What to do in Malmo: Our Countdown to Malmö, Sweden

What to do in Malmo: Our Countdown to Malmö, Sweden

Malmö may not rise to the top of many people’s travel lists, but it deserves to be seen as more than just a day-trip from Copenhagen. After all, it’s the third largest city in Sweden and deserves some clout of its own. Much like Oakland to San Francisco, or Brooklyn to Manhattan, Malmö has emerged from the shadow of its glitzy neighbor by embracing creative talents to forge its own identity. Malmö has quietly grown into a unique place that is steeped in history yet hip and Swedish and full of foreign influences.  You’re probably wondering what to do in Malmo city, so let’s start our countdown!

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Check out Malmö on a Stromma Canal Tour

what to do in Malmo canal tour

The best way to start your visit to Malmö is to enjoy a canal tour, as the departure dock is conveniently located a couple of blocks from Malmö Centralstation. Malmö’s center is ringed by a canal, meaning that you get a fantastic orientation to the city while relaxing on this live-guided boat. The tours take about an hour and will give you great views of Malmöhus Castle, Turning Torso, and other attractions of central Malmö.


Explore Malmö Castle and Museums

Malmoö castle what to do in malmo

The oldest Renaissance castle and museum in Scandinavia sits in Sweden, but it was built starting in 1434 by a Danish King who was born in modern Poland. Such is the history of Skåne, the territory of southern Sweden that was long-ruled by the Danes, and this outpost was critical for there defense of the area against the Swedes. Two centuries later, the Danes left Skåne for good, and over time the castle became less important. Today it houses several excellent museums, including ones for art and natural history and an aquarium. You could spend hours here, so be sure to carve out time to enjoy the museums. You can also check out the nearby Moderna Museet. It’s a free city museum of modern and contemporary art located in the old town. That’s a lot of museum for one day but it’s doable.

Picnic in Kungsparken Like a Local

what to do in malmo kungsparken malmö

If you want to live like a local, after exploring Malmö Castle head to a grocery store and stock up for a picnic in the lovely Kungsparken park that surrounds the castle. Walk around the park grounds, including a beautiful fountain and several bridges. Kungsparken is great for a stroll, a run, or a nice picnic.

Relax at the Spa - Visit Ribersborgs Kallbadhus

what to do in malmo spa

The other way to experience Malmö like a local is to head to Ribersborgs Kallbadhus and enjoy a spa like a Swede. About a 20-minute walk from central Malmö, this open-air bathhouse is perched right on the Øresund strait near the famed Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. There are saunas, cold-baths, hot-baths, a café, and even ice bathing in the winter! The bathhouse itself is historic, dating back to the 19th century, and is a great way to experience Swedish culture and relax.

Chill out at Folkets Park (Peoples Park)

It would be easy to spend an entire visit to Malmö in the historic Gamla Staden, but it is worth exploring more of the city and heading to Folkets Park. Literally “peoples park”, you can find amazing people watching, markets, concerts, food vendors and other entertainment in the park year-round. In the winter there is an ice rink, and in the summer there is a beer hall that is worth a visit. It is about a 25-minute walk from Malmö City Hall.

4 - Things to Eat and Drink in Malmö

Malmö Saluhall

what to do in malmo malmö saluhall

Gibraltargatan 6

What to do in Malmo after a long day of touring? Find a food market! Conveniently located only a few blocks from the train station, Malmö Saluhall is a covered market that is filled with delicious offerings that will welcome you to Sweden. Inside you will be met by a variety of vendors selling fresh fish, meat, cheese, ice cream, and other delicacies. There are also restaurant stands, including the amazing bakery St. Jakobs Stenugnsbageri. You will also get to sample a fusion of foods from all over, including falafel, pasta, noodles, and other influences from Malmö’s vibrant immigrant communities.

Lilla Kafferosteriet

Baltzarsgatan 24

For Swedes, the idea of getting coffee for take-away is nearly offensive. They prefer “fika”, where you sit down, sip well-prepared coffee, nibble on a delicious cake or pastry, and either enjoy a break (either alone or with a friend). Lilla Kafferosteriet is a perfect place for this, as they offer a wide variety of hot and cold caffeinated options and sweet delights. They are located in a quirky 17th century home, and they offer a café menu that is perfect for lunch as well.


what to do in malmo

Lilla Torg

On a lovely summer day, there are few better spots than sitting in one of the restaurants ringing Lilla Torg, an old square surrounded by old half-timber buildings. The people-watching is excellent, and the view will transform you back in time, forgetting all the modern amenities outside the square. We recommend going to Moosehead, which is a rustic-themed bar with a good drink selection, good food, and a good spot outside on the square.


