As a modern and forward-thinking city fused with tradition and history, there are so many wonderful reasons to visit Malmö, the capital of southern Sweden’s Skane region.
Only a stone’s throw from the cosmopolitan city of Copenhagen, Malmö has a small-town feel with colourful crooked buildings hugging cobblestoned squares and sustainably conscious modern neighbourhoods with unique architecture.
Imagine lush gardens, long, sandy beaches, and a wealth of restaurants serving delectable flavours from all over the world, along with traditional Swedish foods… Malmö has it all. Here are a few reasons why you should put Malmö on your Scandinavian itinerary.
Malmö is an amazing destination for architecture lovers. The most iconic and famous building in Malmö, The Turning Torso (visible in the header image), was the tallest in Scandinavia until the Karlatornet was completed in Gothenburg in 2022.
As the name suggests, it is built to look like a turning torso stretching into the sky. The 190-meter-tall building can even be seen from Denmark on a clear day!
However, the Turning Torso is a residential building and thus not open to the public. But the whole area around the skyscraper is modern and sustainable and lovely to walk around. Other interesting architectural places to visit are inside the library and the Niagara Campus of Malmö University.
If you are more into older architecture, you will love to wander around the cobbled streets of the Gamla Väster neighbourhood, where cute, crooked colourful houses take you back in time. Close to the picturesque Lilla Torg, workshops about architecture and design are held at the Form-Design Center.
Besides the above, the Oresund Bridge is an impressive piece of architecture which we will get into in detail below!
The nearly 8km combined road and rail bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark is Europe’s longest of its kind. It was built in 1995 and quickly became an iconic landmark for both Malmö and Copenhagen and has connected the two cities in more than just a physical way. It was also a central part of the Danish/Swedish TV crime drama named “The Bridge”.
The last 4km of the connection from Malmö to Copenhagen dive under the Strait of Oresund through a tunnel. This is to not disturb air traffic to the busy Copenhagen Airport, an important air hub in Europe, but also to let ships pass without complications. It took five years to complete the bridge and tunnel, and it cost a whopping 2.6 million Euros to build.
Crossing the Oresund Bridge is a must when visiting Malmö, and even if you do not have a car, you can take the train. This is also the most economical option due to the high toll road for cars crossing each way. What better than going shopping in Copenhagen for a day before returning to the small-town feel of Malmö for the evening?
For the best viewpoints of Oresund Bridge, head to the lookout at Luftkastellet or to the mesmerizing Ribersborg Beach, where you can see the imposing bridge’s silhouette across the Strait of Oresund.
Like most Scandinavian cities, Malmö is blessed with a wealth of green spaces where you can refill your lungs. The most prominent park is King’s Park, known as Kungsparken in Swedish. It is Malmö’s oldest park dating back to the mid-1800s, and one of the prettiest, inspired by English Gardens with a wealth of interesting statues.
Featuring the iconic Malmö Castle, there is a lot of history to it. It is a lovely place to walk around the paths under the shade of ancient trees, relax on a bench, or feed the ducks that swim around in the ponds. In the centre of the park, you can see Malmö’s first piece of public artwork, an iron fountain that dates back to 1882. Next to it is a grotto, known as Grottan in Swedish, which originally dates back to the 19th century. It has later been redesigned with a Norse mythological theme.
Another dreamy park is Slottstradgarden, just across a little footbridge from the King’s Park. Full of colourful flowers like tulips and primroses leading to an old, traditional windmill, it is one of the top attractions in Malmö. Besides flowers, there are also vegetables planted in Slottstradgarden Park that you can buy on-site in season. Among the imposing sculptures in the park, you find “Pegasus” which is one of the famous works of art by one of the most famous sculptors in Sweden, Carl Milles.
Finally, Pildammsparken is worth mentioning. Situated a mere 20 minutes walk from the other two mentioned parks, it is famed for its colourful Flower Alley, which is decorated with more than 10 000 flowers.
The park was created for the Baltic Exhibition held in 1914. The exhibition showcased the culture, art and industry of the Baltic countries. The elegant Neoclassical Margareta Pavillion is the only visible remains from the Baltic Exhibition, but it makes the gardens magical.
Before the park was designed, it used to be where Malmö’s water reservoirs and dam were placed, and there is still water there. Pildammsparken is a popular place for concerts and festivals, so check your travel dates for special happenings.
Stortorget and Lilla Torg are both enchanting historic squares that paint a lot of Malmö’s personality and contrast greatly with the modern neighbourhood surrounding the Turning Torso.
Stortorget is Malmö’s largest and oldest square, dating back to the 1540s. Here you will find the Dutch Renaissance Town Hall that was originally built in 1547, and the 1600s Skane County governor's residence on the square, among other stellar historical buildings. Whether you need painkillers or not, you might want to take a peek into Malmö’s oldest pharmacy too, built in a Neo-Renaissance style.
Outdoor tables spill onto the square from many restaurants and bars and this is a great place to stop for coffee or lunch. You will not be disappointed by the view of colourful flowers, green trees, and the central horseback statue of King Karl X Gustav dating back to the 17th century. The king is an important figure in local history as he reclaimed the region of Skane from Denmark in 1658.
The cobblestoned square of Lilla Torg (meaning small square) was built shortly after Stortorget and is also smaller (thus the name.) Originally, it was used as a market square where farmers would sell their fresh produce, bread, and meat from small temporary tents.
Today, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can sit and enjoy the picturesque square with its pastel-coloured houses. The oldest one, the half-timbered Hedmanska Garden, dates back to the 1590s. You can also browse dusty antique shops in the old buildings for travel gifts and unique souvenirs.
Malmö Castle dates back to the first half of the 1400s and throughout history, it has been subject to continuous attacks. It also served multiple important roles during that time.
The castle was first a royal palace, then a mint for coining Danish currency in the Middle Ages, and later it served as a prison. The Renaissance castle is the oldest preserved castle in Scandinavia. The building has been restored multiple times as it has seen many battles between Sweden and Denmark throughout the centuries.
Within Malmö Castle’s historical walls, you can visit several of the city’s important museums. Among them are the Natural History Museum, the City Museum, and the Science and Maritime House.
Malmö is a melting pot of cultures, with people from around the globe living there. This results in a wide range of international restaurants where you can get a taste of anything from Thailand to the Middle East. But do not worry, if you want to try traditional Swedish food, there are many opportunities to try the delightful fresh produce and local dishes.
But Malmö is also a leading city in Europe regarding fresh and healthy food, and numerous restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan health food. This makes Malmö a wonderful destination for all kinds of foodies!
A city with beaches is always a winner, and Malmö has a stunning, windswept beach just a stone's throw from the city centre.
Ribersborg Beach, locally known as “Ribban”, is a long, beautiful beach with a large green space and recreational area connected to it. For this reason alone, you feel like you are far from the city, and for the last 100 years, it has been a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to take a day of rest.
The beach is used even in the winter as there is a sauna and Cold Bath connected to it at the end of the pier. Nonetheless, the iconic view of the Turning Torso leaves no doubt, you are in Malmö.
Last Updated 1 May 2023