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Today we’re talking about all of the best things to do in Malmö, one of Sweden’s most beautiful cities.
On my solo travels around Europe in 2019, I visited three Swedish destinations: Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm. We already know I’m a big fan of Gothenburg and I enjoyed my time in Malmö as well. It’s home to colourful buildings, delicious food, friendly locals and plenty of attractions. However, like the rest of Scandinavia, keep in mind that Malmö isn’t a cheap place to visit. Nevertheless, here’s a list of fun things to do in Malmö, Sweden.
Malmö travel tips
Firstly, I arrived in Malmö after a three-hour bus ride from Gothenburg. However, the city is only a 50-minute bus ride from Copenhagen across the Öresund or Øresund Bridge (depending on which country you’re in 😂). As always, I used FlixBus for both journeys. Once in the city, I just walked between the Malmö attractions mentioned below, but public transport is available.
Where to stay in Malmö
I stayed at STF Malmö, which is a great hostel in the Davidshall neighbourhood. Conveniently located next to the main shopping street, I was able to walk to all of the below attractions. STF Malmö has a spacious common area with plenty of tables, a large kitchen, good-sized dorm rooms and clean bathrooms. I highly recommend staying at STF Malmö.
Before we dive into the best things to do in Malmö, check out my top tips for fellow solo travellers staying in hostels.
The best things to do in Malmö
1. Start your visit in Gamla Väster
One of the top things to do in Malmö is to visit Gamla Väster, Malmö’s Old Town and city centre. Gamla Staden refers to the entire district, which encompasses parks and Scandinavia’s oldest Renaissance castle (but more on that below). Stortorget is the 16th-century historic market square that’s home to Malmö Rådhus, the city hall. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, Rådhuskällaren is a popular restaurant located in the town hall’s basement.
Other places to visit in Gamla Väster include Lilla Torg, another 16th-century cobblestoned market square surrounded by historic buildings. I also recommend heading to Jakob Nilsgatan, a side street filled with colourful houses that are waiting to be photographed.
2. Step inside Malmö City Library
Seriously, this is one of the coolest places to visit in Malmö. First established in 1905, three buildings constitute Malmö City Library today. There is The Castle, a brick building; The Calendar of Light installation; and The Cylinder. I highly recommend making a quick detour to the City Library.
3. Do a day trip to Lund
I didn’t realise that Lund is located less than a 15-minute train ride from the city. A Swedish university town, Lund is known for its lively student atmosphere, cobblestone streets and low brick houses. Top things to do in Lund include visiting either Kulturen, an open-air museum or The Historical Museum, stepping inside the 12th-century Lund Cathedral and exploring the Botanical Garden.
4. Go shopping in Davidshall
Davidshall is where the above hostel is located. It’s a cool area that’s home to a lot of cafes, restaurants, boutiques and pretty side streets. It’s also where you will find Södra Förstadsgatan, the city’s main shopping street. Even if you don’t stay in the area, I recommend crossing the river and wandering through Davidshall.
5. Grab lunch at Malmö Saluhall
When I went to the Saluhall at lunchtime, it was full of locals. It has stalls selling both prepared lunches and fresh local produce. So whether you want some delicious cheese, freshly-baked bread, a gourmet sandwich or a hearty salad from Holy Greens, there’s a stall for you. The Saluhall is also open until 9 pm on Fridays.
6. Visit Malmö Konsthall
One of the top things to do in Malmö if you’re an art lover is to visit Malmö Konsthall. One of Europe’s largest exhibition halls, the light and bright space displays temporary classic and contemporary art exhibitions.
7. Do a day trip to Copenhagen
If you’re wondering what to do in Malmö after you’ve visited all of the listed Malmö attractions, why not head across to Denmark for the day? In less than an hour, you can be in Copenhagen’s city centre. Go for a stroll along Nyhavn, do a free walking tour and see the view from the Tower at Chirstiansborg Palace. Here’s my budget travel guide, featuring the best free things to do in Copenhagen (you’re welcome 😏).
8. Go for a stroll through Västra Hamnen
Another one of the best things to do in Malmö is to visit Västra Hamnen. From the waterfront neighbourhood, you can see Copenhagen across the ocean – how cool is that? I visited during the day, but I heard it’s one of the best places to visit in Malmö to see the sunset. Västra Hamnen’s two main attractions are the Turning Torso and the historic Malmö Lighthouse. One of the coolest things to see in Malmö, the Turning Torso is an iconic twisted building that’s both energy-efficient and home to offices and apartments.
