Malmo is Sweden’s third largest city with a population of over 300,000, and the capital of the province of Skane (Scania) on the southern tip of the country.
Malmo is a port city on the Oresund strait, facing Copenhagen on its other bank, with which it is connected by the Oresund bridge. Together, the two cities form a duopolis and a core of a larger Oresund region spanning parts of Denmark and Sweden. Malmo used to be an industrial city, dependent on its port and shipbuilding industry, until the latter collapsed in late 20th century. It has then managed to recover and reinvent itself as a modern metropolis, a poster example of sustainable development and a thriving multicultural centre, even though it lacks the recognition as a major tourist destination like Copenhagen or Stockholm. Understand :
History : Founded in 1272 as a fortified port 20 km from Lund, Malmo was for centuries the second largest city of Denmark, while the Scanian lands was under Danish rule. It served as a Hanseatic port and a very lucrative trade area. Malmo dominated the south as the largest market hub, until Copenhagen grew larger during the 16th century. In 1658, as a result of many years of war in the Great Northern War, Denmark ceded the Scanian lands, including the city of Malmo, to Sweden in the Second Treaty of Roskilde. As Copenhagen experienced a series of devastating fires and bombardments, in particular through the 1700s, Malmo is surprisingly the best place in the world to see Danish Renaissance architecture.
After an industrial revolution, Malmo grew rapidly and served as one of the earliest and most industrialized cities of Scandinavia. Until the turn of the millennium it was regarded more as a dull worker’s city in the backdrop of Lund (a university and cathedral town) and Copenhagen. The opening of the Oresund Bridge-tunnel in 2000 reignited the soul of a bustling hanseatic port that had lay dormant for so many centuries. Since 2011, this new landmark is featured in the acclaimed Swedish-Danish crime series The Bridge.
Today about 1/3 of the Malmo population are from various other countries, making the city the most cosmopolitan in Sweden. This has contributed to a rich cultural life and many exotic and fine food opportunities. The ship building Kockums company used to be the city’s biggest employer, but today the industrial city of old has been replaced by vast areas of middle-class suburban housing and modern eco-friendly neighbourhoods.
Access : Coordinates: 55.605833, 13.035833 / By plane : Malmo Airport : The Malmo Airport is mostly used by low-fare, charter and regional carriers. There are three connections to Stockholm – with SAS (Arlanda), Norwegian (Arlanda) and BRA (Bromma). Regional airlines fly to other destinations within Sweden, and the offer is complimented by many charter and scheduled flights to vacation destinations in Southern Europe, North Africa and Middle East. The only carrier operating scheduled international flights from there is WizzAir, which connects Malmo to the largest cities in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.
1 Malmo Airport (MMX IATA, until 2007 known as Sturup Airport) (some 30 kilometres by road from central Malmo). Getting there: From Malmo Airport you can take the Flygbussarna coach to downtown Malmo, it takes 40 minutes, but first check the schedules at Flygbussarna’s homepage because on Saturday afternoons they don’t have many buses. Another option is taking a taxi, but it’s far more expensive.
Copenhagen Airport : Copenhagen Airport in Kastrup is one of the major aviation hubs in Europe and offers a multitude of European and intercontinental connections by most European flag carriers, as well as other major international airlines.
Getting there: Kastrup is right at the other end of the Oresund bridge from Malmo. There are frequent Oresund trains departing from a station inside the airport terminal that stop in stations inside of Malmo (Centralstation, Triangeln and Hyllie). The journey from the airport across the bridge to Malmo takes about twenty minutes. You can also take a bus across the Oresund, which is often cheaper than the trains. You can also take a taxi across the bridge. Signs in the arrivals hall of Kastrup Terminal 3 direct you outside to two separate queues of Danish and Swedish taxis. Taxi fare to Malmo city center should be about 650-750 SEK. As always with Swedish taxis, check the window sticker on the taxi to check the fare before boarding to avoid inadvertently selecting an overly expensive option (there is no limitation of taxi fares in Sweden and all taxis can charge anything they want as long as it is clearly indicated), or better yet, discuss the fare to Malmo with the driver before deciding – you can expect them to speak good English.
By train : Malmo is well served by trains, including frequent regional and commuter services within Scania as well as long-distance trains from Gothenburg and Stockholm. There are trains running across the Oresund bridge from Copenhagen at least every 30 minutes. In Copenhagen, there are further connections from most Danish cities as well as from Hamburg.
Regional Oresundstag leave all day from Helsingor, traversing the east coast of Sjælland, before crossing through Copenhagen and then across the Oresund bridge to Malmo, also connecting Kastrup airport to the city. In the opposite direction trains run from Gothenburg (with connections from Oslo) via Varberg, Halmstad, Helsingborg and Lund. Trains from Copenhagen’s central station take 25 minutes to Malmo, costing 111 SEK (as of 2017). Additionally, frequent and regular commuter trains, called Pagatag and operated by Skanetrafiken, runs from destinations throughout the province of Scania such as Lund, Helsingborg, Hoor and Ystad among others.