Mäster Johansgatan 11

For an incredible modern interpretation of traditional Swedish cuisine, Bastard is the place to go. Definitely make a reservation, as we are not the only ones recommending Bastard. The concept here is “nose to tail”, focusing on meat and offering small plates that are all delicious in an atmosphere that is pure hipster. This is not just a tourist trap, as locals fill the restaurant every evening.

3 - Places to Stay in Malmö

Moment Hotels

Norra Vallgatan 54

Located right near the train station on the canal, this 3-star hotel is a tremendous bargain for the quality of the room you will get. The location is excellent, as it is also right in the city center, and they also offer breakfast. It is minimalist but is good for the budget in notoriously expensive Sweden.

STF Malmö City Hotell & Vandrarhem

Rönngatan 1

While a hostel, the STF Malmö offers very pleasant accommodations for budget travelers. The location is excellent, just south of the city center in a vibrant neighborhood. This hostel serves all age ranges, so don’t be surprised to see as many older travelers as young backpackers here.

Airbnb in the Neighborhood of Möllevången

It would be easy to recommend the Gamla Staden neighborhood in the city center for an Airbnb, but for more-local experience stay in Möllevången. This formerly working-class neighborhood is now the center of “hip” Malmö. Filled with cafes, restaurants of every cuisine, and cool bars, this is a great place to stay if you want to feel what modern Malmö is like.


2 - Must-click Instagram Spots in Malmö


The central market square of Malmö since the 16th century, Stortorget offers a variety of neat Instagram backdrops to make your followers envious. At the center stands the equestrian statue of King Karl X Gustav, who defeated Denmark in the late 1600s to unite Skåne with the rest of Sweden and force the Danes across the Øresund Strait where they remain today. The historic town hall has a beautiful Dutch Renaissance façade that also can serve a fun backdrop for your selfies.

Västra Hamnen

what to do in malmo instagram

The northern edge of Malmö along the Øresund is Västra Hamnen (“west harbor”) and is home to a number of cool spots including the Stapelbäddsparken Skate Park, Scaniaparken waterfront park, and the famous Turning Torso, the tallest building in the Nordics. From Scaniaparken you can get beautiful views of Copenhagen and the Øresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden. And with a height of 190 m (623 ft), you can have it in the background from nearly any location around the harbor.

1 - Insider Tip

Malmö is the perfect complimentary day or overnight trip to pair with a trip to Copenhagen. The train from Copenhagen Central Station to Malmo Central Station runs every 20 minutes, takes about 40 minutes, and will cost about 13 USD each way. Be sure to bring your passport, as even though you are within the Schengen area Danish and Swedish border guards will check passports as you enter each country.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Justine Kimoden

    Always say yes to food markets! Aside from museums, markets are something I look for when I travel. I love to the taste the local cuisine. 🙂 And thanks for the tip to always bring a passport 🙂

  2. Sam

    I’ve never heard of Malmo so this is incredibly useful! I will be checking out the food markets for sure! What do you recommend to do though if you visit in the Winter? These look like places you’d go to in the Summer!

    1. Mike Walsh

      In winter you will spend more time in the museums, visiting the castle or relaxing in the coffee shops – here in Scandinavia coffee tends to be more of an afternoon/evening thing than a morning start to the day. The Swedish Sauna is even popular in the wintertime. Though jumping in the water afterward may not sound appealing in winter, it’s actually really refreshing (I did it two days ago).

  3. Shreya Saha

    Its so nice to find this blog, I don’t know much information on Malmö, but now I am really geared up about it. As a historical and architecture lover, I don’t know the fact of the oldest Renaissance castle that was built around 1434 by Danish king at this place. You have mentioned nicely how to go and where to stay and all. I would definitely visit the place very soon.

  4. Nicole Hunter

    I love that it is offensive to get “take away” coffee! My dad is Hungarian and sitting enjoying an espresso with a piece of cake is part of being Hungarian. I have never heard of Malmo but it looks like the perfect destination for me.

  5. Jas

    You had me at canal tour! Malmo looks absolutely stunning and I love that there are so many relaxing outdoor activities like enjoying public parks!

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