buildings, but also a public street party every year (NGBG) where local artists perform and display their art. The creative freedom flows strongly through these otherwise ugly and undesirable streets, and the city of Malmö has recently proclaimed it the first “Cultural Sound Zone” in Sweden, meaning the area is now specifically designated for cultural elements that are loud and obnoxious for some people, such as nightclubs, live stages, etc.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Ohboy hotel

The most creative accommodation can arguably be found in Ohboy hotel in Västra hamnen, which proclaims itself to be “the world’s first bike hotel” and is a hotel that is drawn, built, and run by architects. The room doors open up to the street and on the opposite side of the street is the excellent skatepark Stapelbäddsparken, but since each room has bikes attached to it the whole city of Malmö is at your disposal. The whole hotel’s interior is designed by local artists and built with local products, and filled with creative solutions and inspiration.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Grand Circus Hotel

If you’d like to try out the carnie life for a bit there’s the unique Grand Circus Hotel, where tenants get to stay in a circus wagon. There are loads of individually themed circus wagons, and some of them have built-in kitchens and toilets. For the rest, there are shared toilets and showers available, as well as a camper site for those preferring their own motorhomes or caravans.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

STPLN

For the creative professionals, there are loads of co-working spaces in the city, but there is also a publicly funded meeting place called STPLN where “playfessionals” meet and realise their creative ideas. Workshops, studios and an open office space for anyone to use.
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7

The Squares: Lively Hubs Then and Now

The squares gather people for work, food, and drinks in a lively but cozy environment
Lilla torg in the summer. Photo by Karl Andersson

Doesn’t matter if you call them piazzas, places, or plazas—there’s nothing more European than cozy squares, lined with restaurants. and filled with happy people. And Malmö has plenty of that to go around!

Here are the top squares in Malmö:

Most Popular
31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Lilla torg

Lilla torg is probably the quintessential Malmö square and the one you have to visit if you are short on time. The name literally means “little square” which gives away one of the more important aspects of the square; how small and cozy it is.

Covered with old (and not always even!) cobblestone and lined with timber-framed houses, it’s quite easy to travel back in time when you sit down for a drink or bite in one of the many bars, cafes, and restaurants on the square.

On the southern side of square you’ll find an art and design museum (Form/Design Center), an excellent and rare record shop (where you can also buy and drink beer/coffee), a craft store, and a cheese shop.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Gustav Adolfs torg

Gustav Adolfs torg is one of the bigger squares and a popular spot to meet up with your friends or start your shopping street spree.

Due to the size and central location, “Gustav” is usually where travelling markets, art exhibitions and similar set up, and the square is always the food hub of the very popular yearly Malmö Festival.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Möllevångstorget

Möllevångstorget is the hippest and perhaps also most controversial of Malmö’s squares. The square hosts the biggest and most awesome fruit and veggie market in town; covering the whole square with a pulsating bazaar of farmers and merchants.

This is also where you’ll find the most hipsters, nationalities, “jazz cigarettes”, international food stores, and street art. Perhaps most importantly, this is also where some of Malmö’s cheapest beer is served, which may be why it is also the official home and pre-game spot of MFF Support (the official supporters club for local soccer/football team Malmö FF).
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Stortorget

Stortorget (meaning “the big square”) may not be so small and cozy, but it’s the home of a beautiful and pompous old courthouse built in the 16th century (when Malmö was one of the bigger cities in the Nordics), and also a statue of Karl X decorating the square that’s mostly used as a thorough-fare between the central station and Lilla torg/Gustav Adolfs torg.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

St. Knuts torg

St. Knuts torg isn’t one of the busier squares of Malmö, but the surroundings is definitely one of the most hipster-friendly. Long-cooked food, Bohemian interiors, and trendy coffee spots are among the things you’ll find here.

The area offers some hip cafes and food spots on a square covered with cobblestones in the shade of the surrounding trees—so if you’re more into tranquility instead of pulse, this’ll be your kinda place.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Drottningtorget

Drottningtorget is the home of a bunch of really good food spots these days, and is well worth a visit from the curious foodie.

With the unique Boulebaren you’ll have entertainment and food year-round, and in the summer you’ll also find an epic flea market every Sunday.