From Stockholm, there are hourly high-speed trains taking 4½ hours, operated by SJ. A low cost alternative on the same route is the twice daily Snalltaget, taking just under five hours. Limited night train services are available too. During summer, Snalltaget runs a train from Berlin three times per week. In winter season, the same company runs a service to and from the ski resort Are.
The main stations on the line running through Malmo are: 2 Malmo Centralstation (Malmo Central Station), Skeppsbron 1. Malmo’s main train station, with a refurbished historic terminal building housing a small shopping centre, gastronomic options and other facilities. It is directly to the north of the Old Town and to the east of the Vastra Hamnen and the Turning Torso. There are bus connections to every part of the city, but to most points of interest you can easily walk – or rent a bike right in front of the station.
3 Triangeln. Triangeln is an entirely underground station in the middle of the City Tunnel, in the southern part of Malmo’s centre. It is also a very convenient option to those visiting Malmo, especially those who would like to explore the shopping options and the gastronomic variety of Mollevangstorget.
4 Hyllie. Hyllie Station is in the middle of the namesake new part of Malmo, developed from scratch over the southern end of City Tunnel. This part of Malmo is quite removed from the city centre, but includes many important destinations, such as the Malmo Arena, the Malmomassan fairgrounds and the Emporia shopping centre, all right next to the train station.
The above three stations are served by regional trains to and from Copenhagen, direct trains from Stockholm and Gothenburg, as well as regional trains. Other train stations in Malmo include Persborg, Svagertorp, Oxie, and Burlov, which are only served by a limited number of regional trains and are of not much interest to tourists, as they are in residential locations far from major points of interest.
By car : Another way of crossing the Oresund Bridge (both bridge and tunnel) is to drive for yourself. It is a toll bridge, with tolls charged in both directions (entering and leaving Sweden). Since the road is a motorway (one-way passage only), it is not possible to change direction after passing the last exit in Denmark. The prices for an ordinary car shorter than 6 m begin at €48 per single trip. With a BroPas subscription it is possible to reduce the cost substantionally. easyGo customers qualifies for a 5% discount on cash payments. Credit cards are also accepted.
The view is much less obstructed if you choose to go by car as compared to train. Keep in mind, though, that the road over the Oresund Bridge is a motorway, hence it is prohibited to stop for other reasons than if your car should break down. There is no public access to Peberholm Island, where the tunnel and the bridge connect.
By bus : Grahundbus, Swebus, NettBuss, FlixBus and Eurolines have routes from Copenhagen and other places. From Copenhagen the buses take longer (about an hour) but are cheaper than the train, from 60 SEK (as of 2017).
Autoprevoz , has buses to Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 25 hrs, twice weekly, ~ €150. Whereas Toptourist , offers connection to Sarajevo via Salzburg, twice weekly, €140 return, tickets can be paid on the bus, but advance booking and payment is recommended.
By boat : Finnlines runs a ferry line between Travemunde in northern Germany and Malmo. The ferry line is mostly directed towards trucks and car drivers, but it is possible to book tickets for pedestrians. Departures that does not need a compulsory cabin booking are tuesdays to fridays at 10:00, saturdays at 11:00 from Travemunde. The trip takes nine hours, an adult passenger fare one-way trip begin at €30. A car shorter than 6 m begin at €49 in the low season, €67 in the high season. Motorcycles can be taken on board for free during the low season, bicycles can be taken on board for free all year round. A booked return trip will grant a 20% discount on the return part of the trip.
5 Finnlines ferry terminal, Lappogatan 1A (In the northern part of Malmo Harbour, 10 km from the city center). Public transport does not reach this ferry terminal, taxi fare is about 160 SEK.
As an alternative, Trelleborg and Ystad offers ferry connections to other ports in Germany and Poland. The travel time of these ferries are usually between five to ten hours, and Trelleborg can be reached from Malmo Central Station by regional bus #146 in approximately 50 minutes, or by Pagatag train line #9 in 32 minutes.
- Main squares and streets : At the heart of Malmo lie three squares, called Gustav Adolf’s Square (Gustav Adolfs torg), the Big Square (Stortorget) and the Little Square (Lilla torg). Stortorget and Lilla Torg are directly connected at one corner, and a pedestrians only shopping street connects them with Gustav Adolfs torg.
- Davidshallstorg. A square with design shops, clothes stores and restaurants. The atmosphere here is posh, so the vibe is very different from Mollevangstorget’s. There are similar shops on the nearby parts of Davidshallsgatan.
- Gamla Vaster. Between Lilla Torget and Malmohus, is a quiet and sophisticated part of town with lots of galleries, design shops and restaurants.
