Chic, cosmopolitan and a stone’s throw from Copenhagen, Malmo is fast recovering from a period in the doldrums after its industrial economy stalled. With influxes of immigrants and students swelling its population, Malmo is beginning to thrive. The buzzing atmosphere combines with a veritable smorgasbord of attractions for visitors: an ancient town centre stuffed full of museums; more green spaces than any other city in Sweden; great shopping; the country’s biggest nightclub and its tallest tower, to name but a few. In the unlikely event that you tire of Malmo, just nip across Europe’s longest bridge to Copenhagen, capital of Denmark.


No visitor misses Malmohus, the city’s ancient castle surrounded by a moat and gardens. The castle was once the focal point of Sweden and Denmark’s struggle over control of the area, and most of the original 15th century structures have been destroyed. A fire in 1870 prompted an eventual renovation of the crumbling site, which now contains a whole series of museums. Tourists can take their pick: explore the 16th and 17th century royal apartments; head to the Stadsmuseum to learn about Malmo’s culture and history; peer at wildlife in a rainforest vivarium, caves and coral reefs at the Naturmuseum; clamber inside a U3 submarine at the technology and maritime museum.

At Malmo’s heart are two squares, the Stortorget (meaning big square) and Lilla Torg (little square) which are joined at one corner. Dominating Stortorget is a statue of King Karl X Gustav, who wrestled Malmo from Denmark’s grip in 1658. Impressive buildings line the square, from the city hall to the city’s oldest pharmacy. Full of pharmaceutical antiques, it was opened in 1571 and still does business today. Lilla Torg’s cobbled streets and medieval half-timbered houses make it a must-see. It’s also the old town’s social hub, filled with outdoor cafes and restaurants in the summer months and an ice-rink in winter.

Just off Lilla Torg is the Form Design Center, hosting temporary exhibits on architecture, art and design. It’s one of 45 or so different art galleries dotted about the city; another of note is the Rooseum, if only for the extraordinary power station turbine hall in which it’s based.

Beyond the old town, Malmo has a number of modern attractions. An old chocolate factory, Mazetti’s, is fast becoming Malmo’s trendy centre, hosting many cultural events, nightclubs, bars, shops and a hotel. The Turning Torso is another monument to Malmo’s reviving fortunes; the tallest tower in Sweden, this twisted apartment block was based on a sculpture by its architect, Calatrava.

If cosmopolitan city-life is getting a bit taxing, slow the pace in one of Malmo’s parks or gardens. The biggest is Folkets Park, which combines green spaces with a large playground, children's theatre, a "miniature farm" with pony rides, and a colourful flea market. Just outside of town is an even bigger space: the Ribersborg offers large sandy beach and open-air swimming-baths, and is backed by acres of parkland and sportsgrounds. At the other end of the pier you can bathe the Swedish way at the Ribban baths - outdoors and naked, flitting from the cold saltwater pool to the wood-fired saunas.


Malmo is a shopper’s paradise. The old town centre is one big pedestrianised shopping district from Stortorget through to Sodergatan and Gustav Adolf's Square; everything from designer clothes to vodka to high-tech cameras are on display.

If you’re looking for distinctively Swedish goods, why not check out Malmo’s furniture and interior design stores. Stand out from the Ikea-buying crowd back home by bagging an original; David Design on Skeppsbron is a good place to start.

Swedish stuff getting old? Check out colourful Möllevångstorget square, a focal point for the city’s growing immigrant communities where you can buy goods from around the world. On weekends a big outdoor market joins the bustling ethnic shops and cafes. When your pockets start to feel a little empty (which doesn’t take long in Sweden) head to the area around Davidshall Square where you can hunt bargains in the bric-a-brac stores.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Flush visitors will not be disappointed with the restaurant scene, with plenty of high-quality places offering traditional Swedish fare. How about a grilled rack of wild boar with lingonberries in the town hall’s vaulted cellar? Remember to wear a suit; legend has it two of the Beatles were once turned away for not wearing ties. Cheaper options also abound, from kebabs and felafel in the Mollevangstorget area to solid pub fare from the krogs scattered about town.

A night out in Malmo often begins in the bars and cafes of Lilla Torg, after which there’s something to suit every taste, from legendary rock club Kulturbolaget to jazz and world music venue Jeriko. Malmo is also home to Slagthuset, Sweden’s biggest nightclub. This converted slaughterhouse stays open until 5am. If all this isn’t enough, why not pop over the bridge and paint Denmark’s capital city red? Trains between the two cities run every 20 minutes until 11pm, and then hourly through the night.

For one week in August, though, you won’t want to be anywhere but Malmo. The Malmo Festival is the largest annual event in southern Sweden and attracts some 1.5 million visitors. Its beginning is marked with the biggest crayfish party in the world in Stortorget (the Main Square), and for eight days and seven nights indoor and outdoor venues play host to a vast array of music and entertainment. If you plan to be in the city for the festivities, check out the website above for full listings.

Tourist Information

Malmö TourismCentralstationenSE-211 20 MalmöPhone: +46 40 34 12 00E-mail:


Ryanair flies direct from Stansted to Malmo Sturup International Airport, which is about 30mins from the centre of town. Alternatively you can fly to Copenhagen Kastrup International Airport from airports across the UK. From Copenhagen a 30-minute train or car ride across the Oresund Bridge will bring you to Malmo’s city centre.

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