There are a couple of gorgeous old timber-framed houses from the 16th century right next to the square, Thottska huset and Diedenska huset.
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31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Davidshallstorg

Davidshallstorg has some of the trendier shops, cafes and restaurants in town surrounding it, and is just a block away from the pedestrian-only shopping street Södra förstadsgatan (that you’ll likely be walking on at some point).

Browse the many vintage and fashion shops, sit down at some of the hottest restaurants in town, or enjoy one of the smaller square markets that pop up here every now and then.
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Södertull

Södertull is not technically a square, but it surely would’ve been had there not been a canal running right through (this is where you get on the canal raft Flotten, by the way).

Said canal does make it a super cozy spot to sit and enjoy a glass of wine or a nice meal in one of the many restaurants lining the canal, so that’s definitely a plus in the end! My recommendations would be Tugg Burgers if you want a top-quality burger, or neighboring Sakanaya if you’re feeling more like surprisingly good Japanese food.
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8

The Architecture: A Mix of Old and New

From 13th century gothic bricks to 21st-century modernist architecture
Malmö Live, World Maritime University Malmö, Malmö University. Photo by Karl Andersson

Malmö is rich with historical artifacts and modern marvels. One minute you are walking past Flensburgska gården—built in 1525—and the next you marvel at the neo-futuristic and award-winning Turning Torso, built in 2005 (and the tallest building in the Nordics).

One neighborhood in particular would be of interest to the architecturally inclined, an area in Västra hamnen known as Bo01, which also goes the nickname “City of Tomorrow” and incidentally where the aforementioned Turning Torso is located.

This neighborhood was part of the European Housing Exposition in 2001, and features modern houses, walkable blocks, peaceful canals, and quaint alleys—all of it built with a holistic approach that goes along with both sustainable design and high-quality living. The area was used as the basis of the rest of the neighborhoods on the artificial island, and has been praised for its urban planning and many interesting buildings.

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The Art: Galleries and Public Art Exhibitions

Malmö’s creative spirit is very noticeable in the world of art
Moderna Museet Malmö

Malmö konsthall

Malmö konsthall is one of Europes largest contemorary art exhibition spaces, and offers interesting exhibitions, a great book shop, and really good lunch (or fika) at the built-in cafe/restaurant Smak.
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Moderna museet

Moderna museet is an extension of the bigger namesake in Stockholm, and a publicly funded art exhibition space housed in one of Malmö’s most interesting and unique buildings. You’ll see both big international artists mixed with smaller local ones exhibited here.
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Walk around in the central parts of Malmö and you’ll likely stumble upon a local art gallery. Ranging from local artists to international galleries, there is something for most art aficionados in Malmö.

The Gallery Night (or more recently Gallery Week as it has been so popular they had to extend it) is a magical event for anyone interested in the creative arts. The whole central area of Malmö comes alive at night for a week in September, when every single gallery and loads of popup galleries on top of stay open all night for art lovers to browse, drink, buy and enjoy themselves. And, perhaps more importantly, it gives local artists a unique opportunity to reach the people of Malmö.

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The Miniature Art: Anonymouse MMX

Some of the tiniest and coolest art you’ll see
Frankie & Benjys bookstore and theatre Reggiano by Anonymouse. Photo by Maria Eklind

Walking around Malmö you might accidentally come across a tiny and often cheese-oriented art exhibition by the local artist Anonymouse, but you could also walk right by if you don’t pay attention (and no one could really blame you). Scattered around the city are little fictional mouse-related businesses, such as Ricotta Records, Barbershop Hair and Furever, or Sacrebleus Jazz Club. Some are in nearby Lund, and there is even one on Isle of Man for whatever reason!

The tiny worlds are not only meticulously laid out and beautifully built, they are also very cleverly placed in areas one would not shed one thought on had it not been for the tiny mouse establishments temporarily occupying the space, forcing you to pay attention to the smallest details of the city streets.

The city itself hasn’t been late to embrace this new art form, and has even dubbed itself “The Mice Capital of Scandinavia” in this video that highlights Anonymouse’s mouse amusement park:

The most recent project was a cozy harbor in a fountain at the hospital area, where health workers, locals, and visitors could marvel at the tiny boats, docks, clock towers, and restaurants included in the exhibit.

