Malmo ! Such a delightful surprise. I knew nothing about Sweden’s third largest city until I started making plans for my trip to Copenhagen in October. Malmo is an hour by train from Copenhagen center and cost less than 20 pounds for a round trip train ticket. Malmo kept popping up as an option for a day trip and after doing my research - I knew there was no way I could pass up a visit Malmo.
I spent a very cold rainy Saturday in Malmo so these are the recommendation based on my own experience and research I did when I was planning my trip. It was a glimpse into Sweden and I cannot wait to plan my next trip to Sweden. Malmo was a great introduction. I try to explore on foot as much as possible and Malmo was perfect for that; a few things were outside the center that may require using the public transport (if you are not up for the trek), but for the most part you can walk to the recommendations in this post. Most of these are within a half hour walk from the central train station.
Stortorget: This is the main square in Malmo. It was surprisingly quiet with just a handful of tourist taking in their first sights of Malmo. I guess the rain and cold weather kept most people indoors. Just off the main square is Lilla Torg aka small square and has a very old time vibe to it. I did not stop here because the rain was coming down at this point and without an umbrella, I wanted to get to shelter very quickly. The square is flanked by the city hall building; house of Jorgen Kock the famous Swedish designer and the famed Kramer hotel. In the center of the square is the statue of King Karl Gustav X - the XI king of Sweden.
2. Shop along Sodergatan Street: Just off Strotoget is a shopping street with several chains and local shops. My favorite shop along this street was Granit, the Swedish design and stationery store. I initially ducked in to get away from the rain but ended up spending an hour in the store. I would have spent half my rent in the store. Thankfully, I had traveled with just a carry on and was saved from damaging my bank account. I found out the brand ships to the U.K so I will be placing a somewhat bank account detrimental order shortly.
3. Enjoy Impressive architecture. Malmo is home to some impressive architecture. While it might not be possible to see all of them on a day trip, there are two I will recommend to add to your itinerary. The first is the turning torso which holds the title of the tallest building in Sweden and twists 90 degrees from bottom to top. It is located in the Western labor which has also got a skateboarding and climbing park. You can get a really great view of the turning torso from the Malmo castle if you don’t want to make the trek that way. Because the building is residential, access to the interior rooftop is limited to only five weeks in the summer. The second is the Emporia shopping center. I have got major FOMO about this one since I could not make the trek to it but if pictures are anything to go by, then I think it deserves a spot on your itinerary if you love architecture.
4. Malmo Castle. This is not a traditional castle as it was a key fortress in the war between Denmark and Sweden. The structure has been destroyed and rebuilt several times and now currently house the tropicanium aquarium and museum of natural history and museum of art. The castle and its museums give an incredible glimpse into the history of Sweden and Malmo’s role. At one point it housed Swedish prisoners and at another time it was home to the city’s poor. A lot of history on the grounds and if I was spending more time in Sweden, a place I will have loved to explore even further. The entry cost is about $4.
5. Visit the parks:The City is home to numerous parks - I visited Kungsparken and Slottparken and loved both. Kungsparken is a public park and within walking distance from Malmo Castle. There is a a section of the park dedicated to private garden and the windmill in the middle of the park is a reminder you are in the Nordic land. Slottparken is located around the Casino which is a yellow building located in the park and flanked by tall tree and seats on the lake. Without knowing it is the casino, it looks something out of a fairy tale. You also get an incredible view of the Malmo City library from the park (and vice versa).
6. Malmo city library. Ah ! a book and architecture lovers dream. I docked in here to escape the rain and ended up spending a few hours on the second floor in a spot overlooking Slottparken and reading a book. It spurred my love for libraries again. I used to love going to the library for the quiet and I could get lost in a book for hours, but that love was soured by years spent in the library working on getting my CPA certification. I have not been back to a library since I passed the exam (bad memories), but spending time in the Malmo City library was the much-needed jolt to return (maybe ? ).
7. St. Peter Church. While doing my research for the trip, I found out this was closed for some weeks for renovation, so while I could not see the interior, I still wanted to see the structure as it is the oldest building in the city. The red brick structure was designed in the Gothic style and dates back to the 14th century. If it happens to be open when you visit, I hear the interior has a votive ship memorial for fallen soldiers of world war II and medieval wall painting.
8. Modern Art Museum Malmo. Malmo has got a lot of museums and if you are doing a day trip; seeing all of them will is realistically not feasible.The design museum was highly recommended so was Malmö Konsthall. My favorite one to visit was the Modern Art Museum. Loved everything about it and if you only have time for one museum - make sure it is this one.
9. Keep an eye out for street art and sculptures. There are several in the city and I recommend researching a few before your trip. You cannot see all of them, so picking a few favorite to see on the trip will be my recommendation. A few I recommend - the non-violence sculpture; the optimistic musical group on Sodergatan Street; Way to go Bronze shoe sculptures along the Davidshallsbron which pays homage to the city’s famous artist and performers. Finally, there is the sound sculpture (at least that is what I am calling it) - It is located just a short walk from the train station. If you stand in the circle and whisper - it echoes. You also get a great view and pictorial framing of the lighthouse from this spot.
10. Enjoy Swedish baked treats. You cannot leave Malmo without trying some sweet treats and baked goods. Noir had a really good pear tart; but there were a few bakeries that locals recommended - Gateau; Lilla Kafferosteiet and Pronto. I tried the offerings from Gateau and it was relish !
11. Dine at one of Malmo’s cafes like Noir and Atrium Kaffe Bar. After exploring the area I can imagine that on a spring or summer day the patio of Noir will be packed with patrons but due to the rain and cold it was empty when I arrived and I was not sure I made the right decision. Thankfully, I walked in. The indoor seating is small and cozy. The breakfast menu is minimal but the coffee and dessert is good stuff. I had the pear tart and decaf cappuccino. It was excellent.