- Gustav Adolfs torg. Surrounded on three sides by buildings containing shops and a McDonald’s. At the center of the square is a bus platform. A cemetery lies at the south side of the square, through which one can reach Slottsparken, a beautiful park that surrounds Malmohus.
- Lilla torg. The place for socializing and dining, with various restaurants having outdoor tables around the edge of the square.
- Mollevangstorget square. South of the city center, has a bustling open-air market on weekends. The surrounding neighborhood is full of inexpensive Asian and Middle Eastern shops, restaurants and grocery stores catering to the alternative side of the city, the immigrant population and people who are tired of mainstream commerce.
- Stortorget. At the center of the Big Square is a statue of King Karl X Gustav of Sweden, who took the city from Danish dominion. The ornate Malmo City Hall (built in 1546) is on the east side, and in the northwest corner is Kockska Huset, the house of Jorgen Kock, a German immigrant who became mayor of the city and achieved wealth simply and directly: by taking control of the city mint. In the winter the square becomes a skating rink.
Historic buildings and modern architecture
- Katrinetorp, katrinetorps Alle 1 (Intersection of E20 and E6). Country manor with beautiful garden. Nice cafe and antique store.
8 Malmohus Castle (Malmo Castle).
- S:t Johannes kyrka. St. John’s Church,
- S:t Petri kyrka. The city’s oldest church (from the 14th century) Sankt Petri Church,
- Turning Torso. Completed in 2005, it is at 190 m the tallest building in Scandinavia. Mostly apartments with some offices, it’s located in a new zone near the waterfront and has no observation tower or other sightseeing facilities, so it’s probably best to admire it from afar (visible from almost anywhere in the city). If you are visiting in the summer there is a nice waterfront promenade and an open-sea bath nearby the Turning Torso. There is also a state of the art skateboarding park in the area.
Museums and cultural institutions
- Technology Museum, Form/Design Center, Lilla Torg 9. Free.
- Malmo Konsthall (Malmo Art Hall), S:t Johannesgatan 7. Free.
- Malmo Live, Dag Hammarskjolds Torg 4. A concert hall opened in August 2015.
- Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet), Ola Billgrens plats 2–4. Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. One of the major Swedish art museums. 70 kr/50 kr/Free (under 18). Moderna Museet Malmo
- Malmo Stadsbibliotek (Malmo’s public library), Kung Oscars vag. Browsing the shelves and admiring the building itself is a must for all architecture buffs and intellectuals.
- Tekniska och Sjofartsmuseet (Technology and Maritime Museum), Malmohusvagen 7A . Located west of the castle. The largest section of the museum is devoted to transport, in particular aviation, and there are lots of cut-away models, including the entire front end and cockpit of a Vickers Viscount. Visitors can walk (crawl, actually in places) through a 1943 Swedish U3 submarine. The displays are only labelled in Swedish, but is well worth a visit, nonetheless. Adults 40 kr.
Guided tours and sightseeing
Bike tour with a guide at Malmo Bike Tours. About 2 hour tour with some 7 stops. Runs one or several days a week during summer.
Open boat sightseeing Rundan. About 40-50 people per boat. 50 min. Runs several times per day from spring to fall.
Malmo Museum Tram (Museisparvagen Malmo), Banerskajen (City bus 7 or 8 to the stop at Tekniska Museet (Technical Museum). 12:00-16:24 every Sa and Su between May 28 and October 2 (except for June 25). Adults 20 kr, youth (6-16 years) 10 kr, small children (less than 6 years) free.
1 Folkets park (People’s Park). See the terrarium. Ride a pony. Sunbathe. Eat and drink. free entrance.
2 Pildammsparken. With gardens, buildings from the Baltic exhibition in 1914 and a theater
3 Ribersborgsstranden. Swim and sunbathe on the 2-km sandy beach. In the winter you can enjoy ice swimming. Very child-friendly sandy beach a short walk from the city center. The beach promenade is a great place for a walk or just some “people watching”.
4 Slottstradgarden (Castle Garden). South of the castle, within Kungsparken (King’s Park). This is one of the city’s newest amenities and is an organic community garden, open throughout the year. There are eight themed gardens and a potager. Freshly picked flowers and vegetables are available for purchase in the summer months. There is also a small cafe, run entirely by volunteers.
The flat landscape of Skane is ideal for golf. Around Malmo there are quite a few good courses and a new 36-hole PGA standard course being built.
Don’t miss Malmofestivalen – a free festival that takes place for eight days every year in August, with lots of cultural and culinary experiences.
Malmo Pride. A pride parade held every summer by Malmo’s active LGBT community
Go next : Ystad / Lund / North Zealand – Denmark (including Copenhagen) / Foteviken Museum. In Hollviken, Vellinge municipality. A reconstruction of a Viking or early medieval village. This is a living museum, which means a number of people live as Vikings on site throughout the summer / Catch a ferry and head to Travemunde, Germany.