The miniature work of Anonymouse has made worldwide headlines because of how unique it is, and if you get a chance to view one of them in person, it’s definitely a unique treat.

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The Street Art: Murals Everywhere

Local and international artists alike have been commissioned by the city to turn the streets of Malmö into public art galleries.
Malmö murals in Gamla väster. Photo by Karl Andersson

From the amazing street murals scattered across the city, to the ever-changing graffiti walls; street art is not only embraced in Malmö, it is Malmö.

The Artscape initiative started in Malmö in 2014 and created Europe’s first street art festival responsible for most of the murals all over the city. 2021 saw the launch of a new Artscape project centered around the Sofielund neighborhood, where murals from both local and international artists have started appearing on the walls.

Head over to Folkets park south-western corner for an ever-changing graffiti gallery displaying the voice of Malmö. Or the designated wall at parking garage P-huset Anna, located a bit more central, where you almost always see someone working on something new.

The street murals at Grynbodgatan/Ostindiefarargatan (pictured above) brighten up an otherwise drab parking lot, as do the murals in Holma

12

The Open-Air Bath: Ice/Sauna Bathing

Who says you can’t do fun things in the winter?
Kallis / Ribersborgs kallbadhus. Photo by Karl Andersson

Ribban beach—very popular during the warmer months—can be a great destination even deep into southern Swedish winter (which usually hovers around 0°C/32°F). All throughout winter, the people of Malmö can be seen walking out on Ribersborg’s Pier 1 for a uniquely Nordic experience; ice-swimming at Kallis. Or at least very-cold-water-swimming, since Öresund isn’t always covered by ice in the winter.

Ribersborgs kallbadhus (as it’s officially called) is an open-air public bath open for skinny dipping all year long and nothing short of a Malmö classic.

Located on Ribersborg beach pier 1, the bathhouse has two separate sections for men and women, each with two saunas and a hot tub to get warm after the cold dip. There is also a mixed sauna for those who prefer that, and a cozy cafe/restaurant in connection to the bath.

Ice-dipping is a very popular winter activity in most of the Nordics, and is used as a well-being tactic to strengthen your immune system and create bonds with friends and family. The ice-cold water has been observed to elevate your body’s production of white blood cells, which in turn make you more resistant to common colds and the likes.

So what better way to spend a grey winter day in Malmö, than to do the most Nordic thing you could and boost your immune system in the process?

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13

The Twisted Skyscraper: Turning Torso

Malmö’s very own “why not?” building
Turning Torso and Västra hamnen. Photo by Karl Andersson

Turning Torso is a brainchild of award-winning architect Santiago Calatrava, the neo-futurist twisting tower reaches 54 stories and 190 m/623 feet up in the air, which makes it the tallest building in the Nordics.

The building turns 90 degrees from bottom to top, and was planned as part of the extravagant Bo01 housing exhibition area that surrounds it in Västra hamnen, an innovative, sustainable, and super walkable neighborhood with cozy alleys and canals mixed with ocean boardwalks and… an enormous twisting skyscraper tower.

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14

The Shopping: Something for Everyone

Be it cozy back streets or huge malls, Malmö has it all when it comes to shopping
Pedestrian-only shopping street, Malmö

The most Malmö way to shop might be to walk along the so-called “shopping streets” that are going through the central parts of the city, from the Central station going south through Södergatan, Gustav Adolfs torg, Södra förstadsgatan, Triangeln, and all the way down to Södervärn/Möllevången. For the most part this is a pedestrians-only street packed with shop after shop.

The square markets are generally a good source of fruits and vegetables, and are mostly happening at Möllevången or Gustav Adolfs torg.

At “Möllan” you’ll also find the very hipster-friendly shopping mall Mitt Möllan, as well as a whole bunch of smaller unique international food shops. For fashion and vintage head on over to Davidshall for an endless amount of cute little vintage shops.

Malmö is also home to one of the biggest malls in Scandinavia, the Emporia shopping mall located by the Hyllie Station on the south side of Malmö. Other malls that may be worth visiting if that’s you’re kinda thing is Hansa, Triangeln, and Mobilia.

