Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, is often overlooked by travellers in favour of the capitals – Copenhagen (Denmark) and Stockholm (Sweden). However, just a 20 minute train ride across the water from Copenhagen airport, the historical city of Malmo will serve as a neat introduction to Sweden from Copenhagen as a day trip. Malmo also makes a great overnight stop off from Copenhagen to Stockholm. Here’s why you should stop off for a day in Malmo…
One Day In Malmo
Do you long to discover Swedish architecture, history and culture on a day trip from Copenhagen, without trekking all the way to Stockholm? Or maybe you are a traveller who wants to experience more than just the capital cities?
Personally, I love to explore second and third cities and overlooked destinations. Although you can see Malmo in a day from Copenhagen, I highly recommend that you stay for a night or two to fully explore and soak up the culture.
How to get to Malmo
Malmo is an easy stop off on the route between the two Scandinavian capitals of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Stockholm (Sweden). If you’d like to arrive in Malmö by car, you can drive to Malmo on Europe’s longest road and rail bridge, Øresund bridge, from Copenhagen. The train from Copenhagen to Malmo is about 40 minutes and the train from Stockholm to Malmo takes about four and a half hours. The city centre of Malmo is walkable from the train station.
My First Impressions of Malmo
Malmo appeared to encompass everything Swedish to me – a clean, green and efficient city, abundant in meatballs! The cycle lanes and open spaces complimented the contrasting modern and historic architecture perfectly in this cosmopolitan city.
I was eager to explore, although finding it a challenge to distinguish between the Danish and Swedish Krona jumbled up in my pocket! (Danish Krona have hearts on them and holes in the middle, Swedish ones do not!)
One thing that really struck me about central Malmo was the contrast in architecture. Central Malmo is historical and revolves around three main squares.
Gustav Adolf’s Torg
The largest is Gustav Adolf’s Torg. Laden with modern architecture and circular fountains, it’s a bit of a shame that it’s dominated by the ‘golden arches’ of McDonalds! Nevertheless, Gustav Adolf’s Torg is where it’s all happening – a great place for people watching and shopping.
The smaller the square, the quirkier and more historical it becomes, or so it seems in Malmo.
‘Big Square’ or Stortorget, is the oldest square in Malmo (dating back to 1540). It is rich in historical architecture and beautifully kept flowers compliment the market square.
The equestrian statue of King Karl X Gustav in the centre of the square, surrounded by flags of Sweden.
I loved discovering the retro advertising preserved on the side of the tall Amsterdam style houses
Malmo Hotels on Tripadvisor
On the way to Lilla Torg (little square), I discovered these statues depicting a procession of musicians.
It’s called Optimistorkestern and was constructed by sculptor Yngve Lundell in 1985, to represent Malmo’s symbol of optimism (hence the name).
Round the corner, I caught sight of the cosy feeling Lilla Torg. This was built after Stortorget as an extension of the market place, as they were swiftly running out of room.
This really is my favourite place in Malmo to eat, people watch and absorb the outdoor cafe culture. Oh, and there’s a great curry house here! (she says, trying once again not to stain her brace!)
Malmohaus – The Castle
Malmohaus is Malmo’s castle or fortress. The original was built in 1436 by Eric of Pomerania as a citadel, which was destroyed. In 1537 and King Christian 111 built the castle that you will see today, which was part of Denmark until 1658. Up until 1914 the castle was used as a prison, but the castle is now used for more cultural purposes and houses Museum collections.
While you are exploring Malmohaus, take a walk through Kungsparken, the beautiful Park next to it. You haven’t really enjoyed Swedish culture without enjoying their beautiful Parks and open spaces
Once you head towards the river from the main square, you will see the ever contrasting architecture of the city. Check out the University building.
My final recommendations include a visit the Modern Art Museum – Tham & Videgard Arkitekter and, if the weather is good, a trip to Ribbersborgs beach. You can even visit a sauna and get naked with the locals! It wasn’t that I was too prudish (far from it after Iceland), but, sadly, time was running out for me, and I had to get to Stockholm for TBEX!
Where to stay in Malmo
The Elite Plaza Hotel Malmo is another good option. This traditional building is located centrally and walkable to the three main squares. It includes breakfast and WIFI.
If you are looking for slightly cheaper options go for either the Park in by Radisson Malmo or the Best Western Hotel Royal. They are clean and comfortable affordable options and still well located. You can often book a room for less than £100 a night.