One of my favourite cities in Europe, I’ve got a lot of love for Malmö — and Sweden generally, I should add. I just love its wholesome, outdoorsy-loving culture. Scandi through and through, Malmö has a small-city feel to it, but plenty of cool places to see and discover, and a real mish-mash of old and new. Fly into Copenhagen and marvel at the wonderful 20-minute train journey that takes you over the impressive Øresund Bridge, right into the heart of Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city. Whether you’re into great food, the great outdoors, dreamy design stores, or even skinny-dipping in the fresh Baltic Sea, this great city has you covered! Compact enough to do on foot, but also fun and easy to get about on bike, it’s perfect for a 36-hour adventure. Here’s what to see and do in Sweden’s coolest city…
Just 5 minutes from Malmö Central Station, Story Hotel is a hip and modern hotel, with industrial-inspired interiors, rooms with huge windows and great views across the city, and a cool rooftop bar and restaurant called Kasai in the Sky, where a generous Swedish breakfast spread is served each morning. Rooms are pretty compact, but well designed and super comfortable, with toiletries from natural and organic Swedish brand L:A Bruket in the bathrooms.
Perfectly placed for exploring Gamla Staden (Old Town), Hotel Duxiana is a slick boutique hotel with bright, light rooms, sophisticated Scandi interiors, and ultra-comfortable DUX beds (a premium furniture brand linked to the hotel). Our room had a wow-factor giant lampshade — a stunning design feature which hovered above our bed so elegantly. You’re in easy walking distance from everywhere you want to see in Malmö, making it a great choice for a luxe weekend.
Potter through Gamla Staden and Slottsträdgården
Malmö is the sort of pretty place you can happily just spend a couple of hours wandering around. Start in Gamla Staden, admiring the cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and pretty pastel facades. Potter on through Kungsparken and Slottsparken, the sprawling city parks that feels wonderfully wild, with towering trees, huge ponds, botanical gardens, a windmill and even a castle. If you’re short on time, borrow a public bike and soak it all up on wheels. It’s amazing to have so much green-space and nature right in the middle of a city.
Go skinny-dipping at Ribersborgs Kallbadhus
My very favourite thing to do in Malmö: skinny-dipping in the sea! It’s no bathers allowed at Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, the wonderful Wes Anderson-esque swimming baths that jut out into the sea and date way back to 1898. Whether you’re braving a dip or not, I’d recommend taking the 40-minute stroll from central Malmö to the shores of Ribersborgs beach. Standing proud at the end of a jetty, Ribersborgs Kallbadhus charges a small entrance fee, but once inside, you can happily bask on the sun decks with a book, or leap into sea for a swim. Don’t let the nude thing put you off, it feels wonderfully liberating, I do it every day if I could!
Stop for fika
You can’t come to Sweden and not squeeze in at least a few fika stops each day! Carving out time to sit, get coffee (and preferably a cardamom bun) isn’t just a joy but a way of life in Sweden. Do like a local…a few favourite spots below!
Malmö has a real mix of old and new architecture — there are wooden windmills in pretty Slottsträdgården park, striking Dutch-Renaissance buildings in Gamla Staden, then much more modern buildings around the redeveloped waterfront. Turning Torso is Scandinavia’s tallest building, twisting and towering high above the city. Whether you appreciate it’s design or not, it’s kind of cool to see!
Browse for homewares at Grandpa
If you’re into homewares (or stationery or clothes) prepare to spend a pretty penny as Malmö boasts a host of super dreamy boutiques and design stores. The main street, Förstadsgatan, is a good place to start: Grandpa is my favourite store, full of covetable homewares, posters, trinkets and clothes; and Designtorget is great for picking up bits for the home too.
Head to the beach
Riborsborg Beach on the edge of the city is definitely nice enough for a quick dip, but if you’re looking for a more of a ‘day at the beach’ kinda vibe, drive 30-minutes south to Skanör-Falsterbro, an idyllic white sand beach with gorgeous clean waters and a scattering of candy-coloured beach huts. Pack a picnic and settle in for the day.
One of the very best bakeries in Malmö, Söderberg & Sara is a must-stop for fika. Expect stripped back understated Scandi interiors, fresh cardamom buns and filter coffee with free refills. The lunch sarnies look good too, packed with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Delicious.
Another great fika spot, this time on Förstadsgatan, Malmö’s main shopping street, AB Smalånd is a concept store come cafe, which sells some of the most gorgeous homewares and textiles, and has a great cafe inside with delicious looking salads, fresh cakes and Scandi delights. Grab a bench outside and savour a coffee and bun.
I always love a foodhall, they make for easy, often affordable casual lunches, and Malmö Saluhall is no different: a mecca of artisanal delights to eat then and there or take home for later. After pottering around Slottsträdgården or going for a dip at the Ribersborg Kallbadhus, swing by Saluhall for lunch. It’s an undercover market benches outside and stalls selling everything from sandwiches to gelato, Asian salads, charcuteries, natural wine, and stone-baked pizza — I can confirm the latter is delicious!
To get a real taste of Malmö’s most exciting gastronomic scene, book a table (necessary!) at Lyran — one of the city’s best restaurants, with a strong focus on seasonal local produce. Lyran hosts 2 sittings a night, each with an 8-course menu (vegetarian and pescatarian versions available), and it really is exceptional. Flavours are fresh and exciting, dishes are creative, and you’ll leave feeling more than satisfied. It’s not cheap but it is amazing.
* I’VE BEEN TO MALMÖ A FEW TIMES NOW AS I LOVE IT SO, BUT THIS MOST RECENT VISIT WAS HOSTED IN COLLABORATION WITH VISIT SKÅNE