Gågatan / Shopping street
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Mitt Möllan
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Emporia Shopping Center
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15

The Cozy Spots: Hidden Gems Everywhere

Malmö is a city full of cozy little nooks and crannys and it’s definitely worth a little detour to find some of them
Gamla väster, Malmö

Whilst wandering around Gamla väster it’s tempting to just sit down at one of the many spots on Lilla torg and call it a day, but if you’ve been there, done that, there’s plenty more spaces tucked away in the neighborhood.

31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Noir Vin & Kaffekultur

Right next to Lilla torg there is a pedestrian street/even smaller square where you can find the excellent Noir cafe/winebar run by Malmöite Alexandra.
More info +

Julie

A phenomenal wine bar with a nice cheese selection and cozy courtyard—positioned right next to the double Michelin star-restuarant Vollmers on Tegelgårdsgatan.
More info +

El Sotano

Still in the old town, go for a cold beer with the locals in the sun at El Sotano (formerly Basement Cafe) and get cozy among the picturesque little row houses and cobblestone streets.
More info +
31 Reasons To Visit Malmö: Best Spots & Interesting Things To Do

Siesta

For a bit more ambitious food but equally cozy walk down the street to the Malmö classic Siesta, where the inhabitants of Gamla väster come to enjoy a bite and a drink.
More info +

Let’s head over to Slottsstaden for some more cozy spots:

Atrium

At Atrium you can chill in the shade in the very cozy outdoor seating aream, in a quiet but lively part of town.
More info +

Hörnet

Hörnet offers an excellent Swedish lunch in the sunshine on the large but relatively calm Regementsgatan.
More info +

Spoonery Slottsstaden

Head to Spoonery for a homey experience with a hearty meatball or chili lunch
More info +

Finally, it doesn’t get much cozier than plopping down in one of the parks for a bite or a coffee, for example:

16

The Bridge: Connecting Sweden to Europe

The Öresund bridge has been the most important factor behind Malmö’s recent boom
The Öresund Bridge

Most recently made famous in the award-winning Nordic Noir series The Bridge, the Öresund Bridge has been arguably the most important construction project the city of Malmö has ever undertaken.

The bridge is a joint effort between Sweden and Denmark, and more specifically Malmö and Copenhagen which are the two cities the bridge connects. As Malmö was losing jobs and inhabitants in the 1990s due to financial crisis and the crash of the city’s industrial sector, the city looked down and out up until the extremely elaborate and revolutionary building project was underway.

When the bridge open for traffic in 2000 the city started an upward swing that hasn’t stopped since, and with talks of an underground tunnel connecting central Malmö to central Copenhagen, the by now strained capacity between the two cities will become larger to accommodate the huge demand.

You should be able to see the bridge from most coastal spots in Malmö, but there is also an official viewpoint (↗️ Open in Google Maps).

17

The University: Central & Modern Campus

Malmö offers a unique student life smack in the middle of the city
Malmö University library building at dusk. Photo: Karl Andersson

The University of Malmö has 24 000 students and has risen the academic ranks in recent years, but still has not earned the same type of reputation as the nearby Lund University has. It is still a good university located very centrally in the city of Malmö—which may be a winning formula, as Malmö has won the Swedish student city of the year 2021-2022.

The university library Orkanen along the harbor is worth a visit if only just to stroll next to it on the boardwalk walking up towards the trendy Studio. The exterior of the building is fittingly lined with famous lines of text on top of the modern facade.

↗️ Open in Google Maps

18

The Culture: Malmö Dares To Stand Out

The people of Malmö are connected by the culture of their city
Malmö Food Truck Festival

The culture of Malmö is unique as far as Swedish cities go, and this is something other Swedes generally are quick to point out whenever they meet a Malmöite. From “continental” and “multicultural”, to “cocky” and “boisterous”—the people of Malmö have been called many things over the years, most of the time—but not always— in a tounge-in-cheek kind of way because, well… Malmöites can usually take it, and are usually at least some of those things.

I’ve written a more detailed article about the culture of Malmö, if you are interested in finding out more.