9. Spend the day at Ribersborgs Beach
If you’re looking for things to do in Malmö this summer, head to Ribersborg Beach and Ribersborg Kallbadhus. Located to the west of Västra Hamnen, Ribersborg Kallbadhus has two outdoor sea pools. Open year-round, you can go for a refreshing summertime swim or a revitalising ice-cold dip come winter. There are also five different saunas, massage facilities and an onsite restaurant.
I personally visited in autumn and if you’re wondering what to pack, here’s my complete packing list.
10. Embrace Fika in Davidshall
My name is Hayley and I love Swedish cinnamon buns. I had one every day I was in Sweden – no regrets. Fika is a Swedish ritual and more than just a coffee and cake break. As the official Sweden tourism website states: “It is a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time.” But it’s also not just a morning or afternoon tea experience: “It’s a tradition observed frequently, preferably several times a day.”
Obviously, I had to wholeheartedly embrace this local tradition, so here are my Davidshall cafe recommendations. Firstly, the chocolate cake at Agge & Bönan is delightful and Leve is one of the city’s most popular bakeries. Don’t miss the cinnamon buns at St. Jakobs Stenugnsbageri either, which has locations across Malmö. Finally, Espresso House is a chain with franchises everywhere (like Starbucks). But with free WiFi and the most amazing warm pecan/caramel bun, it’s one of the best places to go in Malmö for Fika. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Two other cafes to visit in Malmö that are outside of Davidshall and the city centre are Atrium and Uggla Kaffebar. I only heard good things.
11. Go for a walk through one of Malmö’s many central parks
For a small city, there are plenty of green spaces and places to visit in Malmö. I weirdly started in Gamla Kyrkogården (the Old Cemetery). The very well-maintained cemetery is located in the city centre, so cutting through it is a common occurrence. Next, I connected with the walking trail through Kungsparken, an English-style park built in 1870.
Finally, I crossed over the bridge to Slottsträdgården – the park that surrounds Malmö Castle. In Slottsträdgården, you can enjoy a gondola ride, have lunch at Slottsträdgårdens Kafé and visit the Castle Mill. So if you want outdoorsy things to do in Malmö, head to one of its many central parks.
12. Visit Folkets Park
Speaking of open green spaces, Folkets Park is one of the best places to go in Malmö with kids, as it’s home to a playground, Adventure Golf, Cool Minds – a family-friendly science centre, the Reptile Centre and a skate park. But wait, there’s more. Folkets Park also features a dance studio, cultural centre, cool cafes, outdoor eateries and an ice-skating rink in winter. The world’s oldest folk park, with this many Malmö attractions in one place, it’s easy to see why Folkets Park is one of Sweden’s most-visited places.
13. Explore Malmöhus Castle and its many museums
Surrounded by a moat in the middle of the city, one of the top things to do in Malmö is to visit Malmö Castle. Inside the 16th-century castle complex, you can do a self-guided audio tour of the castle and visit the City Museum (Stadsmuseum), the Natural History Museum and the Malmö Art Museum (Konstmuseum). Focusing on Nordic art, furniture and crafts from the 16th century to today, its collection includes 40,000 works of art.
14. Visit Fiskehoddorna
One of the most unique things to do in Malmö is to visit Fiskehoddorna. This fish market operates out of a set of colourful huts opposite the aforementioned castle in the city centre. You can purchase a range of fresh seafood from local fishermen at Fiskehoddorna. But even if you’re just visiting, this is an important aspect of local life so I recommend wandering past while in the area.
15. Pick up dinner in Möllevångstorget
Randomly, a Swedish girl in my hostel dorm room in Gothenburg recommended visiting Möllevångstorget. The market square is surrounded by a multicultural mix of restaurants and ethnic grocery stores. Cuisines on offer include Indian, Turkish, Thai, Bangladeshi and Persian. Möllevångstorget also hosts a regular open-air fresh food market from Monday to Saturday. Dining out in Möllevångstorget is one of the best things to do in Malmö at night.
16. Go shopping at Triangeln
Triangeln is an enclosed multi-level shopping centre located not far from my hostel. It’s one of the best places to visit in Malmö if you happen to be there on a rainy day like me. Triangeln has lots of shops and restaurants too, whether you want sushi, American barbecue or falafel.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Malmö, whether you visit for one day or a long weekend.
I wish I could return just to eat at all of the cafes and restaurants I didn’t get a chance to visit. The only other foodie destination I visited not mentioned above was Burrito Friends. Around the corner from the hostel, I can never resist Mexican.
If you’re looking for further solo travel inspiration, check out this post on my favourite solo travel destinations around the world. If you use the tips in this post for your trip to Sweden, I’d love if you tagged me on Instagram 😊.