19

The Fika: It’s Coffee & Pastries O’Clock

No Swedish city visit is complete without a classic Swedish fika
Cafe Latte with cinnamon roll at Lilla Kafferosteriet

Fika is an institution in Sweden (the act of sitting down and having coffee and something sweet with friends for the uninitiated), and that holds true in Malmö as well. A lot of really good cafés has already been mentioned, but for those that are craving some good coffee and cake (“kaffe och kaka”) and want the whole list in one spot, here is a list of all the best Malmö cafés:

Noir

Sit in the shade of a tree and watch people walk and bike by while you slowly sip on your coffee.
More info +

Slottsträdgårdens Kafé

In the park Kungsparken along the canal you’ll find the coziest little café that serves good food and fika in the warmer months of the year.
More info +

Lilla Kafferosteriet

It’s hard to find a cooler building to have a coffee house in; the vintage interior will impress even the pickiest coffee snob.
More info +

Solde Kaffebar

Small and cozy with good coffee and hip atmosphere.
More info +

Uggla Kaffebar

On one of St. Knuts torg corners is this hip coffee spot that always delivers the goods.
More info +

Systrar & Bröder

The people of Malmö flock here for a typical Swedish style smorgåsbord-brunch on weekends.
More info +

Atrium

Magical garden-esque outdoor seating in the warmer months in sleepy Slottsstaden.
More info +

AB Småland

Smack in the middle of “the shopping street” you’ll find this weird and cool store/café.
More info +

Café Element

Situated perfectly on the edge of Kungsgatans beautiful park with a good brunch and great outdoor seating when the weather allows.
More info +

Hollandia

For the more upscale baked goods this patisserie always holds a high standard and a cozy outdoor seating on the shopping street.
More info +

Patisserie David

Sit out on lively but cozy Östergatan and people watch while you take in the surrounding timber framed houses.
More info +

Dolce Sicilia

This italian ice cream is the real deal, enough said.
More info +
20

The Marinas: Boats & Restaurants Galore

You don’t have to love boats to enjoy sitting here for a drink or bite
Malmö Dockan Marina.

Arriving by boat? No problem! Malmö has a bunch of marinas that can care for your boat while you’re exploring the city, but perhaps more importantly these marinas make for great places to hang out and watch the boats for those of us who don’t have one but like the atmosphere (and let’s get real, that’s probably most of us).

Dockan Marina

Dockan Marina is the most centrally located and also the newest marina in Malmö. Lined with trendy restaurants and cafés, this is the perfect spot for an evening drink on the water while watching the sun go down between the masts.
More info +

Limhamns Småbåtshamn

Limhamns Småbåtshamn offers a more down-to-earth and cozy boating experience, with local favorite Kajuteriet packed with sun-soaking Malmöites on most weekend days in the summer and lots of small boats coming in and out of the harbor.
More info +

Lagunen Småbåtshamn

Lagunen Småbåtshamn is great for all the campers looking for a central and picturesque camp site in the city. It’s still a bit isolated on the southern tip of Ribban beach, but a few mins walk and you’re on the beach with all of its cafés and activities.
More info +
21

The Festivals: Malmö Loves To Party

Things get lively in the city when festival season comes around in the late summer
Malmöfestivalen Street Food
Europe's biggest city fest

Malmöfestivalen

Malmöfestivalen is Europe’s biggest city festival and has been going strong since 1985 (with a covid break of course), and if you happen to be in town for it you’ll know why people from all over the Öresund region flock to Malmö to enjoy the food, art, music and general festivities that take place for a week in August (just as the schools start their fall semester). All the performances are free to enjoy, and the amount of great food trucks and stalls that gather around Gustav Adolfs torg brings a tear to my eye every time. So much good food!

The Malmö Festival culminates in a giant crayfish party taking place on the closing day of the festival every year, when thousands of people (and hundreds of thousands of crayfish) get together and sing songs and get merry. If you haven’t experienced a Swedish kräftskiva this might just be the ultimate one to try.
More info +

Big Slap

Big Slap is the local EDM festival—and southern Sweden’s biggest music festival in general—and is set in the epic Tallriken space of Pildammsparken. Over the years the festival has welcomed acts such as Avicii, Afrojack, Eric Prydz, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello, David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Alesso, Fedde Le Grand, and Adrian Lux.

2021 saw the return of Big Slap with two weekends packed with world-class DJs and artists such as Tiesto, Benny Benassi, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Bob Sinclair, Galantis, Rebecca & Fiona, and Black Eyed Peas.
More info +

Backyard Sessions

Backyard Sessions is kind of like a toned-down underground and surprisingly family-friendly version of Big Slap. Set in perfect Folkets park over two days, this is a celebration of art, food and really good techno/deep house music with both Malmö artists and international acts filling up the lineup every year. Acts over the years include Booka Shade, La Fleur, Familjen, Recondite, ANNA, Claptone, Joris Voorn, Be Svendsen, OXIA, Tensnake, Dubfire, and Axel Boman.
More info +
22

The Castle: 15th Century Renaissance

Right in the middle of the city too!
Malmöhus castle. Photo by Karl Andersson

Malmöhus Castle is the Nordics’ oldest renaissance castle and was originally built in 1434, and then expanded in the mid-16th and mid 17th centuries to its current form. It has been a museum since 1937, and parts of Eric of Pomerania’s original fort still remain here to this day.

The castle offers a unique and picturesque exterior with its moat and red bastions, and on the inside there is an aquarium, café, castle exhibit, and usually a changing exhibit that has some connection to Malmö.

↗️ Open in Google Maps

23

The Windmills: Historic & Continental

The country of Skåne is packed with windmills and Malmö is no exception
Slottsmöllan

Malmö and its surroundings have some charming windmills that will take you back to simpler times, the primary one being Slottsmöllan right next to the Malmöhus Castle.

Slottsmöllan

This windmill was built in the 1850s and is part of the neighboring museum. There are usually guided tours which lets you explore the inside of the mill, and hear some of its history.
More info +

Kirsebergsmöllan

There is a smaller mill at Bulltoftaskolan called Kirsebergsmöllan, and a wing-less mill south of the city in Krogsmölla.
More info +

Kronetorps mölla

Kronetorps mölla is another mill in the outskirts of Malmö that overlooks a huge field that certain years colors the landscape around the mill in a beautiful yellow from the canola flowers.
More info +
24

The Hip Areas: Where It’s Always Happening

Some may be a bit rough around the edges, but they’re plenty cool
Möllan/Folkets park

Möllevången ("Möllan")

Möllan is the most hipster-heavy neighborhood of Malmö, and also home to a multitude of international food stores and restaurants. The neighborhood might have been gentrified over recent years, but it’s still a multicultural melting pot with people from all over the world coexisting and cooperating to create a lively and friendly neighborhood.
More info +

Slottsstaden

Slottsstaden is absolutely stuffed with cozy cafés and restaurants next to green areas and picturesque buildings. Walk around for a while and plop down your butt and the nearest café when you feel up for a snack and a drink.
More info +

Norra Grängesbergsgatan

Norra Grängesbergsgatan is one of the main reasons behind the nickname “Little Berlin” that Malmö has earned over recent years. A former industrial area that is home to a vibrant underground culture and music scene that has resulted in the area being designated as Sweden’s first culture zone. This means that noise from nightclubs, live venues, social clubs, and industries is ok and to be expected—at least up to 85 db.

And it does indeed get noisy from time to time here, as the area has multiple venues that host both legal and likely illegal club nights with a mix of local and international acts in genres ranging from hard rock and metal to techno and deep house.
More info +

Gamla väster

Gamla väster has loads of hole-in-the-walls tucked away on the picturesque cobblestone alleys, and if you stray away a bit from the beaten path (a.k.a. Lilla torg) you’ll find some true gems here.
More info +

Davidshall

Davidshall is jam-packed with trendy vintage shops, hip cafes and very good restaurants. Just take a hard turn from the busy shopping street Södra förstadsgatan and end up in a much quieter and trendier neighborhood.
More info +

Västra Sorgenfri / S:t Knuts torg

The area that surrounds this quiet square is a hipster paradise, with a bunch of unique places offering great coffee, berlin-esque vibes, and slow-cooked meals.
More info +

25

The Sports: Malmö Fanatics of Euro Fame

The Malmö FF fans are known around Europe for their loud and rowdy support
Malmö FF supporters on Eleda station holding MFF scarfs up and waving Scanian flags

If you visit Malmö during soccer/football season and you are into sports, a Malmö FF game on the team’s home stadium Nya Malmö Stadion (cap. 22 500) is guaranteed to be a unique experience and a good opportunity to catch a glimpse of Malmö culture.

The stadium (also called Eleda Stadion) has earned the nickname Hechenkessle (“witch kettle” in german), first by RB Salzburgs manager Adi Hüttler, and later by European media in general after Malmö hosted game after game in the European cups where the atmosphere was extremely lively and loud.

MFF supporters does indeed hold the record for the loudest game in Sweden with 127 dB registered, so don’t fret if it gets rowdy around you; it’s just another game day!

↗️ Open in Google Maps
ℹ️ Website
📞 Phone

26

The Pedestrian Streets: Get On Your Feet

The city prioritizes people on foot in all central parts of the city, and you’ll notice it too

Malmö has some of Europe’s most walkable streets, with a huge push in recent years towards a pedestrian-first approach in the city’s residential neighborhoods. Streets where cars previously thundered by have been transformed into calm and cozy pedestrian-only streets where the cafes/bars/restaurants have been given extended access to the street with more outdoor seating, and people can walk around without worrying about cars or the noise they bring.

One of the classic Malmö ways to go shopping is to stroll up and down one of the first pedestrian-only streets; Gågatan (“the shopping street”). Essentially stretching from the Central Station via Stortorget, Södergatan, Södra förstadsgatan, to Triangeln and Johannestorget. It does now technically extend into Friisgatan as well, as the cafe- and restaurant-packed street has recently been assigned a pedestrian-only street by the city.

27

The Outdoor Gyms: For Locals & Visitors Alike

If you’re into fitness you’ll love all the ways you can work out in Malmö, for free

Outdoor gyms are definitely my favorite way of working out, especially so in recent times when keeping the distance has been so important. Malmö not only offers a whole bunch of outdoor gyms, they are usually pretty good and very clean too. This coupled with all the excellent running and walking paths scattered around the cities parks really does make it easy to get out and get active—even while visiting as a tourist!

My favorites are the ones in Pildammsparken and Ribersborg, where you can work out right next to the water.

↗️ Open all the locations in Google Maps

28

The Prices: Get A Lot For Less

Malmö is great for the budget-conscious

Malmö is way cheaper than Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Oslo when it comes to total travel cost, according to both Budget Your Trip‘s user surveys as well as my own numerous experiences over the years.

Granted, Malmö may not be able to compete against the capital cities in many other ways, but the city does still have a lot to offer for a lot less than the other top 5 biggest Scandinvian cities.

This goes for cost of living as well, which is why so many people live in Malmö and work in Copenhagen (as close as 20 min away by train or car).

29

The Churches: Architectural Wonders

Faith not required to appreciate these old and gorgeous buildings

S:t Petri kyrka

S:t Petri kyrka (St. Peter’s Church) is Malmö’s most awe-inspiring church, and as you walk around the central parts of the city you’ll likely spot the tall tower of this Brick Gothic church originally built in the 14th century.
More info +

S:t Pauli kyrka

S:t Pauli kyrka (St. Paul’s Church) is beautifully located in the center of Kungsgatan, and has a unique hexagonal design that is hard not to like. It was built in 1882 and has a total of 12 smaller towers surrounding its main central one.
More info +

S:t Johannes kyrka

S:t Johannes kyrka (St. John’s Church) is right next to Triangeln station on the Rådmansvången square, and was built between 1903-1907 in the Jugend style. The tower of the church is not on the west side as is traditional but instead on the northern side of the church.
More info +
30

The Museums—A Little Bit of Everything

From learning about the origins of the city, to tasting and smelling weird food

Malmöhus / Slottsholmen

Malmöhus, or Slottsholmen as they also call it, is the already mentioned castle museum of Malmö. The oldest renaissance castle in the Nordics offers something to visitors all year round, especially so for families with kids.

There’s an aquarium part of the museum that showcases the surrounding marine life as well as some interesting additions.
More info +
Great for kids

Tekniska museet

Teknikens och sjöfartens hus (as it’s officially called) is Malmö’s museum of technology, and another children’s favorite. You’ll find exhibits of science, technology, transportation, and marine life in focus and on display. The U3 submarine that you can explore is a must for kids and adults alike.
More info +

Form/Design Center

Form/Design Center spans three floors and is a cool exhibition space in an old timber-framed building on Lilla torg.
More info +

Moderna museet Malmö

Moderna museet is an art museum displaying art from its Stockholm namesake along with local art from time to time.
More info +

Disgusting food museum

Bored with regular old museums? Head over to Disgusting food museum and challenge your palette, sense of smell, and your notion of what you can and cannot eat. The exhibit has 80 or so of the world’s most disgusting food, and the adventurous among you will be able to sample as well.
More info +

Wowragården

Wowragården is a timber-framed farm museum, first built in the 1600s and located in Södra Sandby in the outskirts of the city. Visitors get a chance to see the tools of 17th century farmers as well as historical farm buildings.
More info +
31

The Surroundings—Going Beyond Malmö

You might need a car for these excursions but most of them should be accessible by public transportation
Lund
Malmö might be southern Sweden’s largest city, but it ain’t the oldest. That honor goes to Lund, founded in 980 by Harald Bluetooth (yes that Bluetooth) and the main city in Skåne before Malmö took over that title. This is where you’ll find Lund Cathedral, a Romanesque-style building from the 1100s; Lund University (est. 1666), sister school to UC Berkeley and frequently one of the top 100 universities in the world; a whole bunch of cozy alleys with timber-framed houses; and beautiful squares such as Mårtenstorget, Clemenstorget, and Bantorget
Skanör med Falsterbo
If you are a beach kind of person that feels like Ribban beach is a bit too busy for you, take a trip down to the southwestern tip of Skåne: Skanör med Falsterbo. The two towns are situated on the Falsterbo peninsula, and have miles and miles of perfect sandy beaches (as we mentioned closer to the top) along with 1902 hours of annual sunshine. Hang out on the beach and swim in the ocean, eat lunch at Skanörs Fiskrögeri (specializing in smoked fish), and stroll around in the old towns.
Lomma
Lomma is situated a mere 15 min train-ride north of Malmö, and is home to Lomma beach which attracts loads of sun-worshippers in the summer and offers a ton of beach activities. There is also a small harbor and a boat tour that takes you along the Höje stream.
Bokskogen
For the nature lovers, Bokskogen (near Torup) is a true oasis just outside the city. Marvel at Torups Castle, take a walk in the magical forest, or enjoy one of the many free activities the city of Malmö offers here during the summer and fall.
Jakriborg
Go to Jakriborg if you’re interested in the New Urbanism movement (like the Poundbury project in England by Prince Charles). It’s an estate located halfway between Malmö and Lund, and was built in a New Classical style starting in the late 1990s. It is a cozy small village inspired by the Hanseatic cities of pre-industrial Northern Europe, and is thus built in an organic way with many small and maze-like alleys and not a straight street in sight.

Start Planning Your Trip to Malmö

One thing’s for sure, Malmö has a ton of things to do and places to go. And it still feels like I haven’t even scratched the surface on what to do in Malmö when you visit. I hope you’ll get a chance to visit and try any (or all?) of these things, and if you do—make sure you let me know how it goes! So whatcha waiting for? Book your flights, find your accommodation, and start mapping out your travel plans today!

Curious how Malmö stacks up against other major Nordic cities? I’ve written an article on how Malmö stacks up as a travel destination, specifically compared with Copenhagen and Stockholm.


Sources:

https://malmo.se/

https://www.malmobusiness.com/app/uploads/2017/12/Vad-%C3%A4r-Malm%C3%B6-Rapport.pdf

More sources

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Karl Andersson

As a native Swede with a Finnish mother, Karl identifies as both Nordic and Scandinavian. He left Sweden at 19 to explore the world, and stayed abroad for almost 8 years—during which he backpacked, worked every job there was, earned a degree from UC Berkeley, and met the future mother of his children. He ultimately returned to his native Malmö with his love, where they now have 3 Swedish-American boys eager to explore the world.

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